Book Reviews

on Book: “Intelligent design using solar‐climatic vision: Energy and comfort improvement in architecture and urban planning using SOLARCHVISION”, Young Cities Research Paper Series, Volume 09, Samimi M. and Nasrollahi F., Berlin Institute of Technology, Germany, 2014, ISBN 978-3-7983-2675-0 (Print).

Rahul_MehrotraRahul Mehrotra, Professor and Chair Department of Urban Planning and Design, Harvard University, USA

This is wonderful work and visually so rich. Congratulations. It is nice to see these basic questions coming back into the discussion so clearly.


Christine_HornerChristine Horner, Architect, Director and Co-founder of SOLID architecture ZT GmbH, Austria

 Namely Chapter III is very interesting for my office! To influence running costs in buildings with simple and comparingly cheap interventionis like the correct dimension and orientation of shading elements is a very strong argument. The charts and schemes show these effects very clearly.


Christoph_Nytsch-GeusenProf. Dr. Christoph Nytsch-Geusen, UdK Berlin, Germany

The main objective of a building design is not to save energy. At first, the building should be designed for its users and the purpose of meeting their needs. In the design process, the architect is responsible for defining the shape and orientation of the building, the size and position of transparent areas in the facade and the selection of materials for the construction. In other words, the architect uses the design to determine the energy balance, the indoor climate and the heating and cooling demand of the building in relation to the local climate. The book at hand, written by Mojtaba Samimi and Farshad Nasrollahi, helps architects to become more aware of these crucial factors, which are dependent on the thermal behavior of the building envelope. A general analysis demonstrates how to best approach the design process with regard to the local climate conditions – so by taking into consideration, and not excluding, solar radiation and temperature. The SOLARCHVISION tool has been developed for this purpose, namely to study the patterns of climate parameters, such as direct beam radiation, sun paths, air temperature, wind speeds and directions, and assess the impact the data has on the building envelope and the architectural design in general. The authors illustrate the “positive and negative effects of solar radiation” for several basic building shapes, but also some more complex case studies, dependent on the climate of the particular location. Detailed analyses are described for hot, intermediate and cold climate regions (Europe, U.S., Canada, Australia, East Asia, Iran). The SOLARCHVISION approach is not restricted to single buildings but is also used to discuss the interrelations between buildings and their neighborhood on a district level. The book concludes with an application of the generated approach in the newly planned city district, Shahre Javan Community, which was developed within the German-Iranian research project “Young Cities—Developing Energy-Efficient Urban Fabric in the Tehran-Karaj Region”.


Claus_SteffanClaus Steffan, Professor and Chair Department of Building Technology and Architectural Design, TU-Berlin (Berlin Institute of Technology), Germany

“Architecture is the masterly, correct and magnificent play of masses brought together in light” (Le Corbusier, Towards a new Architecture, 1923). This sounds very poetic, but fact is that the sun has always been a central feature of architectural design and has a significant value in terms of physical aspects. Solar radiation can provide passive heat gain in winter, but also be the cause for overheating in summer. Unfortunately, there are many examples in all climate zones which show that architects have ignored the impact of the sun in their designs. The results are uncomfortable conditions indoors and a high consumption of energy. Solar geometry and radiation differ according to climate zone and season. These considerations have to be taken into account in the decision-making process of, for example, orientation, building materials, glazing ratio, shading devices and, not to be forgotten, all issues in regard of the local climate. Today digital simulation tools are available to evaluate and optimize architectural designs throughout the planning process. In this book, Mojtaba Samimi and Farshad Nasrollahi demonstrate how solar features can be incorporated effectively in the design of buildings in different climate zones. SOLARCHVISION, a very powerful simulation tool, is used to analyze the influence of the sun for particular sites and climates. The results clearly show how the method can be applied by architects and planners in the design process of not only buildings but also urban designs with the aim of optimizing orientation, the micro-climate and the choice of typology. Illustrations and graphs highlight the interdependencies of sun, geometry and building. This book is an indispensable manual for all architects and urban planners involved in the design of residential and non-residential buildings.