chapter  42
38 Pages

Tropical design

WithPatricia Tutt

KEY POINTS: x Study existing buildings that work, and learn from them x Apply normal good design and environmental practice, being

sensitive to site, climate, culture and construction industry practices

x Review and revalidate all design assumptions x Use local information and expertise x Carry out a thorough desk study x Anticipate extremes of climate change

Contents 1 Introduction 2 Desk study – factors affecting design 3 Climate-responsive design: climate types 4 Environmental design strategies: passive design 5 Environmental control strategies: active measures 6 Structure, services and environmental design 7 Building science data 8 Bibliography, information sources and further reading


1.1 ‘The Tropics’ ‘The tropics’ are, technically, the low latitudes contained in the ‘Torrid Zone’ between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn, Figure 42.1, but the term is most typically applied to the world’s hot, humid, equatorial coastal regions which have high rainfall, lush vegetation and, almost invariably, a colonial past. For our purposes here, however, the term can be applied to all climates in which the cooling load in buildings significantly exceeds the heating load, Figure 42.2. This extends into the hot dry areas, the composite climates in the centre of large continental land masses, and some areas tempered by warm seas or prevailing winds that are as far away from the equator as latitudes 45° north and south. This section provides an introductory design guide for architects undertaking work in unfamiliar environments and climates. All guidance must be substantiated by site-specific data.