Blog Post 5

To consider Ulan Bator as a potential site for a new U.S. Embassy, we need to think in terms of climate, culture and site data. A series of climate data and precedents studies are found helpful along the way of coming up with the design principles, the program characteristics and functions of the building.

Settling in deep Asian land, Ulan Bator possesses  classical temperate continental climate, which have distinct seasonal changes and big annual temperature difference. The main design principles to deal with the climate is to solve the problem of low temperature during winter, which often remain below 20-30 degrees below zero during winter.
Considering the guidelines from the climate consultant, the following rules should be applied in design.
Place most of the glass area south to maximize winter sun exposure. Located in high latitude, day time hours in winter are very limited. Use double pane clear windows at south for maximum passive solar gain. The double pane clear windows allow more than half of the solar energy to enter into the building and are better for store heating energy inside the building to reduce heating loss. Extra insulation for building envelope is also necessary to keep indoor temperature more uniform and to increase occupant comfort. During day time efficient sunlight input keeps the interior warm. At night the heat is still stored inside the building.

Due to the low temperature during winter, the energy cost for heating is a significant part of consumption. To make the building sustainable, it is important to lower the indoor comfort temperature at night and use high efficient furnace to reduce heating energy consumption. The building size should be relatively small because excessive floor area wastes heating and cooling energy.

Considering both the vernacular architecture and the modern transition of the urban architecture in Ulan Bator. The Embassy could design as a complex that both embrace the traditional parts of the vernacular culture but also represent the new perspective. The entrance hall where people wait for consulting and applying visa could adopt the shape of the traditional shape of Mongolia yurt, which possesses the rules we talked about thoroughly. The opening oculus at the roof top creates a tunnel for air circulation and skylight. The aerodynamic shape allows wind to slips over the structure with minimum resistance thus minimize cold air’s effect upon the building.

blog diagram

Sunlight                                        Thermal                                         Aerodynamic

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