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A study of vernacular architecture in Harran, Turkey and its implications for sustainable design in a changing climate

Year: 2021
Duration and Role: 8 months - Independent thesis project
Typology: Vernacular
Location: Harran, Turkey


It was identified in the IPCC 5th assessment report that a significant rise in global temperature is inevitable as a result of a rise in greenhouse gas emissions (IPCC, 2014). Therefore, it is important that the building sector mitigates and adapts to this rise in temperature through the use of passive strategies, such as those found in vernacular architecture. This study looks at the vernacular architecture of Harran in a hot-dry climate, specifically its ability to maintain comfortable indoor temperatures after the effects of global warming. By using two methods of assessing the overheating risk and 2080 projected climate data on a simulation of a base model of the Harran domed houses, it is found that the overheating risk drastically increases in the future. Therefore the study focuses on strategies to reduce the overheating risk. The overheating risk assessment method includes the CIBSE TM52 and a model developed by Robinson & Haldi (2008). A sensitivity analysis of only passive strategies was used to inform the principles of an optimal building design for further simulations in a 2080 climate. These strategies include a change of construction materials, building orientation and window to wall ratios. The optimal model reduces the overheating risk significantly with the use of the best performing strategies from the sensitivity analysis. This leads to the conclusion that this style of architecture can be adapted to ensure comfortable indoor conditions in spite of global warming, without the use of applied technologies for cooling. It is clear that the architecture of Harran could be used as a sustainable model for dwellings in hot-dry climates that are resilient to climate change.

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