Archive for September, 2009

Urban Heat Island: Take me to the River

September 29, 2009

An Urban Heat Island is a metropolitan area that is significantly warmer than its surrounding areas. The phenomenon was first described in the 1810s.

“The main cause of the Urban Heat Island is modification of the land surface by urban development which uses materials that retain heat. Buildings absorb (solar) heat that is sent out at night. Waste heat generated by energy usage is a secondary contributor”.

The biggest temperature differences are at night, due to the slow release of heat from urban infrastructure and buildings. When the weather is calm the difference can be about 3 to 5 degrees centigrade, but in the middle of a heat wave it can increase to 8 or even 12 degrees.

In winter there are some benefits, like less icy roads, but Urban Heat Islands increase summertime peak energy demand, air conditioning costs, air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, heat-related illness and water quality. People can’t cool down which could cause ‘heat stress’ that can lead to aggression. In the U.S. heat typically kills more people each year than tornadoes, hurricanes, floods and lightning put together.

There are several mitigation measures. Planting helps reduce the effects through shade and through ‘evapotranspiration’. Plants absorb water through their roots and emit it through their leaves. This movement of water is called “transpiration.” Evaporation, the conversion of water from a liquid to a gas, also occurs from the soil around vegetation and from trees and vegetation as they intercept rainfall on leaves and other surfaces. Together, these processes are referred to as evapotranspiration, which lowers temperatures by using heat from the air to evaporate water.

Green roofs are successful: they compensate for the vegetation that had to make place for the building. A green roof not only prevents the roof from absorbing heat, but cools the air around it, offsetting the UHI effect.

And since it is the dark surfaces heat the area a logical thing to do is to increase your albedo. Albedo is the extent to which an object diffusely reflects light from the Sun. The word is derived from Latin albedo “whiteness”. The range of possible values is from 0 (dark) to 1 (bright). Whiteness is an answer to the Urban Heat Island effect.

Finally the White Dream of Adolf Loos’ seems to come through. In Ornament und Verbrechen (1908) he proclaims: “Soon the streets of the town will glisten like white walls. Like Zion, the holy city, the metropolis of heaven. Then we shall have fulfillment”.

And maybe more literally than Adolf could have imagined, because now there are the so-called Cool Pavements. The term refers to paving materials that reflect more solar energy, enhance water evaporation, or have been otherwise modified to remain cooler than conventional pavements. Conventional paving materials can reach peak summertime temperatures of 120–150°F (48–67°C), transferring excess heat to the air above them and heating stormwater as it runs off the pavement into local waterways. Due to the large area covered by pavements in urban areas (nearly 30–45% of land cover based on an analysis of four geographically diverse cities), they are an important element to consider in heat island mitigation. What about White Tarmac?

But if you don’t want to go snow-blind, Low-Reflectivity Coatings offer an alternative. They come in non-white colors. These coatings reflect invisible radiation without reflecting all light. So, they keep an object cool without sacrificing its dark color. Certain high-reflectivity coatings can also be applied to asphalt. Asphalt chip seals and emulsion sealcoats are two such examples that treat asphalt to make its surface more reflective.


Cheonggyechon, or “pristine stream” is a sensational instrument to reduce UHI effects in the city of Seoul. For decades the river disappeared under urban substance. But now it is Back.

In order to accommodate the expansion of Seoul – the population of Seoul exploded between 1950 and 1975 from 1million to over 7 million. It’s growth rate was 7.6, the biggest on the planet- the river was sacrificed: the stream was covered by ‘city’. An elevated highway on top of it was completed in 1976.

In July 2003, Seoul Mayor, now President Lee Myung-bak removed the highway and restored the stream. Years of neglect and development had left the stream nearly totally dry, so 120,000 tons of water have to be pumped in daily. The stream was opened to the public in September 2005 and features nozzles that cover part of the river in refreshing artificial fog.

The river Cheonggyechon is just 8 meter wide and less than one meter deep and 6 kilometer long but it helps to cool down the temperature on the nearby areas by 3.6 degrees centigrade on average relative to other parts of Seoul.

This BLOG contains samples from United States Environmental Protection Acency (EPA),, Wiki P. and How Stuff Works.


September 24, 2009

Spider-Web at Samsung Museum of Art

Wild Wild East

September 23, 2009



September 22, 2009

Thijs Van and Park jae hyun

Jeju island is referred to as a amalgam of Hawaii, Disneyland and Paradise. The ceilings in cars on the Island are all blissful. Maybe the reference to Heaven can be explained from this remarkable feature.

Remote controlled Toilet and Bidet

September 22, 2009




Flush, Lift, Water Jet, Blow Dry

Jeju Nights

September 21, 2009

Say what, Julia?

Young Joon

Go girl!

Alejandro is up

Go Tobias GO!

Anna Thijs Duet


Julia - Luis

Luca Luca Luca

all to gether now...


September 20, 2009


Delphic Diners: the Bellies of some Architects

September 20, 2009

During the Games we were treated in a very generous way. The banquets were exciting, the barbecued local black pig superb, the cold soups astounding. The real specialty from Jeju Island is raw seafood, it comes in many variants. Fish, shrimp, clams, crab. And some worm like creatures that still contract and expand on the plate. Especially the raw squid is popular. The transparent, elastic cuttlefish is caught by fishermen that either operate from the shoreline with rods and colorful LED floaters or on thousands of small boats that feature intensely glowing ‘headlights’. The lights attract the squid and turn ocean into an inter galactic superhighway.

Luca Roger Anna Seung Hoy Luis

Young Joon

Marina Thijs




Gan Bae!

diner box

squid fleet





Let the Games begin

September 18, 2009

The 3rd Delphic Games were held at Jeju Do, an island south of Korea. In this so-called “Cultural Olympics” 600 participants from 54 countries have taken part in competitions in six categories and 18 disciplines in various cultural fields such as crafts, performing arts, architecture and literature. This festival’s theme: “Tuning into the Nature”.

10 architecture offices were involved in these Games: Marina Stankovic, Jeffrey Inaba, Ian+, Seung Hoy Kim, Kazuhiro Kojima, José Luis Esteban Penelas, Julia Czerniak, Roger Riewe and Jong Kyu Kim were all asked to contribute with a design.

The projects had to be developed in a 4 day workshop organized by Young Joon Kim and took place on the island. All 10 teams were supported by 4 local students. It was Korean style working hours: we were so busy we hardly found the time for sightseeing. Luckily I had already visited the island 4 years earlier…

The island of Jeju is known as Honeymoon Island and described as a crossover between Hawaii, Disneyland and Paradise…

Our team, led by Thijs van Bijsterveldt consisted of Jae Hyun Park, Ji Suk Baek, Ji Yeon Chae and Min Chul Kim and proofed to be fantastic: talented, skilled, energetic, full of ideas and with a sensational sense of collectivity: they just seemed to like to work together and were dedicated to the shared end result.

A new ‘park’ will be constructed in the Gasiri area. The park actually is a line, a path. On this trail 10 special ‘moments’ will be created: 5 small pavilions or observatories and 5 landscaped arrangements that all in principle should emphasize the natural beauty of the area. The sites are carefully chosen by Professor Kim, Tae-il of Jeju National University. In principle all projects will be build. As soon as our wwwebsite is back online we will upload our proposal. And some more.

For the Delphic  award there were two categories: Architecture and Ecological Arts and Communication and Social Arts. The jury consisted of Mr. Min, Seung H-sang and Alejandro Zaera-Polo.

The winners: Kojima-san with a stunningly beautiful land art project and Jong Kyu with a modest and sensitive intervention that addresses the local history and landscape.

collect for site visit

Young Joon Kim

kick off

good news


Site nr 9



Sangumburi Crater

Sangumburi Crater

Sangumburi Crater


Marina and Tobias

Jose Luis, Seung H-sang, Alejandro

The winner: Kojima-san

Loop House (re)Visited

September 11, 2009

Young Joon Kim -our Korean friend and collaborator on the Loop House- invited us to participate in the Delphic Games, an international competition and festival of culture and arts on Jeju Island in Korea. This was an excellent opportunity to check out the project that we never saw completed.

It was great to meet our client again and see him happier than ever. In Korea it is custom that the oldest son ‘adopts’ the parents. Traditionally they live together to deal with the difficulties that come with aging. We were told that as a consequence the oldest sons might find it rather difficult to get involved in a relationship. But thanks to the layout of the Loop House the parents decided not to move in. The house was not precisely what they would consider inhabitable. Rapidly after the house was completed our client actually got married! Now the family is extending further and the question is how the open plan will accommodate this. The dog already found a nice chalet in the back yard.

Walking through a real space that so far was just a virtual reality is an exhilarating experience. Familiar and still surprising. The spatial quality of the interior is convincing and the roof is absolutely sensational, but the most impressive ingredients are the ancient  trees in the patio  that give the impression that the house is carefully folded around them…

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