Connecting climate with architecture – CRTKL launches of new open-source platform, CLIMATESCOUT

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Dubai, United Arab Emirates: Global architecture, planning and design firm CallisonRTKL (CRTKL) has reiterated its commitment to shaping a better world with the launch of CLIMATESCOUT, an open-source climate analysis and educational platform which can help users create more sustainable buildings.

CLIMATESCOUT is free and accessible to all, with this offering part of CRTKL’s ambition for a more sustainable world and the betterment of the building and design industry as a whole. Through a combination of data and images, CLIMATESCOUT connects climate with architecture, allowing users to design buildings that respond to their environment by providing climate- specific design advice using the Köppen-Geiger climate classification and building scale design strategies from Architecture 2030’s Palette. 

Aligned to the launch and its 75th anniversary, CRTKL, which has circa 2000 projects under design at any moments, has unveiled its sustainability report and adopted two important goals for all its projects: all projects will be net zero carbon for operation by 2030 and carbon neutral (including embodied in construction materials) by 2050.

CRTKL is currently ‘climate neutral’ and implementing aggressive measures to cut emissions including a firm-wide ideation challenge to find more creative strategies to further reduce them.  These are combined with performance driven design, adoption of innovative technologies including building simulation, increased collaboration and new metrics to ensure that all projects raise the bar for sustainability and help meet the firm’s goal of shaping a better world. 

Pablo La Roche, vice president at CRTKL and Performance-Driven Design leader, comments: “CRTKL’s vision for the future is designing a better place for all – and understanding climate and developing an appropriate architectural response is one of the first steps in any architectural design process. We want to make these tools open to all to provide a platform that can help move the entire design and development industry forward.”

For CLIMATESCOUT, CRTKL has strategically coupled the Köppen-Geiger climate classification system with Architecture 2030’s Palette to create a unique educational tool. The Köppen-Geiger climate classification system empirically maps biome distributions around the world organising regions by similar vegetation characteristics. It is widely used today for applications that must consider different climates, such as ecological modeling or climate change impact assessments. This is paired with Architecture 2030’s Palette which provides a database of sustainable design principles, strategies, tools, and resources for designers.

About CLIMATESCOUT:

CLIMATESCOUT helps its users to design buildings that respond to site by providing climate specific design advice at the building scale. To achieve this, it uses the Köppen-Geiger climate classification and building scale design strategies from Architecture 2030’s Palette.  

The Köppen-Geiger climate classification system empirically maps biome distributions around the world organizing regions by similar vegetation characteristics. The first version of this classification was developed in the late 19th century and it is still widely used today for applications that must consider different climates, such as ecological modeling or climate change impact assessments. 

This system classifies climate into five main classes and 30 sub-types. The five main climate groups are: A (tropical), B (dry), C (temperate), D (continental), and E (polar). Each group and subgroup include different seasonal precipitation and temperature patterns. All climates are assigned a main group represented by the first letter. Then all climates except for those in the E group are assigned a seasonal precipitation subgroup (the second letter). A temperature subgroup is assigned for all groups other than those in the A group, indicated by the third letter for climates in B, C, and D, and the second letter for climates in E. 

The 2030 Palette provides a free online platform that provides a database of sustainable design principles, strategies, tools, and resources for designers. It puts the principles and actions behind carbon neutral and resilient built environments at the fingertips of designers, planners, builders, and policymakers. The swatches, or sustainable design strategies, address energy consumption and greenhouse gas emission at all scales – from regional and city planning to building details. It does not however organise these strategies by climate and the user must determine by the description if the strategy is appropriate for the climate in each location.

On CLIMATESCOUT, CRTKL has selected the 27 building scale strategies from the 2030 palette and have compared them with the 30 climate subtypes to determine their applicability for each of the Köppen-Geiger climates. By doing this the user can only select and combine appropriate strategies for that climate. As the user selects these curated strategies they appear in real time overlaid in a diagram in the same page, providing an immediate visual connection between climate and building response. Most climate analysis tools are effective in visualising climate data and quantifying the effect of some strategies on thermal comfort, but they do not provide a visual image of these strategies integrated in an architectural response. CLIMATESCOUT does this, providing a more integrated and coherent vision of the strategies working together. Future versions could provide some quantification of the impact of selected strategies on thermal comfort.

How to use CLIMATESCOUT:

When you access the site, the first step is to select the appropriate climate zone, which you can do by clicking on the map or selecting the appropriate climate from the list below. Climate data and descriptions for most cities typically includes the Köppen-Geiger climate type. 

Selecting the climate will take you to a new screen that includes a basic building section on which you will overlay selected design strategies. As you select the strategies using the sign by the icon, these will appear on the diagram. You can select as many of the strategies and in whatever combination as you wish, since these have been validated for that climate. You can continue selecting, deselecting and combining these strategies in any combination until you are satisfied with the results. You will be able to export this image to a report of your initial site analysis.

You can also click directly on each icon to go to another page and learn more about the strategy and see examples of implementation. This page will also provide a direct link to the same strategy in the 2030 palette where you will find even more information on how to implement the strategy and additional examples.

About CallisonRTKL:

CallisonRTKL (CRTKL), a global architecture, planning and design practice, began over seven decades ago and has evolved into a cultural agency to advance positive outcomes in our local and global communities. Through a human-centric design approach our team addresses the imperatives of resiliency, wellbeing and technology and their influence in the built environment.