The Animation of the Weather as a Means of Sustaining Buildin ...

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Many of the indoor spaces where most people now spend the majority of their time inadvertently deprive them of contact with two key requirements for their long-term well-being—nature and change. With the aim of improving the health and effectiveness of people in buildings at the same time as helping to sustain the natural environment, the research presented examines the feasibility of using the movements of the sun, wind and rain to naturally animate building interiors via passive energy and rainwater saving techniques that rely on the same natural elements. Explorations in a series of architectural design studios indicate that simple strategies for bringing the natural movements of the weather indoors are compatible with a range of proven passive energy and rainwater saving techniques, offering a potential means of raising public awareness of these important, but currently underused sustainable practices. The authors found that one such combination—wind-animated indoor daylighting—had a calming effect on building occupants, and attentional tests indicated that its natural movement also seemed to be less distracting than artificially generated change. Although further testing is needed, initial results suggest that weather-generated indoor animation could be helpful in reducing stress in building occupants at the same time as increasing the visibility of passive energy and rainwater saving in buildings, but its calming effect may also act to lower occupant alertness.