Modern condos use ancient windcatcher tech to stay cool

For three millennia, builders in the Middle East (where temperatures can reach 50 degrees Celsius) have been cooling their homes by building wind catchers, or wind scoops, into their structures. The concept relies on a chimney effect by pushing the hotter air up and out by manipulating the cooler air from the lower regions of a structure.

In an apartment building in central Turin (Italy), they’ve created a modern wind catcher in steel and glass, but with the same 3000-year-old tech that provides free cooling in summer, and heating in winter, just by controlling solar radiation and the flow of air up the outer layer of the building. The building has a triple facade of all glass walls: the outermost layer serves the role of wind scoop; the second layer is a thicker, translucent greenhouse room that helps heat the space during winter; and the final facade protects the interior of the home, with the wind scoop method, from anything but mild temperature changes.

The Casa Hollywood building started its life as a rundown adult movie theater called Cinema Hollywood in an industrial part of town, but when developer Paolo Gallesio climbed to the roof one day and saw the direct view of the royal gardens, he knew it could be something incredible.

Teaming up with architect Luciano Pia (who also designed the urban forest apartments “25 Verde”), they eliminated the lower floors to build higher and create apartments that feel as if they are inside the royal gardens. The open space where the cinema once was, has become a lush, plant-filled atrium that filters the air and cools the building in summer by relying on the same chimney effect as the facade.

We went inside the glass walls of Casa Hollywood to talk about (and feel) the natural cooling, up to the penthouse for the broad views of the duomo and royal palace. Downstairs we went inside the old pre-war theater, where a glass-walled garden separates two units that open onto the atrium with views of the street beyond, providing layers of private and public space.

20 Replies to “Modern condos use ancient windcatcher tech to stay cool”

  1. You have used an old building that predates everything our false history says. You put windows in an old existing structure and pretend you have created something great.



  3. A simple and effective ancient technology but we don’t use it enough. By the way, Earthship buildings do use it, from heat exchange tunnels, to the chimney effect, to simply facing the sun, and so on.

  4. It is a constant fight to understand what they are saying Need to look at the caption at all time

  5. Il Nord Italia è spesso caratterizzato da una scarsa qualità dell'aria. Soprattutto i livelli di ozono non sono buoni per le persone sensibili in estate.

  6. Just hideous modern soulless decadence ; cold glass and steel with a corporate look and as much privacy as a storefront window . Cudos for using the ancient technology but why not take some beauty and architecture from ancient sources as well ? Why much everything be steel and glass shaped like either a simple box or dog dirt ? When you pan over to see it in the city surrounded by some beautiful older structures it is just squatting there shouting at everything around it belligerently .

    Use all of the fancy terms you want Mr Architect ; you created yet another modern monstrosity that cost a fortune to make and will be torn down in a decade or so with any luck . Designing like this should be a crime .

  7. Earth ships use this concept a lot more efficiently. Basically, long underground ducts attached to a solar vent creating positive airflow through a home to cool it.

  8. Probably you have already left Turin, but an interesting visit would be the San Paolo skyscraper, which was designed to be sustainable.

  9. THANK you, Kirsten. Very impressive. Beautiful. It reminds, as concept and tech, a little of what you presented a while back, the 'forest condominium'. Were these the same architects?

  10. I'm 4 minutes in and these guys clearly have no real idea how the wind catcher systems work, and it's an apples to oranges comparison. So you are spreading bad information essentially

  11. I am literally designing an environmental facade like this for a project in architecture school, open grp mesh flooring, translucent floors and dynamic natural air cooling included. Thank you once again for the content on this channel, you work so hard!

  12. Le génie Italien, la créativité italienne, la qualité du design 👍🏻

  13. If you're drunk you have to sleep on the floor until it's safe to use the stairs.

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