Assignment #3: Part 2

Screen Shot 2013-10-24 at 12.39.28 PMDesign Primer


The goal of my primer is to utilize the traditional technologies of the passive cooling systems gleaned from the case study of stilt houses on Inle Lake in Central Burma to be used in the design of habitations in similar climates. These may include places such as the marshes of Florida and Louisiana or villages along the Amazon in South America. As you can see from the psychometric chart above, there is an overwhelming period of the year that – using traditional passive cooling systems – is still outside of the established range of comfort. The region is extremely humid and often very hot yet the people who live in the city of Yewnghew still manage to live prosperous lives. Though careful analysis I posit that it is because of the unique thermal c0nditions found above the water which the inhabitants’ architecture utilizes that they are able to remain comfortable year-round.

 Design Strategies in Two Seasons

The typology developed in Burma is unique in its capacity to accommodate for two markedly different seasonal climates. The first is that of the dry season, which is (despite its name) very humid and consistently hot and sunny. The monsoon season on the other hand is characterized by constant steady rain and often strong winds. The housing in this region and, more specifically, above the waters of the Inle Lake evolved a unique set of design modifications over hundreds of years to adapt to this particular climate.

stilt house diagram 1-2

Dry Summer Season

(1a) the window design: The hinge of the window rotates upwards rather than outwards, protecting the dwelling from direct sunlight-or radiative heat
(1b) elevation above water-level: the stilt construction allows for evaporative cooling from passing winds greatly reducing the temperature directly below the house
(1c) window placement: windows placed on opposing faces of the structure allow for cross-ventilation

stilt house diagram 1-1Monsoon Season

(2a) the thick natural fiber roof: doubles as a thermal and moisture insulator
(2b) the elevation above water: prevents the flooding that would otherwise occur inland
(2c) the and windows: open up shade the interior from the heavy rains while still providing for ventilation and light penetration.
(2d) [unmarked] the long overhangs and walkways: shield the interior from the strong relentless winds


Climate Consultant.

Erik. “A Boat Tour of Inle Lake – Nyaungshwe, Burma.” Around This World. 22 Oct. 2013. Web.

“Average weather and climate in Myanmar (Burma).” World Weather and Climate Information. 22 Oct. 2013. Web.


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