geof bell

baarch, LEED GA

crown hall energy analysis
Mies' 'Glass Box' typology is often criticized for its energy inefficiency. Is it possible to deploy contemporary passive and active systems within this design typology to achieve a highly efficient or even net-zero energy construction?

Craig Schwitter,
Principal, Buro Happold Engineering, and Associates

IIT Crown Hall
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

There were a number of issues to identify and address in Crown Hall. The single-glazed curtain wall is quite transparent, but conducts a great deal of heat from the space, requiring the boiler to work harder in the winter, and air conditioning in the summer to maintain thermal comfort. The solid steel mullions and structure external to the insulated space further contribute to this heat loss by creating a thermal bridge around the perimeter of the glass. This system wraps the building on all four sides.

Natural ventilation is provided through louvered holes below the windows, manually operated with a pivoting steel cover. This opening provides free air movement between the interior and exterior.

Finally, inside the building, the open plan provides the space with an excess of interior lighting, which could be reduced by more thoughtfully placed task lighting.

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