Climatic Zone: Composite

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Redevelopment of property at Civil Lines, Delhi
Climatic Zone: Composite

Redevelopment of property at Civil Lines, Delhi

Passi ve devi ces and i nnovative constructi on methods are a wi nning
combination in these residenti al units

General description
Large open plots of land with bungalows that constituted Delhi´s Civil Lines are now
being sub-divided and redeveloped to provide more upper-middle income housing.
This project explores the possibility of responding more deliberately to climatic
factors in dense settings.
• The project consi sts of four resi denti al uni ts bui l t-to-edge on a street.
The houses on the north face of the street are courtyard houses
l eadi ng towards gardens on the south si de.
• The houses on the south si de of the street have thei r gardens on the
north si de and are l i near. These are al l large si ngl e fami l y houses, two
to three stori es hi gh. Thi s enabl es the secti ons of the bui l di ngs to be
desi gned i ntegral l y for enjoyi ng the wi nter sun.
• The passi ve devi ces that i nteract wi th the external el ements are gi ven
a central pl ace i n the archi tectural l anguage of the bui l di ngs.

Design features
Passive solar design
Insolation
• The general ori entati on of the bui l di ngs i s east-west, maki ng most of
the wi ndow openi ngs fal l i n the north and south faces.
• The courtyard houses, because of thei r rather square proporti ons i n
pl an, have faces towards the east and west as wel l . The wi ndows on
these faces l ook i nto narrow protected al leys or the smal l courtyard
between two houses. Retai ni ng the wal l of the ori gi nal doubl e-storey
buil di ng, whi ch had l i ned the street, shades the al l ey space on the
west.
Climatic Zone: Composite

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Redevelopment of property at Civil Lines, Delhi
• For the l i near houses on the north si de, the wi dth of the dri veway that
separates the two rows of houses i s just enough to enabl e wi nter
sunshi ne enter the fi rst-fl oor wi ndows. The secti ons of these houses
are desi gned wi th a cut-out such that the wi nter sun i s brought i nto
the l i vi ng/di ni ng space - the heart of the house - on the ground fl oor.
• Terraces on the second fl oor have skyl i ghts that agai n admi t wi nter
sun i nto the fi rst-fl oor rooms on the north si de of the house.
Design and Envelope
Innovative construction systems
Insulation - roof and walls
• Roofs are finished with broken China mosaic. The roof construction sandwich
contains 30-mm thick polyurethane board insulation above the RCC slab.
• For the courtyard houses, the western wall of the upper fl oor, the east
and west wal l s of the courtyard roof, and the water tank wal l s are
i nsul ated usi ng an i nnovati ve constructi on sandwi ch.
• Insul ati on board i s pasted on to the outsi de of a 115-mm thi ck bri ck
wal l and hel d i n posi ti on wi th panel s of terracotta jali s whose cavi ti es
are rendered wi th cement sand mortar.
• Thei r resul tant constructi on expresses the speci al nature of the wal l as
a decorati ve textured surface.
The courtyard roof
• The mai n cl i mate-responsi ve devi ce i s the roofed courtyard of the two
courtyard houses. The hi pped steel frame roof i s cl ad wi th a sandwi ch
panel of fi xed frosted gl ass wi th a ti nted fi l m for the most part wi th a
smal l south porti on through whi ch the sky i s vi si bl e. Thi s i s under-
sl ung by a pai r of razais (qui l ts), whi ch can be pul l ed across to cover
the undersi de of the roof (for i nsul ati on) or al l owed to hang down
verti cal l y (to al l ow heat transfer). Above the roof i s another frame i n
chics (bamboo severs), whi ch can si mi l arl y be opened to shade the
roof or rol l ed up to catch the sun.
Climatic Zone: Composite

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Redevelopment of property at Civil Lines, Delhi
• The ri dge of the roof i s a channel from whi ch water overfl ows on to the
thi n roofi ng membrane of stone and gl ass. Some water woul d
evaporate and excess water i s col l ected at the foot of the sl ope and
reci rcul ated. Thi s makes the roof a l arge evaporati ve cool er over the
central space of the house. Al l rooms communi cate di rectl y wi th thi s
central space. Thi s method of evaporati ve cool i ng wi ll suppl ement a
conventi onal evaporati ve cool er. In the hot-humi d peri od of Jul y to
August, thi s woul d gi ve consi derabl e cool ing, when the conventi onal
evaporati ve cool er i s no l onger effecti ve.
• The operati on of the roof component (chic, water, and razai) i s to be
adjusted from wi nter to summer and for day and ni ght.
• The roof provides for (1) shading from outside/insul ati on from i nsi de, (2)
roof evaporati ve cool i ng, and (3) di rect (through cl ear gl ass) and
i ndi rect (through frosted gl ass) radi ati on. The gl ass al so acts as a
ni ght radi ator i n summer al bei t a rather i neffi ci ent one.
• The dominant portion of the roofed courtyards with their quilts of mirrors and
colourful cloth, the chics and the possibility of visible monsoon and night sky
would become a strong aesthetic experience responding to the rhythm of
seasonal cycles.
Infiltration
• All wi ndows communi cati ng wi th the outsi de are desi gned wi th doubl e
rebates. So are al l external doors wi th the tradi ti onal chowkhat (four-
si ded frame).
• Thi s control s infiltration of both col d/hot wi nds as wel l as dust, whi ch
i s a major househol d mai ntenance concern.
Basement
• The basements are desi gned as mul ti purpose spaces wi th adequate
natural l i ght. The basement of the west courtyard house i s bei ng used
as an archi tect´s offi ce.
• The arti fi ci al ill umi nati on i s l argel y by way of compact fl uorescent desk
l amps.

Climatic Zone: Composite

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Redevelopment of property at Civil Lines, Delhi
Air-conditioning
• The offi ce basement i s suppl emented by a 5 TR (tonnes of
refri gerati on) `spl i t´ ai r-condi ti oni ng uni t (to condi ti on an area of 120
m²), whi ch i s used for approxi matel y 60% of the worki ng hours from
May to August.
Evaporative cooling
Conventional evaporative cooler
• A conventi onal mosqui to-proof evaporati ve cool er i s housed on the roof
bl owi ng through the si dewal l of the courtyard roof.
• Thi s i s an i deal system for the hot-dry season and for ni ght fl ushi ng
duri ng the humi d season as wel l as duri ng autumn and spri ng.
Wind-driven evaporative cooler
• The west house takes advantage of the prevai li ng north-westerl y hot
wi nds that bl ow duri ng the hot-dry seasons.
• A verti cal screen tower i s bui l t on the west wal l wi th evaporati ve khus
pads on i ts outer surface fed by a water pump.
• The i nner si de has adjustabl e wi ndows openi ng i nto the adjacent
rooms. The natural wi nd pressure wi ll dri ve ai r through the wet khus
pads i nto the adjacent rooms.
Performance
• These houses are non-ai r-condi ti oned bui l di ngs. However, there i s a
provi si on for i nstal li ng room ai r-condi ti oners i n the bedroom. And
there i s a 5-TR ai r-condi ti oner for the basement offi ce (120 m²). The
design strategy is not di rected to predictably control the thermal
performance of the i ndoor spaces-rather i t i s to i ntegrate some
features i n the bui l dings that woul d shi ft i ts performance substanti all y
towards comfort.
Climatic Zone: Composite

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Redevelopment of property at Civil Lines, Delhi
• The courtyard roof i s a cruci al el ement of the bui l di ngs and a l ot
depends on i ts effecti veness to test the buil di ngs for yearl y
performance.
• Wi th correct operati on of the qui l t duri ng wi nters, ni ght-ti me comfort,
say 18 °C mi ni mum, can be assured i n al l rooms.
• For the basement offi ces, the ai r-condi ti oners were swi tched on 15 May
2000, and over the summer months the ai r-condi ti oner was used for
about 60% of offi ce ti me.
• For the ground and fi rst fl oors, comfort can be obtai ned duri ng the
dry-hot season and duri ng spri ng (March-Apri l ) and autumn
(September-October) usi ng a combi nati on of di rect and roof
evaporati ve cool i ng wi th cei li ng fans.
• Duri ng the monsoon season (Jul y-August) roof evaporati ve and cross-
venti l ati on wi ll gi ve moderate comfort duri ng dayti me and comfort at
ni ght.
• In the pre-monsoon hot-humi d season (June-Jul y) wi th l i ttl e breeze,
cl oudy ski es, hi gh humi di ty and temperature, one wi ll have to resort to
ai r-condi ti oni ng for comfort.

At a glance
Project details
The project explores the possibility of responding more deliberately to
climatic factors in a dense setting.
Building type Residential
Climate Composite
Location It is located in the Civil Lines area of Delhi where large open
plots of land are being subdivided and redeveloped to provide
more upper-middle income housing
Architect Ashok B Lall
B 25 Chirag Enclave
New Delhi - 110 017
Or
2B Ramkishore Road
Civil Lines
Delhi - 110 054
Climatic Zone: Composite

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Redevelopment of property at Civil Lines, Delhi

Built-up area 1687 m²
Year of completion 1999

Design features
o Orientation of the building to cut off solar insolation during summer
and let in winter sun
o Design of sections to let in winter sun into the first-floor rooms on
the north side of the house
o Terraces with skylights that admit winter sun
o Insulated walls using innovative construction sandwich
o Sun-shading to reduce heat gain
o Courtyard design
o Roof finished with China mosaic and insulated using a 30-mm thick
polyurethane board insulation above the RCC slab
o The courtyard roof is the main climate-responsive device acting as a
large evaporative cooler over the central space of the house. All
rooms communicate with this space
o Conventional mosquito-proof evaporative cooler housed on the roof
o External windows are designed with double rebates
o The west house has a wind-driven evaporative cooler

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