You are on page 1of 10

Journal of Research in Ecology ISSN No: Print: 2319 –1546; Online: 2319– 1554

An International Scientific Research Journal


A Review on the efficiency of using natural ventilation in traditional

architecture (Case study: northern Iran, Qajarieh era houses)

Authors: ABSTRACT:
Journal of Research in Ecology

Nilgoun Eslami1 and One of the main problems in human life is achieving an inexhaustible source
Babak Fazli Malidareh2 of energy. One of the most important renewable energies is wind and human being
has been always thinking about application of this energy in industry and construction
of buildings. Oldest method of using wind energy is documented in returns to ancient
Iran. For the first time, Iranians succeeded to invent waterwheels by using wind force
and send water from their water wells to farms. In Iranian traditional architecture,
natural ventilation was the main part of building design that came to existence by
1. Department of
Architecture, Gonbad creating natural air current into buildings. Native architecture reached to a
Kavoos Branch, Islamic phenomenon of stable architecture. For example, in North of Iran (Gilan, Mazandaran
Azad University, and Golestan Provinces) architecture in humid and moderate weather, as a sample of
Golestan, Iran. native architecture mixed with nature, has an ancient history in which a soothing
space compatible to climate was created by considering nature. This architecture
2. Department of Civil guaranteed its stability by using ecological buildings and proper storage of energy
Engineering, Babol Branch, resources that one of the main samples is in Qajarieh era and has considerable
Islamic Azad University, importance in art and architecture history of Iran because in that period, based on
Mazandaran, Iran.
architecture of their ancestors heritage and also intercommunication with west,
salient revolutions and innovation produced in domain of art and architecture. This
review was aimed in identifying stable architecture and useful alternatives that were
used for utilizing air current in humid and moderate climate.

Wind energy, Natural ventilation, Stable architecture, Native architecture,
Qajarieh era

Corresponding author:
Nilgoun Eslami Article Citation:
Nilgoun Eslami and Babak Fazli Malidareh
A Review on the efficiency of using natural ventilation in traditional architecture (case
study: northern Iran, Qajarieh era houses)
Email ID: Journal of Research in Ecology (2017) 5(1):741-750

Received: 01 April 2017 Accepted: 05 May 2017 Published: 12 Jun 2017
Web Address: This article is governed by the Creative Commons Attribution License (
licenses/by/4.0), which gives permission for unrestricted use, non-commercial, distribution and
documents/EC0346.pdf reproduction in all medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Journal of Research 741-750| JRE | 2017 | Vol 5 | No 1

in Ecology
An International
Scientific Research Journal
Eslami and Malidareh, 2017
Since the origin, humans received help from the
nature for securing themselves from natured forces and
had shelter in caves and, trees and among stones
(Ahmadpour, 2015). He did invariable initiatives for
organizing environment around himself to meet his pri-
mary needs (Shoaee and Arabesmaili, 2013) and gradu-
ally learned to make his shelter more stably and then the
world's different civilizations used their special methods
by considering special conditions of climate and human
Figure 1. An example of aristocratic Qajari house,
was always looking for creation of biological environ-
Amirnezam house, Tabriz
ment to meet his emotional and physical needs and used (
environmental conditions for his interests and made
more comfortable houses by using sun, wind and water. able energies because of its proper geographical loca-
Four decades prior to BC, Aristotle and one decade tion (Tabriz et al., 2012). One of the renewable energies
press to BC, Marcus Vitruvius Pollio, a Roman archi- is wind. So in the past, Iranian architects used wind fac-
tect, talked about the method of using wind in architec- tor for moderating heat inside houses, salons and reser-
ture and construction. Among them, Iran's traditional voirs. They could make the best coordination with envi-
architecture was one of the best examples of climatic ronments by natural resources and pure energies in dif-
architecture which had the most desirable solutions for ferent climates and provided the best biological require-
survival of biology and human welfare and desires using ments with limitations and equipment’s (Shahamipour
natural energies. Iran has enormous resources of renew- and Farzanmanesh, 2015; Utaberta et al., 2012). North

Figure 2. The impact of favorable wind on three northern provinces of Iran


742 Journal of Research in Ecology (2017) 5(1):741–750

Eslami and Malidareh, 2017

Figure 3. Ventilated by natural air flow (Tahbaz and Jalilian, 2011)

of Iran architecture is one of the successful samples of Fossil fuels like coal, oil and natural gas are
native architecture that has mixed with nature in such a currently the world’s primary energy sources. The
way that is pure of natural context and environment heavy dependence on the fossil fuel in 20th century
around it (Peirov and Farivar, 2015). The purpose of largely reduced the natural reserve of it (Bhandari et al.,
this view is identifying ecological elements used in nat- 2015). The issue of energy and the ways of taking the
ural ventilation of Qajarieh buildings in humid and advantage of natural and renewable ones are the most
moderate climates. important which attract attentions nowadays (Kalantari
Alternative Energy et al., 2015).
Alternative energy i.e. renewable energy for Kinds of renewable energies used at Qajarieh
producing these kinds of energy resources without car- Wind Energy
bon is used. These kinds of energies don’t have disad- At the present time, we are able to predict wind
vantages of fossil fuels like increase of carbon dioxide current position and their effect on all structural collec-
concentration and finally increase of earth temperature, tions by using architecture aerodynamic science. With
weather changes and environmental pollution. In addi- the help of this science, one can investigate wind cur-
tion, the resources of their production are inexhaustible rents by using wind tunnel or using theoretical methods
limitless. and mathematical calculations and impose required cor-
rections before designing.

Figure 4 . Extraversion and openness of the 4

Figure 5. Summer setting room of Bagheri house,
sides in Amirlatifi house, Gorgan, Golestan, Iran
Gorgan, Golestan, Iran

Journal of Research in Ecology (2017) 5(1):741–750 743

Eslami and Malidareh, 2017

Figure 6. Summer setting room of Bagheri house, Figure 7. Exposure of openers of Taqavi house,
Gorgan, Golestan, Iran Gorgan, Golestan, Iran

Architecture in Qajarieh era (1796-1925 AD) to dilation and old patterns of Iran architecture are ac-
Totally, architecture of Qajarieh period is divid- complished for dilating space. In summary, if we con-
ed into two general periods sider architecture development, dilation, transparency
The first period (Agha Mohammad Khan’s monarchy and levitation of spaces, architecture of this period is
to the end of Mohammad Shah’s monarchy) proposed as a development stage of Iranian old architec-
In this period, dominant look on architecture ture. We should consider that, the end of Qajar era was
was on introvert look and based on Isfahan style and its coincident with the time origin of modern architecture
accomplishment such as St. Masoumeh shrine in Qom which was established in Europe and some typical con-
and Soltani mosque ( structions of modern architecture became viable. In fact,
The Second Period (Naseroddin Shah monarchy to the Qajar architecture promoted principles and old patterns
end of Qajar dynasty government) of Iranian architecture and created some innovations
In this period, an architectural style began in the spatially (Figure 2) (
effect of Naseroddin Shah based on his posterity trips Macro characteristics of architecture in Qajarieh
and also sending some Iranian students to Europe and period
being affected by government parties and elites of socie-  Using purple or red color in seven-colors of adobe
ty. This architectural style is a compound of native and tiles
western architecture (Qasemi et al., 2015).  Using crenation beside castles roof
Qajar architecture is divided in the Isfahanian  Decorative elements and facing influenced by west-
method, but in this period, a new method was made in ern elements
architecture that was again based on Isfahan style and  Construction of huge and high "Iwan" (balcony) in
Tehran style, is a compound of Iranian noble architec- entries
ture with western architecture. (Qasemi et al., 2015).  Construction centrality with columns and capitals
Qajar architecture promoted the principles and  Constructions in elevated form showing grandness
old patterns of Iranian architecture and made innova- and power
tions specially. Locality and degree of Qajar architec-
 Stone, cement and iron materials
ture in history of Iranian past architecture (before new
 Interior decorations
period) can be arguable and deliberative. Spaces reach

744 Journal of Research in Ecology (2017) 5(1):741–750

Eslami and Malidareh, 2017

Figure 8. Roof height in Fazeli house, Sari, Figure 9. Taqavi house, Gorgan, Golestan, Iran
Mazandaran, Iran (
plant fibers, stone, soil, etc., providing requested ener-
 Construction of staircases in main axis gies for ease with proper design of dilations and extro-
 Respecting hierarchies version of buildings with proper orientation, using tech-

 Alteration of three valves to two valves nology and native methods of making and creating de-

 Housetop roof and construction of fields sirable environments with natural energies and minimi-

Residential constructions in Qajarieh Period zation of fossil energies are some ecological patterns in

 Including central room, Iwan with two columns in native architecture of northern Iran. Native construc-

front of it, small rooms around central room in a tions of this area not only damage to their context but

simple and ample form also play a role for improvement and its quality. Con-
struction is used as a member of natural cycle and for
 Plans extended across construction
development of this cycle (Peirov and Farivar, 2015).
 Construction of widespread landscape by windows
North of Iran native architecture
 Springhouse shebang
Gilan, Mazandaran and Golestan Provinces
 Common funnel for construction of space
Native architecture of northern Iran has the fol-
 Construction of capitals and columns in entries
lowing characteristics. For preserving building from
 High "Iwan" porches
extra moisture of earth, houses were made over wooden
 Construction of two-ways staircase in main axis
legs, but moisture is less in foot of mountains. Houses
 Alteration of three valves to two valves and entrance
were usually established over stone and mud feed and
of direct light into construction
sometimes over the "Gorbeh ro" (catwalk)
 More variety and levity and dilation of spaces
 For preserving rooms from rain, small and wide
 Gradient roof and housetop
Iwan were made around rooms.
 Mix of Iranian and European architecture (http://
 Most buildings were established with materials of
minimum thermal capacity.
Native architecture in Northern Iran
 In all buildings of this area, without exception
Humid and moderate Climate
draught or natural ventilation are used.
Design and construction with climatic attitude
 Buildings were decentralized and sparse.
for saving energy, using natural materials like wood,

Journal of Research in Ecology (2017) 5(1):741–750 745

Eslami and Malidareh, 2017

Figure 10. Air exchange in Amirlatifi house, old Figure 11. Kalagh Neshin of Agha Jan Nasab house
Estrabad, Golestan, Iran

 Plans of this area is widespread and open and this ings. In addition, in hot regions and hot climate, wind
skeletal form is lengthy and narrow and with geo- current is used for cooling environment and internal
metrical shapes. space of buildings from one side, avoiding from unde-
 Because of much rain, roofs were made gradient sirable and intruder winds and their control are the main
(Kasmaei, 2012). subjects that should be considered (Tahbaz and Jalilian,
 Buildings have lengthy and narrow geometrical 2011).
shapes and are extended east-west. Investigating sustainability elements in ecology using
Natural Ventilation renewable energy of wind in natural ventilation of
Natural ventilation means the movement of Qajarieh buildings in northern Iran
fresh air inside building outside without using mechani- In north of Iran’s traditional architecture, each
cal systems that ends in saving fossil energies. In this part is a member of a regular and stable macro enviro-
process, air inside the building was heavy due to, skin ment that plays a role in reacting with each other. Pre-
inspiration, cooking, smokes and similar cases and is sent material, structuring methods, kind of buildings and
replaced with fresh and light air from outside (Tahbaz their relation with design bed, all of them indicate bal-
and Jalilian, 2011; Schiller and Schille, 2000). ance and dynamics of this architecture. Sustainability
The main advantage of utilization of natural elements which played a role in natural ventilation of
ventilation in building design is not only reducing ener- buildings by using wind energy is as follows:
gy consumption and cost, but also providing acceptable, Dispersion and extroversion of building
comfortable, healthy and productive conditions Dispersion and extroversion of construction of
(Moosavi et al., 2014). Provision of fresh air with a con- building was the best way in using wind current and air
nection to the outdoors, which are the main require- ventilation in building (Figure 4). So, the building had
ments of natural ventilation, can be achieved by opena- to be opened from two sides or four sides.
ble windows, double facades, ventilation stacks, balco- Building orientation or direction
nies, patios, terraces, atriums and gardens in a tall build- It is one of the main works in buildings of Qajar
ing (Irwin, et al., 2008). era and also Pahlavi era in north of Iran for ventilation
Using wind energy in architecture and cooling by air, construction of north oriented build-
In climatic architecture, wind current is used for ings and behind southern buildings was preferred. Be-
natural ventilation and renewal of air inside the build- cause in north of this area, there is the Caspian whose

746 Journal of Research in Ecology (2017) 5(1):741–750

Eslami and Malidareh, 2017

Figure 12. Gorbehro in Agha Jan Nasab house Figure 13. Iwan of Bagheries house, old
building, Babol, Mazandaran, Iran Estrabad, Golestan, Iran

air flows from north to south and this causes natural more especially in warm months of year in upstairs. In
ventilation of air. Also in winter, the southern side has fact, it was the coolest room of house because there
more sunshades and as a result it is heated and north were two corridors in front of each other that one of
side is shaded and is cooler. them was in north side and the other in south side and
Plurality and exposure of openers air moved into this space with more pressure from north
In the north of Iran’s traditional architecture, to south and moved out of this space with more pres-
openers are used more in front of each other, in order to sure. As a result, this part of house had more air current
flow air well into building. Of course it should be men- and natural ventilation was better.
tioned that the number of higher or upper floor openers Construction of stairs in mid-space of building
was usually more than lower floor ones (Figure 5) In many buildings of Qajar era and also Pahlavi,
Height of the building roof stairs were made in mid-space of building because of
It was the main principle that was considered more air current to have natural ventilation (Figure 7).
more by most of the architects of that time. Height of In other words, a kind of air movement was from up to
down floors was made less than upper floors (Figure 6). down and from down to up (Dashti, 2013).
As an example height of the ground floors was made Kalagh Neshin
about two meters and these rooms were called winter- In traditional constructions with humid and
setting rooms. Because of shorter roof and also fewer moderate climate, a reticulated valve was made for en-
number of openers, airflow was less and thermal ex- tering air outside in to the space. As seen in Figure 8,
change was less in open spaces and as a result, internal "Kalagh Neshin" was the highest part of building and
space became warm earlier and height of upper floors airflow directed from outside into buildings and caused
were made about four meters and they were called sum- natural ventilation between spaces of house, like Bâdgir
mer-setting rooms. Because of roaf height and also operation in dry and hot climates. Fixing and repairing
more number of openers and as a result using better roof cracks were other applications of "Kalagh
airflow, space became cool earlier (Dashti, 2013). Neshin" (Dashti, 2013).
Construction of a small room between rooms around Gorbehro
In many buildings of that period, a small room As seen in Figure 9, Gorbehro is a canal made
was made between other two rooms for cooling space under building and taking moisture from foundation of

Journal of Research in Ecology (2017) 5(1):741–750 747

Eslami and Malidareh, 2017
ing and coordination of building with nature. Those
days, architects used some techniques that nowadays
engineers neglected or forgot them. By the development
of modern architecture and extra dependency of human
on technology, native architecture and in following na-
tive oriented architecture are less argued. Also progres-
sive utilization of fossil energies put the world into cri-
sis of finishing energy resources and this case caused
inexpiable damages to our environment. Traditional
Figure 14. Iwan of Osia house, Babol, Mazandaran,
Iran architecture while energy consumption has not been
defined as today, have utilized some passive design
building and direct towards up and removes moisture. methods by attending to the potentials of the region and
"Gorbehros" have a main role in lowering degree of made them highlight. Air conditioning and mechanical
moisture and hence flowing wind inside the space of ventilation have been for decades the standard method
house causes cooling air inside (Dashti, 2013). of environmental control in many building types. Global
Iwan warming, pollution and dwindling energy supplies have
In Persian language, Iwan means 'portico, open lead to a new environmental approach in building de-
gallery, porch or palace' and the word lwan in Arabic sign. Innovative technologies along with bioclimatic
covers the Persian concept (Reuther, 1967). Iwan is one principles and traditional design strategies are often
of the historical elements of Iran’s architecture that is combined to create new and potentially successful de-
considered as a main innovation in native architecture. sign solutions. In Iranian traditional architecture, natural
This element was designed by climatic method and was ventilation was the main part of building design, but
known as a ventilating system and provides pleasant nowadays optimal utilization of wind energy was ne-
ventilation by using renewable energy (Mirhadi and glected very much. Therefore, according to this fact that
Sanaee, 2014). Also it is the semi-open space of house wind energy is more economical than other pure ener-
that is the main and most applicable space which has gies, it is necessary to apply the solution for decrease of
multiple operations (Diba and Yaghini, 1993). Iwan is using fossil fuels and using stable patterns according to
in the middle and semi-open space in hierarchy and is climates as a step for preserving our environment.
available from open to close space (Armaghan and Gor-
ji, 2009). This element was in Safavi architecture but REFERENCES
less common in Qajarieh era because of fewer limita- Ahmadpour A. (2015). Reviews the benefits of the
tions but in Pahlavi period, this element was considered utilization of renewable energy wind. The 7th specialized
more and adjoins over Qajarieh buildings, as it is shown conference on renewable, clean, and efficient energies,
in Figure 10 (Dashti, 2013). Iran.

CONCLUSION Armaghan M and Gorji Mahlabani Y. (2009). The

North of Iran’s traditional architecture was values of vernacular architecture of Iran in relation with
mixed with nature by using native materials and self- sustainable architecture approach. The Journal of Hous-
sufficiency. This architecture is a proper sample of mix- ing and the Village, (126):20-35.

748 Journal of Research in Ecology (2017) 5(1):741–750

Eslami and Malidareh, 2017
Bhandari B, Kyung-Tae Lee, Gil-Yong Lee, Young- and Aliyev F .(2012). Sustainability patterns in the tra-
Man and Sung-Hoon Ahn. (2015). Optimization of ditional residential fabric of Tabriz. Sustainability in
hybrid renewable energy power systems: A Review. Energy and Buildings, 391-402.
International Journal of Precision Engineering and
Nasim Najafgholi PK, Maryam Singeri and
Manufacturing-Green Technology, 2(1):99-112.
Sobhan Roshanfekr J. (2015). Investigation of the
Dashti M, Osia S and Osia I. (2013). Architecture and relationship between the climatic role of Iwan and rate
urbanism in the south coast of the caspian Sea. Publica- of energy consumption in traditional houses of Tabriz.
tions. Nashre Rasaneshe Novin, Tehran, Iran. 88- 93. international conference on sustainable design, engi-
neering and construction. Procedia Engineering,
Deldar N, Tahsildoost M, (2007). To restate traditional
118:711 – 719.
sustainable solution, Iranian traditional natural ventila-
tion. 2nd PALENC Conference and 28th AIVC Confer- Peirov H and Farivar V. (2015). Vernacular sustaina-
ence on Building Low Energy Cooling and Advanced ble architecture (region of Mazandaran), Etehade Kha-
Ventilation Technologies in the 21st Century, Crete bar Publications. 5-10p.
island, Greece, 1:261- 265.
Qasemi S, Khanlari E and Morad Chelleh A. (2015).
Diba D and Yaghini Sh. (1993). Analysis and evalua- Investigation of social and cultural factors in the for-
tion of gilan vernacular architecture. The Journal of mation of the Qajar period houses in the Sabze Mash-
Architecture and Urbanism, (24)6-16. had. National conference on islamic architecture and
urban planning. May 7, Rasht, Iran.
Irwin P, John Kilpatrick, Jamieson Robinson and
Andrea Frisque (2008). Wind and tall buildings, nega- Reuther O. (1967). Parthian Architecture. Survey of
tives and positives. The Structural Design of Tall and Persian Art (1) ed. AU. Pope, Asia Institute book. Ox-
Special Buildings, 17(5):915-928.Kasmaei M. (2012). ford University Press. London and New York, 411-44.
Climate and architecture, Khak Publication. Isfahan
Schiller Brager G and Schiller Brager R. (2000). A
Iran. 61-65.
standard for natural ventilation. Ashrae Journal, 42
Leila Moosavi, Norhayati Mahyuddin, Norafida Ab (10):21-28.
Ghafar and Muhammad Azzam Ismail. (2014). Ther-
Shahamipour A, Farzanmanesh R. (2015). Analysis
mal performance of atria: An overview of natural venti-
of climatic factors in traditional houses with architectur-
lation effective designs. Renewable and Sustainable
al features of qajar period in Tabriz. Journal of Natural
Energy Reviews, 34:654–670.
Sciences Research, 5(17):20-31.
Mirhadi J and Sanaee Z. (2014). Review hw to plan
Shoaee HR and Arabesmaeili N. (2013). Harmonic
the architecture influence on natural ventilation of tradi-
building with climatic factors and achievement of sus-
tional houses of Mazandaran province (Case study re-
tainable design. Architecture and urban development
views "Iwan" in the old house of Amol). 2th National
and sustainable development, Mashhad, Khavaran Insti-
conference of Tabarestan Art. May 8, Babolsar, Iran. 1-
Tahbaz M and Jalilian Sh. (2011). The role of archi-
Nassehzadeh Tabriz, Mahdavi Tabatabaei Fard F
tecture in the design reduces energy consumption in

Journal of Research in Ecology (2017) 5(1):741–750 749

Eslami and Malidareh, 2017

buildings (Wind Energy in Architecture). one hundred

and twenty-ninth scientific. Technical and Engineering
Journal (Rahshahr international group).

Utaberta N, Sharifi N, Surat M, Che-Ani AI and

Tawil NM. (2012). The Experience of Iranian Architec-
ture in direction of urban passages and forming of urban
structures to increase climatic comfort. World Academy
of Science, Engineering and Technology Journal, 6


Submit your articles online at

 Easy online submission
 Complete Peer review
 Affordable Charges
 Quick processing
 Extensive indexing
 You retain your copyright

750 Journal of Research in Ecology (2017) 5(1):741–750