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March 2019


Sebastian Desand

5 things about wind simulations every architect and urban planner should know

1. Buildings can change the urban microclimate significantly, predict it!

Structures taller than 35 metres are shaping the outdoor comfort in urban areas as they influence wind speeds and have a significant impact on solar radiation. When designing a new development, you need to understand how your choices can affect the surrounding. A conscious architecture is the baseline for creating comfortable and safe cities.

2. Test the earlier possible, then test again

The quantification of the complex wind dynamics around a high-rise shape can improve life quality, security and help the further development of the surrounding area. Listening to ‘wind feedback’ helps improve building performance and can give valuable insights on design modifications.

3. You do not have to be a specialist to run an accurate wind study

Accuracy levels define how close the computational simulation represents real-life wind behaviour. Different mathematical methods generate different results, and not all simulation tools are accurate when analysing the complex movement of wind in an urban area. Only the best automated tools based on reliable theoretical models can help architects perform data-driven design in a fast and affordable way.

"Environmental specialists use computer simulations to analyse how climate forces interact with buildings and outdoor spaces."


4. Physical wind tunnels and expensive consultants are not your only options

Only recently has the AEC Industry learned to take advantage of Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) technology available since the 1960s. CFD simulations use computer power to predict wind flow behaviour. For years, CFD was considered one of the most sophisticated branches of engineering.

However, thanks to the newest developments of the algorithms and computing power available, simulation tools are now available to everyone. Designers, architects and urban planners can test the aerodynamics of their design- even at the earliest stages of the creative process.

5. Online simulations are way more reliable than you think

Virtual wind tunnel technology such as Ingrid Cloud is constantly submitted to an extensive number of tests, research and benchmark cases. The results? 95% accuracy when compared to wind tunnel testing, for example. Recent advancements in cloud computing allow everyone to run complex simulations from anywhere, and get a high- accuracy result in just a few hours. Using smart algorithms and automatic CFD software also eliminates the risk of human error.

Ph.D. Simulation Engineer, Jeannette Spühler, presents results from Ingrid Cloud's benchmarks at the 7th ECCOMAS.