Willis Haviland Carrier, the father of modern mechanical climatic control systems, produced the world’s first industrial production-cooling project in 1902. Carrier developed this system into the air-conditioning industry we now know during the 1920s. Three theatres in Texas, USA, are reported as the first buildings in the world to receive air-conditioning (although they were not the first buildings to be cooled, of course).

So “Carrier” is chosen here as the name for the mechanical devices that are sometimes a necessary element of climatic control. These can be characterized as devices that use energy to regulate climatic conditions: devices that essentially transfer solar energy, oil, gas, or coal, into hot or cold water in pipes, or hot or cold air in ducts, with electrical motors, fans, pumps, compressors, valves, electrical lights, electronic control systems, etc.

A first example of a “Carrier” feature is a simple common heating system: hot water in pipes running all over the city and in buildings. Well, of course this works, but it should perhaps be regarded a little more critically by intelligent designers. It is, after all, a somewhat outdated and ugly technology. Fantastic when first introduced in 1777 by Bonnemain, but not quite in keeping with 21st century possibilities.

A more appropriate approach might be the reverse-design philosophy suggested in these papers.

How can we optimize the boundary conditions (the building envelope, the elements “Fortochka”, “Rastrelli” and “Palladio”), utilize the outer conditions (the micro-climate outside, the elements “Dagmar”, “Astraeus” and “Matisse”), control the internal conditions (the building loads and distribution, the elements Texas and Individuals), so that the “Carrier” element is zero, or low?

The technology exists, and the analytical tools exist. But the inquisitive design approach is missing.

Advanced windows, walls, and shafts, combined with geometrically elegant and dynamic control of sun, wind and rain, combined with optimized use and distribution of internal energy sources—people, warm wash-water, electric lights, computers, tea-pots, ovens etc., can allow us to omit the ancient, ugly, expensive hot water pipes. Electric lighting could be regulated automatically to maintain background warmth, and advanced solar stores or miniature stoves could provide supplementary heat. The “Carrier” content of this approach to a heating system is minimal.

Another example of a “Carrier” feature is air-conditioning: cool air in ducts running around a building, or local cooler-boxes all around rooms and facades. Well, they work too, of course, but it is hoped that a little more critical appraisal can become a feature of 21st century climatic control. Attention to the building envelope features, evaporation from inside walls (the “Palladio” effect, based essentially on material evaporative cooling methods), attention to the outer conditions (the “Dagmar” effect, based on biological evaporative cooling), as well as the inner loads and distribution can again allow a zero, or low, “Carrier” content.

Design manuals should perhaps start with this “preventative” approach and only use the “Carrier medicine” if it is truly necessary. “Modern” building practioners presently really start by designing and building “sick” buildings, and at the same time supply these buildings with the “medicine” they have to constantly take to survive. Like putting people in an infectious environment and providing them with a constant dose of anti-biotic medicine. “Carrier” could in fact be defined as the degree, if any, of “medicinal” climatic regulation equipment that a building requires.

All these may seem to be trivial, obvious statements, but in design practice, in design manuals, the mechanical climatic control element is often regarded as an implicit element and not as a possibility among several other choices. If you look in any indoor climate design manual you will see, for example, that a museum is considered as needing quite a large “Carrier” function. And this is of course true, if all the other factors are also the “standard” building elements and methods used in the 20th century.

In the Russian/Danish project at The State Hermitage Museum in 1997–2005 we have, for example, utilized the building’s “preventative” features, or perhaps re-utilized is more correct. This was of course easy, since we had very little to do other than raise awareness of the integral features built by the original Architect Rastrelli in the 1750s.

On the other hand it is also technically possible to have buildings even without walls, if sufficient warm or cool air as necessary is pumped continually outward from the building centre. This is an example of an extreme of climatic regulation where all the first elements in the equation, “Fortochka”, “Rastrelli” etc., are set to zero and the “Carrier” element is maximized.

This “Carrier” element of “The Hermitage Climatic Regulation Method” is deliberately positioned in these texts as the last of the 9 elements of climatic regulation. It is the quantity of supplementary technical devices required to maintain a desired quality of the interior climatic conditions.

Supplementary. “Carrier” is not the prime feature of the climatic balance equation, but of course often a necessary supplement. To give examples of these interrelationships we can comment on any indoor climate function (light, air, noise, etc.) in terms of any of the 9 features (“Fortochka”, “Rastrelli”, etc.). For example, a dynamic “Fortochka” window permits user controlled quality and quantity of light, sound, air, energy, security etc. An ordinary window transfers many of these functions to the “Carrier” equipment.

If one chooses a window in its simplest form—just a large piece of glass with no openable frame fixed into a wall—it still clearly gives visual light quantity. But where is light quality—focus, brilliance, shadow? Where is the contact with air? Where is the contact with the sounds or smells of summer breezes or winter snowfalls? Where is the user’s psychological feeling of freedom, from the simple control of a handle allowing contact with the world?

Well, if all these “Fortochka” features are low or absent, these functions must be supplied by “Carrier” elements: advanced electric lighting to compensate for the missing daylight quality, advanced ventilation systems to compensate for the missing natural air movement (also available in modern systems with chemically perfumed air to compensate for the absence of contact with the landscape), audio systems to compensate for the missing sounds of summer, disposable filters (a 6 billion $/year industry in itself) to compensate for the simple filter of advanced windows and shafts.

Generally speaking, by minimizing the “Fortochka” content of a window it is necessary to compensate with a larger “Carrier” content in the building. It is the prime mission of these papers to enhance an awareness of the consequences of any choice in a building design process, by stressing these interrelationships between elements.

Other elements have similar relationships:

Dynamic “Rastrelli” vertical building shafts permit user controlled access to light, sound, air, energy, security etc. Without such shafts these functions are again transferred to the “Carrier” equipment. And of course we must mention that awareness of the synergy between “Fortochka”, “Rastrelli” and other elements is important. The combination of vertical and horizontal multi-functional openings has effects comparable to a high “Carrier” content, and there begins to emerge considerable economic consequences that need to be addressed.

Interactive “Palladio” surface materials also have a climatic regulation function, specifically in stabilizing humidity and temperature, although the acoustic and reflective properties are also relevant. If these surfaces are inert then their influence on the climatic regulation equation is zero, and the need from the “Carrier” equipment, humidifiers, dehumidifiers etc., is proportionately higher.

Controlled dynamic solar elements of the “Matisse” type allow the building to “change clothes” to suit the weather, sometimes absorbing the sun and light, at other times rejecting it, wholly or partially. With advanced intelligent features these elements can respond to the needs—or desires—of the individual person. If “Matisse” features are small or neglected the “Carrier” element needs to be proportionately large.

Astraeus” should also be managed as both a friend or a foe according to season and need. Sometimes a building should be open to the wind, sometimes closed, tightly protected. Again, the “Carrier” content is inversely proportional to the “Astraeus” content.

This applies equally to the “Dagmar” content of a building’s surroundings. If the evaporative micro-climatic regulating possibilities of the surrounding landscape are ignored, the “Carrier” content must compensate by being larger than would otherwise be necessary.

The same logic applies to indoor pollution sources. If thermal, moisture, noise, light, or VOC indoor pollution are analyzed and treated from a statistical average point of view instead of from a pragmatic local viewpoint, such as by the use of the “Texas” method, 2 illogical results are produced: individuals are exposed unnecessarily to the diluted pollutants, and “Carrier” equipment is unnecessarily large, this in itself adding to spatial pollution and noise pollution.

Regarding people themselves as statistical averages instead of treating them as physiologically and psychologically unique individuals, as described in the “Individuals” section, also produces 2 illogical results: only the “average” person actually receives the optimum climatic conditions for their well-being, health, and productivity, and “Carrier” equipment sizes and running costs are unnecessarily raised since it is often the lowest common denominator that dictates the necessary conditions.

This 9th “Carrier” step is thus the key variable of the previous 8 steps in “The Hermitage Climatic Regulation Method”. By paying attention to steps 1–8 in a balanced way this remaining step 9 is thus the minimum “Carrier” content required to provide adequate climatic conditions in a building.

Remember though that the people whose business is part of this 100 billion $/year consumption may not welcome “The Hermitage Climatic Regulation Method” with open arms. For them a high “Carrier” content in a building project means good wages, good profits, and a secure future. Remember the question “Cui bono?” (“Who profits?”)—the question used in ancient times to analyze the motives behind any proposal.

For the customer’s purse, the user’s health and comfort, the architect’s freedom, the builder’s productivity, and the maintenance staff’s budget and ease of work, a minimal “Carrier” content is a good thing. The resources released—perhaps 100 billion $/year—can be used on a global scale to assist global problems.

Or not. But at least the choice arises if a critical appraisal method is considered.

Sergio Fox