EDU Headquarters: A New Kind of Ventilation, A New Kind of Experiment

Salmaan Craig

Architects: EDU - Empresa de Desarrollo Urbano de Medellín (Urban Development Company of Medellin)
Thermodynamics: Salmaan Craig
Location: Carrera 49 #44-94, Medellín, Antioquia, Colombia
Area: 3660.0 m2
Project year: 2016

The way we sense heat is more complex than we like to admit. Thermal comfort standards define what is acceptable in buildings, and these standards evolve as we learn more about thermal sensation. Most people will agree when it is far too hot or far too cold. But in between, it’s harder to predict how people will react. What will they tolerate? What they will they enjoy? Any number of physiological, psychological, cultural and climatic differences could tip the balance.

At first, the purpose of thermal comfort standards was to define a universal range of temperatures that would apply to all people in all buildings in all climates at all times. These standards developed alongside air-conditioning technology and modernist architecture. Together they gave rise to the International Style. But new thermal comfort standards signal a change in approach. They acknowledge important subtleties in thermal sensation, such our tendency to adapt to seasonal changes, or our tendency to tolerate warmer temperatures if we know we can open a window[1].

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Design Team: Víctor Hugo García Restrepo, Gustavo Andrés Ramírez Mejía, César Augusto Rodríguez Díaz, Catalina Ochoa Rodríguez, Julián Esteban Gómez Carvajal, José Arturo Agudelo, Aurlin Cuesta Serna
Promotion: Empresa de Desarrollo Urbano (EDU) + Alcaldía de Medellín
Technical Design Consultant: Juan Fernando Ocampo Echavarría
Structural design: Rafael Álvarez R., Ramiro Londoño Ángel, Carlos Mario Gómez Rojas
Construction: Constructora Conconcreto
Bioclimatic Consultant: Taller de Ingeniería y Diseño Conconcreto (Concrete Enginerring & Design studio)
Acoustic Consultant: Daniel Duplat
Social Director: Gloria Estela López
Technical Design Intervention: Espacios Diseño Construcción S.A.S.
General Manager EDU: Jaime Bermúdez Mesa (actual), César Augusto Hernández Correa (2016), Margarita Maria Ángel Bernal (2012-2015)

[1] Richard J. de Dear and Gail S. Brager, “Thermal Comfort in Naturally Ventilated Buildings: Revisions to ASHRAE Standard 55,” Energy and Buildings 34, no. 6 (2002): 549–61.
[2] See for yourself here: Choose the “adaptive comfort” method.
[3] See: Andrew Acred and Gary R. Hunt, “Stack Ventilation in Multi-Storey Atrium Buildings: A Dimensionless Design Approach,” Building and Environment 72 (February 2014): 44–52, doi:10.1016/j.buildenv.2013.10.007; Torwong Chenvidyakarn, Buoyancy Effects on Natural Ventilation (Cambridge ; New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013).
[4] The recommended rate for new buildings is usually 10 liters per second per person (depending on the type of activity, and the particular standard)