A World of Micro-Climates

Last discussion session we were asked to go on an adventure to discover the different micro-climates on Earth, I mean, on Grounds.

1-Our adventure started near home; our discussion first stop was the little alley in front of the mythical W.G. Clark East Addition. The temperature difference was striking; It was a clear sunny day, roughly 71F degrees; but under the alley’s trees canopy, a whole different world:  amazing 65F degrees! One might speculate the reasons for this difference, I thought of basically 3. First: shadow, second: canopy, ans third possibily the materiality of the alley; mostly masonry.

2- After that we moved to the recently built sculpture plaza in front of the University of Virginia museum of Art. This second experience reiterated the fact that sun and shadow can create completely different experiences.

3- Our third stop in our journey was at the steps of Fayerweather Hall. This time we were interested in temperature differences in relation to materiality. Our group measured the temperature on the concrete surface of the sidewalk and then on the grass. The difference was shocking; almost 10F degrees away from each other!

4- I feel that one of the most interesting one was the difference in the pavement temperature. After that we moved to the Rotunda’s Cryptoportico. That’s an intrigging one. In my mind it is really the fact that this semi-underground hallway acts like a wind tunnel, funneling the air into it, and thus making it a colder space.5-After that, we took a closer look at the rotunda steps, and measured the temperature of the different materials around us.

6-We then explored the difference of temperature of the pavilions pediment and columns:

7-Last but not least, The rotunda East Garden+fountain. We revealed the difference in materiality.

I believe this practical exercise was very much important to make all of us aware of the how different our surround can become if we make relatively small changes such as planting a tree, or being conscious about materials. These decisions can make a huge difference in how we experience spaces.

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