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Architectural Design for Chilly Climates

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This idea of constructing with the weather in mind has been worked in to almost every architectural design out there. The Inuit people of northern Canada, for example, traditionally use snow to make shelters against the wind as they follow the hunt. The ice and snow both block the wind and reflect the occupants’ body heat, which some say can make the inside of an igloo forty degrees warmer than the outside. And, of course, building a structure out of ice and snow in a frigid environment means it sure won’t melt!

Modern architecture follows this exact line of thinking: any building must be constructed with the climate in mind, both for the longevity of the structure and the comfort of its occupants. Wondering how the architects at Miller Architects and Builders build with our climate in mind? Read on to find out.

Architectural Design Services’ Biggest Concern: Snow Damage

Cold brings the snow with it; it’s a generally accepted fact. While that snow is merely a nuisance for most of us, for the conscientious architect or construction management company, it’s of the utmost concern. If roofs are not properly constructed, for example, snow and ice can tumble off, seriously injuring the passerby.

What can architects do to mitigate this hazard?

  • Consider pedestrians. Occupants aren’t the only thing affected by a new building! A good cold-weather architect will understand that their structure changes the way precipitation behaves, which impacts the people on the outside. They will construct roofs to prevent snow loads from dropping in heavy-traffic areas—or from doing much accumulation in the first place.
  • Refrain from this-or-that thinking. Certain strategies for heat conservation, as useful and green as they are, create more opportunities for snow and ice to accumulate on the outside of any given building. A good architect will consider every design choice as neither a complete positive or negative when it comes to climate, but will study that choice from every angle and come out with a nuanced opinion.
  • Understand that even the details matter. Did you ever think an architect might need to study which direction the wind blows through the area? In our climate, they just might, as putting an entrance or exit on the corresponding side of the building can make it easy for snow to find its way inside. A talented cold-weather architect familiarizes themselves with even the climate’s smallest quirks and designs fastidiously around them.

Looking for Cold-Weather-Conscious Architectural Design or Construction Project Management? You’ve Found Us!

Miller Architects and Builders of Saint Cloud has been in the construction business since 1874; we know cold weather architecture. To see what our talented team of architects can do for you, call us today at 1-800-772-1758.