Building Classification and Climate Zoning

CLIMATE FOR CULTURE investigates various historic buildings from different time periods concerning their behaviour due to weather changes and different utilization. It aims to assess the climatic functioning of these case studies by using whole building simulation with regard to potential risks for the interior decoration or works of art. In this context the project uses a classification scheme which takes into account the building's structure and the different climate zones the buildings are located in.

A building classification is necessary for strategically collecting information on case study buildings in order to develop risk management strategies and a decision support system. Besides, it provides the basis for the building simulation being carried out during the project.

Within this scheme each building is classified according to the following categories: sacred building (church), museum, palace and residential. For monuments that would not fit into the given categories the classification outstanding was introduced (see figure 1 and definitions below). These five categories reflect common associations with the use, building volume, construction as well as the technical equipment (see table 1 below).

  • Church

    A church is a building or structure primarily used for public worship which is often traditionally built as halls with a tower or dome, whereas modern sacred buildings present a variety of architectural styles and layouts. In general ecclesiastical architecture refers to the architecture of buildings of Christian churches. It has evolved over two thousand years of Christian religion through innovation but also by imitating other architectural styles and by responding to changing beliefs, practices and local traditions.

    Definition: In the context of Climate for Culture the definition of church (sacred building) refers to the use and considers large, not air conditioned building volumes which are heated up for the church services on average once a week.
  • Museum

    A museum is a building or institution which cares for a collection of artefacts and other objects of scientific, artistic, or historical importance and makes them accessible to the public
    through permanent or temporary exhibitions. Types of museums vary from the size of their collections with categories including fine arts, applied arts, craft, archaeology, anthropology and ethnology, history, cultural history, military history, science, technology, children's museums, maps, natural history, numismatics, botanical and zoological gardens and philately.

    Definition: Apart from the building structure the term museum is characterized in the context of Climate for Culture by its use. Stable climate conditions needed for preserving the collections are often influenced by large numbers of visitors. In most cases, climate control is therefore performed with technical support such as HVAC systems, heating and cooling devices, humidifiers and dehumidifiers or 'Temperierung'.

  • Palace

    A palace is a royal residence or the home of a head of state or some other high-ranking dignitary. In many parts of Europe, the term is also applied to relatively large urban buildings. Many historic palaces are nowadays used as parliaments, museums, hotels or office buildings. Also classified in this category are castles which are a type of fortified structure built in Europe and the Middle East during the Middle Ages. Scholars debate the scope of the word castle, but usually consider it to be the private fortified residence of a lord or noble.

    Definition: According to the use a palace or castle is associated with a building of huge volume with dressed stone walls or thick brickwork which is inhabited by few persons or which is, as historical monument, opened to the public. A large number of visitors influence the indoor climate conditions but in most cases there is no possibility of climate control by HVAC systems.

  • Residential Building

    The term residential building refers to a building designed to be used in whole or in part for residential purposes.

    Definition: Within Climate for Culture this category refers to comparatively small buildings which are or were inhabited. Also classified in this category are mansions because of their use as residential buildings even if later used as exhibition places or museums.

Fig. 1

Figure 1: Derivation of the building classification following a double-stage

Climate Zoning

Existing climate classifications are mostly concerned with vegetation growth and are therefore not adequate for investigating the interaction between outdoor and indoor climate and its influence on the building envelope and potential damages to the works of art.

In order to define climate zones appropriate for cultural heritage needs, indoor target criteria have to be considered which are responsible for the damages observed on the works of art. Therefore, relative humidity and temperature are chosen as key criteria having the greatest influence on degradation processes of materials. Accordingly, Europe and Northern Africa are devided into four climatic zones applying an overlay of these two parameters. The definition of cultural heritage climate zones guarantees that the most representative and crucial data from the various historic buildings serving as case studies is collected. Hence, for each climate zone at least one building category is required.

Figure 2: Climate Zoning according to RH and T

Figure 3: Practical Climate Zoning for basic measurement