Architectural spatial design strategies for summer microclimate control in buildings: a comparative case study of Chinese vernacular and modern houses

  • Xiaoyu Du TU Delft, Architecture and the Built Environment
  • Regina Bokel TU Delft, Architecture and the Built Environment
  • Andy van den Dobbelsteen TU Delft, Architecture and the Built Environment


The objective of this paper is to clarify the spatial design strategies used to control the microclimate of a Chinese vernacular house in summer by comparing the building with modern Chinese rural houses and presenting ideas for contemporary architectural design practice. For this goal the spatial configuration, the spatial boundary conditions, the vegetation in the space and the human activity in the space were analysed for the vernacular house and for modern rural houses. Also, field measurements were conducted to evaluate the summer thermal environment in the vernacular and a modern house. The results show that the vernacular house has a diverse spatial design and a better building microclimate, making it easier to obtain thermal comfort than the modern houses. Therefore, spatial design strategies of Chinese vernacular houses are still of great value to modern house design, especially when the free-running thermal comfort theory is applied.


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Author Biography

Xiaoyu Du, TU Delft, Architecture and the Built Environment

Xiaoyu Du obtained his MSc in Building Technology at Chongqing University, China. From 2002 to present, he taught at the department of building technology, Faculty of Architecture and Urban Planning, Chongqing University. He is an associate professor in Chongqing university currently. He has a long experience of teaching in multidisciplines related to architectural design and designing practice. He teaches complex building design, building construction, detailed design and green building innovation related technologies for undergraduate and graduate students. He participated and finished some education and research projects, and published papers and book chapters. He also finished many design projects for residential communities and public buildings in China. He joined the faculty of architecture and the built environment, TU Delft as a guest researcher in 2011.


How to Cite
DU, Xiaoyu; BOKEL, Regina; VAN DEN DOBBELSTEEN, Andy. Architectural spatial design strategies for summer microclimate control in buildings. A+BE | Architecture and the Built Environment, [S.l.], n. 10, p. 101-120, nov. 2019. ISSN 2214-7233. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 25 feb. 2020. doi: