Many architects hold the view that Iranian traditional architecture has proved to be successful in creating innovative and sustainable architecture especially in hot-arid parts of the country. Among those architectures, an ice pit or Yakh-chal is a clear-cut example. An ice-house (or a Yakh-chal literally meaning "ice pit", Yakh meaning ice and Chal meaning pit) is a reservoir to store and preserve ice. To preserve ice for a long period of time, the earth as a good thermal insulation has been chosen.
On the other hand, recent researchers have identified earth-sheltered or underground architecture as an innovative design for reducing and saving energy. This paper looks through the many benefits of earth which encourage us to build such buildings in special places. The way the earth works with the surrounding environment to fulfill our needs, is another issue discussed in this paper.
This paper aims at evaluating Ice-pits' sustainability, regarding all the factors, elements and materials which are influential in its sustainability, suggesting some methods to use its concepts in modern architecture or rehabilitate such buildings in proportion to today's technology. This research includes literature review, observation and site visits to achieve a practical solution.
The research reveals that during the whole process of making and preserving ice, there was no need to consume any kind of energy but manpower. Thus from technical point of view, they were quite beneficial. They were made of mud bricks which are a good material for saving energy in deserts. Ice pits have actually addressed people's expectations, and could be considered as a source of inspiration for the next generation of architects.
Keywords: Ice pits, sustainable architecture, earth, energy, saving
Sepideh Sadat Korsavi, Shiraz University, Iran
This paper is part of the ECSEE2013 Conference Proceedings (View)
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