Can Pedestrian Comfort Analysis Be Introduced at the Concept Design Stage?

Luca Frattari
Global Director AEC
Altair Engineering, Detroit

Luca Frattari
Global Director AEC
Altair Engineering, Detroit

Examining a complex urban environment in wind conditions can lead to the evaluation of other imperative design concepts, such as pedestrian comfort. The computational-fluid-dynamics (CFD) simulation is a fast concept-design tool that can be used to determine comfort performances of design concepts for new high-rise, tall and supertall buildings. This presentation explores a six-step design strategy that aims to avoid risks of pedestrian discomfort by investigating any kind of proposed building shape or urban context using CFD and grid nodes. The strategy enables designers to predict the performance of their models, which can also assist in the pitch of design proposals to clients.

It is important, first, to understand how the wind impacts comfort at the pedestrian level and what the required standards are for new buildings in urban areas. The proposed methodology utilizes the case of a 250-meter tower concept in Madrid and the Dutch wind nuisance standard NEN-8100 to establish wind comfort optimization. The design strategy begins with an analysis of site and wind data collections, as well as the definition of local standard wind profiles. The building’s base concept performances then require evaluation and the basic design variable need to be identified. Once this information is achieved, the best shape variable combination is analyzed and, using the CFD simulation coupled with optimization rearrangements, a comfort evaluation for a building model is within reach.