Sustainability in High-rises: Approaches Towards the Ecological Systems Framework at Chicago Loop

Jiayi Yi

Jiayi Data

Architecture as the embodiment of the city is closely related to the carbon emissions and urban environment. How could the city optimize the performance through architectural practice? My capstone project aims at exploring the particular form of architecture, the skyscrapers, and the ways it could improve the building design through the incorporation of natural ventilation systems. The particular focus on one of the most populated and urbanized city Chicago exemplifies a typical model for upgrading the building systems and meeting the sustainability goal to reduce energy consumption. Through looking at the history of skyscrapers, different design strategies and various case studies, I target my research with the hope of:


a. Ecological practices of natural ventilation systems applicable to the future designs of skyscrapers.

b. Modernizing existing building systems as a way to promote economic value of the land.

c. Promote construction of better urban infrastructure with systematic and organized city systems.

d. Increasing awareness of citizens to collaborate in community engagement and building towards more sustainable future.


Through extensive research and architectural design practices with Prof. Stamper, I investigated various design strategies, particularly the double façade system, the motorized windows and thermal control to promote human health and environmental sustainability. In addition, I address the nuances of seasonal changes for natural ventilation through the exploration of Climate Consultant and MIT Coolvent. I also look up the potential upgrading strategies that correspond to the historical types of skyscrapers. The research eventually presents itself as a discussion panel with the key experts in architectural design, environmental systems and sustainability. The holistic view of different natural ventilation strategies reflect one of the key aspects of how skyscrapers could generate environment responsive design that speaks with the people, the community and the city.