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Industry insights: focal points for architects in contemporary HVAC design

Regardless whether you are working on a private housing project, a residential building or a commercial property, the hvac system is always an essential component. When done right, it has the ability to enhance the architectural design but that requires a good understanding of the various aspects at play. We talked to Louis Barault, the architect who leads the Greek architectural office Barault Architects, about the challenges that can present themselves in the design process and important focal points for architects in contemporary hvac design.
Hvac design Barault Architects Delta column radiator Purmo

photography by Yiorgis Yerolymbos

HVAC design criteria

During the design stage Barault Architects likes to create a fusion of various styles and mix, for example, classic with modern elements. Those elements must, however, meet certain criteria. “Whether we are searching an HVAC product or a piece of furniture, we are always looking for high-quality products. For us that means quality in terms of design and in terms of execution”, says Louis Barault. “Good construction and the right details can really make a difference. A third factor that comes into play is a reasonable price. Even in high-end projects all elements need to offer good value for money.”

For us Purmo products check all the required boxes.

The search for the right product is not always easy. When it comes to HVAC products, architects look for items that are easy to integrate in the overall design. They also have to match both the architect’s and the client’s wishes as well as fit within the set budget. “Moreover, we have to comply with local and European regulations so it is very important to get everything right”, adds Louis. “For us Purmo products check all the required boxes. After using them for the first time, we were impressed by the detailed finishing and the excellent colour coating on the one hand, but also by the quality of all the components and how everything worked together perfectly. We used the Purmo products for the first time in 2019 and haven’t changed ever since.”

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HVAC design & sustainability

At Barault Architects they are also very much aware that the designs they create today will last a long time and therefore need to take into account the zero carbon regulations. Louis comments: “As an office we are extremely interested in the latest trends in sustainability. In Greece sustainability in construction is fairly new. We are still trying to find our path but we are definitely on the look-out for new technology and sustainable products to incorporate in our designs. Before we started using Purmo products, for example, we did some research and found information about Purmo’s efforts to reduce their carbon footprint. That was one of the elements we really appreciated."

Also the use of environmental credentials is rather new in Greece. “We are now in the preliminary design stage for several buildings that require such certificates from our suppliers. It is challenging but it will happen eventually. Moreover, recyclability is also becoming more and more important. Within the sector we are now moving from conventional construction methods, using brickwork, plaster or mortar, to dry wall systems and new materials.”

Louis Barault Architects

Louis Barault leads the architectural office Barault Architects.

HVAC design with total solutions

Given the great variety of projects that Barault Architects handles, they are always looking for suitable solutions for different applications. The common thread throughout their work, however, is the importance of a total system solution. “For us total HVAC solutions are very important because we incorporate the whole installation right from the concept design stage. If you don’t, you will surely face many challenges and the outcome will most likely not be the one you were imagining at the beginning. Therefore, we work very closely with our mechanical engineers, who are an integral part of our design team.”

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With new materials and a cutting-edge construction method you have produced a very interesting product for the 21st century.

HVAC design with Delta column radiators

Louis is especially a fan of our Delta column radiators. He says: “It is a very interesting reinterpretation of a classic product. With new materials and a cutting-edge construction method you have produced a very interesting product for the 21st century. We also like the wide range of available colours that we can choose from to integrate the radiator in various interiors. For architects such as ourselves it is always interesting when suppliers produce something that is different from the mainstream offer and that may well be more radical in terms of design. The only small criticism we have, is that the thermostatic head is quite large. As an architect we would prefer it to be more compact for easy integration. But we are very happy about the quality of the Purmo products we have used so far as well as the delivery times.”

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Renovation project with Delta column radiators

One of the projects in which Barault Architects used the Delta column radiators is the complete renovation of a 200 m2 apartment in Athens. They were able to start from a clean slate as the interior was completely demolished. Only the shell and bearing structure of the apartment were retained. The purpose of the renovation was to give the space an aesthetic update, but also to reduce the owner’s energy bills and increase the overall sustainability of the apartment.

Louis explains: “We upgraded the energy certificate of the apartment by installing extra insulation on the exterior shell of the building. On top of that, we disconnected from the building’s central heating system and installed a totally autonomous heating system that the owner can control independently from all the other apartments and their occupants. The installation was quite challenging because we had to empty the previous system, cut the main piping and install our own from the ground floor all the way up to the 8th level. But it was worth it, because we were able to switch from petrol to natural gas as a heating source and allow the owners to manage the heating system based on their own needs and habits.”

Eye-catching HVAC design

In the bathroom of the renovated apartment they installed the Flores towel radiator. In the other rooms they used Delta radiators in a range of eye-catching colours. “It was a quite bold decision, but we wanted to give a different character to each area of the apartment. It was therefore our intention right from the start to not try to hide the heating elements, but rather to show them off. To this end we didn’t use minimal colours, but colours that really stand out such as bright yellow, green and blue. We like the result very much and the owners are very pleased with the way the radiators fit perfectly within the overall design.”

Hvac design Barault Architects office space Delta column radiator

hvac design Barault architects Delta column radiator Purmo

Hvac design Barault Architects hallway Delta column radiator

photography by Yiorgis Yerolymbos

Do you also want to integrate Purmo products in one of your projects? Then don’t hesitate to reach out for tailored advice.

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