Building Aerodynamics

The wind flow around buildings can be simulated using Computational Fluid Dynamics. Once the values of air velocity, pressure, temperature and other relevant variables are calculated, the flow-induced wind forces can be determined, the influence of wind on air conditioning systems can be assessed and solutions for fire protection can be designed. Starting from the wind statistics, the expected wind conditions in urban areas can be determined and the pedestrian comfort and safety is assessed from the analysis of wind speeds.
Pollutant emission and dispersion can also be simulated in order to predict both the environmental impact of emissions emanating from buildings and the effect of air pollution on the air quality inside the building. Applications of building Aerodynamics simulation with Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) to Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) design include:
  • Wind load calculation
  • Pedestrian wind comfort and safety studies
  • Site planning
  • Outdoor air quality assessment
When combined with temperature, humidity transport and solar radiation load, the wind velocities can also be used to calculate the UTCI (Universal Thermal Comfort Index) and provide a sense of human outdoor thermal comfort.


Les Docks – Wind of comfort and safety

This study concerns an area located in Marseilles, France. Wind speed and aerodynamic forces have been evaluated by means of numerical simulation in order to assess the safety and comfort around buildings close to the harbour.

Simulation of airflow around buildings

Pedestrian wind comfort and safety

This study has been performed in collaboration with ULB University, Brussels (Belgium).
The goal of the project was to test advanced atmospheric boundary layer models on real-scale cases. CFD can ensure the compliance with standards and criteria for wind comfort and safety in the built environment, such as the Lawson distress criteria and the Dutch NEN 8100 standard.

High-rise building aerodynamics

CFD analysis of complex fluid dynamic interaction of high-rise buildings

Urban areas shaped by a consistent number of buildings with different heights are subjected to unexpected moderate or intense airflow coming from improbable directions because of the complex fluid dynamic interaction of the wind flowing around the structures. Through an extensive CFD analysis BuildWind engineers can understand the fluid dynamic phenomena happening in a particular position and can suggest solutions to mitigate distress and guarantee safety. The study here reported has been performed to optimize the performance, calibrate the algorithms and ensure the expected high quality for these analyses.

Twisted high-rise building aerodynamic design (ongoing)

The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) defines a twisting building as one that progressively rotates its floor plates or its facade as it gains height. The aim of this project is to study the wind flow structures around a twisted high-rise building and the impact of design choices on it. Results from numerical simulations will be compared to those obtained for a non-twisted overlapped building that will be used as a reference.

Mesh generation for building Aerodynamics: challenges, best practices and lessons learned

This aim of this work was to present reliable and efficient meshing techniques for architectural aerodynamics simulation, with a focus on common challenges and lessons learned from practice. A relatively simple geometry representing a detached house has been chosen in order to demonstrate typical difficult tasks and common errors. The results of this study have been presented at MASCO2018 international conference in October 2018.
This project has been carried out by BuildWind engineers in collaboration with researchers from ULB University (Brussels, Belgium) and UMONS University (Mons, Belgium).

Wind comfort and safety on a building terrace (France, confidential location)

Computational fluid dynamics is a powerful tool to investigate how wind affects particular areas of a building, such as terraces, balconies, passages, courtyards, in order to guarantee the appropriate level of comfort and safety. Engineers’ expertise is fundamental to identify the architectural elements which can have a significant role in the analysis of the airflow around and inside these areas. On the basis of accurate CFD results, BuildWind engineers are able to suggest innovative or convenient solutions to mitigate possible fluid dynamic issues.



Fire and Smoke

Sustainable Building