During a family trip, while passing by a factory, every child is excited by the tall towers. When asked about it, how do we answer them? If we take a tour of old European towns, the rooftop chimneys dominate the skyline. Do we really know how they work? Why are the civic buildings with the tall cloak towers airy inside? What has prompted large hotels and offices to employ central atrium space?
The answer to all the above is a single theme – these tall narrow towers work as hot air chimneys, using technically what we call as stack effect, where hot air rises up along a tapering vertical column. Before the days of mechanical ventilation, people realised they could force air movement using these simple laws of physics. If not for this discovery, the European fireplaces would not have existed and factories would have billowed smoke all over the place. Can all our houses today have a tall, towering chimney? That would be ridiculous. However, it is possible to adapt the stack effect to a reasonably effective degree by having a common space going high. Then, this room would have the ceiling at the same level as the first floor, at a clear height of 20 ft instead of the normal 10 ft. Termed today as double-height space or high-ceiling room, most owners prefer it in the living room.