Microclimatic improvement can be defined as the mitigation of micro- climatic conditions on a local scale, and it produces, together with the quality of the building envelope, comfortable interior spaces, sheltered from the inclemen- cies of climate. From this point of view, the mild Mediterranean climate offers very interesting features to explore. Its warm winters and mild, dry summers allow for designing open spaces as buffer zones, close to the building envelope. This favorable climatic condition is not exclusive to southern Europe and North Africa, but extends to parts of California, Chile, South Africa, and Australia. The open areas designed to mitigate climate also blur the boundaries between inside and outside. Since they fall inside the comfort zone most of the year, they can be considered an extension of the living rooms, suggesting a rich interplay between interior and exterior spaces. This chapter introduces some basic notions about microclimate, and illustrates some relevant examples to investigate the fundamen- tal design topics related to microclimatic improvement. From Moorish architecture until the present, the idea of mitigating climate through the design of open spaces inside or around the building has produced a vast array of configurations that fea- ture both proven efficiency and an imposing spatial quality. All these architectural spaces can be considered efforts to tame the energy fluxes flowing through the site and make them part of a spatial concept, improving and enriching the quality of space. The result is an exploration of the complex relationship between inside and outside, a study on the continuity of artifice from the enclosed volume to the outer space, and a different point of view of one of the fundamental questions of archi- tecture: the act of enclosing.
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