New in the Atrium: Under-floor heating, from antiquity to the 21st century

Water pipes laid under the Atrium’s floor will use renewable energy to heat and cool the building’s central space – to just the right height.

10 April 2014

A dense under-floor system of water pipes has been laid in the new building’s central space, known as the Atrium. In wintertime, hot water flowing through the pipes will heat a 2-meter-high layer of air – creating a comfortable temperature for people using or passing through the Atrium. At the same time, no energy will be wasted on heating the upper, unused portion of this large space, which rises to a height of 16 meters. During the hot summer months the same water pipes will absorb the warmth emitted naturally by human bodies, helping to maintain a cool indoor climate.


Water in the pipes will be heated with energy supplied by thermo-solar tubes installed on the EcoWall, at the building’s southern front. Together with the passive ventilation system, it will provide the building with a complete natural air conditioning system, relying almost exclusively on nature’s own renewable sources of energy.



Innovative technology based on ancient knowledge

Both the thermal floor and the passive ventilation system are based on principles known since antiquity. Many ancient buildings, from northeast Asia to the Mediterranean, reveal planning that took the local climate and environment into account, to generate optimal indoor comfort.


Evidence of floors heated by fire, dating back as far as the Neolithic period, have been found in northeast China and Korea. One example is the Korean Ondol. Many centuries later, the Romans developed the hypocaust system, conducting hot air from a furnace into a double floor system supported by columns. These ancient methods, however, required heating by fire, producing smoke and carbon monoxide. Modern radiating thermal floors, like the one installed in our new building, employ an innovative green technology that uses clean, safe solar energy to achieve similar results.

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