A new climbing wall design has been found to make the most of the environment, according to a team of scientists.
The scientists, led by the University of Tasmania, have published their findings in the journal Nature Climbing.
They found the best design for houses and small apartments was to build a wall around a circular room.
“This design has a wide base to keep the air circulating around the room, and the walls can be made to rotate,” Dr Lisa Taylor, lead author of the study from the Department of Geography at the University, said.
“The walls provide a smooth transition between indoor and outdoor use, allowing the house to have a very low footprint and to be easily cleaned and repaired.”
The researchers found that using a circular wall in an urban setting with large windows and ventilation was a viable option, as was the use of a smaller, rectangular wall in a rural area with little or no outdoor use.
“For most of us, a circular floor plan will provide us with enough room to comfortably house two people and still provide sufficient floor space to allow a kitchen or dining room to be installed,” Dr Taylor said.
But for some of us living in rural communities, a vertical wall can provide a lot more room, allowing us to install a large living area that provides a good sense of privacy and privacy from our neighbours.
“We found that a small rectangular wall could provide the maximum amount of usable floor space, while the larger vertical wall was not as important,” Dr Brian MacQuarrie, one of the authors of the research, said in a statement.
“These vertical walls have an attractive design feature that makes them very appealing for people in urban settings and a good fit for rural dwellings.”
The scientists studied two types of climbing walls, circular and round.
“A circular wall provides a large enough area to accommodate two people, but requires a larger area to be used for a bedroom or kitchen, which may be a challenge in urban areas,” Dr MacQuarcrie said.
He added that a circular structure, even one with a lot of vertical space, could also be a good choice for houses in small apartments.
“Circles offer a large space for two people to share a room with their pet, as well as a large amount of space to store food,” Dr McQuarri said.
The researchers also examined a variety of types of wood, including pine and oak.
“Pine is a very strong wood that holds up very well to heat and humidity, and it is also a great wood for a circular surface,” Dr Williams said.
It is not clear why the walls are particularly effective for building small apartments, but they may have to do with their ability to absorb energy.
“There are many types of structures that can absorb energy,” Dr Smith said.
She said it was also possible that the walls themselves were a better fit for a small space.
“You need a good surface that is easy to climb and the ground floor is close to the ceiling and there is no danger of falling down on the stairs,” she said.
Dr Williams said the team was also looking at the effect that the wall had on the environment.
“As the walls grow larger, they are a lot less effective at absorbing energy from the environment,” she told ABC Radio Hobart.
“If the walls start absorbing more heat from the air, that can increase the amount of water that is absorbed, which can affect the soil and the vegetation on the ground.”
“We have found that in urban environments where the wall is large, it has an impact on the soil quality and in terms of the vegetation it can also be an impact to the water table and to the ground,” she added.