The conditions for a symbiotic relationship between buildings and the urban environments they form and occupy are the main concern of the Sustainable Environmental Design (SED) Master’s programme. Knowledge and understanding of the physical principles underlying this relationship, along with the conceptual and computational tools to translate them into an ecological architecture and urbanism, form the core of the taught programme. With close to 60 students from some 30 countries that encompass different climates, this year has contributed a wealth of new projects to the programme’s continuing research agenda on Refurbishing the City, which has initiated over 300 projects in 70 cities. Common objectives of all projects in SED are to improve environmental quality in cities, achieve independence from non-renewable energy sources and develop an architecture of sustainable design. Projects are based on real sites and specific environmental design requirements, which are focused on the inhabitants of these areas as well as being climate-responsive. The generative process is driven by strict performance criteria following a process of adaptive architecturing that proceeds from inside to outside, attuning the built form to natural rhythms and inhabitant activities. Term 1 focused on case studies of selected urban schemes in London. These involved field measurements to assess environmental performance, followed by computer modelling and parametric analysis to investigate potential for improvements. The findings of these case studies provided starting points for Term 2 design briefs that explored responses to climate change, technical developments and lifestyle trends for London. Terms 3 and 4 are devoted to dissertation projects that this year are set in over 50 locations around the world. The following pages highlight one of the Term 2 projects located in London alongside a representation of MArch design dissertations that illustrate the current research of the programme.
Guest Speakers and Invited Critics
Meital Ben Dayan
María José Manga
Density And Urban Form
At the macro-urban scale, mobility and transport-related energy consumption were drivers for the development of self-sufficient neighbourhoods forming a multi-nuclear city. At the district scale, density distribution, urban form and the need for social vitality suggested a community-based development in which existing buildings combine with new structures that are inserted into the built form to create the urban blocks. The climate of Bucharest with its long, cold winters and intense levels of solar radiation, reveals a high potential for passive solar design. Solar access to individual buildings is achieved by appropriate spacing and orientation of elevations, and is followed by the introduction of sun-catchers into the built form. Thermal simulations show that these can become important contributors to dwellings’ energy balances as well as to buildings’ appearance and architectural expression.