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
From Monotony To Diversity
Contemporary architecture in Kuwait is characterised by sealed environments with absolute dependence on mechanical air-conditioning. The preconception that the harshness of the climate requires such treatment all-year long, has led to a monotonous built environment with high levels of discomfort in the transitions between inside and outside. This project explores alternative architectural and environmental design potential focusing on the natural dynamics of the daily and seasonal cycles. Earth-coupling and simple passive strategies that encourage intuitive occupant behaviour were shown by simulation to help attune the living spaces to the natural rhythms providing environmental performance and diversity in place of high energy consumption and monotony.