The global environmental and energy challenge facing current and future generations of architects and building professionals calls for a deeper understanding of the principles of environmental design, and their effective application into architectural practice worldwide. Over the last decades Environmental Design as a subject area has developed, responding to new research and experimentation, both in academia and in practice. However, buildings claiming to be environmentally conscious do not perform to the expected standards, still heavily contributing to global CO2 emissions and often providing unsatisfactory comfort conditions to occupants. The same can be said for the existing built environment which is largely outdated and underperforming, requiring urgent implementation of effective retrofit strategies. This is due to a lack of comprehensive performance prediction and feedback protocols, which are still not common practice in architectural design.
The following modules are indicative of what you will study on this course.
Evaluation of Built Environments
You will be involved in practical workshops on the use of tools and on the development of analytical methods, which will be directly applied to a design studio project on the evaluation of case studies. In this module you will learn about climate and microclimate analysis and fieldwork methods for the measurement of environmental and energy parameters, thermal comfort surveys and post-occupancy evaluations.
Principles of Environmental Design
You will look at the principles of passive solar design and strategies for bioclimatic architecture (eg enhanced thermal performance of building envelope, solar control, natural ventilation, day-lighting, passive solar heating and cooling etc). The module will provide, through practical experimentation and laboratory exercises, fundamentals of building physics, energy and environmental foundations, including heat exchange and energy balance of buildings, and thermal and visual comfort.
Theory and History of Environmental Design
You will look at ethical and environmental drivers of environmental design; climate change, energy conservation and economy; standards and regulations; history of environmental design; and its various past and present definitions.
Environmental and Energy Modelling
You will undertake software workshops and design application of dynamic thermal modelling, Computational Fluid Dynamic (CFD) modelling and day-lighting. The software used will be tailored to the various stages of the design process and will range from climate data analysis to daylighting and thermal modelling. These will be directly applied to a design studio project running in parallel to the workshops. Amongst the software used are Rhino, Grasshopper, Ladybug, Radiance, Daysim, TAS and Autodesk CFD. It is recommended that students familiarise themselves with Excel, Rhino and Grasshopper prior to the commencement of the course.
You will explore advanced topics and contexts of research applicability. The topic chosen can depend on your individual interests and aspirations, ranging from analytical projects to design proposals. The module will provide you with the background on research methods and advanced technical skills appropriate to your topic of choice. Dissertations can be formulated as a written thesis or as a hybrid written and design-project thesis.
This course will give you skills which can be used both in architectural practice and in environmental design consultancy. The research issues explored in your final thesis project could also lead to further research and an academic career through the path of a PhD degree in a number of related fields.
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