Sustainable Environmental Design MSc/MArch Swati Bhargava (MArch Dissertation), Workspace Design for Hot-Dry Regions of India, inspired by the courtyards and jaali of the traditional architecture of Jaipur, SED, 2018

SUSTAINABLE ENVIRONMENTAL DESIGN

Directors: Simos Yannas, Paula Cadima
Staff: JGustavo Brunelli, Mariam Kapsali, Byron Mardas, Jorge Rodríguez Álvarez
Programme Consultants: Nick Baker, Klaus Bode, Herman Calleja

Sustainable Environmental Design (SED) engages with real-life problems that affect buildings and cities across the world. Design research for the SED MSc and MArch programme is driven by evidence-based performance criteria following a process of adaptive architecturing, which proceeds from inside to outside, attuning built form and its constituents to natural rhythms and occupant activities. Key objectives are to improve environmental quality in cities, achieve independence from non-renewable energy sources, and develop an environmentally sustainable architecture capable of adapting to changing climates and urban environments.

The taught programme is structured in two consecutive phases. Phase I is organised around team projects involving MSc and March students in experimental and computational studies applying the knowledge and tools introduced in weekly lectures and workshops. In Phase II, MSc and MArch students engage in design research individually and follow research agendas that reflect each student's home climates, urban contexts and specific environmental interests. Dissertation projects may address home, work, learning and mixed use environments – new or existing – and thus encompass a wide range of built densities and urban morphologies. MSc candidates explore the architectural potential and applicability of their chosen topic in its geographic and climatic context. MArch dissertations culminate in a specific design application for a given site and design brief. In the last ten years SED students have engaged in over 500 projects spread around some 60 countries and 150 cities from 0° to 60° North and South of the Equator, and from 125° West to 140° East of Greenwich.

sed.aaschool.ac.uk

REFURBISHING THE CITY

We will launch a new round of field studies in collaboration with London-based architectural and engineering practices. In Term 1 these will involve on-site observations, measurements and interviews in selected London buildings followed by computer modelling and use of advanced computational tools to explore current and future environmental performance scenarios. The outcomes of Term 1 building studies provide the starting points for design research on mixed-use building programmes in Term 2. In Terms 3 and 4, individual research for the MSc and MArch dissertation projects will encompass a diverse range of geographic locations, climatic regions, urban morphologies and building typologies.

LECTURE COURSES & WORKSHOPS

ADAPTIVE ARCHITECTURING
Term 1

Providing local architectural solutions to global issues requires an understanding of what makes a good environment for occupants and how this may vary across climates, building types and individual preferences. How does architecture contribute to making good environments and can it reclaim its historical role as a tool of sustainable environmental design? This course introduces a generative framework for an adaptive, culturally sensitive, occupant-centred architecture seeking a symbiotic relationship with the city.

SUSTAINABLE CITY
Term 1

This course reviews theories of urban sustainability introducing instruments and tools that can be applied to its assessment. The role of urban morphology on the microclimates encountered in cities and on energy consumption and climate change is illustrated with case studies from different urban contexts encompassing scales ranging from the regional to that of the urban block.

ENVIRONMENTAL SIMULATION & PERFORMANCE ASSESSMENT TOOLS
Terms 1 & 2

This hands-on course runs in day-long weekly sessions that follow the tasks of the Term 1 team projects, introducing the analytical procedures and computational tools that drive the SED research agenda. The course will begin with fieldwork techniques based on indoor and outdoor observations and environmental measurements. This is followed by computer modelling of selected processes and spaces, testing of models against measurements and performing simulations to assess the effects of solar, thermal, airflow and daylighting processes against targets and benchmarks. A range of computational tools will be introduced and applied to diagnostic tasks as well as generative processes. Their application will initially be explored on the team projects providing the essential expertise required for undertaking the MSc and MArch dissertation research in Terms 3 and 4.

ENVIRONMENTAL DESIGN PRIMER
Terms 1 & 2

This course deals with key areas of environmental design research as these relate to architecture and urban design. Topics include urban climatology and the theories of occupant comfort and wellbeing; the physics and architecture of natural light, airflow and thermal processes; the ecology and environmental performance of materials; renewable energy technologies in the urban environment; and the science and art of measurement and performance assessment.

LESSONS FROM PRACTICE
Term 2

Each year several practising architects, engineers and researchers are invited to present projects that illustrate their philosophy, practice and experience with sustainable environmental design. Individual presentations are accompanied by roundtable sessions exploring the relationship between practice and research. The course includes building visits and study trips in the UK and abroad.

RESEARCH SEMINAR
Terms 1–4

This seminar is a regular forum for critical reading and literature review providing support for researching and writing the two individual research papers that act as the foundations for dissertation projects. Students are encouraged to produce work worthy of presentation in international events. This year the PLEA 2018 Conference to be held in Hong Kong in December has accepted 14 papers for presentation produced jointly by SED students and teaching staff.

Staff

Paula Cadima has worked for the European Commission in Brussels managing world-class research projects on energy efficiency, renewable energy sources and emerging fields. She has chaired the sustainable architecture working group of the Architect's Council of Europe and is the former president of PLEA.

Simos Yannas is a founding member of the PLEA international network for sustainable architecture and urban design and director of the AA School's PhD Programme.

Jorge Rodríguez Álvarez has undertaken research on the planning of cities for the post-carbon age and is co-founder of SAAI, an international environmental design consultancy.

Nick Baker is a physicist specialising in building science and environmental design with special interest in thermal comfort and daylighting.

Klaus Bode is a co-founder of Urban Systems Design. He was previously a director of BDSP Partnership, an environmental engineering practice whose projects have included the Welsh Assembly Building, Bocconi University and the LSE.

Gustavo Brunelli led the environmental design team for the London Velodrome and is currently in charge of the advanced building optimisation team at Hurley Palmer Flatt.

Herman Calleja is an environmental analyst with Chapman BDSP specialising in the use of parametric environmental design tools. Mariam Kapsali is a design architect with Architype. She was previously a research architect with the Oxford Institute of Sustainable Development.

Byron Mardas is an environmental designer with Foster + Partners specialising in daylighting optimisation, outdoor thermal comfort and parametric modelling.

Architectural Association is approved by The Open University as an appropriate organisation to offer higher education programmes leading to Open University validated awards.

Regulations for validated awards of the Open University
Graduate School Appeals Procedure
Graduate School Complaints Procedure
Safeguarding Policy

Programme site

sed.aaschool.ac.uk


Projects Review 2019


Contact

Graduate Admissions Team AA School of Architecture
36 Bedford Square
London WC1B 3ES

T: 020 7887 4067 / 4007
graduateadmissions
@aaschool.ac.uk

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Welcome to 2019-20

Dear School Community,

The Architectural Association is a place where we forget our labels as architects, as artists, as economists, as writers, as poets, and we become citizens of the world – a world that we believe we can change, transform into something other, more interesting, more radical, more free, more equal, more us. The new academic year brings a series of important conversations to the forefront of architectural education and contemporary culture through new and familiar voices and projects. There are urgent tasks at hand. Our programmes throughout the school have accepted the challenge to address issues of climate and ethics. As architects we always speak on behalf of the other, but we also need to constantly ask ourselves, who has the right to speak, and on behalf of whom? How am I affecting the environment with my actions? How can I care more about others? 

This year I invite us all to practice radical empathy, to care about the planet, the other and the future. To listen, to ask, to share, to discuss, to debate, but ultimately to care. 

Like every year, new appointments and initiatives will expand both our academic and institutional horizons. Academic voices joining us are: filmmakers Ila Bêka and Louise Lemoine, whose work focuses on experimental narratives and cinematographic forms in relation to contemporary architecture and the urban environment; Berlin-based architect Sam Chermayeff (AA Alumni), founder of the practice June 14; Didier Fiúza Faustino (AA Tutor 2010-16), an architect and artist working on the relationship between the body and space; Gabu Heindl, an architect and urban planner who is the head of GABU Heindl Architektur in Vienna, an interdisciplinary studio specialising in public interventions, cultural and social buildings; David Kohn, London-based architect and founder of David Kohn Architects working internationally on arts, education and residential projects; Viviana Muscettola, an associate director at Zaha Hadid Architects and an executive member of the Council for Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat; OMMX, a London-based practice led by Hikaru Nissanke and Jon Lopez; OFIS, an international architecture office based in Ljubljana and led by Špela Videčnik and Rok Oman (both AA Alumni); Superpool, an international research-based architecture practice located in Istanbul and led by Selva Gürdoğan and Gregers Tang Thomsen; and Bostjan Vuga (AA Alumni), architect and founder of SADAR+VUGA. Other people joining us include Eleanor Dodman, Liza Fior, Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg, Lizy Huyghe, Guan Lee,  Melodie Leung, Gili Merin, Ivan Morrison, Anna Muzychak, Bushra Mohamed, Jonathan Robinson, Alvaro Velasco Perez and James Westcott. This diversity of new voices, will add to the units and programmes and will continue the multiplicity of agendas that the AA is known for. 

Every course, programme and unit throughout the school operates under a highly specific and idiosyncratic methodology, which offers every student a myriad of options and possibilities. More about the overall academic offerings can be found here. More about Experimental Programme units and staff can be found here; Diploma Programme units and staff can be found here and information about the unit selection process can be found here.

After more than a decade at the helm of the PhD Programme, Simos Yannas has stepped away to focus on the Sustainability and Environmental Design (SED) Programme that he leads at the school. The new Head of the PhD Programme, Pier Vittorio Aureli will shape the programme in the years to come. Elif Erdine will be the new Head of Emergent Technologies and Design (EmTech) after Mike Weinstock stepped down; however, he will continue to teach within the programme as Founding Director. 

Print Studio is transforming with a new Head of Publications, Maria S. Giudici who will – in addition to being the editor of AA Files – oversee new publications that continue to position the AA at the forefront of critical discussions through printed matter. Ryan Dillon is our new Head of Academic Communications, and will edit the annual AA Book, lead the relaunch of the AA Radio/Podcast, and oversee the content of the new website amongst other platforms to enable and facilitate all imaginable forms of communication and engagement within the AA School Community. In addition, Rory Sherlock, is joining us as Assistant Editor. 

These new voices join our renowned academic and administrative staff, who together, will surely provide for relevant discussions and debates throughout the entire school as we continue our journey into the future. As part of this, and our continued commitment to achieving Taught Degree Awarding Powers (TDAP) (a final decision on our application is expected this autumn), we have gone through a process of internal validation, adjusting nomenclature to reflect who we are and what we do, and to make sure our programmes maintain their identity. Former Complementary Studies is now Core Studies; Technical Studies is now Environmental and Technical Studies (ETS), Media Studies is now Communication and Media Studies (CMS), First Year and Intermediate School (years 2-3) is now the Experimental Programme, and Diploma School (years 4-5) is now the Diploma Programme.

The AA is committed to experimental methods in teaching and learning and this can be seen in the many initiatives being launched. In Term 3 Speculative Studies, a series of interdisciplinary seminars over five weeks, will present courses on politics, law, philosophy, ethics, art history, poetry, dance, gastronomy, social technology and microbiology. Other topics and courses will be added from proposals put forward by students in an Open Forum to be held in Term 1. These courses will introduce new areas of expertise and methodologies to our collective culture.

A four-day symposium titled Experimental Methods will bring our community together for a discussion and debate on what experimentation is and can be at the AA, which will take place during Open Week in both Terms 1 and 2. Tutors from across the school will lecture on their particular academic approach as well as their own professional practice and research. Each day will end with a keynote speaker and a round table discussion, and the week will culminate with an Open Jury in which students can present their work to a panel of invited critics. 

For the first time in the history of the school, Diploma students and Postgraduate students will be able to take joint classes as part of an expanded pool of Electives. These advanced seminars will be provided by our ten Postgraduate Programmes in areas of technology, criticism, sustainability, material culture, computation and more, allowing us to push the boundaries of architectural education and to have more dialogue across all parts of the school.  

This year we will continue with the Open Seminars; on Mondays, Plan the Planet, brings together experts across different disciplines to discuss the current ecological crisis in order to articulate new strategies, policies, relationships and spaces; on Tuesdays, Evidentiary Aesthetics investigates the technologies and politics of the body; and on Wednesdays, we will be able to study the Origins of Capitalist Urban Space.

Throughout the year, the Directions Series offers an open forum for conversations between AA Students, Academic and Administrative Staff and the AA Director. These events offer a platform to communicate and discuss the direction of the school. The first event of the Directions Series will take place on Monday 30 September at 7pm in the Lecture Hall when we can start raising questions and propose new agendas as we all work towards our future and jointly develop the AA 2020-25 Strategic Plan.

To broaden and strengthen our academic resources additional initiatives have been set up. The new Writing Centre aims to assist students with their essays and written work; the Student Care Centre is to provide mental health support; and the Student Affairs Office will provide students with logistical support during their time here at the AA, and advice in career placement and work opportunities in London and around the world for their year out and after graduation. 

To conclude the academic year we aim to introduce a new way of transmitting and disseminating the work of our fifth year students at the AA Forum/Final Presentation. Over two days after tables, all graduating students will present their project in an open format to a wide group of tutors, guest jurors, curators, press, friends and colleagues, making their last presentation at the AA a real moment for celebration and dialogue. The AA Forum/Final Presentation will be open to all students to attend, and will take place in any imaginable space throughout the school. 

This autumn we launch the AA Residence, a cultural platform exploring and studying new ideas and forms of practice at the intersection of architecture, art, technology, policy and design. It is composed of a series of independent labs that consist of an interdisciplinary cohort of resident fellows including architects, artists, policy makers, engineers, scientists and creative entrepreneurs that are all researching and producing experimental work. The AA Residence will work as an incubator in a shared workspace and professional development programme, providing architects and entrepreneurs the tools required to build new practices and initiate projects that impact, promote and amplify culture, and contribute to the re-imagination of the future. The 2019-20 labs will be announced in October. 

Last year’s Projects Review 2019 was produced with the goal to achieve zero waste, and has left us with some new pieces of furniture that we hope to enjoy throughout the year. As part of this exhibition, the first edition of the Press and Practices Preview took place the day before the opening, and proved to be a success. Fifth year students and those with scholarships and bursaries had the opportunity to explain their unit agendas and project aims to invited guests. They did this alongside volunteers who provided an introduction to the sometimes complex issues that the school and its programmes address. Thank you to all tutors, students and volunteers that committed time to this effort. The Projects Review exhibition received great press coverage and many positive responses. To continue this momentum the AA Book, together with a series of podcasts with staff and students, will be launched in the autumn.

Over the last year we have recognised and celebrated the amazing diversity of the Architectural Association, that consists of students and staff from 81 different nationalities. In an attempt to build on this great cultural resource we will launch Architecture in Translation, a project that celebrates the wealth embedded in the use of different languages as part of the production and dissemination of ideas, discourse and debate about architecture. This project will work across many areas within the school. Within HTS, Mark Cousins has produced a series of seminars that will explore the theoretical questions and opportunities of translation in architecture. In addition to this, juries in different languages will take place throughout the year and will be used to identify terms, concepts and values inherent to different linguistic and cultural contexts in order to produce a ‘multilingual dictionary of architectural terms’ for the twenty-first century. 

Last but not least, to start the year, a different kind of tradition is being introduced entitled, Plant a Tree, which will take place during Introduction Week and invites all new students and staff to Hooke Park, the AA rural campus in Dorset. While on-site, we will learn about the facilities and then ceremonially, each and every one of the 300 new voices joining the school, will plant a tree to contribute to the forest, offset carbon emissions, and take part in a dialogue of ideas about the future as responsible members of the AA and of this planet. Plant a Tree is more than a symbolic act, it is the commitment to a future that is ours to build.

As new and returning students and staff wander throughout the school, its spaces and places and within the corridors that build our intellectual home, you will find on the walls images of projects that each of the 779 students of the last academic year produced. With these drawings up on the walls, now is the time for identifying new debates and engagements. For those knocking on my door, and I encourage all of you to do so, you will see next to the Expanding Horizons poster – in a circular frame – what I suspect will be the most important image for many of you this year: this is of course an invitation to visit and share some of your ideas. 

I am looking forward to seeing all of you during Introduction Week and throughout the year ahead to discuss in detail the initiatives outlined above, and the ones that we will create together.

 

Yours,

Eva Franch i Gilabert
Director
AA School of Architecture

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