The MSc and MArch in Sustainable Environmental Design (SED) are respectively 12-month and 16-month long taught postgraduate programmes in areas of specialisation currently at the forefront of both architecture and engineering. The SED pedagogy is research-led, practice-oriented and evidence-based, addressing real-life projects across climates and urban contexts. Carbon neutral planning and designing with climate and climate change are key drivers of the SED research agenda.


The taught programme is structured in two consecutive phases. Phase 1 (Terms 1 & 2) is organised around team projects that engage students in experimental fieldwork and computational studies using the knowledge and tools introduced in weekly lectures and workshops. Refurbishing the City, a continuing SED research agenda, provides briefs for case studies of buildings and outdoor urban spaces with London and other major cities as laboratories. On-site fieldwork is followed by computational modelling and simulation exploring environmental performance under present and future climates and occupancy scenarios. The results of these studies provide starting points for design research on mixed-use building programmes in Term 2. Design briefs develop in parallel to presentations by invited architects and researchers highlighting the state-of-the-art in current practice.

In Phase 2 (Terms 3 & 4), individual research for the MSc and MArch dissertation projects addresses a diverse range of geographic locations, climatic conditions, urban morphologies and building typologies. MSc dissertations explore the architectural potential and applicability of their research findings across climate zones and building types of their selected geographic regions. MArch dissertation research culminates in a specific design application for a given site and design brief. Since the first cycle of the MSc/MArch in 2005-06 well over 500 projects have been completed for locations across some 60 countries and 150 cities both North and South of the Equator. These projects now form part of a growing SED archive that has provided material for over one hundred publications in books, journals and conference proceedings.

For information on how to apply for the MSc or MArch SED click here To follow-up on applications contact: Paula Spindler  SED Admissions Coordinator  Applications for 2021-22 open  October 2020. For further information on AA SED contact: Dr Simos Yannas

Lecture Courses & Workshops

Sustainable City, Term 1  The course provides an introduction to research methods and tools for the mapping of urban energy use and its implications on urban climate, pollution, environmental quality and inhabitant comfort, health and wellbeing. The relationship between urban form and energy use is illustrated with case studies from different urban contexts highlighting the role of the urban morphology in fostering diverse microclimates that promote energy consumption and climate change.

Adaptive Architecturing, Term 1  Providing local solutions to global environmental issues requires knowledge and understanding of how to make architecture adaptive to change in climate, seasonal and daily outdoor cycles, and occupant activities and circadian rhythms. The course introduces a generative framework for an environmentally adaptive, culturally sensitive, occupant-centred architecture in symbiotic relationship with the city.

Design for Comfort, Health and Well-being, Term 1  Historical overview and future scenarios of environmental design research in architecture. Evolution of benchmarks and standards regulating energy consumption and indoor/outdoor environmental quality for occupant comfort, health and wellbeing.

Environmental Design Research Tools, Terms 1 & 2  This is a hands-on course that runs in day-long sessions introducing analogue and digital tools needed in undertaking environmental design research. The tools introduced by the course encompass on-site fieldwork measurements, as well as the computational modelling and simulation of environmental processes in and around buildings. As such the course provides the analytical engines of the SED programme, its tools applied as needed on project work and dissertations. Individual tools deal with climate analysis and site microclimate studies, computational fluid dynamics of airflow in and around buildings, solar incidence outdoors and indoors, daylighting studies, dynamic heat transfer and hourly simulation of energy balances of modelled spaces, occupant thermal and visual comfort studies, renewable energy generation, embodied energy in materials and lifecycle carbon analysis.

Lessons from Practice, Term 2-3  We invite practising architects, engineers and researchers, including SED alumni, to present projects that illustrate their design philosophy, environmental design research and current building practice. Presentations are followed by roundtable discussion on evolving standards toward zero carbon architectures exploring the relationship between research and practice.

Research Seminar, Terms 1–3  In Terms 1 and 2 the seminar acts as a regular forum for critical reading and literature review supporting research and writing of essays that provide starting points for students’ final dissertation projects. A series on research methods is organised as a shared seminar with the other postgraduate programmes. SED MSc and MArch dissertation topics are decided by the beginning of Term 3 following preliminary research undertaken over the the Easter break.  The research seminar continues to provide support to dissertation research over Terms 3 and 4.


For further information on the MSc and MArch SED contact: Dr Simos Yannas
To apply and for information on application procedures click here 
To follow-up on applications contact: Laura Onslow SED Admissions Coordinator

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