AA SED Introduction

Sustainable Environmental Design (SED) engages with real-life problems that affect buildings and cities across the world. Design research for the SED Masters programme is driven by evidence-based performance criteria following a process of adaptive architecturing, that proceeds from inside to outside, attuning built form and its constituents to natural rhythms and inhabitant activities. Key objectives of all SED projects are: to improve environmental quality in cities, achieve independence from non-renewable energy sources and to develop an environmentally sustainable architecture that is 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 that combine MSc and MArch students on experimental and analytical testing of the design principles and computational tools introduced by weekly lectures and workshops. In Phase II, MSc and MArch design research develops independently following individual research agendas that reflect students’ home contexts, climates and building typologies. MSc candidates complete the 12-month course with a design research project that documents the architectural potential and applicability of their chosen topic in its geographic and climatic context. The MArch cycle extends over a 16-month period that culminates in a specific design application for a given site and design brief.

The SED research agenda Refurbishing the City will continue into the next academic year and will involve collaboration with London architectural and engineering offices. In Terms 3 and 4, MSc and MArch dissertation projects will be set in many other cities and climatic regions.  Most recent SED dissertation projects have been on warm climates, exploring passive environmental features, outdoor living and inhabitant-centred adaptive strategies encompassing home, work, learning and mixed-use environments.

The videos at the end of this Introduction provide an idea of the experience of attending the programme and returning to practice after completion. For further information on the taught programme for the MSc / MArch in SED see Studio Projects and Lecture Series below or contact Dr Simos Yannas Director MSc / MArch SED  simos@aaschool.ac.uk

It is still possible to apply for the 2017-18 academic year after the deadline of 10 March 2017. Prospective applicants should aim to submit their applications as soon as possible in order to receive a reply before the AA School’s closure for the Easter vacation. For information on applications contact Saira Soarez SED Admissions Coordinator Saira.Soarez@aaschool.ac.uk

To apply click here 

Studio Projects

Refurbishing the City 1 : London Building Studies Term 1: MSc and MArch students work together on environmental studies of recent building schemes around Central London. On-site observations and environmental measurements are followed by  use of advanced computational tools to investigate building performance and the relationship between building, climate and occupants.

Refurbishing the City 2 : Design Research  Term 2:  The insights gained from the Term 1 case studies provide starting points for new build and refurbishment programmes  that are explored by applying the conceptual and computational tools introduced by the taught programme.

Refurbishing the City 3 : MSc / MArch Dissertation Research  Terms 3 & 4: In Term 3 individual research agendas are first combined into typological and/or climatic groupings to initiate shared research before separating into individual MSc and MArch design research projects completed over Term 4.

Lecture Courses & Workshops

Sustainable City  Term 1: The course reviews theories of urban sustainability and environmental performance within cities. Case studies of new and refurbished schemes in different countries and urban contexts illustrate the effects of urban morphology on microclimate, energy consumption and climate change. These are investigated at different scales ranging from the region to the urban block.

Adaptive Architecturing  Term 1: Providing local solutions to global issues requires an understanding of what makes a good environment for inhabitants. How can architecture  contribute and thus reclaim  its historical role as a tool of sustainable environmental design? This course introduces a generative framework for an adaptive, culturally sensitive occupant-centered architecture with a symbiotic relationship to the city.

Environmental Simulation & Performance Assessment Tools  Terms 1 & 2: Running as weekly day-long workshops that follow the Terms 1 and 2 projects, this hands-on course provides training with the tools that drive the research methodology of SED. It begins by introducing fieldwork techniques and the use of instrumentation for indoor and outdoor measurements and assessment of environmental performance and occupant thermal and  visual comfort. Measured data are also used to calibrate computational tools that are then applied on all of the programme’s projects to study solar, thermal, airflow and daylighting processes, as well as energy use and carbon emission as part of design research.

Environmental Design Primer Terms 1 & 2: This course deals with key topics of environmental design research and practice as these relate to architecture and building science. Topics include urban climatology and the theories and practice of environmental comfort; the physics 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 a number of architects, engineers and researchers are invited to present projects illustrating their practice and experience of sustainable environmental design. The course also includes visits to buildings of interest.

Research Seminar  Terms 1-4 : In Terms 1 and 2, the seminar provides a regular forum for discussing research methods, report writing and topics that can be developed into the research papers that prepare students for their dissertation projects. In Terms 3 and 4 the seminar provides direct support to the development and review of MSc and MArch dissertation projects complementing the weekly individual tutorials.

The videos below provide an idea of the experience of attending the programme and returning to practice after completion. For any further information on the MSc / MArch SED contact:  Dr Simos Yannas simos@aaschool.ac.uk

Applications are still welcome for the 2017-18 academic year that starts in October 2017. To apply click here 

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