BSc ARCHITECTURE AND ENVIRONMENTAL DESIGN
Climate Change is one of today’s most pressing issues and, in the past decade, global policies and research institutions have acknowledged the urgency of addressing it through higher education.
The BSc AED offers students a combined architecture and environmental design education at undergraduate level to form a new generation of architects who are both environmentally aware and able to quantify the environmental impact of their design.
The BSc AED engages climate change and design practice with an emphasis on physical ecologies of building, numeracy and computation, as well as the wider principles of social sustainability. Over three years, BSc AED students are equipped with knowledge and skills in predicting and assessing building performance from both qualitative and quantitative perspectives, learning both the poetic and scientific aspects of the design process.
In the first year, BSc AED students share the design studios with the BArch programme to acquire basic architectural design knowledge, observational and drawing skills through design projects and study trips. An evidence-informed design approach is introduced through lectures, hands-on workshops, group seminars, and individual study sessions.
In second year, through four design briefs, second year BSc AED students explore the urban dimension by investigating social, economic, and building related environmental and energy issues. The four briefs are written in collaboration with Technical Studies to ensure that students acquire an understanding of digital environmental simulations at different scales and learn to develop environmental design strategies based on an evidence-based approach to design.
The third year is structured around the Final Thesis Project; a research by design studio investigating innovative forms of performative architecture, negotiating social and environmental dynamics. Three separate modules allow students to enrich their projects by studying the relation between the geometry, the material system, and the performances of their architectural proposals.
A significant part of the challenges of educating the Environmental Architect consists of the ability to move between disciplines. To facilitate a multidisciplinary learning experience, the BSc AED students are encouraged to participate in interdisciplinary activities, such as the co-production workshop organised with Imperial College. During the two days’ workshop, students work alongside designers from other courses and medics from Imperial College to redesign healthcare spaces for the NHS. Students also take part in lectures and workshops organised by specialists from different fields, such as the lecture delivered by marine biologists involved in the largest coral reef restoration in the world. Similarly, a workshop on biomaterials run by material scientists, allowed student to experiment with new sustainable materialises.
Group H: Hackney Wick Environmental Incubator: a sustainable research and development centre. The students were asked to design a sustainable research and development centre or “environmental incubator” that generates its own energy. The environmental incubator operates as both a private facility for pioneering academic research, and as a public facility that educates the local community on a specific field of sustainable design through a series of immersive activities. The brief focuses on three unique sites in Hackney Wick, each with one of the following predefined themes: Recycling/Biomaterial Laboratory; Wellness/Rehabilitation Centre and NHS consultation space; and Food Production and Retail Space.
Spatial Poetics and Human Comfort in the Age of Climate Change_Based on concepts of transformation and application, second year students developed skills to incorporate both intuitive and evidence-based tools into their design. Evidence-based approach equipped students with tools to implement environmental design principles on top of which they could playfully develop their design proposals. Four briefs introduced students to increasingly complex scenarios and provided them with the opportunity to learn new digital and analogue tools for understanding, simulating, and representing the urban and environmental context with analytical precision. The data underpinning these exercises constituted the foundation for the development of their design proposals. With the first brief students were asked to analyse an urban area around Piccadilly Circus and communicate both its urban character and environmental parameters, such as light/shadow, air pollution, wind, thermal [pattern of temperatures], and acoustic [noise pollution]. The outcome of brief one was a meaningful environmental design strategy that informed the design of an inhabitable interface [brief 2]. Briefs 3 and 4 examined the effects of climate change on the performance of existing buildings, in particular on Marylebone Hall, a University of Westminster student accommodation tower in Marylebone Campus, London. Students were encouraged to work towards the Net Zero Carbon building concept, developing performance-based des
50 years ago the report ‘Limits to Growth’ predicted dire consequences for the world if a more ecologically and economically sustainable balance cannot be found. This year, we respond to the emerging masterplan for West Silvertown, and sought to re-imagine an alternative vision for this neighbourhood that responds to the environmental challenges of this territory and suggest an alternative and radical model for re-making a piece of the city. Through the design of a network of small-scale prototypes and a large-scale building, we have been exploring new ways in which communities and natural habitats can become symbiotic, resilient, adaptive and sustainable.Read More...