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Preview: Architectural Design

Architectural Design

Wiley Online Library : Architectural Design

Published: 2018-01-01T00:00:00-05:00


Imprint Page/Contents


About the Guest-Editors


Climate Change is the New Gravity


Unsustainability and the Architecture of Efficiency


It is common knowledge that if we continue our current dependence on fossil fuels, we are headed for global economic, environmental and societal disaster. With around a third of the world's primary energy consumed in the operation of commercial and residential buildings, architecture has a major role to play in averting this. After setting out the dangers of the status quo, Graham S Wright – a building scientist and Chair of the US Passive House Institute's Technical Committee – explains how passive building techniques can help us to turn away from fossil fuels without compromising comfort or functionality.

Resilient Design: ‘Systems Thinking’ as a Response to Climate Change


Design thinking is not enough. For resilient architecture and urbanism to meet the challenges of global warming head on, what is needed is systems thinking: an in-depth, interdisciplinary approach which recognises that change is constant. Claire Weisz – founding partner of New York urban design, planning and architecture practice WXY – highlights a number of small, innovative US firms that are leading the way, and describes some of their ventures to date.

Global Responses to Local Conditions Sustainability and Resilience are Nowhere the Same


To manage the impact of climate change, a mixture of global mitigation (reducing the probability of catastrophes) and local adaptation (lessening their consequences) is needed. Alexandros Washburn – an urban resilience expert and former New York City Chief Architect who witnessed 2012's Hurricane Sandy first hand – presents three contrasting examples of how cities around the world have approached the latter, with varying degrees of success. From ensuring a potable water supply in Sáo Paulo and Singapore to flood prevention in New York, it is a mixed story that embraces everything from an exemplary large-scale public construction project, to an ingenious community-led proposal, to sheer luck.

‘Global Warming is Real’: Superstorm Sandy, Stevens and the SU+RE House


With every new extreme-weather event, climate change becomes harder to deny. When a notorious 2012 hurricane hit Hoboken, New Jersey, academic staff at the city's Stevens Institute of Technology quickly responded with impact studies and by instigating multi-party dialogue to tackle the issues. The architectural faculty's efforts soon became focused around the SU+RE House, which was to be the winning entry for 2015 in the Solar Decathlon – a student competition to design, build and operate a solar-powered house, run by the US Department of Energy every two years. Guest-Editor and Stevens faculty member John Nastasi sets out the project's background and explains how it serves as a new model for architectural teaching.

High-Performance Enclosures: Designing for Comfort, Durability and Sustainability


Key to any building's energy consumption levels is the quality of its envelope, comprised of all its enclosing elements. Passive buildings, which do not require costly mechanical systems to keep their users comfortable, are increasing in popularity. But to design them, architects need to engage closely with building science. Citing several recent US examples, including the SU+RE House, Ken Levenson – active in the Passive House movement and a founding partner at Brooklyn, New York company 475 High Performance Building Supply – explains how.

Practical Resilience: Low-Tech Plug-and-Play Innovation in the SU+RE House


Advances in sustainable, resilient building can have little impact unless they are both affordable and easily repeatable. The SU+RE House was conceived with both of these imperatives firmly in mind. Guest-Editor Clarke Snell, who was in the project's leadership group, highlights its emphasis on familiar rather than ultrahigh- tech materials, both minimising costs and facilitating the construction process. Describing its mechanisms in detail, he reports on how its flood-proofing system was inspired by existing marine-industry technology, with elements designed as standalone products that could be used in other settings.

SU+RE Power: Energy Independence and the Sustainable Resilient Sun


The use of solar power is the central requirement of the Solar Decathlon house design competition. Guest- Editor Clarke Snell and SU+RE House student team member Alex Carpenter here describe why this is so crucial, and how the Stevens Institute entry fulfilled and exceeded this part of the brief. Its arrays of photovoltaic panels – conceived to resist the elements, and subdivided to ensure a constant supply even in the event of partial damage – provide more energy than the house requires. The surplus can be fed back into the grid, or diverted to an outdoor energy hub for use by neighbours if the grid fails.

Modelling to Drive Design: Honing the SU+RE House through Performance Simulations


Digital simulation technologies are for the first time allowing designers to directly study and impact the flows of energy, water, air, heat and sound which affect a building's occupants. The SU+RE House is a prime example of this. Guest-Editor Ed May, one of the Stevens Institute of Technology faculty leaders for the project and also a partner in the Brooklyn-based design and consulting firm BLDGtyp, looks closely at how it demonstrated the possibilities of integrating data and environmental analysis techniques into the architectural design process, to produce truly sustainable and resilient buildings.

Defining Environments: Understanding Architectural Performance through Modelling, Simulation and Visualisation


Largely due to environmental concerns, approaches to architecture are becoming increasingly crossdisciplinary. With this comes a need for ever more integrated digital simulation tools. Brady Peters – Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto and a Director of Smartgeometry, an organisation that promotes computation in architecture – discusses what these tools can achieve, and highlights two companies that are pioneering their use and development: Danish architecture firm BIG, and international engineers BuroHappold. They set out to visualise not only ‘hard metrics’ such as energy consumption, but also ‘soft metrics’ like wellbeing and productivity.

Data Buildings: Sensor Feedback in Sustainable Design Workflows


While ever more architects use digital simulations of energy and daylight to inform their designs, relatively few carry out post-occupancy evaluations of their buildings. This, according to University of Toronto post-doctoral researcher Terri Peters, is a missed opportunity. Presenting recent built examples of a variety of building types by three leading practices in the US and Denmark, she sets out how sensor-derived feedback can not only assist future design decisions in terms of building performance, operating systems and use patterns, but also encourage more sustainable behaviour among building users.

Building Physics, Design, and the Collaborative Build: Sustainability and Resilience in Architectural Education


The earlier architectural students are encouraged to actively engage with environmental issues, the more likely they are to consider them as key in later professional practice. To this end, Vienna University of Technology (TU Wien) has for over two decades been running courses which involve students in projects focused around the model of collaborative design-build competitions that address such issues. Associate Professor Karin Stieldorf, a co-founder of the university's Sustainable Building and Design Group, describes some of these initiatives – notably including her team's winning entry for the US Department of Energy's 2013 Solar Decathlon competition.

Climate Change and the Bottom Line: Delivering Sustainable Buildings at Market Rate


Sustainable building need not be more expensive or time-consuming than the alternative. Adam Cohen – co-founder of Virginia firm Structures Design/Build – has a proven track record of completing a range of building types affordably and on schedule, even achieving Passive House standards within budget when they were not part of the client's original brief. How? As he explains to Guest-Editor Clarke Snell, the answer is lean IPD (integrated project delivery). By involving all stakeholders from the start and making optimum use of BIM (building information modelling), it improves efficiency and keeps costs in check.

Energy and Design Criticism: Is It Time for a New Measure of Beauty?


When assessing buildings' design merit, should more attention be paid to their ecological credentials? Sparked off by a heated Twitter debate over the aesthetics of a large new passive building in New York, Bronwyn Barry – a San Francisco-based architect and certified Passive House Designer – asks why architecture critics give buildings' relationship to site so much greater priority than their relationship to the planet. She goes on to examine what the need for sustainability means for the longstanding addiction to all-glass facades: are the two necessarily incompatible?

The Design of Public Policy: Sustainability and Resilience at the City Scale


Municipalities and regional governments urgently need appropriate strategies to withstand climate catastrophes. As Zoning Officer and Floodplain Administrator for the City of Hoboken, Ann Holtzman has a wealth of experience in this field. She emphasises the importance of not just laying down rules, but also encouraging innovation. This is exemplified by the US Department of Energy's 2013 ‘Rebuild by Design’ competition, whose winning entry – a multi-practice collaboration – is informing improvements to the area's storm resiliency in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

Aim High: Pressing for a Radical and Global Approach to Sustainable Design


The importance of major progress in designing for sustainability and resilience is indisputable, and the arguments put forward throughout this issue of 3 are highly commendable. But – asks Craig Robertson, Head of Sustainability at London architecture firm Allford Hall Monaghan Morris (AHMM) – do they go far enough? Are we still too focused on our own backyards rather than the needs of our fellow human beings worldwide? Have we yet grasped the level of adaptability that is required not only to protect us in the present, but to future-proof the built environment for generations to come? And what must governments, professional bodies and indeed individuals do to bring about the total paradigm shift that is so urgently needed?



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