The global environmental and energy challenge facing current and future generations of architects and building professionals calls for a deeper understanding of the principles of environmental design, and their effective application into architectural practice worldwide. Over the last decades Environmental Design as a subject area has developed, responding to new research and experimentation, both in academia and in practice. However, buildings claiming to be environmentally conscious do not perform to the expected standards, still heavily contributing to global CO2 emissions and often providing unsatisfactory comfort conditions to occupants. The same can be said for the existing built environment which is largely outdated and underperforming, requiring urgent implementation of effective retrofit strategies. This is due to a lack of comprehensive performance prediction and feedback protocols, which are still not common practice in architectural design.
Generally, a good undergraduate degree (i.e. First or Upper-Second Class Honours) in Architecture or a related subject within the context of the construction industry and built environment disciplines. Applicants with qualifications in other subject areas which may be relevant to the award are encouraged to apply, each case being considered on merit.
A portfolio of work, or comprehensive written account of relevant experience, which is verified to the Admissions Office by the Course Leader or Course Admissions Tutor.
A personal statement which clearly articulates why the applicant wishes to study for the award.
You will need fluent written and spoken English to study at postgraduate level. If your first language is not English, you will need an IELTS score of at least 6.5 (or equivalent). The University offers pre-sessional summer programmes if you need to improve your English before starting your course.
The course covers both the wider contextual and sustainable approach to environmental design, and the more technical aspects of environmentally and energy conscious building design and performance. As well as taught modules, you will take design-based modules where you will apply quantitative and qualitative analysis to the study of existing built environments and to new design projects.
The modules will cover the following subject areas:
Theory and History of Environmental Design
You will look at ethical and environmental drivers of environmental design; climate change, energy conservation and economy; standards and regulations; history of environmental design; and the various definitions of sustainable, environmental, bioclimatic, green design.
Principles of Environmental Design
You will look at the principles of passive solar design and strategies for bioclimatic architecture (eg enhanced thermal performance of building envelope, solar control, natural ventilation, day-lighting, passive solar heating and cooling etc)
Building Physics, Energy and Environmental Foundations
You will look at the fundamentals of heat exchange and energy balance of buildings; and Thermal and Visual comfort.
Quantitative and Qualitative Evaluation of the Performance of the Built Environment for both Indoor and Outdoor Spaces
This will include climate and microclimate analysis and fieldwork methods for the measurement of environmental and energy parameters, thermal comfort surveys and post occupancy evaluations.
Building Energy and Environmental Modelling
You will undertake software workshops and design application of dynamic thermal modelling, Computational Fluid Dynamic (CFD) modelling and day-lighting. The software used will be tailored to the various stages of the design process and will range from climate data analysis to day-lighting and thermal modelling.
Final Thesis Project
You will explore advanced topics and contexts of research applicability. The topic chosen can depend on your individual interests and aspirations, ranging from analytical projects to design proposals.
This course will give you skills which can be used both in architectural practice and in environmental design consultancy. The research issues explored in your final thesis project could also lead to further research and an academic career through the path of a PhD degree in a number of related fields.
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