CASE Open Lecture: Professor Sue Roaf, Heriot-Watt University

The next CASE Open Lecture will be given by Professor Sue Roaf, from Heriot-Watt University on Tuesday 20 March at 6pm in Marlowe Lecture Theatre 1.

How to Design a Comfortable Building

Comfort is a very costly business. Around 40% of global GDP is spent on buildings, for their construction, operation and demolition and most goes in keeping buildings cool or warm enough to occupy – using air-conditioning and central heating systems. That was fine in the age of cheap 20th century energy but as fossil fuels become less affordable – how will we afford to stay comfortable in the increasingly unstable and extreme weather, political and economic systems we occupy?  We need now to re-learn how to design buildings that can keep people thermally and economically safe in difficult times, not least in a warming world when so many modern buildings are over heating badly. This talk covers issues related to how and why many modern buildings fail to do so and describes a range basic Comfort Design Tools.  It proposes a three step method for designing comfortable buildings, based on lessons learnt while developing the adaptive approach to thermal comfort and describes a range of fundamental opportunities and planning methods for use during early comfortable buildings design stages.  It then outlines a few useful mind-set mantras that might help the designer in the process.

Sue Roaf gained her first degree in Architecture in 1975 at Manchester University. She subsequently went on to gain her Diploma in Architecture at the Architectural Association in London where she also took her Part 3 professional exam in 1978. In 1989 she was awarded a PhD for her study of the Windcatches of the Central Persian Desert from Oxford Brookes University where she taught from 1989 to 2005 both in professional studies, technology and design. She has practiced for a number of years on the design of housing, schools, hospitals and town planning.

She is best known as a designer for her Oxford Ecohouse which was the first UK building with an integrated photovoltaic roof. She is an award winning designer, teacher and author and is Co-Chair of TIA, the International Teachers in Architecture organisation and Co-Chair of the Westminster Carbon Counting Group. She began teaching at Heriot Watt in 2007 in the School of the Built Environment.

PhD Seminar Series: Leonidas Tsichritzis

The next PhD Seminar will be given by Leonidas Tsichritzis on Wednesday 14th February at 4PM in E.Barlow (Eliot College).

The effect of height related urban morphology characteristics on pedestrian level winds

The evaluation of wind environment has gained a lot attention lately as it has been associated with issues relevant to urban climate quality such as heat island intensity and air pollution, which many large metropolitan areas are facing and affect humans’ health and prosperity. Within the morphological and climatic context of Greater London this study aims to associate pedestrian level wind comfort with urban morphology as well as with wind directions. Approximate 20 case studies representing real urban areas with dimensions 500x500m, which receive a range of morphological characteristics yet medium to high building coverages, were examined through CFD simulations. For every single case study eight wind directions were tested while the BRE wind comfort criteria and guidelines were used for assessing wind comfort for the different types of outdoor human activities. The results of the study provide valuable information showing some influence between the pedestrian level wind environment of London and building morphology characteristics which contain information relevant to the height of buildings.

Leonidas Tsichritzis is a 3rd year PhD Student and Graduate Teaching Assistant. Prior to joining the Centre for Architecture and Sustainable Environment in order to conduct his own research, awarded with a GTA Scholarship, Leonidas has worked as an architect and environmental design consultant in Athens.
His research interests are covering a wide area of sustainable and environmental design in terms of promoting the energy autonomy and the decarbonisation of built environment as well as pedestrian comfort in local but also in urban scale. More particularly, his research is focusing on assessing and classifying the pedestrian level urban wind environment as far as concerned to wind comfort and safety for different types of outdoor human activities by evaluating designated characteristics of urban geometry which dominate the wind flows around buildings for the climatic and urban context of London.

Keynote at launch of major international conference “Landscape Architecture & Microclimate”

Professor Marialena Nikolopoulou gave a keynote speech at the launch of the First International Conference on Landscape Architecture and Microclimate ever held, at Tongji University, in Shanghai, China, on 26-28th January 2018.

The conference marked the completion of the key research project of the National Natural Science Foundation of China “Research on design theory and method of landscape architecture response to microclimate suitability in urban livable environment”, unique in bridging the discipline of landscape architecture with microclimate studies. The conference was a big success with 210 participants from 76 universities and various professional associations.

Professor Marialena Nikolopoulou to give talk at Wageningen University

Professor Marialena Nikolopoulou will be talking about her leading research on human thermal perception and climate adaptation in cities in a talk entitled ‘Open spaces in the 21st century city: from the thermal dimension of space to climate change’ as Visiting Professor at Wageningen University, in the Netherlands,  funded by the Wageningen Institute for Environment and Climate Research on Tuesday 28th November 2017.

For further information:

Dr Henrik Schoenefeldt features as CIBSE Journal’s November Cover Star

Dr Henrik Schoenefeldt is Senior Lecturer in Sustainable Architecture and AHRC Leadership Fellow at the Kent School of Architecture. He is currently on research leave leading a large AHRC funded project investigating the Houses of Parliament’s historic ventilation system. The project, entitled ‘Between Heritage and Sustainabiliy – Restoring the Palace of Westminster’s nineteenth-century ventilation system,’ feeds into the Palace of Westminster Restoration and Renewal Programme.

Liza Young, Deputy Editor at the CIBSE Journal, was taken on a private tour of the Palace of Westminster, led by Dr Schoenefeldt for a feature article which is in November’s issue of CISBE Journal, of which Henrik is the cover star. The issue, including the full-length article on p.24 – p.28, can be viewed here:

Prof. Marialena Nikolopoulou discussing the refurbishment of Dalby Square on BBC SE Evening News

The Director of CASE, Prof. Marialena Nikolopoulou, appeared at the BBC South East evening news last night, discussing the refurbishment of the Dalby Square townhouse in Margate with a focus on future proofing against climate change and intergeneration living.  This is an innovative regeneration project that is proactively addressing the challenges of climate change, an ageing population and housing shortages by renovating and converting a Victorian property in Margate for multi-generational living.

The full feature including the interview with Prof Marialena Nikolopoulou, can be found on BBC iplayer from 10.49 to 14.01:

More information on the project can be found here:

CASE Open Lecture: ‘Birkha Bawari: A 21st Century step-well in India’

The upcoming CASE Open Lecture will be given by A. Mridul and Shilpa Mridul on Thursday 12th October at 5PM in Marlowe Lecture Theatre 1 with their talk entitled ‘Birkha Bawari: A 21st Century step-well in India’.

Step-wells, subterranean aqua-structures (Bawari or Vav in local dialect) were an integral part of Indian communities from 2nd century A.D. till the end of 19th century. Relegated in favour of canal and piped water-supply, these exquisite step-wells were gradually abandoned and forgotten.

However, as ecological and sustainability issues took center-stage amidst growing concern over the deepening water-crisis, it became vital that ancient wisdom of harnessing water be revisited and adapted by resurrecting the traditional water systems, creating new ones, rationalizing the modern and integrating the entire gamut of aqua-architecture to build a sustainable water-network.

The talk will focus on the how using traditional language in contemporary context, they have designed a new subterranean structure, Birkha Bawari, fashioned like a step-well, in a residential colony in Jodhpur. With a capacity to hold over 17.5 million litres of rain-water, it is a unique structural system built of sandstone quarried from its own site. This project exemplifies that such large water conserving structures are still architecturally feasible and economically viable.

The team have been exponents of Green Architecture long before it became a movement and have won numerous international and national awards. Known for lending an earthy identity to their buildings, they have done pioneering work in sandstone, mud, lime and other low carbon generating materials and are committed to judicious use of resources.  The Melbourne School of Design has collaborated with them for their WaterLore programme aimed at knowledge sharing of water systems in dry places of the world.

Person walking around curved stairs with a garden below them

Prof. Marialena Nikolopoulou co-chairing RAEng symposium “Sustainable Global Wellbeing”

Professor Marialena Nikolopoulou, Director of CASE (Centre for Architecture and the Sustainable Environment), has been invited to the 3rd Royal Academy of Engineering Frontiers of Engineering for Development symposium “Sustainable Global Wellbeing”, to co-chair the session on “Innovation for Sustainable Development” along with the Director of the UK Energy Research Centre.

The interdisciplinary workshop aims to encourage collaborative work, promoting international development, and cross disciplinary thinking among the next generation of leaders in engineering. In order to help cement new collaborations, groups of participants are invited to apply for seed funding of £20,000 to help develop a new collaborative partnership.  The symposium is taking place at the Oxford Union, from Monday 18 to Wednesday 20 September 2017.

[Feature picture by 贝莉儿 NG.]

Professor Marialena Nikolopoulou

Professor Marialena Nikolopoulou featured in Financial Times

Professor Marialena Nikolopoulou, Director of CASE (Centre for Architecture and the Sustainable Environment) was recently featured in an article in the Financial Times discussing the walkability of Europe’s cities following recent terror attacks. To read the full article written by Andrew Hill in the Financial Times, please click here.

Urban landscape

Kick-off of the largest externally funded project the School has witnessed

The School’s CASE Centre has been awarded major funding to carry out fundamental experimental research “Urban albedo computation in high latitude locations: An experimental approach”. A better understanding of urban albedo will provide a powerful method to help mitigate the effects of global warming by allowing more accurate computer simulation of building performance.

The £900,000 EPSRC-funded project was conceived and largely developed by Dr Giridharan Renganathan who along with the rest of the team secured support from major stakeholders, from professional bodies, to local government and industry partners.  The investigators are currently working with Kent Estates to identify a suitable site within the campus for building a large experimental model of specific areas of London.

Dr Renganathan is presenting at the London Climate Change Programme (LCCP) heat risk group meeting and UKCP18 briefings later this month.

[Feature picture by Vladimir Kudinov]