Dr. Schoenefeldt speaks about Houses of Parliament Restoration in Canterbury

Dr. Henrik Schoenefeldt, who is currently leading a research project feeding into the Palace of Westminster Restoration and Renewal Programme, will be speaking in Canterbury on 10 October. The talk is entitled ‘Preserving Parliament: Reusing the Past to sustain the Future.’  He will talk about his current work, including his study of the historic stack ventilation system and his involvement in the first ever systematic physical survey of the Palace of Westminster.

This event will be held at St. Paul’s Church, Church Street,  Canterbury. It starts at 7.15pm with a meal in the parish centre followed by the talk at 8.15pm in the church itself. To book spaces for the meal, please contact the parish office (office@martinpaul.org, 01227 768072). To attend the talk no bookings are required.

Link to Church: http://tinyurl.com/zumenyv

Dr. Henrik Schoenefeldt receives teaching award for innovative practice in Architectural Education

Dr. Henrik Schoenefeldt was awarded this year’s Faculty of Humanities Annual Teaching Prize. The prize acknowledges three major initiatives that Henrik has taken over the past five years to address a series of important challenges in contemporary architectural education and practice. The focus of his initiatives was on introducing students to (1) new practices of sustainable design, (2) establishing a research culture within the largely design-led education of architecture and (3) improving the pedagogical knowledge and skills of architects through a new module in architectural education.

The panel wrote that the three initiatives ‘taken individually and collectively, are outstanding and this is supported by ample evidence from a range of external academic and professional sources’. It noted that they successfully engaged with the challenge of introducing ‘new practices of sustainable environmental design into architectural education’ and demonstrated the ‘pedagogical potential of involving students in collaborative research.’

The 1st Initiative was the development of new approaches to embedding practices of sustainable design within the teaching of architectural design. This was underpinned by a research project funded through a grant from the Higher Education Academy. The objective of the research project, entitled Inquiries into a new model of teaching environmental design in architecture, was to gain a critical understanding of how environmental sustainability and climate change requires students and architects to adopt new forms of practice. The findings of this research informed the development of a new studio model that introduces students to practices of ‘comprehensive design’ as well as two modules in sustainable design and technology for the MArch programme. In the first module, AR546 Sustainable Technology in the Context of Architecture, students undertake critical case studies, reviewing how modern practitioners integrate research into the design process to develop sustainable technological solutions. To gain such insights students undertake primary research, including interviews with practitioners, clients and building users. In the second module AR647-Design-led Research in Architecture, students are required to develop their own approaches to design-led research within their final architectural project, recording and critically reviewing their design methodologies through diaries and reflective essays.

The objective of this initiative was to establish a research culture within the largely design-centred curriculum of architecture, providing an educational environment where students experience design and research as complementary rather than conflicting cultures of learning.

The second initiative, which focused on exploring the pedagogical potential of involving students in collaborate research, followed a similar objective. It was collaborative research project, which was entitled Interrogating the technical, economic and cultural challenges of delivering the PassivHaus standard in the UK and took place between June 2013 and July 2014. The objectives of the project were to (1) bridge the gap between academic research, industry and university-based teaching, (2) enable students to develop an expertise in sustainable design and to (3) involve students directly in original academic research, including the process of dissemination through conferences and peer-reviewed publications. The project brought together practitioners, academics and final years students from the MA and BA programmes with the aim to investigate how the UK’s building industry can achieve buildings complying with the stringent energy efficiency requirements of the German PassivHaus standard. Acting as an alternative to the traditional dissertation, students joined a research team working on a larger research project. It involving case studies of fifteen real-life projects in England and Wales. Through interviews with the architects, contractors, consultants, suppliers and developers the students were able to engage directly with the different professions involved. This offered intimate insights into the challenges of low energy design not only from the view of the architectural profession, but also from a cross-industry perspective. The project culminated in the production of a peer-reviewed eBook and a conference, which was organised in collaboration with Kent Innovation and Enterprise.

The 3rd initiative was the development of a module in architectural education (AR600 Architectural Pedagogy), which provides students in the final year of the MArch programme with formal training in architectural education, covering theory and teaching practice. The module has been running for the second time this year, following a successful first year in 2014-15. KSA is currently the only school of architecture in the UK that offers a taught module in architectural education, combining a formal program of lectures, tutorials and seminars with research projects and teaching practice. Henrik has written an article about his experience with this module in this year’s End of Year Catalogue; click here to view the article.

The panel emphasised that ‘evidence on external impact was considerably strong’. Henrik had received numerous invitations to speak about his work in architectural education. This included the annual symposium of the Standing Conference of Heads of Schools of Architecture, held at the Royal Institute of British Architects in April 2015, which also got reported in the Architect’s Journal (15 April 2015).

Dr Henrik Schoenefeldt awarded Faculty of Humanities ECR Prize for Early Career Research

Dr. Henrik Schoenefeldt was awarded the University of Kent ECR Humanities Research Prize for the research he has undertaken at the Kent School of Architecture over the past four years, including his ongoing work on the Houses of Parliament. In his acceptance speech, which is reproduced below, he highlighted how supportive the School had been in his development as a researcher and educator. In June 2016 he will start working full on a large AHRC funded research project ‘Between Heritage and Sustainability,’ which will feed into the Palace of Westminster restoration programme.

Acceptance speech by Dr. Schoenefeldt, given at the award ceremony at Darwin College, University of Kent, on 1 April 2016:

When I arrived at the University of Kent in September 2011 the school of architecture has only been in existence for six years. It was originally founded as a school for the eduction of professional architects and the primary focus was on teaching. Efforts to establish research as a second pillar, however, began only two years after its foundation. It began with the appointment of a new chair, Professor Gordana Fontana-Guisti in 2007, who coordinated first efforts to establish research and postgraduate studies. The focus at this point was in the humanities, primarily in the history and theory of architecture and urbanism. The Centre for Research in European Architecture was founded to provide a forum for these activities. The former Dean of the Faculty of Humanities, Karl Leydecker, had been driving initiatives to broaden the scope of the research, entering the fields of science and engineering. In Spring 2011 Marialena Nikolopoulou, who had nominated me for the university research prize and has been important mentor to me since arriving at Kent, was appointed as a second research chair to head this new strand, under the umbrella of a second research centre: Centre for Architecture and Sustainable Environment. I was one of three academics appointed to staff the new centre. Therefore I am very delighted to have been awarded this prize. Charles Snow’s two cultures, the arts and sciences, were now represented within one school. 

I studied at the University of Cambridge, in a department of architecture with a strong research ethos, and vision of Kent to become a place of teaching and research made highly attractive. In my own post-doctoral research over the past four years I have been able to bridge the gap between the sciences and arts as well as chasm between academic scholarship and architectural practice. My research over the past four years focused on the environmental design of the Houses of Parliament, an area that required a a technical analysis, historical research and architectural practice. I recently received an AHRC grant and over the next two years I will directly work with various parties involved in the Palace of Westminster refurbishment and renewal programme. It is the freedom offered by the KSA to develop ones own visions and the continual encouragement and support of Don Gray, Gordana and Marialena that enabled me to achieve this.

Dr Schoenefeldt speaks at the University of Oxford about User-Experience in 19th Century Architecture

Dr. Henrik Schoenefeldt is speaking at the Institute for Historical Research Conference ‘Architecture and Experience in the Nineteenth Century.’ It will be held at St. John’s College, University of Oxford, between 17 and 18 March 2016. His paper is entitled:

‘Between measurements and perception – How Victorian scientists assessed the climatic conditions inside the Houses of Commons, 1852- 54.

Modern methods of Building Performance Evaluations (BPE), such as Building Use Studies, combine physical measurements with questionnaire-based surveys looking at the experience of building users. BPEs are widely portrayed as a modern practice that had evolved in the 20th century, but Dr. Schoenefeldt’s research has shown that an interest in evaluating building from a user-experience point of view has a much longer history. His paper will explore the role of the building user in the evaluation and design of the environmental systems inside the House of Commons. It focuses on a system developed by the medical doctor David Boswell Reid between 1847 and 1853. The paper is based on historic user-surveys, scientific reports and the engineers’ log-books, which were used to gain =insights into how Victorian engineers and scientists physically measured the climatic conditions inside the debating chamber and studied the MPs personal perceptions of these conditions. Despite extensive efforts to improve the design and management, the system never succeed in meeting the MPs’ expectations, an issue that finally led to its decommissioning after only two years.

Dr Henrik Schoenefeldt leads major refurbishment project of Houses of Parliament

Dr. Henrik Schoenefeldt has been awarded a grant from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) for a pioneering research project on the Victorian ventilation system of the Houses of Parliament which will inform the Restoration and Renewal Programme of the Palace of Westminster.

House of Lords Information Office Westminster 24th April 2014
House of Lords Information Office
24th April 2014

“This AHRC-funded research is very timely for the programme and the findings will provide a valuable insight into how the Palace’s original ventilation systems were designed, built and adapted, which will contribute towards development of the future design brief.”

-Dr Richard Ware, Director of Palace of Westminster Restoration and Renewal Programme

The overarching objective is to undertake in-depth study of the historic stack ventilation and explore how far it could be revitalized, at least in parts, to form part of a more energy efficient sustainable solution to ventilation. In addition to the restoration of a decaying historic fabric, replacing the outdated mechanical and electrical systems of the Palace will pose the most significant challenges in the forthcoming refurbishment. This research project offers the opportunity to systematically re- examine the original Victorian system, which was in continuous use for ninety years before it was replaced with mechanical systems in the 1950s. The Victorian system was a highly sophisticated system. It had undergone a continual process of technical refinement involving several generations of scientists and engineers and it also followed principles not dissimilar to those deployed in modern sustainable design to reduce energy use. This raises the questions: How effective was the original system? How far could the historic principles be re-utilised today?

To address these questions it is critical to develop a critical understanding of the historic system and its performance. This project is the first study to systematically investigate the Victorian system, combining original archival research with surveys inside the Palace and the analysis of the historic measurements and scientific studies. The aim of the research is to reconstruct the historic design, review how it had performed historically and to retrace how it had been refined throughout its lifetime.

At key stages in this project Dr. Schoenefeldt will work with the Parliamentary authorities and those teams and individuals involved in the restoration programme. These range from the programme team itself to architects, engineers and other teams in the Parliamentary Estates Directorate,, to investigate ways in which historic principles could be re-utilised.

Henrik Schoenefeldt to speak at the RIBA Design Quality Symposium

Dr. Henrik Schoenefeldt has been invited to speak at the RIBA 10th Research Symposium, which will be held at the RIBA HQ at Portland Place, London, on 17 November 2015. The Symposium, which is entitled ‘The Design Quality Proposition: Ensuring and Communicating Design Quality in Architectural Practice, will bring together practicing architects, clients and academic researchers to explore how design quality is evaluated in contemporary architecture. Three case studies, which include the Sainsbury Laboratory, Cambridge, Wilkson PassivHaus Primary School, Wolverhampton and Royal Road Social Housing, Southwark, will be presented. Given the role as the ‘rapporteur’ on the research undertaken in preparation for the Symposium, Henrik will write a review of the three case study to be published in the RIBA Journal after the event. Sharing the evening slot with Alan Penn, Dean of the Bartlett School of Architecture, Dr. Schoenefeldt will be talking about the history and philosophy of performance evaluation as a tool for measuring design quality in architecture. His talk is entitled  ‘Inquiries into the History and Philosophy of Performance Evaluation’.

In recent years the idea of embedding evidence-based practices in architecture, involving the empirical evaluation of design quality, has received renewed interests among the architectural professional, but it is not a new idea. It has been subject of discourses in architecture and related disciplines for over 200 years. In this  talk Dr. Henrik Schoenefeldt retraces how the concept of performance-led design has evolved in the 19th and 20th century. He will illuminate how scientists and engineers in the past exploited working methods originating the physical and social sciences to examine building performance, not only from technical but also from environmental and occupant perspectives.

For more details about the event please click here.

The programme can be found by visiting this page.

Dr. Henrik Schoenefeldt speaks in London about sustainability in the Palace of Westminster and Restoration Programme

The event is entitled ‘Engineering the Restoration and Renewal of the Palace of Westminster’ and will be held at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in London on 19 October 2015. Henrik will be giving one of three talks on this evening. The other two talks are by David Waterhouse, regional director of the Independent Options Appraisal Consortium, and  Andy Piper, Lead Mechanical Engineer of the Palace of Westminster Restoration and Renewal Programme. Dr. Henrik Schoenefeldt, lead researcher on the Palace of Westminster historic stack ventilation, will talk about his research into the design and performance of the historic system and its potential in being revitalised as part of a modern sustainable ventilation strategy for the Palace.

For more details and to book a place please go to:


Architecture hosts open lectures for the 50th Festival weekend

On Saturday 5th September, Professor Gerald Adler and Dr Henrik Schoenefeldt will be giving lectures as part of the 50 Festival celebrations. Both lectures are open to all and there is no need to pre-book your place.

11am to 12pm – Marlowe Lecture Theatre 1

Professor Gerald Adler – Fifty years of campus design. The University of Kent’s Canterbury campus index of British architecture.

The 1960s, ’70s, ’80s. ’90s and noughties was a period of unprecedented growth in UK higher education. How was its burgeoning population of students, academics and support staff accommodated? This lecture examines key buildings on the Canterbury campus, and demonstrates how they exemplify the architecture of the British New Universities that stand, more generally, for the changing character of buildings in the UK in the five decades since the establishment of the University of Kent.

2pm to 3pm – Marlowe Lecture Theatre 1

Dr. Henrik Schoenefeldt – Between Science and Politics How Victorian scientists developed and assessed the House of Commons’ ventilation system

Dr. Schoenefeldt’s new research reveals how Victorian scientists developed the House of Commons’ historic ventilation system, following a process that was not concerned with technical questions alone but was also highly political. Scientists were confronted with the nearly impossible challenge of maintaining a climate and atmosphere that would satisfy all parties occupying the debating chamber.

Please visit the official 50 Festival website for further event details.

Dr. Henrik Schoenefeldt took part in workshop at the Royal Society

Last week, Dr. Schoenefeldt took part in a three-day research workshop at the Royal Society, which was organised by the AHRC with the aim of bringing together researchers from various fields in the sciences, arts and humanities, as well as practicing artists with an interest in science. Participants were chosen through a competitive selection process, following a call in April 2015.

The aim of the workshop was to explore how collaborations between scientists and researchers in the arts and humanities could enable new ways of studying the ‘Lived Environment’, which was the theme of the workshop.

Dr. Schoenefeldt has written a blog on the institutions website.

Dr Henrik Schoenefeldt gives talk at Annual SCHOSA Conference

Dr. Henrik Schoenefeldt has given a talk on Building Performance Evaluation in the context of education, research, and practice at the Annual SCHOSA Conference. This conference was held at the Royal Institute of British Architects on 9 and 10 April 2015.

The talk was entitled ‘Building performance Evaluation – an education endeavour joining practitioners, students and researchers’ and it explores some of the challenges of using Building Performance Evaluations (BPE) as affective learning tools in architectural design, exploring the practical challenges of giving design a true empirical basis or of translating BPE findings into useable design knowledge for architects.

The idea of empirically-based design in practice and education was explored, taking into consideration the role of both the social and physical sciences. Historical prespectives were also be provided to illustrate the role the cultural curriculum could take in illustrating to students the principles and origins of evidence-practice.  Based on the his research on the ventilation of Palace of Westminster and climate control in nineteenth-century glasshouses, Henrik showed some the earliest examples of building performance evaluations in which the recording of measurements, and experimental studies were combined with surveys on user perception.

Using two projects that Henrik has led at the University of Kent as examples, the second part of the talk illustrated the potential of collaboration between academics, clients, practitioners, students and in addressing the some of challenges of performance-led practices of low-energy design in the UK.