Dr Renganathan invited to speak at Indian Faculties of Architecture

Senior Lecturer and CASE (Centre for Architecture and the Sustainable Environment) director, Dr Giridharan Renganathan, was invited to speak to the staff at the Faculty of Architecture, Karpagam University, Coimbatore, India.

His presentation titled, ‘Experimental approach to urban albedo calculation: methodological challenges’, outlined the ongoing EPSRC funded Urban Albedo research project at the Kent School of Architecture and Planning, and discussed challenges related to surveying and scaling, experimental model building, sourcing and installation of equipment, development of digital model, validation of digital model.

The presentation focused on measures taken within budgetary constraints to overcome the challenges and its implications. Dr Renganathan also discussed the challenges in integrating passive strategies in the context of climate change with undergraduate and postgraduate students.

In addition to the presentation at Karpagam University, Dr Giridharan Renganathan was also invited to deliver a lecture to postgraduate students and staff and the Department of Architecture, Thiagarajar College of Engineering, Madurai, India. The lecture titled, ‘Building resilience to overheating: a case study of Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge’, discussed the proposed advanced adaptive refurbishment options and their relative performance predicted against the existing internal conditions, energy demands and carbon dioxide emissions. The lecture highlighted that this may have more resilience in the current climate than expected, and that it will remain resilient into the 2030s. However, beyond 2050 some form of mechanical cooling may be needed. Dr Renganathan also highlighted that the problem could be more complex in hot and humid conditions such as in India, and the importance of developing context specific performance database for soft-landing measures.

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.