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:

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]

Lesbos, Greece

Dr Nikos Karydis investigates earthquake-resistant building technology in Greece

Dr Nikolaos Karydis, director of the MSc Programme in Architectural Conservation, visited the island of Lesvos, to study the behaviour of vernacular structures in the recent earthquake (6.3R). There, he discovered the use of an advanced earthquake-resistant system. This discovery has major implications for the forthcoming repair of historic buildings on Lesvos. Preliminary research findings are summarised in the article published on 3 August in Greece’s “Journalists’ Newspaper” (Εφημερίδα των Συντακτών).


[Feature picture by wehuntsCC BY-SA 2.0. Cropped from original.]

Professor Marialena Nikolopoulou becomes the new WIMEK visiting research fellow

The CASE Director, Professor Marialena Nikolopoulou has been awarded the competitive WIMEK visiting research fellowship.  She will be visiting Wageningen University, where she will be working with Dr Sanda Lenzholzer from the Landscape Architecture group, on urban climate and climate responsive design of outdoor space.

They are currently focusing on suitable methods to study the physical and psychological dimension of thermal perception and they are developing a special issue for the Journal of International Biometeorology.

PGR Seminar Series commences with Ben Tosland

The first PGR presentation of this year will be held on Wed 5th April at 15.00, and will be given by postgraduate research student Ben Tosland, with his talk entitled ‘The development of green spaces and influence of western landscape architecture in the Persian Gulf during the late twentieth-century’.

Ben’s research aims to show the extent of Western influence over landscape design in the Persian Gulf and its relationship with town planning movements throughout the twentieth-century. Supported through archival research and several case studies, Ben will argue that the Western design of landscapes in the region is due to both the influx of people from Europe and America who worked with oil companies, and their subsequent funding of landscape work. Added to this, there are changing sociological and political forces in the region during this period that will also be assessed. Several themes and sub-themes that will be shown through his research will be:

  • Identity and representation
  • Segregation and inequality
  • Morphology of spatial design
  • Relationship between landscape and townscape

This short talk will attempt to give the context to this research by representing statistics through maps of the region before looking at a chosen case study and briefly explaining how the aforementioned themes affected the design process and the eventual outcome.

Professor Maria Kolokotroni to give upcoming CASE Open Lecture

The upcoming CASE Open Lecture will be given by Professor Maria Kolokotromi from Brunel University. Her talk entitled ‘Urban Heat Island: it’s impact on energy demand by buildings’ will be given on Tuesday 28th February at 6PM in Marlowe Lecture Theatre 1.

Maria Kolokotroni is Professor in the Department of Mechanical Aerospace and Civil Engineering, College of Engineering, Design and Physical Sciences at Brunel University London and she leads the theme for Resource Efficient Future Cities in the Institute of Energy Futures.  Professor Kolokotroni studied Architectural Engineering at the National Technical University of Athens and University College London.  She carried post-doctoral studies in the field of building ventilation and low energy cooling at the University of Westminster followed by five years with the Indoor Environment Group at the Building Research Establishment, UK.  She is a Chartered Engineer (CEng), Fellow of CIBSE (Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineers) and member of ASHRAE (American Society of Hearing Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers) and IE (Institute of Energy). She is a member of IEA (International Energy Agency) AIVC (Air Infiltration and Ventilation Centre) Board and currently participates to the international project ‘Annex 62 – Ventilative Cooling’ by the IEA EBC (Energy in Buildings and Communities).  She has co-ordinated and participated to a number of UK, European and International projects on energy, low energy cooling and ventilation, urban heat island (quantification for London and its impact on energy demand by buildings) and mitigation strategies such as cool materials as well as the impact of climate change on the energy performance of buildings and urban areas.

The talk will focus on buildings and the city, and why the energy use differs from rural areas. It will describe the urban heat island of London as revealed by measuring air temperature across the city, its impact on building energy demand and what future adaptation measures might improve energy efficiency.


Dr Richard Watkins conducts air flow experiment at Canterbury Cathedral

Dr Richard Watkins, lecturer and senior tutor in Sustainable Architecture at Kent School of Architecture has developed a system using helium-filled balloons to track air flow around the Nave of Canterbury Cathedral. Our MSc Architecture and the Sustainable Environment students Sam Leatt, Sukanya Ravi and Yikun Shang, along with Dr Giridharan Renganathan from Kent School of Architecture were in participation at the experiment which took place on Thursday evening.

For more information, please click here which will take you to the brilliant article on Canterbury Cathedral’s news page.

The video below by Canterbury Cathedral documents the experiment in action!

Dr Giridharan Renganathan receives prestigious medal for his work

CASE member Dr Giridharan Renganathan won the 2016 Carter Bronze medal for most highly rated paper relating to application and development. Giridharan’s paper “A medium-rise 1970s maternity hospital in the east of England: Resilience and adaptation to climate change” was published in CIBSE’s technical journal Building Services Engineering Research & Technology, one of the leading, international peer-reviewed journals publishing original research relevant to today’s Built Environment. The paper was co-written with Prof. Alan Short from the University of Cambridge and Prof. Kevin Lomas from the University of Loughborough. It investigated the degree of overheating at the Rosie maternity unit of Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge where mothers, babies and staff can endure summer temperatures of over 30°C, along with what can be done to improve resilience at the 1983 facility.

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.

PassivHaus Working Group

The PassivHaus Working Group (PHWG) has been established by Dr. Henrik Schoenefeldt at the Kent School of Architecture in September 2014, involving a team of postgraduate students undertaking original research into PassivHaus. The concept behind the PHWG was developed in the context of a collaborative research project coordinated by Dr. Henrik Schoenefeldt at the Centre for Architecture and Sustainable Environment (CASE) last year. This project was entitled ‘Interrogating the technical, economic and cultural challenges of delivering the PassivHaus standard in the UK’. It yielded critical insights into the Passivhaus standard and its application in the UK, but also showed that collaborative research enabled students of architecture to develop a technical area of expertise during their Part II. This year the PHWG is an option available to students enrolled on the Module AR546 Sustainable Technology in the Context of Architecture, but next year the students will have the choice of continuing their research into PassivHaus in context of their dissertation.

21 students from the MArch Programme have joined the group this year and currently undertake detailed case studies on selected projects in England, Wales and Ireland as well as investigating some of the broader political, economic and technical issues.

PHWG is divided into sub-groups, each focusing on one of the four main research themes. Group 1 explores the application of the PassivHaus standard or EnerPhit standard to retrofit projects, with a particular focus on the challenges of upgrading the UKs social housing stock and properties in conservation areas. Group 2 focuses on non-domestic buildings, including office buildings, schools and community centres. Group 3 is undertaking a series of case studies on one-off houses, whilst Group 4 investigates how the Passivhaus standard is applied to larger commercial housing developments, with a particular focus on the economic challenges.

For further details please contact: