Duration: 4 weeks, 2/3 units/week (24 hours total)

Module Introduction

Given the fast pace of climate change, the degradation of the ecosystem, and the impacts on human health, planners and architects are in charge of developing regenerative cities and buildings that will reverse such processes. This goal implies a change of paradigm: creative environmental design strategies should be fostered by science, and holistic performance data simulation is central to the process.

The units of this Environmental Design course cover, via an international array of speakers, topics such as climate change, design for the ecosystem, planning mitigated local microclimate, rethinking nature-based solutions, designing bio climatically attuned cities and buildings, and decarbonizing the built while generating comfort, health, and wellbeing. These will be tested in the complex realm of the area of Sassuolo (Italy), where students will develop an urban and architectural conceptual design while being exposed to theory, examples, and tutorials on design performance simulations offered by an international array of speakers.

The regenerative approach will be experienced by leveraging new ideas via simple yet meaningful simualtion-driven activities of 5 areas ranging from the historical center to untouched natural sites. Participants will be acquiring state of the art on theoretical, and practical knowledge enabling the design of climate change responsive districts and buildings. In particular they will develop critical design thinking abilities in microclimates creation, interlinking natural systems, energy-positive buildings, and thermally and visually comfortable spaces.

Module Focus

The module fully prepares to the highest standard of sustainable design for a changing climate by the use of Grasshopper based workflows.

The module is conceived in collaboration with a series of outstanding international experts, and the MCA team.

Participants will be acquiring state of the art on theoretical, practical and knowledge enabling the design of climate change responsive districts and buildings. Specific foci are microclimates creation, interlinking with natural systems, energy-positive buildings, and thermally and visually comfortable indoor spaces.

The Structure

Classes will last 3 hours divided in 10 units as below.

The working groups generally consist of 3 students.
ED01 - Regenerative Design (1 Unit - 3 Hours Lecture and Tutorials)

21 October 2022

Designers need to foster cities, buildings and components to be the catalysts of positive change. This necessitates an understanding of the layered network of climate, geology, ecology (mineral and other deposits, soil, vegetation, water and wildlife, etc.), human health, anthropogenic activities and its complex interactions. The unit introduces designers to operate beyond conventional construction practice, pursuing the integration of interdisciplinary and multifaceted systems.
ED02: Architecture of Climate Change (1 Unit - 3 Hours Lecture and Tutorials)

21 October 2022

Increasing global awareness of climate change and its negative impacts increased pressure on architects and planners to integrate these considerations into the design process. This calls for robust designs that provide habitation under increasingly extreme conditions and designs that can do so without exacerbating the climate crisis through their production and operation. The lecture discusses practical design solutions that the program, form, and materials that cities and buildings should take to reverse climate change dynamics, globally and locally.
ED03: Urban Microclimatic Design (1 Unit - 3 Hours Lecture and Tutorials)

24 October 2022

Because of the fast-paced climate change, the architectural guild is gradually shifting its interest into the impact of architectural design on microclimatic conditions . Enhancing ecosystem quality, decarbonization, the health and well-being of citizens, are among the new focuses on design. The unit studies how the mix of an old and new expansion of cities has generated a variety of microclimatic conditions depending on urban morphology, the aspect ratios, green and water surfaces, and human activities.
ED04: Ecology and Nature-Based Solutions (1 Unit - 3 Hours Lecture and Tutorials)

28 October 2022

The human-nature dichotomy imposed by the contemporary intense urbanisation is a crucial factor for the carbonization of athmosphere and the decreasing liveability and human well-being in the cities. Aiming to drastically enhance the human-ecostystem interaction in cities, the unit discusses and ecosystemic service approach to architecture where humans, plants, animals and associated organisms colaaboate. The unit will introduce to computational modelling and simulation infrastructure that will revolutionise future design.
ED05: Decarbonization (1 Unit - 3 Hours Lecture and Tutorials)

7 November 2022

The concept of “decarbonization” gains in this unit attention and implication for localized planning and architecture. With carbon acting as a universally agreed upon metric with which the greenhouse gas emissions of our design can be tracked toward carbon positive solutions.
ED06: Thematic Digital Modelling (1 Unit - 3 Hours Lecture and Tutorials)

9 November 2022

The day is dedicated to review of models and the exploration of data links that students may explore as the focus of their specific site and project.
ED07: Salutogenic Design (1 Unit - 3 Hours Lecture and Tutorials)

11 November 2022

The term salutogenesis , invented by Aaron Antonovsky, means "generation of health’" It is here noted how the World Health Organisation defines health as a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing and not just freedom from illness. “Simple concepts like comfort, joy and aesthetics have had no place in traditional”. The Unit focuses on how strategies and ideas leveraging health by design means.
ED08: Integrated Design (1 Unit - 3 Hours Lecture and Tutorials)

14 November 2022

The semi-final meeting week is one of inspiration for digital integration and more design iterations. It is about being exposed to forms of integration of strategies, methods and tools in the real world. Examples, therefore, range from the application of Human Well-Being to Energy and Outdoor comfort, to city, flows at large.
ED09: Project Review (1 Unit - 3 Hours Lecture)

16 November 2022

The day is dedicated to project reviews in preparation of the final presentation.
ED10: Final presentations (1 Unit - 3 Hours Seminar)

18 November 2022

Final proposal will be presented to Mario Cucinella and a debate will take place.

Module Leader

Emanuele Naboni - Associate Professor

Dr. Emanuele Naboni has professorships at the Royal Danish Academy in Copenhagen, School of Architecture, University of Parma, University of Sevilla. He practices, teaches, researches globally and publishes in the field of Regenerative Environmental Design, and Design for Climate Change, at different scales: Urban, Buildings and Construction and Components; with a focus on linking Ecosystems and Humans via Digital Design.

Emanuele was Invited Professor at ETH Future Cities Lab in Singapore (2019), EPFL Lausanne (2016-17), Southeast University in Nanjing (2018), Architectural Association in London (2014) and University of California Berkeley (2013). ​Furthermore, he has been invited to lecture at international universities such as TU Delft, TU Munich, UC Berkeley, Aalto University, National University of Singapore, The University of Nottingham, Arup World Research, SOS of MCA, and several others.

Previously, he was design leader at the “Performance Design Studio” of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill LLP (SOM) in San Francisco for a number of years (2006-2010) and a researcher for the United States Department of Energy (DOE) and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, at the University of California, Berkeley (LBNL) (2005-2012).

On project bases, he has been collaborating with BIG, Arup, Kengo Kuma, William MC Donough, and Autodesk. He consulted for more than 10 masterplans and about 60 innovative buildings. At KADK he was professor for 10 years contributing to the fostering of the Master of Architecture in Extreme Environments, which featured a collaboration with NASA, and the CITA (computation and information in architecture) program. He has developed more than 10 full buildings and innovative climatic prototypes that were worldwide shown in places such as the Chicago Museum of Industry and Science, and the London Building Center.

He writes for RIBA, DETAIL and Taylor and Francis, and has published more than 60 journal articles. He is a reviewer of scientific contributions in several international journals of high impact factor with a number of 80 journals. He has written the books “Green Buildings Pay” and “Regenerative Design in the Digital Practice” and is currently contracted with Taylor and Francis, London, for the book “Tools for Environmental Construction Design” expected to be published in 2021. He is a European Project reviewer for the EU commission and works on several countries' national commissions for the evaluation of sustainable development strategies.

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