Duration: 8 weeks, 2 units/week = 16 units

Cost: 1500 euro

Dates: the weeks of December 13th to February 10th

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 lofty goal implies a change of paradigm: creative environmental design strategies are fostered by science, and holistic performance data simulation is central to the process.

The units of this Environmental Design course cover topics such as climate change, design for the ecosystem, planning mitigated local microclimate, rethinking nature-based solutions, designing bio climatically attuned buildings, decarbonizing the built while generating comfort (thermal and daylight), health, and wellbeing. Each of the units encompasses theory, examples, tutorials on design performance simulations, and an exercise of application.

The regenerative approach will be computationally experienced by leveraging the parametric design possibilities offered by the Grasshopper’s plugin LadybugTools. The latter will be handled to drive the exploration of non-conventional programs, forms, materials choices routed on equations defining the climatic and the human-physiological project boundaries.

The online program is conceived in collaboration with the MCA office team, and a series of outstanding international practitioners and researchers. During the course, participants will be acquiring the theoretical and practical knowledge key to an agile deployment in their works. By course completion, they will be able to design cutting-edge strategies becoming agents of regenerative change. 

Module Focus

The module, accounting for foremost international experts and the MCA team, 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 digital parametric knowledge enabling the design of climate change responsive districts and buildings. Specific foci are microclimates creation, interlink with natural systems, energy-positive buildings, and thermally and visually comfortable indoor spaces.

The Structure

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 introduce designers to operate beyond conventional construction practice, persuing the integration of interdisciplinary and multifaceted systems.
Increasing and global awareness of climate change and its negative impacts places 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.
Because of the fast-paced climate change, the architectural guild is gradually shifting its interest into the impact of architectural design on outdoor thermal comfort. Enhancing the health and well-being of citizens, reducing heat and cold stress, and prolonging periods of comfort in outdoor spaces, 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.
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 ecosystemit 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.
Professionals need to “Design with Climate” . This is also the tile of the pioneeringbook published in 1963 by the Olgyay brothers, which connect regional and local climate to design of buildings and components. Such type of bioclimatic approach has been recently overcomed by hyperisolated solutions that disconnect the outdoor from the indoor. The Unit is focused on learning how and when outdoor and indoor climate can cooperate, with an overview of vernacular, modernist and most recent cases.
The façade is a primary element that thermally and visually connects or establishes bounding flows between the outdoor and in the indoor environment. The unit focuses on the design of facade intended as a dual climate giver: they optimize thermal / visual comfort in both the indoor and the outdoor. The unit will bring together two means of optimising climate behaviour: digital simulations physical and measurements.
This unit describes how we can keep cool without conventional air-conditioning: improving thermal comfort and productivity while reducing energy costs and carbon emissions. It provides the partecpant with a 'how-to' guide to the application of natural cooling in new and existing buildings, and how to evaluate the impact via simulation and post occupancy techniques.
The final week is the 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. Examplease are therefore ranging from application of Human Well-Being to Energy and Outdoor comfort, to city flows at large.

Module Leader Bio:

Dr Emanuele Naboni is Associate Professor at the University of Parma and Lecturer at the Master of Architecture in Extreme Environments at the Royal Danish Academy in Copenhagen, School of Architecture (KADK). He practices, teaches, researches and publishes in the field of Regenerative Environmental Design, and Design for Climate Change, at different scales: Urban, Buildings and Construction. He has 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), University of California Berkeley (2013). He has been an invited lecturer at TU Delft, TU Munich, UC Berkeley, Aalto University, National University of Singapore, The University of Nottingham, Arup World Research and is External Reviewer at EPFL, the Bartlett and IAAC. 

Emanuele 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). He has been collaborating on project bases with BIG, Arup, Kengo Kuma, William MC Donough, Autodesk. He won several international design competitions and prizes for sustainable design teaching. He has published more than 80 scientific publications and monographs with Taylor and Francis, Riba and Details.

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