Sustainable Design

Building Science + Technology

Fall 2012

Davidson Norris, instructor

Sustainable strategies and techniques covered in this course were principles of bioclimatic design: bioclimatic site design, sustainable water and waste treatment, regional bio-climates and related building types, building as thermal skin, passive heating, passive cooling, natural ventilation, daylighting, sustainable building systems, advanced sustainable technologies, sustainable materials and products, indoor air quality and environment.

These nominally separate sustainable building topics have to come together in an integrated sustainable design that successfully juggles potentially conflicting heating, cooling, ventilation, daylighting and indoor air quality objectives. At the same time, the architectural design must also integrate these sustainable objectives within a building’s broader and deeper architectural narrative.

To engage students in this complex functional and poetic exercise they designed a “Bio-dwelling” for one of four typical climates. Each week a new bio-climatic criteria was introduced, and each week students assessed its architectural and sustainable implications and integrate them into their developing Bio-dwelling design.

While the course introduced students to “advanced sustainable technologies,” it emphasized sustainable principles and practices designed to be deeply embedded in the building’s core, envelope, circulation, primary materials and finishes. This not only assured that the building’s sustainable performance endures but that its message of a more balanced integration of the natural and man-made does as well.