The course has a very distinct ethos based around the theme of environmentally sensitive building design. The aim is to provide you with skills and understanding that would enable you to take a leading professional and specialist role. It is also driven by the following key underlying themes that apply across all our architecture courses:
• Critical regionalism;
• User Centred Design; and
• Professional Development
Environmental issues rank at the very highest levels in the concerns of the general public and are particularly affected by the impact of the design and construction industry. The scale of influence ranges from building to urban dimensions. These are global problems requiring global and interconnected solutions and the course is designed to address issues from a world perspective. Issues are considered for different climate types and locations, giving a strong international dimension as well as providing opportunities to develop solutions that address local circumstances. The course is designed to give you the chance to acquire a mixture of skills and knowledge that would support roles as integrated and important members of design and construction teams. The course also provides opportunities to understand the specific needs of progression onto research degrees in the subject area.
Buildings consume vast amounts of natural resources during their construction and subsequent operation, accounting for around a third of the total energy used globally, and demand exploitation of natural resources to supply the materials. In use, building emissions add to global warming, damage the environment and create waste disposal problems. Buildings can also cause ill health and discomfort for their occupants due to poor air quality and inadequate internal conditions. This course considers the full range of issues associated with sustainable architecture including:
• Energy You will have the opportunity to understand human comfort and energy use and to examine critically the links between energy consumption and emissions of carbon dioxide. This includes an exploration of energy assessment methods for both domestic and non-domestic buildings in a variety of cultural and climatic contexts.
• Materials and resources You will have the opportunity to be able to examine the relationships between resource use and the design of building fabric, and both passive and active mechanisms for human control of the environment and environmental services.
• Global environment The course is suitable for students from a variety of cultural backgrounds and from different climatic regions. You will have the opportunity to consider the differences and similarities of built environments around the globe and to seek innovative approaches to the development of appropriate architecture in widely different contexts.
• Health and well being Central to the course ethos is the notion of user-centred design. All design aims to improve life. But in complex scenarios of construction the user, as the primary beneficiary of architecture, can become overlooked. The course aims to ask you to question the needs of the user and examine human comfort in relation to the quality of the built environment.
In all of these aspects you are asked to develop your own perspective and attitude, as part of your own continuing professional development. A key aspect of the course is that we ask you to become pro-active researchers in a complex field, making connections between a huge range of information and responding innovatively and with enterprise. At the heart of the student experience lie the shared experience of personal growth and development and the acquisition of knowledge, skills and understanding pertinent to the individual in developing their own careers in the field.