Interdisciplinarity at the service of sustainable design
02.11.17 - The integration of multiple sustainability issues within the architectural project involves the development of innovative interdisciplinary approaches. This concept of integrated design is at the heart of the Teaching Unit "Architecture and Sustainability: Performance studies".
The Teaching Unit "Architecture and sustainability: Performance studies" (UE K) focuses on a detailed design and analysis exercise of the climate-responsiveness and energy-efficiency of a building’s envelope. This exercise aims at integrating several environmental criteria together with performance objectives into the architectural design process. It resorts to several assessment methods, of which the students will have to master the principles and use, with a particular emphasis on a range of simulation tools of variable complexity.
Under the aegis of Marilyne Andersen, Dean of ENAC and Head of Interdisciplinary Laboratory of Performance-Integrated Design (LIPID), the Swiss team has recently won the prestigious US DOE Solar Decathlon 2017 competition in Denver, Colorado, with a concept entitled Neighborhub. This recognition for the "Swiss Living Challenge" rewards a team coming from 4 higher education institutions (EPFL, HEIA-FR, UNIFR, HEAD), consisting of 250 students, of which 44 students present on-site, and supported by 150 academic and professional supervisors. Central to this approach is the notion of interdisciplinarity, which was tested by students, throughout this ambitious project.
Among the many didactic activities that were put in place to achieve it, the Teaching Unit "Architecture and sustainability: Performance studies"(UEK) offered a particularly suitable framework for the analysis and validation aspects of the options considered by the Swiss Living Challenge team, partnering in its teaching team with team members. For three years, the theme of the teaching unit, previously concerning bioclimatic housing, has, therefore, more specifically focused on the perspective of a participation to the US DOE Solar Decathlon 2017. About fifty students in architecture, civil engineering, and environmental sciences were asked to explore different ways of modeling and assessing performance in order to conceive the constructive elements and the bioclimatic strategies of the pavilion. Emphasis was notably placed on energy performance, comfort aspects, and control of environmental impacts (LCA).
The didactic approach of this interdisciplinary teaching was presented in its 2017 edition during the 33rd edition of the International Conference on Passive Low Energy Architecture held in Edinburgh, Scotland, from 3rd to 5th July 2017.
Émilie Nault, Sergi Aguacil Moreno, Emmanuel Rey, Marilyne Andersen, "Energy performance analysis in interdisciplinary education – Lessons learned from a simulation-based teaching approach", International Conference PLEA 2017, Edinburgh, July 3-5, 2017
This teaching is an integral part of the program "Integrated Design Architecture and Sustainability" (IDEAS), initiated and led by Prof. Marilyne Andersen (LIPID) and Prof. Emmanuel Rey of the Laboratory of Architecture and Sustainable Technologies (LAST).