Environmental Systems in Architecture

The primary focus of GSD 6125 is the study of ecological considerations in architectural design. These considerations include the thermal, luminous, and acoustic behavior of buildings. The course examines the basic scientific principles underlying these phenomena and introduces students to a range of technologies and analysis techniques for designing comfortable indoor environments. Students are challenged to apply these techniques and explore the role energy, light, sound, water, and materials can play in shaping architecture.

Students gain a better understanding of global resource issues and the role of buildings within this context. The course also presents the principles of heat flow in and around buildings. Basic manual and computer-based methods to predict the energy use of buildings are discussed. In addition, the course introduces the art and science of lighting buildings along with manual and computer-based methods for analyzing daylight design. Finally, the instructor touches upon a number of technologies and ecological concepts including natural ventilation, life cycle assessment, water management as well as conventional and emerging HVAC systems. The course includes a field trip to an exemplary building in the Boston area.

The course format consists of biweekly lectures and periodic workshops. Individual and group assignments as well as in-class presentations help students to study the contemporary use of environmental technologies in buildings.