Thermal Monocoques: An Energy Systems Laboratory
In this seminar, students learn to design energy systems that can orchestrate the flow of energy through buildings in novel ways. For these systems, the key to reducing carbon intensity lies in the design of heat-exchanging components in close thermal contact with freely available energy, found in the environment. What's an energy system in architecture? Broadly, it's an element that contributes to the transfer or conversion of energy from one state to another. In this course, examples of new energy systems may include a personal comfort system, facade element, or the design of a building section.
The seminar is centered on design-led learning with lectures and hands-on workshops. Through semester-long projects, focused on practical building applications and proof-of-concept experimentation, teams will explore topics related to building performance, material extraction, embodied carbon, and experimental methods. Each team will couple their designs with whole-building energy flows, to understand the atmospheric, social, and life-cycle potential of their chosen energy systems.
Overall, students will gain an advanced understanding of heat transfer in buildings, experimental methods, prototyping, as wells as analytical and computational modeling techniques for early design decisions. Likewise, teams will learn how the thermal performance of energy systems can be a catalyst for design in the built environment.
** Note, this year's seminar will team up with Mass Design Group to develop solutions for real-world problem spaces.