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Technical Architecture
Single Annual Cycle
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Learning outcomes of the course unit

- Situate individual project within the framework of UN Sustainable Development Goals and Climate Change Scenarios
- Define project-based regenerative design problem statements
- Define regenerative strategies beyond ticking certification that promote buildings and spaces which often deal with sustainability on limited dimensions.
- Define regenerative design strategies that relate to six interrelated scales: Ecosystems, Urban Environments, Buildings, Fa├žades, Components and Material, Human, thus operating at scales greater and smaller than that of the building.
- Orchestrate the conceptual framework with Tools to Frame Sustainable Strategies: Graphical Sustainable Design and Role of Thumbs, Scaled Models and Prototypes, Onsite measuring, Environmental Simulation Tools, Big Data informing the design
- navigate the big data that informs the regenerative design
- simulate design scenarios according to regenerative targets and co-benefits approaches
- generate scientific knowledge derived by the "research by design" conducted in the Studio
- Write a short scientific report describing the adopted regenerative design strategy and the achieved co-benefits

Course contents summary

City design can no longer be merely concerned with developing artefacts that produce limited environmental impacts within a specified target, or that limit implications for people's health within a certain threshold of emission. The targets established by the Paris Climate Agreement, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs), and the recent IPCC report will never be achieved by merely slowing the rate of depletion and degradation of the environment and human health.
These pressures mean that new ways of designing, retrofitting and living in cities are critically needed. Incorporating an understanding of how the living world works and what ecosystems do into the architectural and urban design is a step towards the creation and evolution of cities that are radically more sustainable and potentially regenerative.
A 'proactive' design approach is proposed in the course via a series of lectures drawn from outstanding international practitioners and researchers. They are seeking to integrate regenerative design principles into their concepts and workflows and will engage in dialogues with students by acknowledging the potential and the need to integrate science, big data and digital tools in the design process.
Students will incorporate regenerative design principles in the Studio and will reflect on these via a series of simplified simulations and a scientific report. Specific focus will be given to achieve a series of demonstrable regenerative Co-benefits in their final design. The goal is to achieve solutions that shares assets in a creative, elegant and efficient design "move" that leads to ecosystem processes, climatic conditions, energy flows, and people to reach a cooperation status.

Course contents

The course is based on the making of a regenerative design hypothesis and perform preliminary simulation via simple tools or simplified calculations. Students will learn the basics of how to make an initial simulation of how their work will impact the ecosystem, climatic conditions, energy patterns, carbon processes and health via co-benefits analysis. Here are the three foci in more details:
Ecosystem integration. It is explored how cities can produce their own food, energy, and water and be designed to provide habitat, cycle nutrients, and purify water, air and soil.
Climate Change. Urban Microclimate and Decarbonisation. The regenerative urban design focuses on how the built environment and its local current and future climate can be designed in ways to optimise both outdoor comfort and indoor comfort while balancing energy use and while seeking nature-based solutions (NBS) that are part of nature (rather than apart from nature).
Carbon and Ecology. Circular Design. In line with the four laws of ecology, regenerative design is holistic. It integrates and tracks the energy, material and emissions flow of cities, buildings, components and products (i.e. with LCA). Instead of the current take-make-dispose system, natural ecosystems are circular: There is no waste. Regenerative Design brings products and components from previous lives into buildings and ensures future lives through circular design principles.
Human Well-being. Biometrics. Regenerative Design aims to promote and enhance human wellbeing and health in the built environment. While a reductionist approach targets the absence of ill health, the regenerative design focuses on Salutogenisis, a term coined by Aaron Antonovsk, which means "generation of health". Designs for indoor and outdoor environments must demonstrably improve inhabitant health, and not merely seek to reduce ill-health.

Recommended readings

NABONI, E., HAVINGA L. Regenerative Design in Digital Practice: A Handbook for the Built Environment. Bozen-Bolzano: Eurac Research, 2019 (please download for free from Emanuele Naboni's profile in researchgate).
PEDERSEN ZARI, M., CONNOLLY, P., & SOUTHCOMBE, M. 2020 Ecologies Design: Transforming Architecture, Landscape and Urbanism. Oxon, Routledge Earthscan. 1st Edition
PEDERSEN ZARI, M. 2018 Regenerative Urban Design and Ecosystem Biomimicry. Oxon, Routledge. 1st Edition (hard cover).
After each lecture, a series of readings and publications are suggested.

Teaching methods

Students will attend Lectures by international practitioners and researchers that focus on sustainable, regenerative design. They will be introduced to research and built projects, as well as to the use of simulation techniques, quantitative and qualitative design methods.
Their design will focus on the concept of net ecological and social positive balance, and on formulating a robust and testable, regenerative design, hypothesis. The student along the year will develop a statement that will introduce a research question and will propose regenerative co-benefits via their design.

Assessment methods and criteria

Students will have to show by a written scientific report how their projects embody regenerative design principles (by design means) and provide a series of numerical evidence of their design strategies. The achieved co-benefits will be demonstrated.