Smart Buildings and Sustainable Design

Master - Turin

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The Master in Smart Buildings and Sustainable Design addresses the issue of sustainability in terms of design strategies that optimize environmental, energy and social behaviors of the urban environment. The course is aimed at embedding interactive and web connected technology with architecture, in order to become aware of what is going on the surrounding environment and acquire the capability of virtuous reactions. The resulting professionals are able to face the problematic post-industrial polluted cities combining design and technical skills to an outstanding theoretic, critical and cultural knowledge.

Career opportunities – The professional specialized in Smart Buildings and Sustainable Design can work within companies and architecture, engineer and design studios, having a strong multidisciplinary approach to environmental, energy and social issues.

  • Start date
    January 2018
  • Duration
    6 Months
  • Attendance
  • Language

Target - The Master in Smart Buildings and Sustainable Design is designed for graduates in architecture, civil engineering, architectural and built environment studies or design studies in related fields who wish to explore the built environment to turn economic and environmental constraints into creative design opportunities, as well as suggest techno-functional strategies considering social and energy issues.

Methodology and structure - The course includes different teaching activities: theoric classes, seminars, design workshops, speeches, construction labs.
The first month will be dedicated at introducing students to the skills of the job, including 3d modeling, digital fabrication, Arduino technology and principles of environmental strategies. From the second month and through the next 11 months, students will work on a challenging thesis project that will be presented to a public audience at the end of the Master. During this phase, classes will stimulate students on the topics of Green Energies Design Strategies, Smart Technologies for the Built Environment, Design Rating Systems and Certifications, Big Data, Urban Sharing. All the input coming from these activities will be embedded in the students design work to develop a compelling thesis project.

  • Methodology area

    • Sustainability in Architecture

      Energy building performance / Renewable sources to buildings / experimental new energy technologies / Energy saving strategies and technologies / Lighting / Indoor environmental quality.

    • Green Technologies

      Energy building performance / Renewable Sources to Buildings / Experimental New Energy Technologies / Energy Saving Strategies and Technologies / Lighting/ Indoor Environmental Quality.

    • Sustainable Design Assessment

      The course will explore the different rating systems for the design, construction, operation and maintenance of green buildings, homes and neighborhoods. LEED, Passivhaus Institute, Protocollo ITACA.


    • Building Envelope

      Building envelope is the physical layer between the conditioned space of a building and outside environment, through which air, water, heat, light, noise are exchanged. In order to ensure the best performances in terms of energy saving and thermal, visual and acoustic comfort, the building envelope has to adapt its behavior to external conditions and user needs. The course describes the main performances, materials, components, for opaque and transparent envelope systems, in order to give the fundamental skills to design a performing and innovative building envelope.

    • HVAC and Dynamic Energy Modeling

      The course program includes a refresh of thermodynamics basis which are necessary in order to comprehend how energy is exchanged between the building and the surrounding environment. Then it deals with fundamental modeling techniques using dynamic energy modeling software EnergyPlus and the visual interface DesignBuilder.
      This tools allow to evaluate energy performance of the building envelope; this analysis will be followed by a study of HVAC (Heating, Ventilating, Air Conditioning).

    • Driven Strategies for Environmental Design

      The course will introduce the students to parametric design techniques as a new medium for architectural design. Through visual scripting in Grasshopper (Generative modeling plug-in for Rhinoceros) participants will learn how to build and develop parametric data structures (from basic simple lists to complex data trees), data-driven responsive geometry and envelopes and how to extract relevant informations from such models for construction processes. Students will also develop a personal envelope project and its full design-to-construction pipeline.

    • The Internet of Things and Domotics

      Interacting with objects using the Internet is revolutionary. When a device is connect to the Internet to create messages and ads or when it can be consulted and managed by web pages and services, we talk of Internet of Things. Arduino Yùn, creates this “bridge” between the physical world and the Web. Participants will be able to collect information to re-post on the Web and to manage engines, lights and other devices using Facebook, Twitter, feed RSS and email. Participants will also be practically guided into the codification of robotics basic theories and techniques through hands-on activities.

  • Techniques and tools

    • Software Autodesk Ecotect

      Climate Data / Shadowing Analysis at Urban Scale / Shadowing Analysis at Building scale / Solar Energy on Buildings / Daylight Factor Analysis and Daylight Distribution inside a Building.

    • Introduction to Parametric Design with Grasshopper

      The workshop will be an introduction to parametric design with the aim of providing participants of the fundamentals of parametric and generative modeling through Grasshopper. The course goal is to highlight, managing and develop the relation between information and the geometry implicit in the use of parametric tools. Students will learn how to build and develop parametric data structures, from basic simple lists to complex data trees.

    • Arduino & Processing - Physical Computing

      The proximity between Processing and Arduino environments makes possible for every student to learn two languages employing just one; moreover, when combined with Arduino, Processing becomes an interactive graphic environment for physical computing. This workshop teaches students the skills to create different interactive circuits into the physical computing world, using practical activities and experts guidance.

  • Design area

    • Final Project

      Thanks to the partnership between IED and the California based Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, Inc., in the Final Thesis students will have the chance to develop some of the components for the new Hyperloop infrastructure. Hyperloop is based on an idea of Elon Musk, Tesla Motors CEO and founder, of a new high-speed transportation system.
      All design activities will be driven by a smart building approach to develop a new sustainable architecture.

Remarkable is that teacher who accomplishes himself what he teaches to others.
(Italian proverb)

IED faculty are professionals that daily face the market. Here you can read their bios.

Cesare Griffa - Course Coordinator

Cesare Griffa - Course Coordinator
He studied architecture at the Polytechnic of Turin and the Architectural Association in London, collaborating also with Zaha Hadid Architects and Arata Isozaki & Partners. He is a Fulbright fellow and has been Visiting Professor of Architectural Design at the Polytechnic of Turin, Visiting Scholar at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (Troy, NY) and at MIT Senseable City Lab (Cambridge, MA). Author of La Città Digitale (Meltemi, 2008) and Smart Creatures (Edilstampa 2012). His work has been selected in many international competitions and exhibits and widely published. Recent work explores possible applications of micro-alge bio technology for sustainable architecture and design. Linkedin: Cesare Griffa