Smart Buildings and Sustainable Design

Master - Turin

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The Master in Smart Buildings and Sustainable Design at Istituto Europeo di Design in Turin is a 12 months full time studio based program. Sustainability is addressed in terms of Design strategies that optimize environmental, energy and social behaviors of the urban built environment. Smart buildings involve interactive and web connected technology to be embedded within architecture in order to become aware of what is going on in the surrounding environment and acquire the capability of virtuous reactions. City innovation is the challenging variations that the problematic post-industrial polluted cities will have to face over the next few years. 

  • Start date
    February 2016
  • Language

The master in Smart Buildings and Sustainable Design is intended 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.

Contents and structure
The first month will be dedicated to introduce the 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, the 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, a series of activities (theoretical lectures, seminars, design workshops, conferences, construction workshops) will disseminate knowledge and stimulate the 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.

News and current activities are constantly recorded in the Master blog:

  • Methodology Area

    • Sustainability in Architecture (in collaboration with Envipark)

      The course will explore the following themes:
      - Design with climate: sustainable design approach
      - Sustainable Sites : Design strategies to minimize the impact on ecosystem
      - Design of Energy / Efficient and Healthy Buildings
      - The impact of building materials on environmental quality- Life cycle analysis
      - Materials with low environment impact
      - Technologies and system for the thermal envelope


    • Green technologies (in collaboration with Envipark)

      The course will explore the following themes:
      - Energy building performance
      - Renewable sources to buildings (photovoltaic, wind, solar geothermal)
      - Experimental new energy technologies
      - Energy saving strategies and technologies
      - Lighting
      - Indoor environmental quality

    • Sustainable Design Assessment (in collaboration with Envipark)

      The course will explore the different rating systems for the design, construction, operation, and maintenance of green buildings, homes and neighbourhoods.

      - LEED
      - Passivhaus institute
      - Protocollo ITACA

    • Building Envelope (Carlo Micono & Guido Zanzottera)

      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, opaque or transparent, has to adapt its behavior to external conditions and user needs. According to this point of view, building envelope is nowadays considered as the skin of buildings, with adaptive and dynamic performances. The module of the courses 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 (Carlo Micono & Guido Zanzottera)

      The course program includes a refresh of thermodynamics basis which is necessary in order to comprehend how energy is exchanged between the building and the surrounding environment. Then, fundamental modeling techniques will be taught, using dynamic energy modeling software EnergyPlus through 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) systems which will be modeled into the software in order to update the dynamic energy model and perform a full building analysis, introducing the concept of “source energy”.
      The capability to simulate various system configurations will be very useful in the optimization process of both passive and active system of the building. A special attention will be dedicated to energy saving solutions.

    • Data driven strategies for environmental design (in collaboration with Co-de-iT)

      The course will introduce the students to parametric design techniques as a new medium for architectural design. The workshop aims to explore context-specific design and patterns based on a feedback loop and negotiations between the relevant forces and the participant’s aesthetic sensibility and to explore new design possibilities towards performance-oriented design. The workshop will teach at managing and develop the relation between information and geometry working on condition-specific envelope systems. Surface discretization (paneling), driving geometry through information (whether coming from environmental analysis or any kind of database), extracting and managing informations for construction processes all require an understanding of data structures in order to build seamless design-to-construction pipelines. 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 (in collaboration with Officine Arduino)

      The possibility to connect an object to the Internet is revolutionary. Interacting with objects using the Internet is the revolution. Participants will learn to put Things online in this workshop focused on Arduino Yùn. When a device is connected 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. This workshop is focused on the new Arduino board: the Arduino Yùn. At the end of the workshop, every participant will be able to collect information to re-post on the Web and how to manage this board to activate engines, lights and other devices by Facebook, Twitter, feed RSS and email. A robot is an independent system that can accomplish tasks following algorithms and predefined instructions. It is the best system to learn to develop codes for the real world. Many school curricula have robotics as a fundamental subject for teaching and training students. Robotics is the ideal field where to train intellectual abilities such as the capability for abstraction, rationalization, problem analysis and creativity. In this workshop participants will be practically guided into the codification of robotics basic theories and techniques by learning through hands-on activities what your Arduino robot needs to achieve some assignments.

  • Tools Development Area

    • Ecotect (Carlo Micono & Guido Zanzottera)

      The software Autodesk Ecotect will be explained in order to evaluate:
      - climate data of different places all around the world;
      - shadowing analysis at urban scale, in order to define the best orientation, distances, and height of buildings;
      - shadowing analysis at building scale, in order to define the best shape, distribution of openings and solar shadings shapes in a building;
      - solar energy on a specific surface of a building, in order to evaluate solar gains for passive heating, and to quantify energy production by solar panels;
      - daylight factor analysis and daylight distribution inside a building.

    • Introduction to parametric design with Grasshopper (in collaboration with Co-de-iT)

      The visual programming interface, Grasshopper, has extended Rhino into a powerful parametric design tool. It enables architects and designers the ability to translate design thinking into a parametric logic that maintains associative links between geometry. It is an extremely fast and intuitive way of creating flexible and parametric models. The workshop will be an introduction to parametric design. It aims to promote digital technologies to support the design and manufacture providing participants 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. The modeling of parametric geometries (NURBS and Mesh) in fact requires the ability to set and manipulate data structures – information – in order to define the entire process of design that can go from design to production. Students will learn how to build and develop parametric data structures (from basic simple lists to complex data trees) to inform their data-driven geometry/envelopes, to create populations of responsive models and how to extract and use relevant informations from such models for construction processes.

    • Arduino & Processing aka warm up with Physical Computing (in collaboration with Officine Arduino)

      Processing was created in 2001 by Casey Reas and Ben Fry at MIT; they were looking for a programming language for beginners and neophytes. Soon Processing became the most popular prototyping instrument for students, artists and designers. Several libraries created by the community allow everyone to use Processing for very different projects, like 3D printing, interactive installations, video control. 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.
      Arduino was created to simplify interaction with the real world. Sensors, actuators, buttons, light and much more can be connected to the board through simple steps; at the same time, its powerful integrated programming system allows to control it by providing intuitive and straightforward instructions to be organized in programs. In this workshop you will learn by hands-on activities under the guidance of expert teachers and you will acquire the skills to create different interactive circuits that will introduce you to the world of physical computing.

  • Design Area

    • Sustainable retrofit (Filippo Taidelli)

      Environmental goals can only be achieved by improving and renewing existing infrastructures.
      FTA’s workshop aims to instill in students energetically efficient consciousness and sensibility toward context and topology, implementing a delicate balance between innovative technologies and the use of exiting traditional materials. Translating the limits posed by energetically conscious design into a creative opportunity, this approach takes vernacular architecture as starting point for an innovative architecture based on existing, everyday buildings.

    • New ways to design in emergency - A sustainable approach in refugee camps conception (Alessio Battistella)

      Today’s conflicts and natural disasters force people, more than ever, to leave their homes and search for shelter outside of their familiar environment. The displacement generates lots of pressure, not only over people, social structures or the humanitarian community but also to natural resources and the environment. This is why the course aims to promote an ecological approach to the conception of refugee camps.
      In a crisis situation, displaced communities need to search for and establish themselves in a new territory in an extremely short period of time and with the constraint of leaving everything behind. This circumstance leads us (architects) to look for solutions that will consider and combine community’s knowledge and culture, local/external materials and the ecological context in which the camp is placed; with the purpose of giving a solution that does not go against the environment and that also allows people to overcome crisis, easies the development of a durable solution and make the community resilient to its previous state.
      The main objective is to conceive all the elements needed in a camp from a more environmentally conscious perspective. Within the course we start by establishing a requirement: that for different ecological areas different solutions must be found, according to available resources and the capacity of the territory to support human settlements.
      Moreover, aware of how humanitarian help is handled today and the amount of waste that its packaging generates, we think that recycling elements and using local materials to build camps infrastructure becomes vital, especially conceiving and optimizing all the components involved in packaging so they can become construction materials. Furthermore, by thinking energy production of a camp as something that can be locally we assure independency that is essential in a crisis situation. Through these postulates emerges the idea that it is possible to think emergency infrastructure starting from a sustainable approach, which is the premise of the course.

    • Final Thesis Design Studio (Cesare Griffa, Carlo Ostorero , Paolo Scoglio)

      The Design Studio that will lead the students through the process of designing their final thesis is intended to be the place in which all the knowledge acquired in the other classes will find a practical application. Students will be required to develop a proposal for an innovative urban environment, conceived as a sustainable built environment that reduces energy consumptions through passive and robotic based active strategies, produces energy from renewable resources, take advantage of closed loop cycles that use waste as a resource, and are physically connected to the web as part of a smart city. Students will work both on a design and on a prototypal phase by realizing working components of their proposal. The final Thesis will be presented at the end of the Master during an Open Event that will involve the presence of the local partners.


  • New column

È lodato quel maestro che fa egli stesso ciò che insegna agli altri
(proverbio italiano)

Allo IED insegnano professionisti che quotidianamente si confrontano con il mercato. Qui puoi leggere i loro CV.

Cesare Griffa - Coordinator

Cesare Griffa - Coordinator
Cesare Griffa  studied architecture at the Polytechnic of Turin and the Architectural Association in London, and practiced collaborating with Zaha Hadid Architects and Arata Isozaki & Partners. Since 2006, he founded his own practice in Turin. 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). He has lectured on the topics of digital architecture in Italy and abroad. He is the 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

Riccardo Balbo - IED Torino Director

Riccardo Balbo - IED Torino Director
Architect, PhD in Theory and Construction of Architecture (2007), is Lecturer in Digital Architectural Design at the School of the Built Environment (2008), University of Salford (UK), where he teaches at Under Graduate, Post Graduate [Digital Arch. Design and Urban Design], supervises PG dissertations and PhDs. He is appointed at the Polytechnic of Turin (Italy) as Temporary Professor at the School of Architecture where he has taught Urban morphology, Architectural IT, Architectural Design studios 1 (2004/6) and Architectural and Urban design studio 1(taught in English – 2007/present). He is member of the scientific committee of the CRD-PVS, Documentation and Research centre in Technology, Architecture and City in Developing Countries, Polytechnic of Turin and adjunct professor at the Habitat, Technology and Development master (2005/current). He is Core Members of Urban Quality Research Centre (SOBE) and co-founded MInD (Mediated Intelligence in Design) Research group; member of the Advisory board of the Design Directorate at SOBE. He also manages his own architectural firm in Turin since 1996. His professional experience focus mainly in private and public building refurbishment, restoration and interior design. He has worked on design projects that required the experimental use of new materials, Information Technologies and a design sustainable approach to heritage and the environment. Linkedin - Riccardo Balbo

Alessio Battistella

Alessio Battistella
His practice focuses on landscape integration of systems to the production of renewable energy. He works on research and teaching at DIET (Department of Civil Engineering and Land), University of Pavia, the BEST (Department of Science and Technology of the Built Environment) of the Polytechnic of Milan. Consultant for ERSE (ENEA - Research on Electric System). Member of Scientific Committee - Master Landscapes extraordinary - NABA (New Academy of Fine Arts of Milan) / Politecnico of Milan. Linkedin - Alessio Battistella

Filippo Taidelli

Filippo Taidelli
Filippo Taidelli, architect, graduated with a dissertation in Sustainable Design which he researched and developed at E.T.S.A.M in Madrid under the tutorship of Ábalos&Herreros. He furthered the experimentation and practice in environmentally sensitive design at Mario Cucinella Architects in Bologna in the role of lead architect from 2000 to 2005. In 2005, he opened the studio Filippo Taidelli Architetto in Milan, a multidisciplinary design studio, realizing architecture, industrial and interior design with special interest toward the experimentation and application of environmental strategies to reduce energy consumption. This approach has been recognized through various awards, exhibitions and conferences in both Italy and abroad. Since 2005, Filippo Taidelli is a Visiting Professor at Scuola Politecnica di Design in the Master’s course of Interior Design. From 2007 to 2011 he was a professor of Interior Design in the Faculty of Design at Milano‘s Politecnico. Linkedin - Filippo Taidelli

Andrea Graziano

Andrea Graziano
Andrea Graziano is an architect, member and co-founder of \"Co-de-iT - Computational Design Italy\", which is currently engaged in teaching workshops about digital tools and digital fabrication into architectural design, lecturing and consultancy work. He runs the internationally renowned \"DigitAG&\" blog about generative and computational design and scripting techniques into architecture. Andrea is an active catalyst through his intense activity of social networking of the paradigm-shift in the fields of architectural research, computation and science. A ‘digital explorer’ and ‘knowmad’ aiming to research, curate and envision, the rapid evolution of science, technology, art and philosophy, their convergence and tooling into ‘the extended human’. Andrea is also collaborating with LaN - Live Architecture Network organizing and teaching in several international workshops.

Alessio Erioli

Alessio Erioli
Alessio Erioli is Engineer and Senior Researcher at Università di Bologna where he also teaches Architectural Design, MArch in Biodigital Architecture, PhD in Architectural Engineering, co-founder  and coder at Co-de-iT. He has been advisor of many Master Thesis in Engineering and Architecture; he has lectured for (among others) IaaC (Barcelona), AA Visiting school in Paris, Accademia Belle Arti Bologna, TU Innsbruck, Universidad Iberoamericana (Mexico). His interests interweave teaching & design ecologies in Computational design, articulating complexity to trigger emergent potential. His recent interests regard the relations among matter and agency: Agent-Based modeling simulation of Complex Adaptive Systems in architecture coupled with form-finding strategies. He is also skilled in computational design & modeling on several platforms (Rhinoceros, Grasshopper, Processing, 3D Studio, Ecotect; scripting skills in C#, Python, RhinoScript).

Carlo Micono

Carlo Micono
Dr. Micono is an Environmental Engineer and a Lecturer at Politecnico of Turin. He is an expert on energy issues related to the environment.

Guido Zanzottera

Guido Zanzottera
Energy Engineer, he is an Energy Modeler and Sustainability Consultant for an important engineering firm in Turin, working on various projects over the Italian territory and abroad; he is also tutor of the academic course in \"Sustainable Architecture\" at Polytechnic of Turin. He is a LEED AP professional with specialty for Existing Building: Operation and Maintenance and he has been part of the team which worked on a LEED Platinum Certified building under the LEED Core&Shell protocol. Linkedin - Guido Zanzottera 

Carlo Ostorero

Carlo Ostorero
Graduated in Civil Engineering, specialising in Architectural and Building design, at the Politecnico di Torino. Since 1998, he is Researcher at the Politecnico di Torino University in the field of “Building Technology” currently conducting research in the Department of Structural, Geotechnical and Building Engineering and lecturing on the M.Sc and PhD courses. For over 10 years he has been adjunct Professor in the Faculty of Architecture at the University of Parma.  In 2000, Carlo Ostorero founded the STUDIO DEDALO ARCHITETTURA whose fundamental expertise regards sustainable architectural design according to the state-of-the-art environmental classification criteria (passivhouse) and the most up-to-date solutions in terms of installations and perceived comfort (including photovoltaic and solar thermal energy, wind-power, geothermal vertical probing over a diffused network, optimisation of acoustics and illumination, etc). The evaluation of the environmental impact and the themes of urban renewal and regeneration have stimulated the Studio to become increasingly involved in large-scale urban planning with respect to environmental recovery and artistic landscaping. Over recent years, STUDIO DEDALO ARCHITETTURA has addressed projects of increasing complexity and scale involving, for example, hotels, schools, hospitals, and factories in Italy and abroad. Also consulting is offered in the field of interior design and furnishing, drawing on the collaborations with leading companies recognized around the world in the field of made-in-Italy furniture. Linkedin - Carlo Ostorero