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

      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

      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

      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

      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

      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

      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

      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

      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

      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

      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

    • Final Thesis Design Studio

      In the frame of the recently closed partnership between IED and the California based Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, Inc., in the Thesis Design Studio  students will have the chance to develop some of the components for the new Hyperloop infrastructure. Hyperloop, based on Tesla Motors CEO and SpaceX founder Elon Musk's idea of a new high-speed transportation system, consists of a low pressure tube with (cushion air supported) suspended magnetic linear accelerated capsules that are transported at both low and high speeds throughout the length of the tube. Passengers and Freight may enter and exit Hyperloop at stations located either at the ends of the tube, or branches along the tube length. The initial route, preliminary design, and logistics of the Hyperloop transportation system are being derived to develop a system of capsules that travel between Los Angeles and San Francisco. The total one-way trip time is 35 minutes from county line to county line. The capsules leave on average every 30 seconds from each terminal carrying 28 people each.
      In particular, students will focus on developing their design proposals for the new Hyperloop stations concepts, Quay Valley prototype , the new stations proposals in (LA and SF), the multipurpose pillars that support the tube both in urban environment and in open field, and the urban infrasctructural network concept. Collaborations with students from transportation program may happen to develop capsule design, and baggage systems. All design activities will be driven by a smart building approach to develop a new sustainable architecture that uses the most efficient technologies to reduce energy consumption, to produce energy from renewable resources and to be constantly connected for a real time Internet management of the space.

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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