Smart Buildings and Sustainable Design

Master - Turin

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The Master course 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 in the surrounding environment and acquire the capability of virtuous reactions. Sustainable design deals with the challenges and problems of post-industrial polluted cities by combining design and technical skills to outstanding theoretic, critical and cultural knowledge.

Professional opportunities - Graduates can progress or start a career in national and international architecture and engineering studios as Designers or Specialists in sustainable strategies and innovative technologies. The highly technological profile of the Master course, including the use of 3D printers and emerging building technologies, opens the doors to public or private research centers, experimental labs and institutions related to product design and technology innovation.

  • Start date
    January 2019
  • 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.

  • Syllabus

    • 3D Modeling

      Intensive tutorial classes to learn 3D modeling skills with specific focus on Rhinoceros. These skills are the foundation to a parametric design approach able to embrace the contemporary complexity. During an intensive first week students learn the essential tools of Rhino, which are implemented later in the Smart Design Studio I module. 

    • Parametric Design

      Software tutorials on algorithmic design and modeling, specifically using Grasshopper. The course makes students able to model parametric geometries, such as NURBS and Mesh, starting from setting and manipulating information in order to define the entire design process. They progressively build parametric data structures from simple lists to complex data trees, inform their data-driven geometry/envelopes, create populations of responsive models and use relevant information from such models for construction processes. 

    • Digital Fabrication

      Introduction to the fast prototyping processes using numeric control machines and actual fabrication of prototypes using laser cuts, CNC-mills, robotic arms and 3D printers. This module explores the technologies, materials and applications of 3D printing, with a focus on 3D modeling software. In the end, participants will be able to design, model and produce any kind of 3D object. 

    • Physical Computing

      Introduction to creation of electronic circuits with controllers, sensors and actuators and to the acquisition of the processing based programming language Arduino. Processing is a popular prototyping instrument, which is useful for very different projects, like 3D printing, interactive installations, and video control.
      The proximity between Processing and Arduino environments makes possible for every student to learn two languages employing just one. 

    • Smart Design Studio I

      Design and fabrication of an interactive installation of about 2x2m big, 1:1 scale, using the numeric control machine. A series of short design workshops aims at developing specific skills on innovative and emerging sustainable design systems such as cnc wooden structures, photoactive envelope surfacing, design for emergency, etc. 

    • Smart Design Studio II – Reducing Energy

      Design of a residential unit from the conceptual definition to the pre-executive phase of design, using IES Architectural software package. The Unit will be completely in wood, reversible, and autonomous in terms of energy production and usage. The use of this software package is very common among top Engineers and the training provided by this module make students able to work as such high levels, to easily collaborate and to exchange models with professionals – facilitating an improved integrated and data driven process. 

    • Energetic Solutions

      Theoretical lectures on contemporary technologies used in Architecture and Engineering to reduce energetic wastes and to produce energy from renewable sources. Sudents use Ecotect software, which enables the evaluation of: climate data of different places all around the world; shadow analysis at urban scale in order to define the best orientation, distances, and height of buildings; shadow analysis at building scale, solar energy on a specific surface of a building, daylight factor analysis and daylight distribution inside a building.

    • Sustainable Engineering

      Classes dedicated to specific topics on technology integration in Architecture and Engineering. This module consists of lectures by guests coming from different institutions and companies who contribute with their professional experience to the debate around the main issues of sustainable engineering. 

    • Smart Building Thesis

      Urban or landscape scale project. Students are asked to develop their Final Project as a sustainable built environment with specific features such as energy consumptions reduction through passive and robotic based active strategies; energy from renewable resources; physical connection to the web as part of a smart city. Students work both on a design and on a prototypal phase and the project will be presented at the end of the Master course during an open event at the presence of local stakeholders. 

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

Andrea Graziano

Andrea Graziano
Architect and Computational Designer, Member and Co-founder of Co-de-iT - Computational Design Italy. He is currently engaged in teaching and lecturing at international workshops about computational design, digital tools and robotic fabrication in architectural design, and in consultancy work. He is also Member and Co-founder of FabLab Torino, the first FabLab in Italy, and Co-founder of digifabTURINg, a research cluster focused on digital fabrication, computation, robotics and material research applied to architecture, design and art. 

Marco Palma

Marco Palma
Master of Science in Architecture at the Polytechnic in Turin. During his studies, he has been Visiting Scholar at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in USA, where he developed a strong interest for digital fabrication and material research. He took part to research programmes related to computation and fabrication in Architecture, as Teaching Assistant and Researcher at the Department of Architecture and Design at the Polytechnic in Turin and holding the Chair for Digital Fabrication in Architecture in ETH Zurich. In 2016, he joined digifabTURINg.

Paolo Scoglio

Paolo Scoglio
Freelance Architect specialised in symbiotic architectural design. He boasts international collaborations with design studios and leading companies in the multi-material prefabrication field. Innovative Wood Architecture Lecturer, he describes his own architectural projects as “natural devices”: they are characterised by absolute symbiosis with the environment, by full landscape reversibility and they are unique in their usage of high-tech and natural materials combinations. 

Guido Zanzottera

Guido Zanzottera
Energy Engineer, he is an Energy Modeler and Sustainability Consultant for an important firm in Turin, working on many projects in Italy and abroad. He’s a certified Expert in Energy Management and a LEED AP professional with specialty for Existing Building. He worked on the design and construction of LEED buildings, Net+Nearly Zero Energy Buildings and on the design of a Smart Grid at urban scale in Middle East. 

Carlo Micono

Carlo Micono
Architect, Ph.D., is Coordinator of the Sustainability and Integrated Design group within Ai Studio, an engineering firm based in Turin. His professional and research focuses are the evaluation of thermal, visual and energy performances of innovative building envelopes, the performance oriented design, the energy audit and the integration of Renewable Energy Sources.