ART021 - Site and Environment

SchoolWelsh School of Architecture
Department CodeARCHI0
Module CodeART021
External Subject CodeK100
Number of Credits10
Language of DeliveryEnglish
Module Leader Mr Donald Alexander
SemesterDouble Semester
Academic Year2013/4

Outline Description of Module

In this module, an analytical approach is taken to the physical environment experienced by users outside buildings.  The theme is the ambient environment of the site.  The module discusses basic physics needed to understand physical environments in general, climatic processes involved in creating the local environment of a site, procedures for analysing environmental data to provide designers with objectives, and the physical needs that users have for their environments.  Successful environmental design must start with an understanding of the ambient environment, of how it arises, of its short and long term variation, of its affect on comfort, and of how it can be harnessed, modified, and moderated.  

On completion of the module a student should be able to

·         demonstrate an understanding of basic concepts in environmental physics;

·         discuss in principle the physics of building environmental performance;

·         understand how these matters affect comfort and impact on performance of the built environment;

·         utilise these concepts to solve problems in environmental physics using basic numerical and graphical procedures;

·         interpret climatic data with regard to environmental constraints and design objectives.

How the module will be delivered

The module will be delivered through:

·         Lectures: The principal subject matter will be explained in lectures, assisted by visual aids, interaction with the students and, where applicable, demonstrations.   Lectures will, where possible, be recorded and available for review.

·         On-line support material and reading: The module content will be accessible to students in electronic form on line.  In addition, certain texts will be used as main reference sources to ensure that students are familiar with the material covered in them.

Assignments: There will be practical exercises set to give students practice in implementing some subject-specific skills.

Skills that will be practised and developed

Practical skills developed in the module include the ability to :

·         estimate the availability and nature of sun, light, noise and wind at a site;

·         estimate the influence and effect of site features;

·         operate software for climatic and environmental analysis.

How the module will be assessed

The module will be assessed through a class test, set to both test the students depth and breadth of knowledge of the subject matter taught, and their ability to solve environmental problems using the procedures used in the course.

The potential for reassessment in this module

Reassessment will be by class test during the summer.

Assessment Breakdown

Type % Title Duration(hrs) Period Week
Class Test 100
Class Test
2 1 N/A

Syllabus content

·        Basic units: the measurement of energy and energy flow; the physics of heat and light transfer.

·        The ambient environment: environmental states relevant to human perception, comfort and health, relating to heat, light, humidity, and noise. 

·        Thermal comfort: principles of human thermal comfort and its relationship to building environments.

·        Climate: energy balance of the Earth (solar and geothermal); solar energy, its nature, atmospheric dispersion, and qualities; the world's climatic regions.

·        Sky: types of sky and sky radiation in environmental design, the availability of sunlight and skylight, solar geometry.

·        Wind: the form and nature of wind near the Earth’s surface; modifications by structures.

·        Hygrothermal effects: temperature and humidity of the air.

·        Applied climate: the interpretation of climatic data for the purposes of environmental building design; the use of software for climate analysis.  

Essential Reading and Resource List

Set reading for the module will be delivered through Learning Central.

Supplementary information can be found in:

Randall McMullan and Ivor H Seeley. Environmental Science in Building.  Palgrave Macmillan, 2007  0-230-52536-9

Randall Thomas. Environmental design: an introduction for architects and engineers.  London, Spon, 1996.  0-419-19930-6

TA Markus, EN Morris.  Buildings, Climate and Energy.  London, Pitman, 1980.  0-273-00268-6

Victor Olgyay. Design with Climate; bioclimatic approach to architectural regionalism.  Princeton, PUP, 1963.

G Z Brown, Mark DeKay. Sun, wind & light; Architectural design strategies. 2nd ed. Wiley and Sons, New York, 2001. 0-471-34877-5.

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