Research Projects

The Dublin School of Architecture is an active participant on a number of fudned research projects including ARCH4CHANGE, Drive 0, Meeting of Energy Professional Skills and OIKONET. Fine out more about these research projects below.

 

The Dublin School of Architecture is a partner on ARCH4CHANGE which is seeking to develop a Digital Climate Change Curriculum for Architectural Education.

ARCH4CHANGE seeks to co-create an architectural ‘climate emergency’ curriculum that is fit for the new decade, in which society faces unprecedented challenges, related to mitigating and buffering the effects of the climate crisis, underpinning the transition towards a carbon neutral society.

It will do this by freely sharing environmental and climatic knowledge, skills, methods, tools and approaches that are necessary for architecture students and their educators.

  • WORKING TOWARDS A CARBON NEUTRAL SOCIETY: to increase student and educator knowledge about responding to climate change, going beyond basic and fragmented sustainability knowledge in architecture.
  • TACKLING SKILLS GAPS for (and with) both architecture students and teachers through a radically changed architecture curriculum, and co-developing a teacher training toolkit.
  • NEW AND INNOVATIVE DIGITAL PEDAGOGIES and collaborative ways of digital learning to strengthen and change teaching and learning approaches.

The Dublin School of Architecture is a partner on DRIVE 0 which aims to accelerate deep renovation processes by enhancing a consumer centered circular renovation process in order to make deep renovation environmentally friendly, cost effective and more attractive for consumers and investors.

The DRIVE 0 concept is based on developing circular deep renovation solutions and supporting consumer centered business models for 7 specific study and demonstration cases as real environments. The selected cases are already in preparation and each of these cases have a specific local driver for the need of a holistic and circular deep renovation, which is translated in ‘case specific challenges and tasks’ and case specific key performance indicators.

Eight points of architecture for the anthropocene 

The Anthropocene is a term used to describe the current geological age, considered by many as the period during which human activity has become the dominant influence on climate and the environment. The world is changing profoundly and yet architects and architectural education have failed to develop an architecture fit for the Anthropocene.  

Architecture, and architectural education in particular, remains hostage to a set of moribund conceptual ideas. In Vers une Architecture Le Corbusier pilloried 19th century beaux arts mimicry of classical architecture and set out his five points of architecture as guiding principles for a new architectural language, fit for modernist purpose in the 20th century machine age.  

  1. Pilotis
  2. Free plan 
  3. Free façade
  4. Horizontal window
  5. Roof garden

Yet here we are in the early 21st century, hostage to what now amounts to a nouveau beaux arts, pseudo-modernist architectural language, antithetical to the climate change performance imperatives of the Anthropocene.  

Accepting that it is better to light a candle than curse the darkness, a small group within the Dublin School of Architecture have spent the past seven years testing, developing and honing a new principles-based approach to the design of zero energy and sustainable buildings. Starting in 2011 with the Postgraduate Certificate in Digital Analysis & Energy Retrofit and followed in 2012 by the Master of Science in Energy Retrofit Technology, these academic upskilling programmes have provided the means to explore nearly zero energy building performance retrofit design through a range of residential and non-residential building types.  

On the basis of a rigorous iterative exploration over a period of seven years, the team has now validated a Master of Science in Building Performance (Energy Efficient in Design) NZEB upskilling programme which will be delivered in blended online mode using a range of cloud-based technologies. At the centre of this programme is the kernel of an architectural manifesto: the eight points of architecture for the Anthropocene, or in the language of Le Corbusier’s Vers une Architecture, les huit points d'architecture de l'Anthropocène. 

  1. Geometry / form factor optimisation 
  2. U-value and building heat loss calculation 
  3. Air tightness design and installation 
  4. Ventilation design and installation  
  5. Thermal bridge calculation 
  6. Condensation risk analysis 
  7. Overheating potential assessment 
  8. Cost optimality evaluation  

Are architects failing society? Is architectural education is failing architects? The Architectural profession stands poised to grasp the challenge of a design philosophy fit for the Anthropocene or be lost in the approaching tsunami of regulatory responses to anthropogenic climate change.  

Curse the darkness? Light a candle? The choice is yours.  Welcome to the Dublin School of Architecture MSc in Building Performance (Energy Efficient in Design), an essential education for the architect of the Anthropocene.  

To design low energy, sustainable and carbon neutral architecture fit for purpose in the era of unavoidable climate change, the architect of the Anthropocene must be able to: 

  1. Manipulate building space, layout and orientation to optimise geometry and form factor as a fundamental design driver to optimise building performance at optimal cost.
  2. Analyse and calculate the thermal performance of new and existing buildings using a range of fabric heat loss calculation methods and computer applications.
  3. Develop building design proposals which incorporate and integrate airtightness design and installation requirements within a whole building energy performance design and construction strategy. 
  4. Assess and implement ventilation design strategies which support and compliment a low energy building fabric performance receiving environment 
  5. Execute an assessment of surface condensation risk (fRsi) in building fabric assemblies using linear thermal bridge calculation in order to develop code compliant construction details which manage mould risk 
  6. Execute an assessment of condensation risk analysis in building fabric assemblies using hygrothermal modelling and develop code compliant construction assemblies to manage hygrothermal risk 
  7. Appraise a low energy building design proposal to determine overheating risk potential and propose fabric and services installation mitigation measures to manage overheating risk 
  8. Apply the principles of life cycle cost analysis in selecting fabric interventions, services installations and renewable technologies and apply an understanding of the financial parameters impacting on cost optimality 
  • Cormac Allen 
  • Benat Arregi 
  • Daniel Coyle 
  • Patrick Daly 
  • Joseph Little 
  • Andy Lundberg 
  • Simon McGuinness 

The Meeting of Energy Professional Skills (MEnS) project was funded by the Horizon 2020 EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, and addresses the EE4 Energy Efficiency action focused on upskilling construction professionals in ‘Nearly Zero Energy Building’ (NZEB).

The MEnS project will provide and enhance the NZEB skills of building managers such as engineers and architects through a series of EU-wide inter-disciplinary accredited training activities developed by 9 universities and 3 market players. The project focuses on retrofitting of residential housing stock and emphasises gender equality, with the objective of achieving participation of at least 50% female or unemployed in the training programmes.

The MEnS project aims to:

  • Increase the knowledge and skills of at least 1800 engineers, architects and building managers in NZEB design and construction, out of which 50% will be women or unemployed.
  • Create and implement a new education and training programme for professionals in 10 countries, under the European Qualifications Framework provisions and based on common postgraduate learning outcomes (Level 9 in the Irish National Framework of Qualifications).
  • Create and implement an innovative, interdisciplinary education and training programme with an integrated approach, focusing on real case studies.
  • Accredit courses using the formal procedure applying in each country and assign ECTS credits to the learning.
  • Enhance and support the development of a professional network in Europe, specifically focused on retrofitting of housing stock towards NZEB, connecting with a target audience of over 250,000 stakeholders and market players.
  • Provide working opportunities to unemployed professionals by bringing them closer to possible employers and improving their qualifications.
  • Continue the education and training courses for at least 5 years after the end of the project based on concrete sustainability plans agreed by University partners.
  • Achieve energy savings and/or increased use of renewables of at least 28,96 GWh/year.

Central to the MEnS project are the postgraduate level ‘Professional Energy Skills in NZEB’ modules which will be offered free of charge by each of the 10 Universities listed below.  These courses aim to empower building professionals through the development of skills in energy efficiency and integration of renewables in the retrofit of existing housing stock.

Oikonet: A global multidisciplinary network on housing research and learning

Oikonet is a three-year international collaborative housing research programme funded by the EU Lifelong Learning Programme that began in October 2013 with 34 partners from within and outside Europe including DIT, consisting of universities, research organisations, local administrations and professional and social organizations. The programme developed from an earlier research programme entitled Oikodomus that created a virtual campus for a smaller group of institutes.

According to the project’s coordinator, Leandro Madrazo, the objective of OIKONET - the OIKODOMOS Network - is “to create a platform of collaboration to study contemporary housing from a multidisciplinary and global perspective by encompassing the multiple dimensions which condition the forms of dwelling in today’s societies: architectural, urban, environmental, economic, cultural and social. Its aim is to foster the exchange of knowledge, methodologies and good practices among research groups and higher education institutions.” This expansive ambition of the programme affords multiple and exciting opportunities for students, teachers and researchers while simultaneously presenting huge challenges.

OIKONET has three areas of activity each one making a sub-network within the network: housing research, community participation actions and pedagogical activities. DSA participates in the pedagogic sub-network which aims to bring together different stakeholders, learning environments and disciplines. The yearly activities of the network include meetings, digital workspaces, an international workshop and an international conference.