A multi-disciplinary team of 6 researchers (two each from the University of Leeds, University of York and University of Sheffield) have been awarded research funding to investigate public perception of low carbon building materials. The research will start in May 2016 and is supported by The White Rose University Consortium, a strategic partnership between 3 of the UK’s leading research universities, Leeds, Sheffield and York. Sofie Pelsmakers, co-investigator from the Sheffield School of Architecture will collaborate with Danielle Densley Tingley, Jannik Giesekam (University of Leeds) and Karen Parkhill and Carolyn Snell from the University of York and the project will be lead by Katy Roelich at the University of Leeds. The project will explore public perception of low carbon building materials, including direct benefits and co-benefits and will aim to identify how public policy and designers could use this evidence to overcome existing barriers to the use of low carbon materials and accelerate their uptake. The project will start in May 2016 and last for 12 months.
Sofie Pelsmakers, lecturer in environmental design, was awarded travel funding by the World University Network (WUN), with contributions from the department and Sydney University to research the “Effect of uninsulated floors on occupant thermal comfort and compensating energy use”. Sydney University have a state-of the art and unique Internal Environmental (IEQ) Lab, headed by Professor Richard de Dear and which will be adapted to allow the research to take place in August 2016. Other projects awarded funding can be found here.
BRI (Building Research & Information) is a leading, well-established international peer-reviewed research journal which focuses on buildings, building stocks and their supporting systems, taking a holistic and transdisciplinary approach to buildings over their life. Sofie’s role as BRI’s Social Media Editor is to increase public awareness of the utility of high quality research and stimulate a 2-way dialogue between the research community and the users of research (policy makers, industry practitioners and wider civil society). Working closely within BRI’s editorial team, her remit is to accelerate the diffusion and use of research to improve policies and practices, as well as influence the research agenda itself.
You can follow updates about the latest and topical research via @SP_BRI. Richard Lorch, Editor-in-Chief of BRI, welcomed Sofie and said: “With an increasing need to focus on the impacts of research and improve the research community’s outreach, this is a high-profile and significant role. Sofie’s wide range of knowledge as a practitioner, writer, teacher and researcher provides the necessary insights to understand and engage with many different stakeholder groups and make a real difference to industry practices.”
Written by Sofie Pelsmakers for the RIBA Role Model Project, Sheffield School of Architecture and UCL energy Institute in support of International Women’s Day on 08.03.2016
The built environment is still not equated with a diverse work force unlike the stakeholders with whom we work with and for. The annual survey of women in architecture released last month, makes for uneasy reading: deep-rooted inequalities and perceptions of gender differences that seem to affect women architects particularly badly. So on international women’s day I’d briefly like to share my journey as a woman in architecture practice, research and academia. In June 2015, I was shortlisted among 11 others by the RIBA as one of its ‘Role Models’, hopefully inspiring others that they too can forge a successful career in architecture. Since I shared my story as part of the Role Model Project, I noticed a positive change within myself and how I view myself. It is hard to explain, but I am more at ease with myself and more accepting of myself. I no longer fear of speaking out about my background (read about it here) or being a woman in a still mostly male dominated profession (more about that here). On reflection, this makes sense: sharing our stories so publicly received positive responses and made me realise that I was wrong to be afraid to speak out. I no longer feel as vulnerable sharing my personal journey: I have a voice and I want to use my voice on issues that matter to me in the hope that it inspires others and to draw out the value of differences. I also realised I should no longer be embarrassed about my background, but celebrate how far I have come despite the challenges along the way and to see and use this as a strength.
Much has happened since June 2015: while I am still finishing the write-up of my PhD thesis at the UCL Energy Institute, I continue to be involved with the RIBA/CIC Fluid Diversity Mentoring scheme, which has been hugely rewarding as a mentor. When I joined the University of Sheffield as a lecturer in the autumn, I also joined RIBA Role Models Professor Fionn Stevenson and Satwinder Samra. Furthermore, I have been privileged to be mentored by several colleagues in informal ways but also in a formal way with Sheffield University’s Impact Mentoring scheme, which aims to increase women representation at all levels of academia. The generosity of my mentors’ time and energy has touched me and made me reflect on my own personal and professional career path and I cannot recommend enough the value of such mentee/mentoring relationships (at UCL a similar mentoring scheme is the Astrea Project). Along the way, my mentors and role models have both been female but many more were male (as we are short of women in the industry!): there have been many who encouraged and supported me and I cannot thank them enough for being part of my journey and helping me and many others to overcome obstacles. While they may not have been consciously aware of it, they were (and are) in fact champions of gender parity.
So, on International Women’s day, my challenge goes to all of YOU: please #PledgeForParity because gender equality benefits us all. Women represent around 50% of the world’s population, and are undeniably equal stakeholders so we must make sure women voices are heard and actively encouraged. The under-representation of women (alongside the general lack of diversity) in built environment professions must be reduced, to prevent the disempowerment and alienation of a large proportion of the population and lose out on different view points: the diversity and insights offered by a more varied decision-making team can be beneficially employed to generate new ideas and innovative ways of thinking or working, providing the best solutions for everyone. I have already witnessed this in my first 6 months at the Sheffield School of Architecture, where I am part of an inclusive, supportive and diverse department, illustrating that diverse team work and ‘team-thinking’ brings the best ideas to the table and leads to innovative practices and culture changes. We need you, male (and female) built-environment professionals and academics with us to #PledgeForParity not just today, but every day.
“Everyone – men and women – can pledge to take a concrete step to help achieve gender parity more quickly – whether to help women and girls achieve their ambitions, call for gender-balanced leadership, respect and value difference, develop more inclusive and flexible cultures or root out workplace bias. Each of us can be a leader within our own spheres of influence and commit to take pragmatic action to accelerate gender parity.” International Women’s day
Sofie Pelsmakers is doctoral researcher at the UCL Energy Institute, part-time lecturer in Environmental Design and Programme Leader of the MSc in Sustainable Architecture Studies at the Sheffield School of Architecture. She is Author of The Environmental Design Pocketbook and co-founder of Architecture for Change. From April 2016 she will support ECD Architects work as Head of Research (Sustainable Architecture), where she will also mentor other young architects. She is honoured to be part of the RIBA Role Model Project #RIBARoleModels #SeeMeJoinMe #PledgeForParity #ValueDifference
You can follow her on twitter @SofiePelsmakers
We recently held a successful MSc in Sustainable Architecture Studies webinar with prospective students from all over the world.
The event was hosted by course leaders, Sofie Pelsmakers and Aidan Hoggard, alongside student ambassadors Anaclara Penha and Maria Englezou.
The webinar aimed to guide participants, who have an interest in this field on:
- Our world-leading expertise in sustainability
- Why there is an industry need for expertise in this area
- Course structure, outcomes and activities our students are involved in
- Admissions and selection procedure
We have also put together some course videos where you can hear our academic staff and current students talking about the MSc in Sustainable Architecture Studies course and why it’s so important for architects to possess skills in this field.
We are pleased to invite applications for a 4 year studentship funded by the Grantham Foundation, Grantham Centre for Sustainable Futures.
The Grantham Centre for Sustainable Futures focuses on advancing the science of sustainability and connecting it with the policy debate around how humans can live in a more sustainable way.
We are recruiting Grantham Scholars who will combine outstanding intellect with a strong commitment to public engagement, leadership and action. If these principles match your ambitions, you are invited to apply for one of our interdisciplinary PhD research projects to help solve the challenges of sustainability. You will be supported by the Grantham Centre through a unique training programme, designed to equip to with the skills to become a policy advocate and leader in sustainability matters.
Project title: Characterising Uncertainty in Complex Environmental Simulations for Public Engagement with Climate Change Conscious Sustainable Planning and Design
Project description: Urban neighbourhoods and buildings designed or retrofitted with future climate in mind are more likely to perform sustainably. To do so, the planning and design process will require uses of detailed site-specific climate projections, and complex urban microclimate and building climate models. Although computationally intensive, the multi-scale environmental modelling and simulation can be used to systematically explore a large number of planning and design parameters and options, to examine the likely effect on sustainability over time. However, the computer simulation involved is often computationally expensive and contains uncertain elements, and the implication of compounded uncertainties in the complex multi-scale environmental simulations is not well understood. This research aims to identify, quantify and visualise such uncertainties.
Closing date: 7 March 2016
The University of Sheffield and the Open University have launched the Climate Change in Residence: Future Scenarios project. This funded programme of work provides an opportunity for three artists to be ‘in residence’ for one year from June 2016 within key climate change networks and institutions. They will be supported to develop new cultural work in the context of climate change scenarios.
This event has been organised by SSoA’s Renata Tyszczuk and will take place on 27 January 2016. The evening will explore why scenarios are such a key element of climate change research and politics, and also why it is important to invite a wider range of perspectives on these themes.
Last week the Sheffield School of Architecture held its second “This Changes Everything” masters in architecture studio review, this year coinciding with COP21 in Paris. “This changes Everything” is lead by architect and Professor Irena Bauman and is in response to Naomi Klein’s “This changes Everything” book. The postgraduate wide studio reviews set out to engage the next generation of architects with climate change and the importance of (climate) resilience in the design and construction of our spaces and places. Each studio student group was asked to respond and present to the climate change mitigation and adaptation agenda and set out commitments early on in their design process how they – individually – but also as a collective studio – propose to fulfill their responsibility for a sustainable future.
Following on from the afternoon of reviews, four of the 2015/16 MSc Sustainable Architecture Studies (SAS) Ambassadors (Xi Chen, Siyu Duan, Maria Englezou and Anaclara Penha) reveal how they and their peers (including those outside architecture) respond to climate change and “this changes everything” in their projects and/or in their personal life. Their shared stories are below.
“Absolutely I will consider climate change in the project I’m doing now. The main concept of my scheme is to propose a strategy framework to respond to flood risk. The main strategy is to un-culvert the river and to try to encourage the uptake of green roofs to respond to expected increased winter precipitation. I am also proposing to complete the green corridor along the river Sheaf to encourage people to cycle to work.
In terms of my life, I try to persuade those around me to buy electric car, reduce paper and energy use etc.”
Maria Englezou, MSc Sustainable Architecture Studies student from Cyprus and 2015/16 SAS Ambassador
“As an architecture student I decided to continue my studies by specialising in sustainable architecture. In my opinion the deeper meaning of learning how to design sustainable buildings is to understand how to reduce our impact on the environment and the impact of climate change on our buildings and people within it. Then we can find ways both to mitigate and adapt to climate change in our design responses. In my current project I am studying Park Hill in Sheffield. What we are trying to do is how to transform an existing building in a way that it will have reduced energy use and also be suitable for future climate change.
In my personal life I try to recycle anything that can be recycled and I try not to print on paper as much as I used to.”
Anonymous, Masters student in Archeology from the USA, University of Sheffield
“First thing, being a citizen of the U.S. It’s been very frustrating how little our government is willing to do to combat climate change. So one thing I could do is vote specifically for politicians with environmental priorities. And put pressure on those already in office to take a more serious stance. A smaller thing that I could do is stop getting so much food take out. It generates a lot of non renewable and recyclable waste.”
Anastasia Harms, from Russia, Masters student in European and Global Affairs, University of Sheffield
“I did a course last year on European Energy policy. We talked quite a lot on green energy, environment and why the EU is now targeting to decrease CO2 emissions and promote green sources of energy. My final paper on this course was on nuclear energy and how it contributes to decreased carbon emissions. In my everyday life I am trying to manage better my use of electricity and I buy only energy efficient electric equipment. I don’t have a car, therefore I am using only public transport. And I follow rules on recycling.”
“Taking a Sustainable Architecture master course gives me the opportunity to develop projects which focus on energy performance and CO2 emission reduction, not to mention social and other strategies to tackle climate change. In my studio project, I am working with retrofit architecture, to enhance existing buildings and impact on people’s well-being and life style. Outside the university, in my own projects, I did not have the same chance to relate my design to sustainable strategies, most because of the client preferences and economic aspects. Hence, I hope to, as an architect, influence people about our role as citizens and human beings in the right direction to avoid more environmental destruction and inequality. I discussed climate change with my friend, Isadora Barroso, from Brazil, and she said:”In my projects it still is a little difficult to apply certain strategies such as: solar panels, reuse of rain water, more sustainable materials and so on because most clients present some resistance to both applying this in their houses and changing their routines. Usually the clients that are willing to build a more sustainable building already come with this idea to the project, the ones that don’t ask for that are a little bit difficult to convince.”
Clarissa Ferreira, PhD student in Animal and Plant Sciences from Brazil, University of Sheffield
“I am becoming more aware about where the things I buy come from and trying to buy things that come from local farmers and impact the environment less. I constantly try to make people conscious about the importance of biodiversity to their lives and how we are part of nature. We depend on natural resources to survive, and because of this we must be aware of our impact and change our habits, not to mention our role in putting pressure on policy makers.”
Keira Lu, Masters student in Creative and Cultural Industries Management from China, University of Sheffield
“At home, I use CFL lamps; I walk or use public transport and turn off lights and electronic devices when you don’t need them. I recycle, but it’s really hard to achieve in my country, because most of people don’t have knowledge or awareness. And it’s hard to find the right place to recycle. I also use more organic and sustainable materials.”
“In my home-town, public transport is encouraged by improved transportation and infrastructure, such as setting up public bicycle points all over the city, underground railway and tram systems and so on. Also, the government is building more green parks in many districts of the city. The government should encourage people to build buildings in a sustainable way, which means they should try to make the client understand the importance of sustainability. Moreover, government should improve public transportation and encourage people to choose a low carbon travel method. In my own design project, I am considering using renewable energy(solar panels), and making full use of daylight to reduce the consumption of energy on artificial lighting system.”
Anonymous, MAAD (Masters in architectural Design)
“I am doing research on Victoria Turkish Baths and I am using recycled material and traditional heating and cooling systems which can reduce the energy use.”
“ I’m interested in using low impact and reused or recycled materials as part of my design, such as straw, earth, and other local materials. Also, introducing daylighting and passive ventilation systems to reduce energy consumption. Based on the function of the design project, I might consider using solar panels, air-source heat pumps or ground-source heat pumps, or other clean and renewable energy. I think, in my own country, the government should encourage people to get to know more about climate change and sustainability and show them the significance of getting involved. Moreover, financial support for research on sustainability in architecture and energy should be necessary. Goverment should set new building policy to control energy consumption and carbon emission.
Siyu Duan, MSc Sustainable Architecture Studies student from China and 2015/16 SAS Ambassador.
“We are collecting data for a design project located in The Sheaf valley in Sheffield at an early design stage and I am attempting to achieve lower energy consumption by using strategies like district heating, green roof and low impact materials.”
Yuto Takenake, MSc Sustainable Architecture Studies student from Japan
“My project now is to refurbish some Victorian houses. I’m trying to find a way to calculate energy use and improve the building fabric as well as support biodiversity byproposing super-insulated green roofs - all in support to reduce carbon emissions.”
Researchers from the Sheffield School of Architecture joined world leaders and policy makers in Paris for the start of the United Nations Conference on Climate Change (30 November – 11 December 2015).
Professor Doina Petrescu and Dr Renata Tyszczuk are attending the conference to share their expertise on urban resilience, industry and energy. Professor Petrescu ran an event on Collaborative Civic Resilience and Dr Tyszczuk will take part in workshops at the Le Bourget conference centre, gathering material for the Creative Climate project she helped launch in 2009.
Collaborative Civic Resilience Event, Climate Generations Area, COP21
Professor Petrescu organised an event and exhibition which took place on 5 December as part of the Climate Generations area of the conference. These areas are open to the general public and those taking part in the international climate negotiations.
The event offered a forum for debate on different approaches of Collaborative Civic Resilience. It aimed to address the role of grassroots urban resilience initiatives in allowing neighbourhoods to adapt to the complex crisis we face: climatic, social, ecologic, economic.
Professor Petrescu is exhibiting the R-Urban research project throughout the conference, which is a collaboration between the University of Sheffield and her practice, Atelier d’Architecture Autogérée. R-Urban involves a network of community driven bottom up strategies of urban regeneration. One commons project, in a suburb of Paris, now has 400 citizens co-managing 5000 square metres of land, producing food, energy and housing, while actively reducing waste and water usage.
In order to become more effective, more strategic and have a lasting impact at a larger scale, these initiatives need to act convergently with other initiatives and frameworks. The exhibition presents a number of practices, structures and tools for initiating collaborative resilience and propose a co-produced vision of resilient urban regeneration of metropolitan suburbs.
Culture and Climate Change launch Climate Change in Residence: Future Scenarios
Culture and Climate Change, a collaboration between the University of Sheffield and The Open University, are pleased to launch Climate Change in Residence: Future Scenarios, a new networked residency programme that embeds artists within contemporary thinking on climate research and policy. Three individual artists or collectives working in any artform will be offered an award of £10,000 each for a year-long residency beginning in June 2016.
The Climate Change in Residence project is supported by the University of Sheffield, the Open University, the Ashden Trust and Jerwood Charitable Foundation. Dr Tyszczuk will launch the project alongside the delegation from the Open University who are attending the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris.
This is a pilot artist residencies programme that aims to put more culture into climate scenarios. Scenarios are a key element in the political and public conversation about climate change but have to date been almost exclusively the preserve of natural science modellers and economists. They need company.
Rather than being based in one place, the project aims to follow the networked nature of climate change knowledge by experimenting with ‘network residencies’.
“This project offers artists interested in climate change a unique and exciting opportunity to work within a network of internationally renowned climate researchers and policy makers. By establishing new forms of collaboration, we can open up and bring more energy to contemporary debates about climate change and the future.”
Dr Renata Tyszczuk, Senior Lecturer, Sheffield School of architecture
From the 20 November 2015 the University will be accepting applications for this year’s Shared Commonwealth Scholarship. We are pleased to announce that the MSc in Sustainable Architecture Studies programme is an eligible course, with one award available to an international student from a Commonwealth developing country.
Each award offers:
- A full tuition fee waiver
- Maintenance for University accommodation and a monthly stipend
- Flights to and from your home country
The award will be given to a student with a strong academic background beginning their postgraduate study at the University in September 2016. The closing date for applications is 11 March 2016 and all eligible offer holders will be emailed with information about how they can apply for the scholarship.
The MSc in Sustainable Architecture Studies course builds on our commitment to social and environmental responsibility in the design and production of the built environment.
We are a recognised by the Royal Academy of Engineering as a Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Building Design. This programme will inspire and enable students to pursue innovative research and design strategies for the built environment.