Environmental Design


Technology and Practice



Required of second-year M.Arch. I students.

This course examines the fundamental scientific principles governing the thermal, luminous, and acoustic environments of buildings, and introduces students to the methods and technologies for creating and controlling the interior environment. Beginning with an overview of the Laws of Thermodynamics and the principles of Heat Transfer, the course investigates the application of these principles in the determination of building behavior, and explores the design variables, including climate, for mitigating that behavior. The basic characteristics of HVAC systems are discussed, as are alternative systems such as natural ventilation. The second half of the term draws on the basic laws of physics for optics and sound and examines the application of these laws in creating the visual and auditory environments of a building. Material properties are explored in detail, and students are exposed to the various technologies for producing and controlling light, from daylighting to fiber optics. The overarching premise of the course is that the understanding and application of the physical principles by the architect must respond to and address the larger issues surrounding energy and the environment at multiple scales and in domains beyond a single building. The course is presented in a lecture format. Homework, computational labs, design projects, short quizzes, and a final exam are required.