Teaching  /  MSc Advanced Sustainable Design

Students at ESALA studying for MSc Advanced Sustainable Design are an international community and over time, we’ve made changes to our curriculum to understand building behaviour on a global stage. We look at the most unloved but most universal of buildings, the low rise concrete frame office. Retrofit of existing stock is challenging but preferable to demolition. Concrete, because of its cement content, is disproportionately high in embodied carbon and refurbishment maintains the material’s usefulness. In our project, we strip an office to its frame and slab and build back with a new skin and building services using low impact construction systems and sophisticated passive and active systems to maintain comfort. A particular challenge is design for tropical climates where methods for cooling are more complex that simply adding heat in temperate locations. Student work highlights the opportunities but also the limitations of traditional and passive design. This is a wider debate about the developed north’s assumptions about the needs and wants of the developing south.

Retrofit with tropical canopy.
Aoyu Bi

Retrofit sunlight and double facade: Singapore.
Kawin Dhanakoses

Low carbon retrofit interior.
Gabriel Gonzalez

Tropical high rise retrofit.
Tatyana Kutsumo

Office low carbon retrofit Edinburgh.
Madison Sacramone, Grace Cowan