A Systemic Approach to Carbon Neutral Building

Last week, on Tuesday 7th May we were delighted to be joined by building physicist and Head of the Welsh School of Architecture, Professor Phil Jones, who talked to the students about a systemic approach to carbon neutral building. His presentation introduced principles for carbon neutral building and showcased a range of case studies from projects in Dubai, China, Switzerland and Wales. The Design Futures students responded to ideas in the talk by creating zero carbon future scenarios for our very own department of design Lockwood building in 2050.


 Xi Yang, Gaja Mežnarič Osole, Orestis Koutsokoumnis and Olga Yermolenko created the following scenario:

‘Our futuristic proposal was created around the speculation that education environment by 2050 will look like a laboratory for design-led research. Students, as well as professors will be able to learn skills and gain knowledge through practical experience, rather then attending only audio-visual lectures. The school, as a living system, would provide students with different interests to become an ‘in situ’ work in progress platform for experimenting and researching possibilities for improvements to future living. Each year, students would use and transform the building according to their research proposition and interest and by the end of the year share that knowledge with the next generation coming. The (re)presentation of the research would also replace the final show ‘exhibition’. The school will function as an experimental machine for sustainability. It would offer social and environmental challenges, allowing students to plant and grow vegetables, tea, sugar, coffee and other plants on the rooftops or around the building as well as to construct greenhouses or other growing systems. The windows would be transformed into a ‘sun-sensitive glasses’ that would react to the amount of sun entering the workshops or a lecture classroom. The gym will be transformed into a energy generating station, allowing students and visitors to join in once a day to produce an amount of energy for the department. The bicycles would have screens with lectures from schools all over the world, allowing students to gain new knowledge while pedalling the wheels. All the other alternative systems would be explored from solar panels to sustainable lightning and energy saving techniques.’

Professor Jones commented on how inspiring it was to explore what is largely a scientific approach to carbon neutrality within an imaginative trans-disciplinary context unique to Goldsmiths. The Design Futures students integrated ideas relating to, for example, future workforce, sustainable interior design and energy efficient communities to extend this systemic exploration into our built environment. To keep up to date with activities taking place on MA Design Futures, please follow us on Twitter.

Hannah Jones

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