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Brutalist but Green: investigating innovative technologies to reconcile aesthetics with energy performance in 20th-century concrete architecture


Project Description

Brutalist Architecture (such as Erno-Goldfinger’s Grade II*-listed, Trellick and Balfron Towers in London) marks an important architectural approach that dominated the architecture movement in the 1950s –1970s, which capitalised on the raw texture of the building materials and the particular composition of building geometries. These buildings represent a formidable heritage and our concern as architects is to preserve them as a faithful evidence from our past, to be consigned to future generations. At the same time, in order to preserve the memory, architecture must be working and being engaged with activities and users, which often results in the need of maintenance, refurbishment, and conservation. Among these activities, energy efficiency retrofit becomes particularly relevant, as it involves major questions related to energy performance and climate change.

English Brutalist Architecture represents one of the most challenging subjects when considering energy efficiency retrofit. The concrete skin, a single unprotected layer constituted by a unique material brutally exhibited, is one of the most important features of a Brutalist building. Several questions arise when considering a Brutalist building for an energy efficiency retrofit. One of the main questions arising concerns the preservation of the Brutalist aesthetic while improving the energy performance of the building skin. This research, therefore, aims at investigating how material technologies and environmental strategies can preserve the unique character of the Brutalist buildings and achieve energy efficiency.

Tools aimed at computationally simulating environmental conditions have been evolving during recent years. Emphasis on using environmental simulation results can provide continuous feedback for the design process. Through developing virtual modelling methodology for existing Brutalist building(s), this research project will attempt to investigate not only spatial and morphological features, but also it will incorporate environmental data in order to perform simulation. At the same time, these buildings will be researched using measurement based technologies. The research will thus investigate the most innovative materials and environmental technologies and their design potential in energy efficiency retrofitting and impact on the preservation of Brutalist buildings character.

How to apply:
We welcome applications from highly motivated prospective students who are committed to develop outstanding research outcomes. You can apply online at http://www.port.ac.uk/applyonline. Please quote project code ACES4310218 in your application form.

Applications should include:
- a full CV including personal details, qualifications, educational history and, where applicable, any employment or other experience relevant to the application
- contact details for two referees able to comment on your academic performance
- a research proposal of 1,000 words outlining the main features of a research design you would propose to meet the stated objectives, identifying the challenges this project might present and discussing how the work will build on or challenge existing research in the above field.
- proof of English language proficiency (for EU and international students)

All the above must be submitted by the 11th of February 2018.

Funding Notes

UK/EU students - The fully-funded, full-time three-year studentship provides a stipend that is in line with that offered by Research Councils UK of £14,553 per annum.

International students - International students applying for this project are eligible to be considered for the Portsmouth Global PhD scholarships.

References

Clement, A. (2012). Brutalism: post-war British architecture: Crowood.
Collins, P. (2004). Concrete: the vision of a new architecture: McGill-Queen's Press-MQUP.
Gonçalves, J. C. S. (2010). The environmental performance of tall buildings: Routledge.
Harwood, E. (2003). England: a guide to post-war listed buildings: Batsford London.
Harwood, E. (2015). Space, Hope, and Brutalism: English Architecture, 1945-1975: Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art.
Olgyay, V. (2015). Design with climate: bioclimatic approach to architectural regionalism: Princeton University Press.
Powers, A., Harwood, E., Parkes, J., Walker, A., Bussell, M., Fadayomi, J., Kelley, S. J. (2001). Preserving post-war heritage: the care and conservation of

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