Annual SCHOSA Conference 2015

Beyond Building Performance - Architectural Research, Practice And Education

9th/10th April 2015 - RIBA - 66 Portland Place, London W1B 1AD

What are the critical evaluation issues for architecture today?

The Societal Challenges of our time are summed up in the current European Union Horizon 2020 research programme: health and wellbeing, food security, energy, transport and climate change action. These Challenges are closely interconnected and a failure in one area is a failure in all. Conversely, successful design can often provide multiple benefits across the different Challenges. The evaluation of how well architecture meets these challenges is a nuanced one, requiring a subtle understanding of all the factors at play in a particular situation over time. The consequences of failing to understand and act when the Challenges are not met is unthinkable, given the deteriorating resource base for the planet and our rapidly changing climate which is becoming more and more extreme.

Architects and educators are traditionally design-led and proposal orientated, with no requirement in either the RIBA Criteria for Education or current Building Regulations for the verification of actual performance over time. This is usually left to the client and user to decide, with little formal feedback built in to inform future design strategies by the same designer. As a result buildings routinely underperform by 400% on energy and carbon targets and we fail to learn obvious lessons.

At the same time, traditional forms of post-occupancy evaluation have failed to capture the imagination of client and design teams alike, with a yawning gap between scientific modelling / monitoring methods and more poetic evaluations which include the benefit of perceived beauty and meaningfulness underpinning our wellbeing. Architects would like to know how well their practice is performing and how to develop a cycle of continuous improvement on a more holistic basis.

This conference aims to bring together architects and educators to explore new ways of moving beyond instrumental building performance to reveal more meaningful methods of effective building evaluation in relation to each of the Grand Challenges. It asks the fundamental question: ‘What is the value of education which teaches architects to understand how well their design strategies work in reality?’ and poses this against the equally valid question: ‘How far do we really need to go to understand how well our designs are working?’

We invite up to 4 representatives from each member School or Programme of Architecture in SCHOSA to attend the events of 9 and 10 April of this ground-breaking conference. Please be sure to respond to the SCHOSA Secretary Richard Patterson (schosa@btinternet.com) no later than 20th February 2015. Places will be on a first come/first served basis and we expect the conference to be a busy one. After 20th February places will be opened up to invited guests with an interest in this area. The RIBA Dinner is free for those attending from Architecture Schools which are SCHOSA members.

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