M W 10:20 a.m.11:50 a.m.
ANH 210

As a main contributor to the accelerating global climate crisis, the energy consumption of the built environment faces increased scrutiny. While heightened standards for efficiency in the performance of new construction have been widely adopted, the larger culprit remains primarily unaddressed – the existing building stock. Increasing political pressure and policy proposals seek to rectify this discrepancy by advocating for the mass rehabilitation of structures with untenable performance. While there have been select examples of innovation in this act of rehabilitation, retrofitting has in large part been characterized by its intrusive and ad-hoc imposition of discreet technologies and appliances, without regard for their spatial and aesthetic implications. In this course, students will grapple with the contradiction of preserving both cultural and ecological resources, developing new techniques for retrofitting through the design of ‘Building Blankets’ for canonical structures. From Gottfried Semper’s assertion of textiles as the origin of enclosure, to the conceptual design of Reyner Banham’s Environment Bubble, architects have maintained a consistent preoccupation with the diaphanous enclosure and its ability to define both climate and space. In this seminar, students will engage in this fascination through an act of its translation to our present moment. Alongside this semester-long design project, students will be introduced to the history and discourse of environmental performance, its codification, and the cultural construct of thermal comfort. Through readings, case-studies, and discussion, concepts of sustainability and efficiency will be critically assessed in the pursuit of alternative means for ameliorating the climatic performance of our existing built environment.

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