26 September 2010

Introduction to Architectural Science


Introduction to Architectural Science
Steven V Szokolay is an Australian architect and energy / environmental consultant who has worked in Sydney and London, and teached in Liverpool, London and finally Queensland. In this university he was the founding director of the Architectural Science Unit, as well as Head of the Department of Architecture. He is now retired.

This book is a great introduction to the facts, concepts and numbers of heat, light, sound and energy applied to architecture. The second edition from 2008 is the most recent one. The reader can be a practising designer or an undergraduate student; both will benefit from a clear presentation of facts, examples and data sheets. But the best in my opinion is how difficult issues are treated in a way that sounds as if they were being taught for the first time. Just one example: the description of glare (part 2.2.4, page 148). Szokolay aptly describes the differences between glare due to saturation and glare due to contrast, as well as discomfort vs disability glare. Another clear definition is that of daylight factor (part 2.4.2), also belonging to the lighting chapter. But probably the most useful part of the book is Part 4, Resources. Here we can find the basics of energy, renewable energy, energy use in buildings, water, waste, and sustainibility issues. Short and to the point.

Szokolay has also co-authored with Andris Auliciems a 60 pages booklet on thermal confort. The thesis is very attractive: nowadays lifestyles, clothing, technology in building construction and microclimate controls have tended towards homogenizing indoor environments to which humans are exposed. These developments may be driven by market forces, but the result is that humans are becoming adapted to a very narrow band of conditions. This may be a threat to our survival as species: within a changing environment, survivability is greater among the adaptable than the adapted. Which trend is being favoured by technological development and thermal design?

The booklet is available on the net. Do yourself a favour and have a look at it here: Thermal comfort

1 comment:

Blogger said...

There's a chance you qualify for a new government solar energy program.
Click here to find out if you are qualified now!