Understanding sustainability in Finland. Local environmentalism and potential for sustainable architecture

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School of Arts, Design and Architecture | Master's thesis
Ask about the availability of the thesis by sending email to the Aalto University Learning Centre oppimiskeskus@aalto.fi
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The sustainability concept in the field of architecture has a very broad understanding. Most architects, designers and officials relate it to building efficiency. However, fewer and fewer are relating sustainability to architecture design process. Buildings and urban settlements are being seen as a big threat to global warming, thus a common vision is to intensify the division between outside and building skin boundaries. However, little is being known and explained how to interact with the nature we live in and how to coexist and benefit from its unlimited resources. The main problem tackled here is to identify what is the role of the architect and its means in developing a local sustainable design as well as what are the data and tools that can be used to achieve that. Since the architect’s role has been considerably diminished in today industry, a significant lack of energy flow understanding is being noticed. Moreover, it is being noticed a lack for comprehensive analysis and understanding of the current state of Finnish build environment and its environmental issues. Architects are being faced with the fast-growing necessity for sustainability, thus are not being prepared to develop sustainable building design by the means of passive solutions. In this thesis will be analyzed the existing sustainability strategies as well as which of them have a greater impact on architecture in Finnish context and local environmental conditions. External environmental factors, such as solar radiation, light conditions, season differences, and climate behavior as well as architecture related factors such as building function, users’ activity and many other will be taken in consideration. For that, instead of pledging on future technological improvements and their benefits, a more holistic approach where the architect is being presented with tools, data and project examples will be demonstrated. In addition to the sustainability-related data and knowledge, another intent is to exemplify through a case study possible architecture design outcomes. Thus, three design proposals for the development of Hanasaari residential district are being developed. Through each design proposal, is described how different parameters can be incorporated in the design process. For dealing with the many environmental factors as well as site complexity will be introduced the methodology of parametric design. Hanasaari design proposals will be developed by using parametrization, optimization as well as evolutionary design. The algorithmic design process will help develop designs and layouts based on input parameters and requirements.
Kotnik, Toni
Thesis advisor
Kotnik, Toni
architecture, parametric design, sustainability, environment, Helsinki, Hanasaari
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