I have a passionate interest in computational design, automation and sustainable design and have been able to explore these interests in the last year. As a pair, Andreas Maragakis and I have created a design tool to test different design solutions for the Northern Gateway Development acting as consultants for the Manchester City Council.

Our project addresses the contemporary challenge of achieving near future net-zero carbon policy through a theoretical framework. We have developed a design science based computational design tool to generate new urban developments and analyse electricity consumption versus generation via solar panels, the embodied energy and embodied carbon in each designed urban form.

We have designed the tool to generate a new sustainable urban form. This is achieved through a series of generative, analytical and iterative steps. Our tool enables manual user input of site parameters, several design preferences and considerations by a designer. Our computational construct goes through a design automation stage through which multiple versions of a potential urban form is generated based on the input parameters.

The generative design process involves integration of multiple aspects such as street patterns and typological massing. The generated urban patterns (morphology) is then analysed automatically for benefits and contradictions related to solar gain for photovoltaic (PV) energy generation (southern façades) and energy consumption loads. The massing is then optimised to maximise solar benefits. The process allows quantification of energy in use, embodied energy in the built form and potential generation of new renewable energy through PVs. The tool we have built allows an iterative process that can be repeated multiple times towards an understanding of the best balance between urban density, typologies, orientation, PV coverage and balance between energy consumption and use.