My thesis project began with a key topic: 'Envelope Optimisation'. Fundamental alterations to the structural fabric of society have resulted in massive improvements in living standards all over the world, but our actions have not only impacted our backyards, but also the global society as a whole- in terms of climate transformation, emission of greenhouse gases, and scarcity of fossil fuel. Hence, there has been consistent demand for sustainable development (social, economic, and environmental) seeing the crisis.
People spending 90% of their time indoors and built environment consuming 40% of total energy means, how buildings are constructed and upgraded plays a significant role in the development of our global society, including all three sustainability aspects. Therefore, my research in studio 2 looked into energy-efficient building envelopes which provide a high-quality indoor climate and comfort conditions and finally developing a prototype envelope system (Timber-based) that could help me achieve design goals. This prototype envelope was then tested for 3 different building types to understand its performance.
In-studio 3, I took a site in a hot-humid climate zone (South-India), which suited to my studio 2 research where I needed to incorporate this envelope system on a building type (Museum). During the process, I realised that bricks are the locally available building material that is fire resistant, has insulation properties, improves indoor comfort, costs less in long run, and has low energy consumption. Therefore, why not replace Timber in the prototype envelope with a brick/terracotta system. This will not only resonate with the local construction practice around the site but also save transportation costs due to nearby availability brick kilns and manufacturing locations when compared with Timber. Therefore my studio 3 design went ahead with optimised brick+terracotta envelope system in response to local climatic conditions. The aim was to use minimum artificial air-conditioning/lighting to make internal space comfortable and well-lit.