Brutalist but Green: investigating innovative technologies to reconcile aesthetics with energy performance in 20th-century concrete architecture

  • Application end date: 11th February 2018
  • Funding Availability: Funded PhD project (EU/UK students only)
  • Department: Portsmouth School of Architecture
  • PhD Supervisor: Dr Tarek Teba, Dr Antonino Di Raimo

Project code: ACES4310218

Project description

Brutalist Architecture (such as Erno-Goldfinger’s Grade II*-listed, Trellick and Balfron Towers in London) marks an important architectural approach that dominated the architecture movement in the 1950s –1970s, which capitalised on the raw texture of the building materials and the particular composition of building geometries. These buildings represent a formidable heritage and our concern as architects is to preserve them as a faithful evidence from our past, to be consigned to future generations. At the same time, in order to preserve the memory, architecture must be working and being engaged with activities and users, which often results in the need of maintenance, refurbishment, and conservation. Among these activities, energy efficiency retrofit becomes particularly relevant, as it involves major questions related to energy performance and climate change.

English Brutalist Architecture represents one of the most challenging subjects when considering energy efficiency retrofit. The concrete skin, a single unprotected layer constituted by a unique material brutally exhibited, is one of the most important features of a Brutalist building. Several questions arise when considering a Brutalist building for an energy efficiency retrofit. One of the main questions arising concerns the preservation of the Brutalist aesthetic while improving the energy performance of the building skin. This research, therefore, aims at investigating how material technologies and environmental strategies can preserve the unique character of the Brutalist buildings and achieve energy efficiency.

Tools aimed at computationally simulating environmental conditions have been evolving during recent years. Emphasis on using environmental simulation results can provide continuous feedback for the design process. Through developing virtual modelling methodology for existing Brutalist building(s), this research project will attempt to investigate not only spatial and morphological features, but also it will incorporate environmental data in order to perform simulation. At the same time, these buildings will be researched using measurement based technologies. The research will thus investigate the most innovative materials and environmental technologies and their design potential in energy efficiency retrofitting and impact on the preservation of Brutalist buildings character. 

Supervisor profiles

Dr Tarek Teba

Dr Antonino Di Raimo 

Admissions criteria

You’ll need a good first degree from an internationally recognised university (depending upon chosen course, minimum second class or equivalent) or a Master’s degree in an appropriate subject. Exceptionally, equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications will be considered. English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.

Specific candidate requirements

Essentials:

  • Background in Architecture and Built Environment

  • Knowledge in British History of Architecture

  • Good skills in 3D modelling software

  • Good skills in Computational and measurement-based Environmental analysis

  • Good writing skills

Desirables:

  • Interest in Brutalist Concrete Architecture

  • Knowledge in Materials Technologies

  • Experience in using Rhino and Grasshopper software

Enquiries

Informal enquiries are encouraged and can be made to Dr Tarek Teba at tarek.teba@port.ac.uk (02392 842902) or Dr Antonino Di Raimo at antonio.diraimo@port.ac.uk (02392 842950).

For administrative and admissions enquiries please contact cci-enquiries@port.ac.uk.

How to Apply

We welcome applications from highly motivated prospective students who are committed to develop outstanding research outcomes. You can apply online at www.port.ac.uk/applyonline. You are required to create an account which gives you the flexibility to save the form, log out and return to it at any time convenient to you.

A link to the online application form and comprehensive guidance notes can be found at www.port.ac.uk/pgapply.

Applications should include:

- Full CV including personal details, qualifications, educational history and, where applicable, any employment or other experience relevant to the application

- Contact details for two referees able to comment on your academic performance

- Research proposal of 1,000 words outlining the main features of a research design you would propose to meet the stated objectives, identifying the challenges this project might present and discussing how the work will build on or challenge existing research in the above field.

- Proof of English language proficiency (for EU students)

When applying, please quote project code: ACES4310218

Interview date: TBC

Start date: October 2018

Funding notes

The fully-funded, full-time three-year studentship provides a stipend that is in line with that offered by Research Councils UK of £14,553 per annum.

The above applies for Home/Eu students only. 

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