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Research activity at Architecture explores a wide variety of significant research areas within architecture and the built environment. Among these is the better exploitation of innovative construction technologies and ICT to optimise 'total building performance', as well as reduce waste and environmental impact. Sustainable architectural and urban design is an important component of this. To this end, the Cluster for Research in Design and Sustainability (CRiDS) focuses its research energies towards developing resilient responses to the social, environmental and economic challenges associated with urbanism and cities, in both the developed and developing world.

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The art of eco-frames : lessons of innovative eco- fabrication in design studio

Suau, Cristian (2012) The art of eco-frames : lessons of innovative eco- fabrication in design studio. In: Opportunities, limits and needs. Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, Lima. ISBN 9786124057892


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This study examines T&L development and implementation of an integrated studio term called 'Vertical Studio' carried out at the Welsh School of Architecture (WSA) by comparing a sequence of eco-fabrication applied in the design studio. It has recently been granted by the Centre for Education in the Built Environment (CEBE). Through comparative teaching and design methods, this study critically explores the principles of low-tech and high-design carried out in several international workshops led by the author. These cases show how students can rapidly develop key spatial and constructional skills such as: spatial versatility, environmental awareness and collaborative research by doing. Each studio brief consisted of intensive workshops focusing on conceptualisation and fabrication of elementary frameworks by using disused cost-free materials. What is a compact architecture today? What should our design objectives be for a sustainable future? What type of elementary framework should we achieve? For instance, the workshop called 'Nomadic Allotments': http://www.nomadicallotments.co.uk built mobile allotments at Borough Market as part of the International Student Architecture Festival in London 2010. Students learnt on agile fabrication, reuse of junk materials and urban gardening’s techniques. We obtained an international prize as the best ‘Recycling Project’. The lesson of these serial of workshops lies on the notion of eco-fabrication applied in undergraduate architectural education. The culture of each workshop is "a learning tool and catalyst for ‘smart’ design decisions by using less and giving more". Each workshop shows how to edifice 'bridges' between praxis and research based on flows of retrospective criticism and prospective visions for encouraging eco-friendly urban environments.