Divergence and Convergence; Tangents in sustainable research

For reasons of sustainability, congestion and conservation the future of the built environment is, in reality, already here. Existing buildings, retrofitting and heritage will play an increasingly large role in how we shape the world around us. Contemporary researchers in environmental design are often required to approach problems through an interdisciplinary lens that brings together the power of science, technology, policy, planning, culture and history. Buildings do not exist in isolation. They are a dynamic and complex synthesis of perceived utility, accessibility, tradition, luck and good will. Places, and the buildings in them, inhabit that strange point between our socio-economic constraints, our technological ability and our shared values and customs that often results in mistranslations of meaning. Indeed the byzantine reasoning for why, when and where we build as we do seems to generate a reluctance on the part of professionals to lay bare the myriad factors involved. For researchers in the field of sustainable design this represents a compelling opportunity to expand and reform more traditional modes of academic and built research.

This conference session seeks to consider the newly discovered or underdeveloped strands within this field. This session is open to papers that consider any and all the surprising tangents presented to the researcher as a sustainable study unfolds. For academics these may be as a result of research in the field of sustainable design or research that led to a finding in this area. For practicing architects it may be conclusions drawn from a case study building or a component part of a completed project.

Session chair: Neasa Hourigan, n.hourigan@qub.ac.uk, Queens University Belfast