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The University of Southampton

CENV6145 Climate Design of Buildings and Cities

Module Overview

This module strives to enable students to address climatic building design and develop the sustainable urban concepts required to achieve the significant carbon reductions required in the future. Only students enrolled on programme codes: 3081 MSc Energy and Sustainability, Pathway 3087 Energy Environment and Buildings or MSc 3957 Energy & Sustainability , 3959 Energy Resources & Climate Change will be permitted to register on this module

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

Students will be able to deepen their understanding of the complex interrelation between individual buildings and their urban settings on a case study project. Special features of module: The module will include a workshop (Winchester), an urban walk-around assessment (Southampton) and a visit to a flagship ecohome development (Poundbury). Details will be provided at the start of the course.

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • The development of an urban sustainability concept integrating the various issues required to create a sustainable community. [SM7M, SM9M, D10M]
  • The relationship between urban design, architecture, engineering and sustainability to develop a holistic approach. [SM7M, SM9M]
  • The set-up of a scoping study for a selected topic including targets to achieve the goals of the study. [EA6M, D9M, D10M]
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Analyse a design task. [EA6M]
  • Formulate an integrated design / engineering concept and evaluate the solution in response to given requirements. [EA7M, D10M, D11M, P12M, P9m]
  • Analyse the principles and evaluate the constraints to achieve more sustainable communities. [EA7M, D9M, D10M, D11M, EL11M, P10m]
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Oral presentation. [G1, G4]
  • Plan and organise both time and resources. [P11m, G4]
  • Team work. [P11m, G4]
  • Concept and design development. [G1]
Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Demonstrate the ability to present and defend a projected urban development concept in a team. [G1, G4]
  • Develop clear and concise presentation material to convey your design and engineering ideas. [G1, G4]
  • Research appropriate technologies for your scoping study. [G1]
  • Write and illustrate a scoping study with appropriate graphs. [G1]


This module links the design of buildings and urban environments to the wider context of achieving sustainable communities and neighbourhoods. It will comprise the following: 1. Discussion of human comfort as a basis for the active shaping of the living environment with buildings and cities. Critical assessment of the changes in human requirements in relation to societal conditions. 2. Design principles to achieve contemporary climatic design looking at building design, urban organisation, material choice, structural design, thermal mass etc. 3. Design principles to achieve sustainable communities. 4. An introduction to energy systems in buildings and on community scale looking at principles, function and applications, advantages and disadvantages of individual systems. Discussion of how energy systems contribute to design and shaping of an urban environment. 5. Transportation in the urban environment. 6. Urban masterplanning and urban design policies. 7. Discussion of the impacts of population migration and the emergence of megacities. Critical evaluation of the potential of eco-cities. Examples include Masdar and Dongtan. 8. Urban microclimate and urban heat islands. 9. Issues of design philosophy, e.g. How green to go? What can people accept? 10. Discussion of how to establish design priorities and implementation phases to achieve sustainability targets.

Special Features

3 day Winchester workshop. This is based at the Winchester School of Art, which as a UoS site meets all access and disability requirements. The walk around visit of the city can be adapted as necessary. Walk around visits to Poundbury and Southampton City Centre can similarly be adapted as required.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

The course will comprise of lectures and seminar units related to the topics given above. Seminar units will include impromptu design tasks on selected problems. This will be complemented by a 3 day workshop related to the [P1] assessment.

Wider reading or practice60
Follow-up work2
External visits8
Practical classes and workshops18
Preparation for scheduled sessions6
Completion of assessment task20
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Heywood H. (2013). 101 Rules of Thumb for Low Energy Architecture. 

UK Government, 2009. Planning Policy Statements..

Pelsmakers S., (2012). The Environmental Design Pocketbook. 

Halliday, S., (2008). Sustainable Construction. Oxford:. 



MethodPercentage contribution
Group report 35%
Individual Presentation 15%
Individual report 50%


MethodPercentage contribution
Individual report 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal

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