UCL Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering


Developing a climate-responsive urbatecture

30 November 2016

By Mohammed Bakkali


Professor Mike Davies

Professor Philip Steadman


An EPSRC funded PhD candidate in Environmental Design & Engineering at the Institute of Environmental Design and Engineering, UCL with an academic and professional background in the fields of architecture and urban design. 

As a climate and building energy modeller, I think that our understanding of how weather varies across London and how the city’s microclimates will intensify heat, cold and air pollution in the future is incomplete. There is a pressing need to target priority areas of the city and to promote design guidance on climate change mitigation strategies. As a result of the improving accuracy of local weather data in London, an opportunity is emerging for designers of the built environment to measure the impact of their designs on local urban climate. Urbatecture refers to a medium-scale incorporating urban design and building scales. Working at this scale could reduce inaccuracies in weather and energy predictions, help to develop inter-linkages between assessment tools, and measure the net impact of the urban environment on the local urban climate. My research focuses on developing a climate-responsive design framework tailored to the early design stages from buildings to neighbourhoods. This will create tools for masterplanning as well as the design of individual buildings, making use of climate-responsive built form indicators and modelling tools. The framework will highlight key features of the urban environment that affect local urban climate by interlinking land use, street canyons and building forms and assessing them in a multi-scaled approach. This is necessary because building regulations alone cannot provide for all aspects of the environmental design process especially those that take place at city and neighbourhood scales. Such a framework could be used to update planning policies, design guidance, environmental assessment methods and modelling tools to be more climate-responsive and to support existing building regulations.