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Programme Director: Professor Marialena Nikolopoulou

It has been another great year for our Master’s programme and it is extremely satisfying watching ours students returning on campus. Following a year of online learning, this year initially offered a variety of blended learning, with some students attending virtually while others began populating the seminar rooms, moving to a full face-to-face experience during spring.

In autumn, the focus is on two modules;

  1. understanding historic buildings and past environmental technologies by Prof. Henrik Schoenefeldt; and

  2. the principles and methodologies of environmental design, along with the importance of high tech system in low energy buildings by Dr Richard Watkins. Through extensive literature review, in-depth analysis and archival research students scrutinise a variety of buildings in different parts of the world.

Spring is the time where students engage directly with buildings not through literature, but through monitoring and modelling of environmental performance, in the module I teach. This offered the opportunity to study a range of buildings on campus and beyond: from a community well-being centre to the new the Kent Law Clinic, our own Digital Crit Space and pc lab in our School. We also had a range of domestic buildings, from Woolf College to houses in central Canterbury and Chatham, all of which provided interesting insight about the life and conditions of buildings comparing and contrasting internal conditions, environmental performance, user engagement, materials and housing conditions and standards. We also benefitted from Alex Duckworth’s visit from AECOM.

The last year highlighted the need for walkable cities, where indoor and outdoor conditions are of equal importance, with climate change concerns considered along with health and well-being priorities. Within this context, the brief for the sustainable design project included the development of an Urban Village in Canterbury, with some very interesting work developed, along with the support of Lawrence Friesen from Nomad Workhouse who worked closely with Dr Giridharan Renganatahn.

Spring also offered the opportunity for the delayed graduation ceremonies for those completing their studies during the COVID-19 pandemic and it was wonderful seeing some of our students in person in the Canterbury Cathedral.

Finally, as they are currently embarking on their dissertations, we benefit from live projects and collaboration with external partners in the region, working with Gravesham Borough Council, who aim to upgrade Cascades Leisure Centre in Gravesend, with the aim is to have a new net zero leisure centre.

Once again, through the cross-disciplinary approach in sustainable architecture promoted by the programme and supported by our staff, bridging the boundaries between research and practice, along with the strong analytical and research skills our students develop, our students will be well equipped to face the challenges in their professional life.

Or in the words of two of our students:

“It was great to learn something brand new every semester. The imaginative course structure is the reason. The introduction of design-builder and its application stands out among my favourites. The technical knowledge that I am gaining in this course, especially about various sustainable methods and their application will be of utmost benefit to me.”  Divya Prakash

“There were many aspects of the program that I enjoyed, but the most influential factors were the positive learning environment and close relationship between academic advisors and students.” Sepideh Farzi Sizkouh

We wish them all well and good luck in their future careers!

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