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Article Research-Integrated Pedagogy with Climate-Responsive Strategies: Vernacular Building Renovation Design 1 2 1 1, Hankun Lin , Shi Yin , Chao Xie and Yaoguang Lin * School of Architecture and Urban Planning, Guangdong University of Technology, Guangzhou 510000, China School of Architecture, State Key Laboratory of Subtropical Building Science, South China University of Technology, Guangzhou 510000, China * Correspondence: firstname.lastname@example.org Abstract: Following the rapid development and urbanization in China over recent decades, sustain- able renovation of urban residences has become an important issue. This study aimed to develop an architectural teaching program integrating the study of local climate, vernacular buildings, climate- responsive design strategies, and simulation tools. A local house in a high-density neighborhood in Guangzhou, China, in a hot-humid climate area was selected for renovation in this teaching pro- gram. Investigations of the urban neighborhood development, the construction and climate-respon- sive characteristics of the vernacular houses, long-term thermal environment characteristics, and sustainable design strategies were conducted before the design project began. The guidelines of Ac- tive House combining passive strategies and active technologies were incorporated into the concept design. The students’ works represented their understanding of the characteristics of a hot-humid climate, responsive strategies for the local buildings, preliminary methodologies of micro-climate analysis, and technologies supporting sustainable building design. Thus, this program provided a valuable approach to the appropriate pedagogy for a research-integrated design studio within the Citation: Lin, H.; Yin, S.; Xie, C.; Lin, Y. Research-Integrated context of sustainable architectural education development. Pedagogy with Climate-Responsive Strategies: Vernacular Building Keywords: architectural design education; climate-responsive; research-integrated design; vernac- Renovation Design. Buildings 2022, ular house; neighborhood; hot-humid climate 12, 1294. https://doi.org/10.3390/ buildings12091294 Academic Editors: Nikos A. Salingaros, Michael W. Mehaffy, 1. Introduction Alexandros A. Lavdas and Ann 1.1. Urban and Building Renovation in China Sussman Urbanization is a significant trend in China and the speed of urbanization has accel- Received: 14 July 2022 erated in recent years . Because of fast development, renovations of existing urban Accepted: 17 August 2022 buildings have become necessary for meeting the rising quality-of-life needs . Buildings Published: 23 August 2022 from different periods need renovations of their urban facilities, building structure, public space, and other problems . Compared to commercial development, urban residential Publisher’s Note: MDPI stays neu- tral with regard to jurisdictional neighborhoods still rely on renovations by local inhabitants. The dense environment, poor claims in published maps and institu- facilities, and high cost of renovations limit the living space improvement. However, fol- tional affiliations. lowing public policies or funding support for urban renovations, more and more owners have attempted to renovate their buildings. Against this background, sustainable renova- tion design has become an important issue in the process of urban development [3,4]. Urban residential renovation is a complicated issue concerning the neighborhood, Copyright: © 2022 by the authors. Li- the building history, the structure assessment, construction, and materials preservation, censee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. etc. However, in the architectural design studios in many universities in China, design This article is an open access article tasks are still mainly concerned with new building design for different public functions. distributed under the terms and con- Training in renovation design is lacking in most design courses in undergraduate archi- ditions of the Creative Commons At- tribution (CC BY) license (https://cre- tectural education. One problem with architectural design education is the gap between ativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). knowledge acquisition and knowledge application in design studios . Thus, this study Buildings 2022, 12, 1294. https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings12091294 www.mdpi.com/journal/buildings Buildings 2022, 12, 1294 2 of 38 sought to develop a research-integrated design program in response to the building ren- ovation issue. With the carbon peaking (2030) and carbon neutrality (2060) goals in China, sustain- able building became an important target in the building industry . Living standards in China have improved dramatically since the 1970s, and the lifestyle transformations have resulted in a steep increase in household energy consumption and emissions . In most spontaneous renovations in rural or urban areas in China, the buildings lacked green building design, which increased the cost of energy as well as future maintenance. How- ever, the vernacular houses in different climate zones provide various passive strategies and sustainable construction and material utilization methods, which remain valuable when developing the foundations of existing building renovations. Thus, our urban build- ing renovation design program emphasized the value of climate-responsiveness and pro- vided design guidance for future spontaneous or architectural design renovations. 1.2. Parallel Research and Teaching Program on Architectural Design Education of architecture, urban planning, and landscape in China is a five year course. Teaching programs in architectural design are mainly set up in different design studios with different themes from simple functions to complex public projects (Table 1). The design studios in the first to the second year are normally defined as “design founda- tion” with training and understanding of the basic concepts of space, form, environment, and behavior. Studios in the third to the fourth year are organized with different typolog- ical buildings design. The studios are arranged gradually, from simple to complex func- tion, structure, and technologies. The schedule of the fifth year is organized as: the first semester for practicing in architectural design companies or institutions; the second se- mester for the final design (graduate design project). Project themes are optional for tutors and students [7,8]. In recent years, many teaching programs have also changed the function and com- plexity of different training levels featuring design works with cutting-edge themes such as sustainable design , resilience , parametric design , nature-based solution , etc. Pedagogy reform was also emphasized in some universities in China. Teaching programs are developing to integrate different experimental themes including sustainable design , active community , sustainable heritage preservation , construction and technology , VR and AR , etc. The design studios are normally arranged to last for two or three months (half or one semester). The research themes are introduced with lec- tures and workshops for only two or three weeks. Thus, some research topics are still difficult to develop deeply in current studios. Parallel programs have been encouraged by universities to connect the teaching of design with actual projects and social problems . Organization of the parallel pro- grams can be arranged as summer/winter school, creative projects, or workshops . “Creation project”, “professional project”, and “Internet +” projects are also supported by universities to connect education and practice. These projects are normally undertaken by the students with the support of tutors [19–20]. The training programs are encouraged to introduce real projects for groups of students to participate in . The research and teaching program described here was run in parallel to the regular teaching program, and named as a “student creation project”, supported by the univer- sity, and undertaken by undergraduate students in their third year. The project team in- cluded eight students and spanned one year. Unlike the design studio in a regular teaching program, this project was arranged mainly by the students. The study goal, schedule, and job assignment were discussed and executed by the students with the tutors. To provide a broader perspective on the project and keep a tight connection with the main courses, a research-integrated design program with the theme of climate-responsive design for a local building was advised for the stu- dents. In this special program, research and design were closely connected. The research- integrated design path was chosen because of the relatively long term of the program. Buildings 2022, 12, 1294 3 of 38 Table 1. Main design studios in the architectural schools in China (summarized from the literature [7–8,13–16]). Year Basic Training Capacity Design Studio Themes Pedagogy Methodologies 1st year Space and form 2D composition, 3D composition freehand sketch, handicraft a space for body/yourself modeling, architectural drawing, a rest space in a campus/neighborhood, etc. etc. 2nd year Environment and behavior coffee shop in a campus/neighborhood/urban park environment and behavior house/atelier design for architects/photographers observation, photography, kindergarten, etc. mapping, CAD, etc. 3rd year Social and humanity primary school/middle school social investigation, building codes, residential community case study, structure, material and cultural building (exhibition hall) construction, 3D model, etc. shopping center, etc. 4th year Urban and technology high-rise building specific building structure, building gymnasium/theater technology, construction drawing, urban design/village renovation etc. heritage building preservation, etc. 5th year Practice Optional special themes for the tutors and students real project participation (urban design, typological building, heritage building, etc.) 1.3. Research-Integrated Design Program “Design thinking” is a core teaching of architectural design projects that encourages students to respond to real problems in practice and guides them in developing an inno- vative framework for problem solving . Dorst defined different levels in a design prac- tice organization as: (1) the design practices that address problems within an existing frame; (2) the design practices that involve framing; (3) the adoption of a new frame that was brought or developed by an outsider; (4) the creation of a new frame through the investigation of themes, in a deeper transformation of the organizations’ own practices . The final level is more complex because at the start of the problem-solving process we only know the end value (as the Result) that we want to achieve, without yet having a clear principle (as the How) and an object to deal with (as the What). This ‘open’ form of reasoning is more closely associated with conceptual design . The key question of this program was similar to Dorst’s definition in that the back- ground and the end value of the task were described as an improvement of a residential building in a built environment under the process of urban renovation in Guangzhou, China. However, the relevant research methodology and design principles were not clear at the beginning. The students were encouraged to conduct literature and field surveys and define the design task much more precisely in this process. Thus, the project was structured as a research-integrated design program. Appropriate pedagogy for a “research-integrated design”  or “Research-by-de- sign”  studio along with a multimethod approach has been developed in some teach- ing projects. The integration study aimed to train students in the knowledge, approaches, and skills to meet the challenges of complex and interdisciplinary problems crossing de- mographic, social, economic, environmental, and technological changes in urban, archi- tectural, and landscape design . In this study, the research field was not limited at the beginning. The themes were focused on the neighborhood space and sustainable design within the field survey and problem identification, as well as responding to the guidance of national policies and professional education in the main courses. An interdisciplinary approach was encouraged in the program to achieve holistic designs . The research methodologies were recommended based on the students’ interests within the site inves- tigation. Grover et al. reported a qualitative investigation of architecture programs in the UK, showing that the studios presented opportunities to develop including: mainstreaming, Buildings 2022, 12, 1294 4 of 38 sustainability within assignments; embracing critical pedagogies; grounding learning in existing experiences, and focusing on the process of design . Under this background, different architectural education studios and programs were collected in recent studies (Table 2). The topics of environmentally responsive design , typology , research- integrated design [17,22], performance-oriented design [17,27] sustainable performance , socially responsive design , and climate-responsive design  were concentrated in different programs. Research had been a much more important driving factor in these programs. Research could be conducted before the program to gather the infor- mation/data of a design project, or promoted within the design studio and serving as an evaluation tool or a guideline. Table 2. Design studios and programs with different intentions, structures, and methodologies. Program Intention or Role Program Structure Main Methodologies Student Level Duration Refe- Object & University rence Architecture Environmentally Phase A: Historical Phase A: 1 semester  undergraduate Historic responsible design research and survey on Pre-survey data on (i) historical, level social Innovative and the neighborhood social, and economic developments Politecnico di housing up-to-date Phase B: On-site visit of the districts; (ii) morpho- Milano renovation methodological Phase C: Hands-on typological features; (iii) material didactic approach. training and geometrical characters; (iv) Solutions for the Phase D: Architectural national and local rules and refurbishment design project constraints. Phase E: On-site Phase B: exposition Training activity, on-site tour, and workshop. Phase C: Related courses introduction (building physics and technologies). Phase D: Building design (conceptual design, project engineering, and mock-up creation)/Building codes introduction. Architecture Historical Workshop 1—Frame Workshop 1: 5 weeks  undergraduate Brick house theories of definition: metaphorical (i) define the photographic theme in level “Typology” typologies a “mood board”; (ii) define (8 students of Workshop 2—Concept metaphorical types and organize 1st year) design: systemic these into typological categories; (iii) University of typologies associate the metaphorical Bath Workshop 3—Detail definitions with the defined types design: elemental and find precedents. typologies Workshop 2: Workshop 4—Detail Selection of unfiltered precedents design: elemental and produce a spatial diagram of typologies each. Workshop 3: Introduction and identification of the building opening types and facade composition types. Workshop 4: Establish opening and compositional types. Research- First phase: First phase: master level 1 semester  Architecture, integrated design Examine the site with SDG analysis; Status quo analyses; (5 groups Landscape & studio reference to the SDG. State of the art; Remote environment Urban Design Second phase: strategies. Buildings 2022, 12, 1294 5 of 38 An Italian Multimethod Focused on local Second phase: with 2–3 Mediterranea approach conditions of the study (i) identify and map different types students per n island Performance- site. of principal land use; (ii) select zones group) oriented design. between two different land uses or Technical Sustainable with overlapping land use for their University Development design interventions; (iii) site visit Munich Goals, SDG and interviews; (iv) concept design. Architecture New sustainable First phase (3 weeks): EASED tools developed by master level 13 weeks  High-rise performance Individual work teachers. (4th year building simulation tool concerned a site analysis Combined the EASED tools with students) design Easy Approach and a master plan design the design process for sustainable Griffith for Sustainable and proposal. design assistance. University Environmental Second phase (5 weeks): Input design data of “design Design (EASED) Teamwork on the choices”. enrichment of the Evaluation of the works with proposals focusing on the EASED tools. detail development of engineering issues (structure, acoustic, light, and HVAC). Urban and Research-based First phase: Observation on social phenomena. 1 semester  undergraduate Architecture approach Work in groups to engage Aerial and street photograph. level (last Informal Socially with specific community Synthesis of existing urban decade before settlement responsive design. networks and frameworks. graduate) design The paradigm participative mapping Historic and existing urban form University of with the Social exercises. mapping. Pretoria Construction of Second phase: Social network mapping. Reality (SCR) Research of heritage and Document the narrative of place cultural landscapes. Representation. Architecture Integration Interpretative phase: Concept derivation methods: 1 semester  undergraduate concept design Concept Theme/Analogy/Metaphor/Experien level generation/Concept ce/Symbolism/Context/Scheme/Scen Prince Sultan evaluation and ario University selection/Concept Concept translation methods: translation and Geometry/Layout/Contextual development fit/Style/Surface Case study phase treatment/Systems/Peripherals/Logo and graphic design Concept development methods: Aesthetic aspects/Functional factors/Contextual considerations/Human factors/Social aspects/Technical systems/Cultural consideration/Materialization Architecture Active House Research and Design Active House assessments. 1 year  undergraduate An (AH) methodology phrase Climate characterization study. level apartment Construction phase Energy evaluation and design. Politecnico di Post-evaluation phase Environmental analysis with life Milan cycle assessment. Comfort analysis of thermal comfort, daylighting, PM10, CO2 and VOC. Landscape Research-by- First phase: Retreat from land that is at risk of 1 semester  undergraduate & design approaches One region (province) flooding. level (45 Architecture investigation. Build flood-proof structures and students) Large parks levees. Buildings 2022, 12, 1294 6 of 38 Integration of Second phase: Spatial Restore natural habitats. Ton Duc research and strategies design (five Build the water with floating Thang design locations in a town). structures. University Intercultural Third phase: Selected a location and a flood parallel design Adopt one out of five mitigation strategy for building studio flood mitigation design. strategies. Workshop: lectures, fieldtrips, Fourth phase: surveys, and design. Parallel studio with a common one-week workshop with 2 universities. Landscape Climate- First step: Part A MSc program 3 months  & responsive design Accumulated and Literatures study. Wageningen Architecture Practice-oriented summarized climate Qualitative urban climate analysis University learning knowledge at the (the climate booklet for urban appropriate scales. development for stuttgart). Second step: Analyzed urban heat complexes Analyze a study site and with the “Climatope form” method. identify climate-related Climate-responsive design problems. proposals. Third step: Results tested with specialists from Use this knowledge as a urban meteorology. basis for generating Part B 1 semester undergraduate design solutions and Gather basic information on the level (2nd year) testing them for their climate. climate-appropriateness. Gather appropriate climate- MSc program responsive precedents. (1 week) (1st year) Thermal indices were acquired and University of analysis with conditional Guelph climatology (e.g., wind roses). Identify the climatic region using the Koppen climate system. Conduct a site assessment on microclimate. Used SketchUp to build the campus buildings. Solar simulation feature and developing shadow patterns for critical times. Launch COMFA to simulate and assess the thermal comfort. Urban & Water Sensitive Project 1: Masterplan Site visit, community interviews, 1 year  undergraduate Architecture Design (WSD) Project 2: Site analysis. level (3rd–4th Blue Architecture Housing (3rd year)/Project Rich environment: professors, year) proposes brief (4th year) reviewers, and students from University Project 3: distinctive nationalities and of Nottingham Cultural program (3rd backgrounds. in China year)/Public program Develop projects for tectonics, (Thesis, 4th year) humanities, and integrated design to architecture. Environmental measures of the site. Consider WSD as a guideline for water strategies. Reuse, recycle, renovate, and retrofit strategies (4R). Buildings 2022, 12, 1294 7 of 38 1.4. Neighborhood and Community Space In his book ‘A Pattern Language’, Christopher Alexander described a set of recipes to help design spaces that will appeal to everybody and satisfy basic human needs in 1977 . The book is still used as a reference in teaching programs and research on urban planning and urban studies. The issues of neighborhood and community, boundary, in- between space, etc. in the book provide a specific perspective for students to undertake observations in field surveys in urban areas. In recent years, a group of Alexander’s for- mer students and associates launched a new open-source pattern language project , including wholly new patterns for new urban challenges including rapid urbanization, slum upgrading, sustainable urbanization, etc. The new pattern language further re- sponded to the need for understanding high-density urban development, urban sustain- ability, and urban research with scientific directions [33,34]. Pattern languages were also developed within the urban studies. Smith et al. devel- oped a community-quality-criteria concept through research into community quality, and human social and psychological theories . Iwańczak and Lewicka found that the pat- terns in an urban landscape were associated with increased positive affect and aesthetic appreciation of the setting . Pakzad and Salari proposed a morphological analytic as- sessment framework for the measurement of sustainability of urban blocks, which in- cluded three main morphological characteristics of an urban block, including size/length, configuration/grain, and orientation . The relationship between social and physical space was also an important issue in the continuous studies following Alexander’s work. Sarkar and Bardhan provided a comparative analysis of the current built-environment indicators (thermal and ventilation indices) and livability status of major informal arche- types, and combined analyses of the socio-physical problems . Paköz and Işık tested the urban density, vitality, and health environment in the post-pandemic city, and re- vealed that there was a statistically significant difference between the density levels of the districts . Huang et al. tested Alexander’s urban structural theory under a comprehen- sive research framework utilizing a combination of Twitter activities, Points-Of-Interest, and walking trips, and found no independent associations between “living structure” and life, contrary to existing literature. They also suggested the need for a locally-sensitive approach in future studies . Thus, the introduction of neighborhood and community space including social and physical aspects would provide a broader perspective on the study and research of high- density urban environment and related building renovation in this study. 1.5. Climate-Responsive Design To support the design and evaluation of the project, the principle of climate-respon- sive design  was introduced. The design strategy of climate-responsive building aims to study the climate control method suitable for building comfort space . Vernacular dwelling, based on climate-responsive experience, become the focus. Yang et al. grouped the research on climate-responsive design in recent years into three categories: climate responsiveness of vernacular buildings, adaptive thermal comfort of residents, and cli- mate adaptability of both buildings and residents . The main studies on this topic were conducted in Asian countries such as China, India, and Iran. Regarding methodology, a systematic framework from data collection to responsive strategies and analysis was formed in recent studies, which provided a framework and guidance for this study (Fig- ure 1). The climate-responsive strategies could be classified by seasons (such as natural ventilation in summer), by building elements (such as the special design of windows and doors), and by locations in buildings (such as the wind tower or the multi-layer ceiling on a roof) . They also pointed out the main limitations of current studies: (1) the study focused on one or a few vernacular houses lacking a general study; (2) long-term study with measurements was still lacking, especially during transitional seasons; (3) most Buildings 2022, 12, 1294 8 of 38 study houses were located in rural areas that lacked urban context and lacked accurate surrounding weather data . Figure 1. Research process of the studies on climate-responsive design (Adapted with permission from . 2022, Elsevier). In the climate-responsive studies in China, Mao et al. identified 71 climate-responsive technologies for controlling climate physical features and established a database of tech- nologies for buildings in different climate regions . The technologies category was di- vided into: (1) temperature control; (2) humidity control; (3) sunlight control; (4) ventila- tion control. The database was set up according to the climate classification in China (5 climate zones) . The study provided a general perspective on the climate characteris- tics studies and related strategies for students and designers, and more specific strategies for a single case could be developed following the above guidelines. In the aspect of architectural education, climate analysis has become an important issue in related educational programs [9,17,23,30,31]. Lenzholzer et al. provided two pro- grams about climate-responsive design in a landscape architecture design studio , whose framework was also similar to the review of Yang et al. . The climatic analysis and simulation evaluations of designs helped the students to assess different designs more objectively in “evidence-based research” and acquire very fundamental knowledge about various design solutions . Hoang et al. noted that selective dismantling will boost the recycling rate to a remarkable 90%, associated with a 55% decrease in greenhouse gas emissions . Studies emphasized the value of the maintenance and material reuse of the original building in the process of renovation, providing important value for students on urban building renovation development [45,46]. Li et al. proposed an optimization pro- cess based on a parametric platform for building climate-responsive design. The optimal solution was provided from two different perspectives of the public sector (energy saving optimal) and private households (cost-optimal), respectively [47,48]. The multi-objective ® ® optimization process using Octopus based on the Grasshopper (GH) parametric plat- form  provided an available choice for students running on their modeling tool Rhino software (RN, Version 6.0, Robert McNeel & Associates, Seattle, WA, USA) . As the program attempted to develop a sustainable renovation design for an urban house, the integration of studies on hot-humid climate, vernacular buildings, climate-re- sponsive design strategies, and simulation tools was introduced and utilized [51,52]. The educational methodology presented here may be implemented at architectural universi- ties in order to improve the quality of teaching design. Buildings 2022, 12, 1294 9 of 38 2. Methodology 2.1. Structure of the Program The program was structured based on the framework of research-integrated design. A well-organized design-orientation program should include some prerequisites such as creativity criteria and evaluation, idea generation and development, and pedagogy in the design studio [53,54]. This program was parallel to the main courses and lasted for two semesters. The pro- gram included studies from urban to building level. The framework was discussed and divided into two main branches, namely, the built system and the natural system . Kashef provided a framework integrating natural systems and built systems for the liva- ble environment. In the built systems, the study emphasized urban regional planning, ur- ban design preservation, and infrastructure management. In the natural systems, the study emphasized sustainability, air and water quality, and ecosystem biodiversity . This program focused on a micro-scale of a vernacular house in a high-density urban en- vironment. Thus, the built systems were mainly linked to the building factors, and the natural systems were linked to the local climate (Figure 2). Figure 2. Structure of the program. In the built systems, surveys on urban and building scales were conducted in two main areas. The methodologies of literature studies, field surveys, interviews, and map- pings were introduced to the students to obtain a better understanding of urban morphol- ogy and the inhabitants’ behaviors in a community, especially in the “in-between space” in such a dense area . Then, field measurements, drawings, and modeling of the study house were undertaken to obtain basic information on the building scale, materials, and construction. The characteristics of the local vernacular building were also studied with the goal of understanding the urban development and local climate. In the natural systems, understanding the local climate was the core of the study. Climate data collection and field measurements of the thermal environment were con- ducted within the research process. Climate data were analyzed and evaluated after Buildings 2022, 12, 1294 10 of 38 taking the measurements. Sustainable building guidelines were introduced after the field studies and later integrated into the design process. The training program was divided into two main periods of research and design. The first semester was mainly focused on the research, and the second semester was mainly focused on the design work. The program was conducted in the following steps: (1) Neighborhood and building quality investigation; (2) Study of local climate-responsive strategies via theoretical and field studies; (3) Field measurements and evaluation of the thermal environment; (4) Study of sustainable building design guidelines and technologies; (5) Building performance simulations and evaluations; (6) Completion of a renovation design project. The research supported the design work in different ways. First, understanding the neighborhood and community guided the design based on the relationship between the street and the building as well as between public and private space. Second, studying the vernacular building from the perspectives of space layout, construction, and building ma- terials highlighted the value judgment of the local culture and building technology. Third, studying the micro-climate provided a better understanding of the local climate charac- teristics and the climate-response strategies. Finally, the introduction of sustainable build- ing guidelines and standards linked the study and the practice in a direct way. Concepts of sustainability were an important issue in the research and design pro- cess. The sustainability concepts were integrated with guidelines and technologies. Some concept design works by the students were presented in the program and then integrated with the lessons on construction and materials, indoor environment, building technolo- gies, and strategies of sustainability such as greenery, energy, and rainwater reuse. For a clear framework, the Active House (AH) guidelines in China  were introduced in the program. Simulation tools were also introduced to optimize the building layout in the design process. The program frameworks attempted to provide a wider perspective on the architec- tural design based on contrasting themes, including communal and private space, urban area and building, and local climate-response strategies and modern technologies. The project was also selected by the Active House Building Competition in China 2021 and obtained a finalist award. Details of different parts of the program will be introduced in the following methodologies. 2.2. Urban Perspective: Field Survey on the Dense Neighborhood The program was based on a vernacular house that had been built over 90 years ago in a historical urban area in Guangzhou, China (Figure 3). High-density neighborhoods were formed in the 18th and 19th centuries because of the harbor development. The layout of the neighborhood, in which each house was arranged side by side with a shared wall, limited the building height and retained the character of urban morphology over the dec- ades. The form of this house was also known as a shophouse or townhouse in Singapore, Malaysia, and other countries [58,59]. In Guangzhou, two typologies emerged in the ur- ban development. The shophouses were mainly planned along the main roads and known as “Arcade Street (Qi Lou)” ; the townhouses were mainly built in the neighborhoods with narrow streets and known as “Bamboo Shape House (Zhu Tong Wu)” in Guangzhou . The program encouraged students to investigate the high-density community and understand its impact on the residents and the micro-climate characteristics. The investi- gation methods included site surveying, measurements of street scale, interviews with the residents, mappings, and drawings. From a social perspective, the streets became an “in-between space” in the dense neighborhood , which could be divided by different items to redefine the public and private areas used by the residents. Zhang et al. conducted a field survey and statistical Buildings 2022, 12, 1294 11 of 38 analysis on the changes of the “in-between space” and found types of encroachment items in such a space that could be defined as facilities (water channels, air conditioning, clothes lines, and canopy), vegetation, furniture (table and chair), transportation (bicycle), and other goods . As transitions between streets and houses, in-between spaces represent unique and important residential components in East Asia, which reflect the spontaneous spatial improvement awareness of users in traditional districts and the state of public– private relations. The perspective of observing the changes in residential environments in the context of urbanization provided a basis for developing renewal strategies for tradi- tional districts in China . From the micro-climate perspective, urban morphology such as the street height– width ratio (aspect ratio), street orientation, and greenery impacted the outdoor thermal environment . The students were encouraged to conduct the field measurements based on thermal indices in the street and the study building. Figure 3. Photos of the study neighborhood (photo (c) was reprinted with permission from . 2010, University of Bristol). 2.3. Building Perspective: Investigation of the Vernacular Urban House The vernacular urban house in this study was named “Bamboo Shape House” in Guangzhou owing to the narrow and long layout of the floorplans (4 m width and 15 m length; Figure 4), which shared both brick walls with the neighboring houses. These houses were built for both living and cargo storage in the last decades. Field studies were conducted to measure and redraw the layout and details of the study building. Some construction elements and materials with specific functions or dec- orations were recorded and integrated into 3D models as well. Since the house was built over 90 years ago, some renovations or changes had been made in different decades. Field investigations were also encouraged to analyze the changes following the changing resi- dents, activities, and modern living requirements . Buildings 2022, 12, 1294 12 of 38 Figure 4. Building floorplans, elevation, and sections (measured and redrawn by students). 2.4. Natural Perceptive: Local Climate Studies To gain a deeper understanding of the hot-humid climate and thermal environment , the students took field measurements of the thermal indices in the study house. The equipment used was a HOBO data logger (U23 Pro v2) and HD32.3 with a globe ther- mometer probe and an omnidirectional hot wire probe . These were installed at a height of 1.5 m on each floor of the house. Comparably, two HOBO data loggers with shading shields were installed in the street outside the house and in an open space in a middle school at a distance of approximately 300 m. The measurements took place from January to September in 2021, covering the transitional and hottest months in the hot- humid climate . A thermal imager allowed the students to take images from the street and the building to gain a more intuitive understanding of the effects of the street canyon as well as the building materials (Table 3). Table 3. Accuracy, range, and measurement frequency of the instruments and probes. Instruments and Probes Accuracy Range Frequency (1) HOBO data loggers (U23 Pro v2) Ta: ±0.21 °C Ta: 0–50 °C 5 min RH: ±2.5% RH: 10–90% (2) HD32.3 with probes: 2a. TP3276.2 Globe thermometer probe (Ø = 50 Tg: 1/3 DIN Tg: −10–100 °C 5 min mm) −1 −1 2b. AP3203 Omnidirectional hot wire probe Va: ±0.05 m s (0–1 m s ), Va: 0–5 m/s 5 min −1 −1 ±0.15 m s (1–5 m s ) (3) Flir E4 Thermal Imager ±2% −20–250 °C - The dates of the field measurements provided a better understanding of the indoor thermal quality and subsequently led to the development of a climate-responsive renova- tion design. 2.5. Sustainable Architectural Design Guidelines To link the research and practice, the building cases, technologies, guidelines, and standards of sustainable buildings were introduced. However, the guidelines and stand- ards required substantial time to explain the chapters, terms, and clauses. Thus, in this program, we set up the design goal with passive strategies and active technologies Buildings 2022, 12, 1294 13 of 38 following the AH competition in China . The students studied and understood the standards and the related methods and technologies in practice. The International Alliance of AH was established in 2005 . Throughout the cycle of design, construction, and use of residential buildings, AH standards advocate the ar- chitectural concept of energy conservation and environmental protection as the premise, the building health and comfort as the core, and the well-being of the occupants as the goal . AH standards have been promoted in China in the last 2 years; the Assessment Standard for Active House in China (ASAH) was published in 2020  and introduced to the students to provide a more integrated perspective on architectural design that con- siders the balance between sustainability and human comfort. The ASAH consists of four main categories including “Activeness”, “Comfort”, “En- ergy”, and “Environment”. Each category was defined as three hierarchies including “Pre- requisite Items”, “Scoring Items”, and “Optional Items” with a total of 46 clauses (Table 4). As the ASAH was a standard released by the China Architecture Association, it was practiced much more as a simple guideline for architects that integrated with or linked to other national standards in China, such as the Indoor Air Quality Standard (GB/T 18883- 2002), the Code for Design of Sound Insulation of Civil Buildings (GB 50118-2010), and the Design Standard for Energy Efficiency of Public Buildings (GB 50189-2015) . Table 4. Clause numbers of the ASAH. Number of Clauses Hierarchy Activeness Comfort Energy Environment Prerequisite Items 3 6 5 3 Scoring Items 2 3 2 2 Optional Items 6 7 2 4 Total 11 16 9 9 The ASAH also highlights clauses regarding the public interest. For example, in the “Optional Items” of “Activeness”, it emphasizes a design for social interaction, especially for elders and children (in Clause 4.3.2–4.3.3). It also encourages an adaptive design for local climate, future demand, and conventional wisdom (in Clause 4.3.4–4.3.5) . From the perspective of the teaching program, the ASAH provided a simple and clear frame- work for the students to understand the basic logic, hierarchy, and requirements of a sus- tainable building design project. 2.6. Building Performance Simulation Tools Simulation tools were also introduced in this study program to evaluate the design project prepared by the students. In the evaluation for climate-responsive strategies, ther- mal comfort, daylighting, ventilation, and energy performance were the main categories of the evaluation system . Different tools were introduced to support the systematic analysis in practice and educational programs. For students, tools were much more re- quired connecting to the concept design and feeding back to improve optimizations of space, façade, and technologies. Thus, in the thermal environment and daylighting anal- ysis, the climatic analysis and building performance simulation tools named Ladybug (LB) + Honeybee (HB) in the GH platform connecting to the 3D modeling software Rhino were introduced [49,50,70]. LB is a collection of open-source applications and integrated workflows that support the analysis and improvement of the built environment’s performance and was developed based on GH in the 3D modeling software RN. HB connects GH to different simulation tools to construct the energy and daylight simulation. For the simulation models, the study buildings were defined as HBZones in LB and HB and exported into an OpenStudio (OS, Version 3.1.0, Alliance for Sustainable Energy, LLC, Columbus, OH, TM USA) file for simulation using the software EnergyPlus (EP, Version 8.8, Alliance Buildings 2022, 12, 1294 14 of 38 for Sustainable Energy, LLC, Columbus, OH, USA) . Consequently, an open-source weather data file (*.epw file) of a location, was collected from the website of EP  and imported to create a specific site climate for the simulation. The validation and effective- ness of the above simulation workflow has been supported by recent studies [48,70]. Fur- thermore, online cases for different research issues  also provided a much more friendly path for students to apply the tools in the teaching program. In the evaluation of natural or mechanical ventilation, the computational fluid dy- namic (CFD) method is widely applied in practice and research. Urban morphology, out- door environment, and indoor ventilation are different objects and scales in the studies of CFD simulations [74,75], connecting to the strategies on climate-responsive strategies. However, considering the computation resources and time, a simple 2D instead of 3D CFD method  launched in Ansys Fluent (Version 16.0, 2014 ANSYS, Inc., Canonsburg, PA, USA) was also introduced for the simulation of natural ventilation in a building sec- tion. The solving model was the two-dimensional steady-state Reynolds-averaged Na- vier–Stokes (RANS) equation with the Boussinesq approximation for the realizable k-ϵ turbulence model [77,78]. The second-order scheme was applied in the mean flow, turbu- lence, and energy equations discretization. The SIMPLEC scheme was applied in the cou- pling calculation with pressure and velocity. The convergence criteria of the continuity, −5 velocity, and energy model were set to 10 . 2.7. Methodologies Summarization As a pedagogy program, this study combines multidisciplinary methods including social and technological approaches on neighborhood and building aspects in the training process. The perspective of climate-responsive design acted as the core of the program. The renovation concept design was conducted based on the research. As the program lasted two semesters, different methods were promoted within the program process (Fig- ure 5). Figure 5. Methodologies and process of the program. 3. Results 3.1. Urban Perspective: Neighborhood and Community Buildings 2022, 12, 1294 15 of 38 3.1.1. Urban Morphology of the Neighborhood The urban morphology was investigated via site surveying and measurements of the street scales. The results of field measurements revealed that the floor area ratio (FAR) of the neighborhood was approximately 2.8, the density of which was approximately 74%. The width of the streets was 2–4 m and the aspect ratio of the street was found to be ap- proximately 1.9–5.2 (Figure 6), revealing its dense character. The streets in the neighbor- hood were mainly orientated east to west owing to the houses mainly facing south. The narrow street space may limit the amount of daylight and natural ventilation for the houses; however, it may also reduce the solar radiation in the street. Measurements of the thermal environment were conducted, and the results will be presented in later sections. The site survey and measurements provided the students with a better understanding of density and its problems that supported the concept design considering the relationship between the house and the street. The urban morphology character of the study area would be recognized and linked to the patterns of “row houses”, “long thin house”, “housing in between”, and “country towns” in the book A Pattern Language . The field survey and measurements pro- vided a much more intuitive understanding of the urban space in the dense context. Figure 6. Sections and aspect ratio of the study street (drawn by the students). 3.1.2. Public and Private Interaction A social perspective was introduced to reveal the interaction of the in-between space in the narrow street. According to Zhang et al. , the interaction factors between public and private found in the study street included greenery, steps, paving materials, windows with grilles, facilities, and religious items. Different items formed an active or negative space in the street. Students were encouraged to discover and record how the residents used the space in front of or around their houses and how this changed the quality of the street (Figure 7). The spontaneous, shared activities of the residents in the streets were studied and led to a much more active relationship between the private and public space in future renovation designs. Buildings 2022, 12, 1294 16 of 38 Figure 7. Sketches of the interaction items in the street (drawn by the students). Greenery was found to be a common way to define an in-between space in the neigh- borhood (Figure 8). Most vegetation in the street was planted and placed in public spaces by the residents. The scale of the trees or shrubs was suited to the scale of the street section, where the width of the in-between space was limited to 0.5–2 m. This kind of shared space provided the possibility for social interaction among neighborhood inhabitants, especially for the elderly and kids. Steps with platforms around the entrances of the houses also intensified the in-be- tween space (Figure 8). The steps were designed in response to the risk of flooding from heavy rains in the summer because the drainage system of the historical district was poorly constructed in the early period. The space of the steps was found to be expanded to support some private activities such as goods storing, bicycle parking, and greening. More items were added to intensify this space such as canopies, grilles, and different pav- ing materials compared to the stones in the street. Windows with overhanging stills, canopies, or railings were also found to be space occupation factors in the street. The scale of the window space was defined as 30–40 cm outside the windows and provided some additional space for storage, plantings, and air- conditioner installations as well. Furthermore, blinds or movable shading devices pro- vided a controllable sight line between the street and the indoor space, intensifying the adaptive relationship between the public and the private. Street observations provided a better understanding of residents’ actual lives, their local habits, awareness of private and public spaces, and other social perspectives in the dense neighborhood. Factors found here could be recognized as the “new patterns” in the neighborhood 34. The pattern “biophilic urbanism” emphasized the importance of natural characteristics within the built environment for promoting human health and well-being. Patterns of the street detail on a human scale, representations of nature, and green pieces in the tradi- tional urban fabric  were found and recognized by the students. The pattern “indoor- outdoor ambiguity” suggested creating an experience of spatial richness connecting the indoors to the outdoors , whose spatial character was also found in the semi-open space in the study neighborhood. The relationship between the theory and the real sce- nario helped the students obtain a deeper understanding of the urban morphology and social space. Factors in the street also enrich the definition of new pattern languages in the east Asian background. Buildings 2022, 12, 1294 17 of 38 Figure 8. Observations of the in-between spaces in the street (drawn by the students). 3.2. Building Perspective: Space and Construction 3.2.1. Transition of the Building Layout and Space The building layout and space were observed and measured in detail. As the study house was built over 90 years ago, the transition of the indoor space was learned via the resident interview and construction and materials analysis and identification, compared to the typical bamboo shape houses in Guangzhou. It was built at a height of 2–3 floors with a vertical patio in the middle or backside of the house increasing the amount of day- light and natural ventilation. However, the patio of the study building had been closed and replaced because of the increased need for living space. The differences in the building construction and materials also recorded the transi- tion of the building space. The house was mainly constructed with brick and timber. Both brick walls limited the width and span of the house to no higher than 4 m. The brick walls, the dense timber beams with a distance of 0.4–0.8 m supporting the timber floor, and the timber partition walls were constructed in the 1920s. The building was first constructed with two sloping roofs, and the front one was changed to a flat roof in the 1960s with timber beams and a concrete floor slab. The floor slab of the third floor and the timber beams of the back roof were also renovated in the 1960s. As a result, the small patio at the back side of the house was closed. In the 1980s, a bathroom, a toilet, and a kitchen were added on the first and second floors and the patio on the bottom was closed (Figures 9 and 10). The collapse of the original space caused some indoor environmental problems, such as a lack of daylight and ventilation in the house, and the materials incurred damage from the moisture and rainwater leakage. Buildings 2022, 12, 1294 18 of 38 Figure 9. Observations and analysis of the different building construction periods (drawn by the students). Figure 10. Space and construction of the study house (drawn by the students). Buildings 2022, 12, 1294 19 of 38 3.2.2. Construction Adapting to Local Climate The field investigation of the construction still revealed some climate-responsive wis- dom in the house, even though the original layout of the study building had been changed. The timber partition walls with local symbol decorations were assembled in double layers and designed to be switched with different methods. The wooden boards behind the glass could be pushed up and fixed to allow daylight into a room and pushed down to maintain privacy. The whole partition wall could be opened to expand the living room and let the cross-ventilation pass through in the summer evening. The decorations were curved only on the side of the living room to emphasize the importance of the space (Figure 11). The front timber door (“Tang Long Men”) was also assembled with three lay- ers. The outer part was designed at half height of the opening, the middle part was assem- bled with horizontal timbers, which could be switched to close but allowed the possibility of natural ventilation, and the inner part was timber boards at the full height of the open- ing for safety and privacy (Figure 11). The openable roof of the building had a switching construction with glass to improve the indoor ventilation and daylighting on the upper floor. Figure 11. Observation of the construction response to the local climate (drawn by the students). Because of the lack of natural ventilation in the interior, some materials were found to be at risk of moisture. Thermal images of different constructions and materials were recorded in the field survey. Various positions of timbers and bricks were recognized by the temperature difference via the thermal images, especially in the corners of rooms and the joints with different materials, revealing that some rainwater may permeate into the interior space owing to the construction and aging material (Figure 12). The detailed investigations of the study house provided a deeper and much more comprehensive understanding of the building post-evaluation. The conventional wisdom on climate response was recognized, and the existing problems also inspired the students to rethink better ways of space arrangement and construction to adapt to the local climate. Buildings 2022, 12, 1294 20 of 38 Figure 12. Thermal images of the construction and materials (photo by the students). 3.3. Natural Perspective: Thermal Environment Evaluation 3.3.1. Thermal Images of the Street Canyon The students recorded thermal images during the field survey. The difference in the surface temperature (Ts) provided a direct and clear understanding of the effects of solar radiation on the street canyon. The results demonstrated that the peak Ts difference be- tween the shaded and unshaded areas of the same material was as high as 5.1 °C in the afternoon on a summer day (Figure 13). They revealed that the deep shape of the street canyon may effectively reduce the solar radiation; however, it may limit the wind flow at the pedestrian level on the other side. Figure 13. Thermal images of the study street in summer. (Photo by the students.). 3.3.2. Evaluation of the Indoor Thermal Environment Results revealed that the air temperature (Ta), relative humidity (RH), and globe tem- perature (Tg) showed significant differences between the upper and lower floors (Table 5 and Figures 14 and 15). Buildings 2022, 12, 1294 21 of 38 Table 5. Ta, RH, and Tg measurements data. January March–May July–September Ta (°C) Ave. Max. Min. Ave. Max. Min. Ave. Max. Min. Outdoor N/A N/A N/A 28.3 39.0 17.0 33.9 44.0 29.0 Street N/A N/A N/A 24.9 33.1 15.5 30.4 36.4 25.8 3F 18.3 22.0 12.8 26.2 33.0 17.3 31.4 36.3 28.4 2F 17.3 21.5 13.1 25.0 30.1 17.9 30.1 32.9 28.3 1F 16.0 22.5 13.1 23.3 27.2 17.4 28.0 28.8 27.0 RH (%) Outdoor N/A N/A N/A 60.1 83.0 31.0 61.5 80.0 34.0 Street N/A N/A N/A 72.2 95.5 40.2 76.1 98.0 50.1 3F 54.6 74.8 35.4 68.0 81.6 49.6 71.1 86.4 50.5 2F 56.2 71.4 39.9 74.3 87.0 55.3 78.2 90.3 61.9 1F 67.7 80.2 46.0 83.8 91.4 63.5 93.7 96.0 89.2 Tg (°C) 3F N/A N/A N/A 25.5 32.6 17.1 31.3 37.4 28.2 2F N/A N/A N/A 24.5 29.9 16.9 31.3 35.0 28.3 1F N/A N/A N/A 22.7 26.2 17.0 28.9 30.3 27.5 The neighborhood street provided a cooler space than the outdoor environment. In the transitional season (March–May), the average Ta was reduced by 3.4 °C, and in sum- mer (July–September) the average Ta was reduced by 3.5 °C. In the house, the results showed that the Ta was reduced on different floors. On the third floor, the average Ta was higher than the street by 1.3 and 1.0 °C in the transitional season and in summer owing to the weak thermal insulation of the roof (only a single layer of clay tile). Compared to the third floor, the average Ta of the second and first floors were reduced by 1.0 and 2.3 °C in winter, by 1.2 and 2.9 °C in the transitional season, and by 1.3 and 3.4 °C in summer, respectively. It should be noted that the average RH in the house was higher than 70% in the tran- sitional season and in summer, especially on the first floor, where the average RH was kept higher than 80%. The extremely humid environment increases the risk to human health and the durability of the building materials. The wind velocity (Va) was kept lower than 0.2 m/s at all the test points because the windows were always closed and there was no vertical patio to provide natural ventila- tion. Results revealed that the average Tg was reduced by 1.0 °C (second fl.) and 2.6 °C (first fl.) compared to the third floor in the transitional season and reduced by 3.4 °C (first fl.) in summer (Table 5 and Figure 16). The main solar radiation in the indoor environment was gained from the windows. The scale of the windows on the second and third floors was the same; however, part of the roof on the third floor was transparent so the Tg on the third floor was a bit higher than on the second floor. A psychrometric chart was introduced to provide a thermal comfort analysis of the house. Results revealed that the house was not very comfortable most of the time (Figure 17). Simple strategies such as fans can partly improve indoor thermal comfort. Thus, strat- egies for thermal comfort optimization such as natural ventilation, roof insulation, and other technologies were considered in the renovation design based on the field measure- ments. In conclusion, the dense and low-rise neighborhood provided a cooler space than the outdoor environment. Results showed the potential for cooling, energy reduction and thermal comfort improvement in the traditional urban morphology. Field measurements also proved the effectiveness of the climate-responsive characters of the vernacular house Buildings 2022, 12, 1294 22 of 38 and provided an intuitive understanding for the students, leading to the renovation de- sign later. Figure 14. Ta and RH measurement data (January–September 2021), drawn by the students. Buildings 2022, 12, 1294 23 of 38 Figure 15. Average Ta and RH measurement data (January–September 2021), drawn by the stu- dents. Figure 16. Tg measurement data (March–September 2021), drawn by the students. Buildings 2022, 12, 1294 24 of 38 Figure 17. Psychrometric chart analysis (March–September 2021), drawn by the students. 3.4. Renovation Design Strategies Following the students’ field studies and measurements of the thermal environment, the characteristics and problems of the study house were identified and led to the devel- opment of renovation design strategies. 3.4.1. Design Workflow The renovation design workflow was integrated with various conclusions about the site, the community, the history of the building, and the sustainable strategies. Certain issues became the starting point of the design: How to improve the space, based on the understanding of climate-responsive de- sign? How to provide a much more active relationship with the street, thereby improving the communication between public and private? How to maintain the memory and the history of the building? How to improve the thermal environment of the building? How to integrate sustainable building technologies under the guidelines of ASAH? First, the relationship between the street and the building was discussed and tested with different modeling methods (Figure 18). Second, the building space and layout for a three-generation family (one child + one couple + one elder) was tested through the design process (Figure 19). Some original construction elements of the existing building, such as certain timber partition walls, were maintained in the design. Third, building environ- ment simulation tools were introduced and provided evaluations of the design models. Finally, sustainable building technologies were integrated into the building under the ASAH guidelines. Buildings 2022, 12, 1294 25 of 38 Figure 18. Testing the relationship between the building and the street via volume modeling (mod- eled by the students). Figure 19. Different concept design models (drawn by the students). Taking one design concept as an example, the design process of the space layout is diagrammed in Figures 20–22. Considering the limitations of the site and its volume, the bedrooms and living rooms were arranged vertically (floor one for the elders, floors two for the child, and floor three for the couple). To improve communication, the three levels of the floor were shifted one half-floor vertically and connected with the stairs, furniture, and structure (see steps a–d in Figure 20). To increase the amount of natural ventilation and daylight in the house, two vertical patios were added to the front and back sides. On the front side, a semi-open space with a grilling door, vertical greenery, and religious space was provided to satisfy residents’ local habits as well as to improve the street space. Windows and openings were set around vertical patios to increase the amount of daylight (see steps e–h in Figure 20). Buildings 2022, 12, 1294 26 of 38 Figure 20. Design process diagram for one of the concept designs (drawn by the students). Figure 21. Typical space and construction maintenance diagram for a concept design (drawn by the students). Buildings 2022, 12, 1294 27 of 38 Figure 22. Rendering of the interior space of a concept design (drawn by the students). 3.4.2. ASAH Guidelines The renovation design was guided by the ASAH . The ASAH guidelines pro- vided a comprehensive framework for sustainable building design, balancing energy with human comfort. Responding to the problems and the values of the study house, both pas- sive strategies and active technologies according to the AH guideline were introduced into the design process. Thus, the students not only carried out the design according to the space requirements but also considered suitable strategies in response to the problems they found in previous studies. Responding to the poor natural ventilation of the existing house, the space design considered a strategy that included a vertical patio, controllable roof window, and wind inlet openings. The problem of overheating on the third floor required better roof insula- tion construction and shading devices. Thus, four aspects of the ASAH guidelines were chosen for integration into the design process (Figure 23). Activeness Comfort Conventional wisdom understanding. Natural ventilation and indoor thermal com- Strategies of local climate response such as fort improvement. the atrium for natural ventilation and daylight. Daylighting analysis and improvement. Measurements and evaluation based on the Green wall and green roof. thermal environmental indices. Sensitive and automatic controllable roof win- Integration with natural factors such as dow and shading devices. greenery. Consideration of the relationship with the neighborhood. Sensitive and automatic controllable roof window and shading devices. Energy Environment Optimization of the space design, improving Reuse of the construction components and ma- indoor comfort and reducing energy cost. terials. Natural ventilation, reducing cooling energy Rainwater storage and reuse. costs in the transitional season. Sustainable construction technologies such as Roof PV panels. green walls. Figure 23. Strategies based on the ASAH guidelines and field survey. Buildings 2022, 12, 1294 28 of 38 3.4.3. Building Performance Simulations Building environment simulation tools were introduced in the teaching project. (1) Weather data Weather data including temperature, relative humidity, and wind speed for 1 year were combined with the local weather data file in the LB tools (Figure 24). The climate data provided a background on the local climate. The field measurements of the study house led to a direct understanding of the micro-climate by comparing the house with the outdoor environment. Both methods supported the students’ perceptions and considera- tions of the characteristics of the local climate in the design process. (2) Daylighting simulations The daylighting simulations were conducted with the Ladybug tools as well. They provided an easier workflow with the modeling in the RN software. The results revealed significant improvements in the amount of daylighting in the main indoor space on dif- ferent floors (Figure 25). The lack of daylighting in a room on the first floor was also pre- sented and feedback was generated on the design optimization. (3) Natural ventilation simulations Simulations of natural ventilation were conducted with a 2D model of the building section to provide a preliminary understanding of the CFD tools and workflow with lim- ited computing resources (Figure 26). The result revealed that the natural ventilation of the main space in the building would be optimized and the wind velocity improved to 0.5–2 m/s. However, the result also showed that the street canyon limited the natural ven- tilation on the first floor, and the wind velocity in the street and first floor was mainly in the range 0–1 m/s. Thus, optimization of the in-between space was an important building design issue in such a dense neighborhood. Buildings 2022, 12, 1294 29 of 38 Figure 24. Distribution of Ta, RH, and wind speed for 1 year in Guangzhou in the weather data file visualized with the Ladybug tools (visualized by the students). Figure 25. Daylight simulation results for the three main floors visualized with the Ladybug tools (simulated by the students). Buildings 2022, 12, 1294 30 of 38 Figure 26. 2D CFD test of the design building section (simulated by the students). 3.4.4. Sustainable Technologies Based on the space arrangement, some sustainable building technologies were inte- grated into the renovation design (Figure 27) based on the ASAH guidelines. (1) Photovoltaic (PV) panels As the house was in a dense environment and shared both walls with the neighboring houses, the potential for energy collection was mainly on the roof. The design of the roof was integrated with south-facing PV panels (26 m ). The PV panels were calculated to provide an average of approximately 85.75 kWh per month and satisfy 30.5% of the energy cost of a four-person family. (2) Green wall Considering the lack of a green area in the neighborhood, the design project intended to provide the option of incorporating greenery into the house via a green roof and interior green wall. The green roof was set on the terrace, and the green wall was set on the wall of the ventilated atrium, where the natural daylight improved the indoor space quality for different rooms. (3) Shading devices The dimensions of the windows on the roof and top floor were maximized to increase the natural ventilation and daylight for the interior, and the controllable shading devices helped prevent overheating on summer days, according to the results of the measure- ments. (4) Water treatment Rainwater was proposed to be collected and reused for greenery in this project owing to Guangzhou’s rich rainwater supply. Rainwater collection is also a resilience strategy to reduce street drainage in such a dense neighborhood during the rainy season. (5) Reuse of construction and materials Valuable construction elements of the existing building were preserved and reused in the renovation project. For example, the timber-grill door was reused in the in-between space to provide a semi-open space for communication and visual connection between the house and the street. The partition walls were also maintained in the building design to provide an optional and flexible division of the indoor space. Buildings 2022, 12, 1294 31 of 38 Figure 27. Section and floor plans of the house illustrating the strategies of space and technologies (drawn by the students). 4. Discussion 4.1. Setting of the Research and Teaching Topic The setting of the research-integrated design project controlled the orientation of the program and transfer of the design value, limiting some possibilities in the project devel- opment. The setting of this research and teaching topic was based on the problem of urban renovation against the background of urbanization in China. It included perspectives on the social aspects of a neighborhood and community, the historical aspects of building heritage, and the sustainable aspects of design. It provided a broader perspective on the Buildings 2022, 12, 1294 32 of 38 architectural design studio. Moreover, the objective of a house design was intelligible and simple for students to relate to their own experiences. Thus, this study was much more focused on the research capacity training. Methodologies and tools in the research training would support the final building renovation project. This study developed the climate- responsive design and teaching program in a high-density urban context, compared to studies in rural areas , landscape [17,27], and urban design . The topic setting of renovation design in a traditional neighborhood also emphasized the value and potential of sustainability [45,46], energy performance , thermal comfort , and community relationship  in future vernacular building renovations. Specific limitations added complexity to this case study, such as the high-density ur- ban environment and historical vernacular building. The setting of the design project lim- ited the building scale, orientation, and structure in the design process, which reduced certain possibilities related to energy concept, building form, and façade concept. The housing scale also limited possible architectural design technologies; however, it empha- sized the suitability of a technology choice. 4.2. Integration of Multidisciplinary Methodologies in the Design Studio This study project combined multidisciplinary methodologies step by step. Follow- ing the field survey, the students were encouraged to conduct the interviews, measure- ments, and mappings of the neighborhood. Responding to the topic of climate-response design, literature studies and thermal measurements were launched synchronously. Fo- cusing on the local vernacular buildings, field surveys, building scale measurements, de- tailed recording, and historical analysis were conducted on a specific issue. Previous re- search works provided a solid foundation for the design work. In the renovation design training stage, the ASAH guidelines of China and related technologies were introduced to provide a framework for the design thinking. To accompany the design process, simu- lation tools were introduced to evaluate the design works as well. Research-integrated design and multidisciplinary methods applied in this study were similar to the studies from Hensel et al. , Lucchi and Delera , and Devisch et al. . This study contributed a process considering both the community space on the social aspect and building performance on climate-responsive strategies, which provided the students with a much more comprehensive view of a design project in the urban con- text. Furthermore, both the climatic analysis of the vernacular house and the ASAH guide- lines provided the students with climate-responsive wisdom based on empirical and sci- entific data. This study also emphasized the basic path of practical experience and theo- retical studies for the capacity training of climate-responsive design. Through this process, the students understood the value of design as a strategic re- sponse to different aspects of the problems. For example, the entrance layout of the design project was taken a step back from the street and formed a transitional space. On the one hand, the outer door was an in-between space following the traditional idea of a house that provides the possibility for elders’ communication. On the other hand, that space also optimized the canyon of the narrow street and improved the natural ventilation of the house. Adding greenery to the transitional space also continued the logic of a space be- tween public and private in this neighborhood as found in the previous field survey. Sim- ilarly, when designing the atrium, openings, and other strategies, students were encour- aged to employ multidisciplinary thinking. Thus, evaluating the design value of multiple problem considerations and solutions was transferred to the students via the research and design process. 4.3. Relationship between the Parallel Research Project and Main Design Studios As this parallel research project lasted for nearly 1 year, it was interactive with the main courses and design studios (Table 6). In the autumn semester for the third-year stu- dents, the research project was mainly conducted with field survey and case studies. The findings on vernacular buildings in a real neighborhood were connected to the theories of Buildings 2022, 12, 1294 33 of 38 building physics, material and construction, and urban design. In the spring semester, the research project advanced to thermal environmental measurements and sustainable building-related guidelines and design tools based on the study of building physics and construction. The introduction of simulation tools was also connected to the course on digital building design tools. Compared to the main course system of the third to the fourth year education in China [7,8], this parallel research project provided much more practical experiences and extending understanding of theories on urban study, building construction, and building technologies (Table 6). The methods and tools introduced in this program also support the teaching of main courses that build capacities relating to “Social and humanity” and “Urban and technology” . Thus, the research based on measurements and evidence provided a supplement to and a much more intuitive under- standing of theoretical teaching in the main courses. Table 6. Comparison of the research program and the main courses and design studios. Semester Relative Main Courses and Design Studios Parallel Research Program Autumn Building physics (1) Field surveys Semester Building material and construction (1) Building scale and detail measurements (Sep–Jan) Chinese architecture history Building structure and materials analysis Urban design theory Building history analysis with interviews and con- Design studio: struction Workshop studio and housing design Local vernacular building study Vernacular building and climate Spring Building physics (2) Thermal environment measurement Semester Building material and construction (2) Data collected and analysis with psychrometric chart (Feb–July) Digital building design tools Thermal analysis and simulation tools introduction Design studio: AH guidelines and green building technology intro- Residential planning and design duction Renovation design with climate responsive strategies Simulation and evaluation Design studios are the central courses of architectural design. Two design studios were developed from a smaller scale to a larger scale. Both studios provided the basic experience for the students of designing a living space. The relationship between the train- ing program and the main theorical courses in this study was different to the program from Lucchi and Delera , which combined the related courses in the practical program. However, in this study the main courses remained in the teaching system. Thus, the the- ories of climate analysis, thermal comfort and daylighting simulation and analysis tools, and the guidelines were supplements to the main courses of “building physics” and “building material and construction”. This path would keep the completeness and sys- tematic nature of the main courses and improve the practical understanding of the stu- dents. In the research program, the scale was limited to a single house for one family to reduce the complexity of urban scale, including the multiple functions of a public build- ing, and related regulations on public projects. Much more research will be focused on the central topic of climate-response design. 4.4. Limitations This program applied multidisciplinary methods to a building renovation. Some lim- itations remain in the research and design process. The simulation tools were not suffi- cient to provide a comprehensive evaluation of the design project, except for the daylight- ing and natural ventilation simulations. The tools were still needed in the main courses to support the different design studios. The detail of construction design of the project was Buildings 2022, 12, 1294 34 of 38 still lacking, owing to the tight schedule in the design process. The historical information of the study neighborhood and urban area still lacked sufficient investigation including historical maps, literature, and interviews. The understanding and introduction of pattern language was still not so sufficient to push forward a deeper observation of the urban context. The structure program can be improved in future studies. 5. Conclusions This study aimed to develop an architectural teaching program integrating different aspects of sustainable building design. The students’ works represented an understanding of the characteristics of a hot-humid climate, responsive strategies for vernacular build- ings, preliminary methodologies of micro-climate analysis, and sustainable building guidelines. Simulation tools that support the optimization of the design project are neces- sary for future improvements. The main findings of this program could be concluded as follows: (1) Observation of urban morphology revealed the high-density character of the study neighborhood, whose FAR was approximately 2.8 and density was approximately 74%; and the aspect ratio of the street was found to be approximately 1.9–5.2. (2) Thermal measurements in the study street showed that the peak surface temperature difference between the shaded and unshaded areas was as high as 5.1 °C in summer. Compared to the outdoor area, the average Ta in the street was reduced by approxi- mately 3.4 °C in the transitional season and in summer. The dense low-rise neighbor- hood provided a cooler space than the outdoor environment. Results showed the po- tential for cooling energy reduction and thermal comfort improvement in the tradi- tional urban morphology. (3) Surveyed from a social perspective, the semi-open space that allowed interaction be- tween public and private space was recognized. Factors in the street also enrich the definition of new pattern languages in the east Asian background. (4) On the building level, the field investigation of the construction of the vernacular house revealed some climate-responsive wisdom for thermal comfort, natural venti- lation, daylighting improvement, and resilience to the rainy weather. (5) Thermal measurements in the study house showed that the average Ta of the second and first floors was reduced by 1.2 and 2.9 °C in the transitional season, and by 1.3 and 3.4 °C in summer, respectively. Field measurements proved the effectiveness of the climate-responsive characters of the vernacular house and provided an intuitive understanding for the students, leading to the renovation design included in the ed- ucation program. (6) Guidelines of ASAH, sustainable technologies, and building performance simulation methods were introduced and applied in the renovation concept design process. The strategy of construction and material reuse was also perceived. On the aspect of architectural pedagogy, this study also contributed some novel vi- sions as follows: (1) The research-integrated program was achieved by the students and tutors. The pro- cess of the program was divided into two parts, namely, the research and design periods. The first semester’s works on urban and building research solidly supported the architectural design in the second semester. (2) A multidisciplinary approach was conducted systematically. Both social and physi- cal perspectives were integrated into this program. The observation of urban mor- phology with the methods of pattern language and community interaction provided the students with a simple and comprehensible vision at the beginning of the project. The measurements, technologies analysis, and simulation methods were introduced gradually and deepened the understanding of climate-responsive strategies within the process. Buildings 2022, 12, 1294 35 of 38 (3) The method of climate-responsive design was effectively studied with a systematic process including field survey, physical indices measurements, building history and construction analysis, ASAH guidelines, and simulation and evaluation tools. (4) This parallel training project acted as an important supplement to the regular teach- ing schedule. The practice and training in this project brought novel views respond- ing to the theoretical teaching in the main courses, improving the holistic architec- tural design pedagogy. Thus, this program provided a valuable approach to the appropriate pedagogy for a research-integrated design studio within the context of sustainable architectural educa- tion development. Author Contributions: Conceptualization, H.L., S.Y. and Y.L.; methodology, H.L., S.Y. and Y.L.; formal analysis, C.X.; investigation, H.L. and Y.L.; resources, S.Y. and Y.L.; writing—original draft preparation, H.L. and Y.L.; writing—review and editing, H.L. and Y.L.; supervision, Y.L.; funding acquisition, H.L., S.Y. and C.X. All authors have read and agreed to the published version of the manuscript Funding: This research was funded by the State Key Laboratory of Subtropical Building Science (grant number. 2021ZB04), Guangdong Basic and Applied Basic Research Foundation (grant num- ber. 2019A1515110577), Fellowship of China Postdoctoral Science Foundation (grant number. 2020M672633), 2018 Youth Project of Philosophy and Social Science of Guangdong Province during the 13th Five-Year Plan Period (grant number. GD18YSH02), and the University-level Major Certi- fication and Evaluation Project for Continuous Improvement in Education Reform in 2022 (Guang Dong University of Technology Educational Official Document, grant number. 59). Institutional Review Board Statement: Not applicable. Informed Consent Statement: Not applicable. Data Availability Statement: Not applicable. Acknowledgments: We would like to thank the students who participated in this program: Wei Zeng, Siman Liang, Xiaoshan Li, Lan Yao, Hanjia Sun, Lixiang Chen, and Mingyu Wang. We also thank the reviewers and editor for their comments and suggestions, and the publishers and authors who provided the copyrights. Conflicts of Interest: The authors declare no conflict of interest. The funders had no role in the design of the study; in the collection, analyses, or interpretation of data; in the writing of the manu- script, or in the decision to publish the results. References 1. 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Buildings – Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute
Published: Aug 23, 2022
Keywords: architectural design education; climate-responsive; research-integrated design; vernacular house; neighborhood; hot-humid climate
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