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Martin Centre Research Seminar Series: Solar ‘Affordances’ – Research and Observation Retrospective

Professor Colin Porteous (Professor of Architectural Science, University of Glasgow)
When May 30, 2012
from 01:15 PM to 02:15 PM
Where Classroom, Department of Architecture
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Martin Centre 30-05-12Abstract: Passive solar architecture, with some active assistance, will be viewed through the lens of James J Gibson’s theory of ‘affordances’, 1977, Jay Appleton’s ‘prospect-refuge’ theory, 1975, Aldo van Eyck’s ‘reciprocity’, 1961-62, and ‘in-between’, 1959, and Alvar Aalto’s ‘From Doorstep to Living Room’, 1926. All four theoretical strands will inform commentary on the use of sun-traps, sun-buffers, sun-diodes and suncollectors in a range of domestic and non-domestic projects; this leading to a discussion of the key ‘comfort’ and ‘well-being’ issues for occupants of low-, zero-, and plus-energy buildings and their carbon footprints. Tensions between technology and human frailty will be raised, for example in relation to indoor air quality and sensory satisfaction. The presentation will conclude on the issue of emphasis regarding new-build and retrofit models and the alignment of, rather than competition between, ‘passive-solar’ and ‘passiv-haus’ solutions.

Biography: Colin Porteous is an architect with an interest in energy-efficient design. He became a full-time academic in 1986, leading a community technical aid centre linking the problem of fuel poverty to passive solar solutions via the EU-funded Easthall Demonstration Project in the early 1990s. He initiated the Mackintosh Environmental Architecture Research Unit (MEARU) in 1993, and is author of The New Eco-Architecture (2002), Solar Architecture in Cool Climates (2005) and Sensing a Historic Low-CO2 Future (2011) – a holistic overview of indoor air quality (Chapter 8,; free online book).