31 October 2014

Brookes’ architecture staff present at the Association of Architectural Educators (AAE) conference

Rajat Gupta

This September, AAE held their second international conference at The University of Sheffield’s school of architecture. The conference lasted over two and a half days and saw nearly 150 students, practitioners and academics attend from institutions all over the world. This included Rajat Gupta, Professor of Sustainable Architecture and Climate Change, Harriet Harriss, Senior Lecturer in Architecture and Subject Coordinator, and Melissa Kinnear, Associate Lecturer in Architecture, from Oxford Brookes University.

The title of this year’s conference was ‘Embedding post-occupancy evaluation into architectural education’ and included academic papers, presentations, discussion groups, workshops, exhibitions and performances. This included the workshop ‘Building Performance – Live’ which ran for the first time to help introduce post-occupancy evaluation into teaching.

Rajat Gupta was invited to deliver a paper and presentation at the conference. His paper was based on the Post-Occupancy Evaluation (POE) of buildings module, which he has delivered for the past 10 years. He also explained how a version of this module can be used in undergraduate teaching and MArch studios to enable students to see the actual outcomes of design specifications. This is needed to bridge the gap between predicted and real performance in buildings all over the world. Professor Gupta previously spoke on a similar topic in April in his lecture ‘Evaluating the performance of low carbon buildings and communities: how far, how much?’

Harriet Harriss also spoke at the conference discussing the “Live Project” programme she founded at Oxford Brookes. The “Live Project” programmes connect students with companies to create designs for the community. Focussing on one of the key areas of her research findings, Harriet described how live projects give experiences to architecture students to gain practice-ready skills that the curriculum does not yet seem to cover.

Melissa Kinnear presented the paper ‘Learning Amidst Urban Practices’, which was co-authored with Beatrice De Carli. The paper looked at action-learning as a way of engaging with complex circumstances and constraints. Built environment practitioners have to respond to these when addressing issues of poverty and inequality in cities in the southern hemisphere. This was achieved through their ongoing work with Architecture Sans Frontières-UK.

Jane Anderson also presented a paper entitled ‘Woodland Creatures and Fabrication Wizards. Resources, Product, Context and Motivation observed in a Taxonomy of Live Projects.’ The paper showed a method of taxonomy and applied it to 100 live projects from the Live Projects Network. Jane also performed an art piece called ‘Live Fortune Telling’.