Environmental Diversity in Architecture

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Koen Steemers, Mary Ann Steane
Spon Press, 2004 - Architecture - 237 pages
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This book takes the position that the dynamic of the architectural environment is a key aspect of good design, yet one which is not well anticipated or understood. Environmental variety is a design characteristic closely related to our experience of architecture - an architecture of the senses. Each chapter demonstrates how an understanding of a particular context or environmental characteristic in dynamic terms informs design. The book is an antidote to the misconceptions of 'optimum' environmental performance or fixed criteria, instead embracing the richness of environmental variety.

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This book is before its time in that it deals with issues only beginning to come to the fore: of human perception and environmental performance of buildings and cities from theoretical, sociological and technical perspectives. Contributions are from international authors who have links with the renowned Martin Centre at the Department of Architecture of the University of Cambridge, where the notion of environmental diversity has been explored for a number of decades. Each essay has a focus (e.g. light, comfort, theory, etc.) and can be dipped into.
This is essential reading for anyone engaged in the design and research of the built environment and it provides both thoughtful and real hard-nosed research findings to back up the arguments. It puts people at the centre and establishes the context for understanding environmental or ecological design of buildings.

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About the author (2004)

Koen Steemers is a director of the Martin Centre for Architectural and Urban Studies and a senior lecturer at the University of Cambridge Department of Architecture. He specialises in aspects of environmental design in architecture, has practices as an architect in the UK and Germany, and is a Director of Cambridge Architectural Research Limited. His recent publications include Energy and Environment in Architecture (2000), and Architecture City Environment (2000), The Selective Environment (2002), Daylight Design of Buildings (2002).

Mary Ann Steane is a lecturer in the University of Cambridge Department of Architecture. She lectures on environmental issues and is also a course director of the MPhil in Environmental Design. In the studio courses she delivers the acknowledgement and integration of environmental design issues is always given particular emphasis. Her research marries technical analysis with a more historical perspective. The current focus of her research is on natural lighting strategies, and seeks to enable more precise communication about light quality, and thus to develop a more nuanced appraisal of natural lighting strategies in their broader topographic, climatic and programmatic context.

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