Politecnico di Torino
Politecnico di Torino
Politecnico di Torino
Anno Accademico 2017/18
Appropriate technology and Low-Tech Architecture
Corso di Laurea Magistrale in Architettura Costruzione Citta' - Torino
Docente Qualifica Settore Lez Es Lab Tut Anni incarico
Bocco Andrea ORARIO RICEVIMENTO O2 ICAR/12 42 18 0 0 5
SSD CFU Attivita' formative Ambiti disciplinari
ICAR/12 6 B - Caratterizzanti Discipline tecnologiche per l'architettura e la produzione edilizia
01RXD; 01QLK; 01QLN

The course deals with theoretical and applied aspects of architectural technology and construction, and tackles the choices of construction products and methods as well as building systems, the reduction of energy consumption, the environmental impact of the building process, the holistic understanding of architectural design.
Being offered at the last year of the master degree in Architecture (Building and City), is not a prerequisite for subsequent courses; while it can provide the tools to deal with possible subsequent activities (master thesis, workshops, post-graduate courses, professional activity) with the necessary awareness. Also for this reason, it proposes a specific subject area which the students may have not yet tackled – if not sketchily: that of appropriate technology and low-tech architecture. These topics are of great interest in both research and the actual transformation of the built environment. The state of art of concepts, methodology and "know-how" will be transmitted, also examining outstanding case studies at international level.
The objective is the formation of an ability to deal autonomously and skilfully with an architectural technology problem, in particular with regard to holistic approach, feasibility (constructional and/or procedural), minimisation of the use of resources (materials and energy), substantiation of choices. The students are required to assimilate the proposed contents and to demonstrate the maturation of critical thinking skills through the application of these contents.
Risultati di apprendimento attesi

- Ability to critically relate several aspects of complex problems
- Ability to consciously relate different operating elements in complex systems
- Ability to process a design/building response to meet a specific system of objectives and constraints (eg maximising some environmental performances, minimising embodied energy, making use of local material and energy resources, and minimising their consumption at different stages of the building process)
- Ability to precisely verify the feasibility/buildability of a design solution.
The acquisition and understanding of the conceptual and operational tools will be verified also by means of exercises.
Prerequisiti / Conoscenze pregresse

- Comprehension and expression in the language of architectural technology
- Understanding and ability to use the technical drawing
- Basic knowledge of the techniques and building systems, building structures, and building physics
- Knowledge of the fundamentals of the systems approach
- Ability to analyse and interpret the consequences of technological choices on the transformation of the built environment
- Ability to approach the project, methodologically based on the analysis of needs and the identification of functional roles and performances for each part of the built environment, the systematic verification of the correspondence between the stated goals and the solutions adopted, the essential objective of the quality of living.
The course deals with particular attention to the building envelope, which in recent decades has come back to the center of the investigation in the architectural field. This has also involved the development of research on materials, both new and traditional. The present expectations in terms of comfort and reduction of energy consumption, and more broad imperatives of sustainability imply that the envelope takes on a great importance in both design and building strategies in contemporary architecture.
The course has a radical approach: it proposes to first of all understand what is already there, to consciously modify it having both the objectives of today and a durable future in mind, and only in the alternative to consider new construction, where and when necessary; it provides tools to develop a skill for reading the built environment (monumental building excepted); it clearly prefers the techniques based on renewable and/or low-energy resources; it transmits basic knowledge for the calculation of gray energy (PEI) and other key indicators for the assessment of the environmental impact of construction (GWP...).
Lectures and case study analyses will cover:
- Appropriate technology, low-tech (approx. 13,5h)
- Traditional architecture and technology (approx. 9h)
- Natural materials, building products and construction processes (approx. 18h)
- Ecological footprint and embodied energy in construction products and buildings (approx. 9h)
- Performance upgrading of the building envelope (approx. 9h)
Optional technical visits (and meetings with operators, manufacturers and designers) will be possibly offered outside of school hours.
Organizzazione dell'insegnamento

In addition, during the whole course, each student will develop an exercise consisting in the technological review of a Design Unit project (recent or current). The course topics will gradually be compared against this case, in terms of working project. In particular, students will be required to:
1. detail a node of the building envelope at an appropriate scale (tentatively 1:20);
2. tentatively choose construction products;
3. indicate characteristic values for some significant dimensions (including λ, μ);
4. indicate the method of installation and the sequence of construction phases;
5. assume the environmental impact of the building solution chosen;
6. assume the monetary costs.
Testi richiesti o raccomandati: letture, dispense, altro materiale didattico
The reference text is: Andrea Bocco Guarneri, "Tecnología y comportamiento humano", Revista de arquitectura, 250, agosto 2013, p. 46-53, which is intended to serve as a mere introduction to the course.
Provisional list of literature:
Bjørn Berge, The ecology of building materials, London : Architectural Press, 20092.
Andrea Bocco Guarneri, Werner Schmidt, Architekt. Ökologie, Handwerk, Erfindung = Ecology, Craft, Invention, Wien : Ambra Verlag, 2013
Godfrey Boyle; Peter Harper (editors), Radical Technology. Food, Shelter, Tools, Materials, Energy, Communication, Autonomy, Community, London : Pantheon Books, 1976.
Lynne Elizabeth; Cassandra Adams (editors), Alternative Construction. Contemporary Natural Building Methods, Hoboken : John Wiley and Sons, 2005.
Luc Floissac, La construction en paille. Principes fondamentaux, Techniques de mises en oeuvre, Exemples de réalisations, Mens : Terre Vivante, 2012.
Gaia Lista, Absolute passive energy design. Achieving passive house level by utilizing hygrothermal properties of wood, December 2014.
Siegfried Gaß; Heide Drüsedau; Jürgen Hennicke (herausgegeben von), IL31 Bambus/Bamboo, Stuttgart : Institut für leichte Flächentragwerke, 1985.
Manfred Gerner, Fachwerk. Entwicklung, Instandsetzung, Neubau, München : Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, 2007 (Les assemblages des ossatures en charpentes en bois. Construction, entretien, restauration, Paris : Eyrolles, 1995).
Christian Kaiser, Ökologische Altbausanierung. Gesundes und nachhaltiges Bauen und Sanieren, Berlin : VDE, 20172.
Matthew Hall; Rick Lindsay; Meror Krayenhoff (editors), Modern Earth Buildings. Materials, Engineering, Constructions and Applications, Oxford : Woodhead Publishing, 2012.
Kent A. Harries; Bhavna Sharma, Nonconventional and Vernacular Construction Materials, Sawston : Woodhead Publishing, 2016.
Cindy Harris; Pat Borer, The Whole House Book. Ecological Building Design and Materials, Machynlleth : Centre for Alternative Technology, 2005.
Barrett Hazeltine; Lars Wanhammar; Christopher Bull, Appropriate Technology. Tools, Choices, and Implications, New York : Academic Press, 1999.
Hugo Houben; Hubert Guillaud, Traité de construction en terre, Marseille : Editions Parenthèses, 20154.
Barbara Jones, Building with Straw Bales. A Practical Guide for the UK and Ireland, Totnes : Green Books, 20092.
Bruce King, Design of Straw Bale Buildings. The State of the Art, San Rafael : Green Building Press, 2006.
Per Krusche et al., Ökologisches Bauen, Wiesbaden : Bauverlag, 1982.
Friedemann Mahlke, Schwerelos erdverbunden – vom Leichtbau zum Lehmbau. Das Werk des Architekten Gernot Minke, Staufen bei Freiburg : Ökobuch, 2007.
Edward Mazria, The passive solar energy book. A complete guide to passive solar home, greenhouse, and building design, Emmaus, Pa. : Rodale Press, 1979.
Gernot Minke; Friedemann Mahlke, Building with Straw. Design and Technology of a Sustainable Architecture, Basel : Birkhäuser, 2005. (Gernot Minke; Benjamin Krick, Handbuch Strohballenbau. Grundlagen, Konstruktion, Beispiele, Staufen bei Freiburg : Ökobuch, 2009).
Gernot Minke, Building with Earth. Design and Technology of a Sustainable Architecture, Basel : Birkhäuser, 2006. (Gernot Minke, Handbuch Lehmbau. Baustoffkunde, Techniken, Lehmarchitektur, Staufen bei Freiburg : Ökobuch, 20097).
Gernot Minke, Dächer begrünen – einfach und wirkungsvoll. Planung, Ausführungshinweise, Praxistipps, Staufen bei Freiburg : Ökobuch Verlag, 20104.
Jean-Pierre Oliva; Samuel Courgey, L’isolation thermique écologique, Mens : Terre Vivante, 2010.
Paul Oliver (editor), Encyclopaedia of vernacular architecture of the world, Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 1997.
Paul Oliver, Built to Meet Needs. Cultural Issues in Vernacular Architecture, Oxford : Architectural Press, 2006.
Victor Papanek, Design for the Real World. Human Ecology and Social Change, Frogmore : Paladin, 1974.
Victor Papanek, The Green Imperative. Ecology and Ethics in Design and Architecture, London : Thames & Hudson, 1995.
Michael Reynolds, Earthship. How to Build Your Own, Taos : Solar Survival Press, 1990.
Carole Ryan, Traditional Construction for a Sustainable Future, Abingdon : Spon Press, 2011.
Eda Schaur (herausgegeben von), IL41 Intelligent Bauen/Building with Intelligence, Stuttgart : Institut für leichte Flächentragwerke, 1995.
Klaus Schillberg, Altbausanierung mit Naturbaustoffen, Aarau : AT Verlag, 1996.
Klaus Schillberg; Heinz Knieriemen, Bauen und Sanieren mit Lehm. Kork, Hanf und Schilf in modernen Lehmbautechniken, Vaihingen-Roßwag : Edition Simha, 2013.
Christian Schittich (editor), In Detail. Building in Existing Fabric, München : Detail – Institut für internationale Architektur-Dokumentation, 2003.
Christian Schittich (editor), In Detail. Building Simply, München : Detail – Institut für internationale Architektur-Dokumentation, 2005.
Christian Schittich (editor), In Detail. Building Simply Two, München : Detail – Institut für internationale Architektur-Dokumentation, 2008.
Christian Schittich (editor), In Detail. Small Structures, Basel : Birkhäuser, 2010. (Mikroarchitektur)
Cynthia E. Smith, Design for the Other 90%, New York : Smithsonian, 2007.
William Stanwix; Alex Sparrow, The Hempcrete Book. Designing and Building with Hemp-Lime, Cambridge : Green Books, 2014.
John L. Talbott, Simply build green. A technical guide to the ecological houses at the Findhorn Foundation, Findhorn : Findhorn Foundation Development Wing, 1993.
John Todd, Tomorrow Is Our Permanent Address. The search for an ecological science of design as embodied in the bioshelter, New York : Harper & Row, 1980.
Nancy Jack Todd; John Todd, Bioshelters, Ocean Arks, City Farming. Ecology as the Basis of Design, San Francisco : Sierra Club Books, 1984.
Brenda Vale; Robert Vale, The Autonomous House. Design and planning for self-sufficiency, London : Thames & Hudson, 1975.
Brenda Vale; Robert Vale, The New Autonomous House, London : Thames & Hudson, 2000.
Franz Volhard, Light earth building. A handbook for building with wood and earth, Basel : Birkhäuser, 2016.
David Wright, Natural solar architecture. A passive primer, New York : Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1978.
Tom Woolley et al., Green Building Handbook. A guide to building products and their impact on the environment, London : E&FN Spon, 1997-2000.
Tom Woolley, Natural building. A guide to materials and techniques, Ramsbury : The Crowood Press, 2006.
Klaus Zwerger, Wood and Wood Joints. Building Traditions of Europe, Japan and China, Basel : Birkhäuser, 20122.
In addition, references will be provided for individual lectures and in support of the students’ work.

The presentations delivered by the teacher will be downloadable in PDF format from the teaching portal.
Criteri, regole e procedure per l'esame
Examination mode: oral.
Duration: approximately 20'.
The examination will focus on the teaching program, and will consist of the exposition and discussion of two individual works:
a) a written and drawn portfolio, consisting in three to four A3 sheets according to the specifications provided at the beginning of the course. It will illustrate a portion of the building envelope (see above, "delivery modes"). Rating: 18 points max , according to the following criteria: technical correctness of the detail drawings (4 pts) , performance of products chosen (3 pts), buildability of the design solution (3 pts), correctness of environmental impact calculations (4 pts), substantiation of design choices (4 pts).
b) a brief report (max. five A4 pages) on one of the books from the bibliography. Rating: 12 points max, according to the following criteria: effective and correct use of technical language (4 pts), appropriate and abundant references to the context (4 pts), effective identification of the most relevant theoretical and/or operational issues (4 pts).
Orario delle lezioni
Statistiche superamento esami

Programma definitivo per l'A.A.2017/18

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