Rediscovery - Historic Buildings and their Environmental Technologies - ARCH8280

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2024 to 2025
Autumn Term 7 30 (15) Henrik Schoenefeldt checkmark-circle


In this module students will explore the environmental dimension of historic buildings and evaluate past environmental technologies and strategies, through a combination of historical research and technical analysis.

Students research into the historical and cultural context of environmentally driven innovation in architecture, and will explore the specific motivations and historical circumstances that have been driving the development of environmental technologies and scientific principles today and in the past.

Students will conduct a detailed environmental design case study of a historic building or environmental technology, combining historical research and technical analysis. Students have the choice to select from a number of case studies chosen by the module convenor or to study a building of their own choice. Students will conduct a piece of historical research with the aim of gaining a detailed understanding of the original environmental design intentions behind a particular historic building and the environmental technologies and control regimes deployed to achieve these objectives. Although each student will be assessed on individual pieces of work, the students are encouraged to work in cross-disciplinary teams.


Contact hours

Total contact hours: 45 hours
Private study hours: 255 hours
Total study hours: 300 hours

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods

Research Paper (5,000 words) (100%)

Reassessment methods
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Indicative reading

Indicative Reading List

Banham, Reyner (1969). The Architecture of the Well-Tempered Environment. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Brucemann, Robert. Prowler, Donald. (1977). '19th Century Mechanical System Designs', JAE, Vol. 30, No. 3 (Feb., 1977), pp. 11-15.
Bruegmann, Robert. (1978). 'Central Heating and Forced Ventilation: Origins and Effects on Architectural Design', Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians , Vol. 37, No. 3 (Oct., 1978), pp. 143-160.
Hawkes, Dean. (1996). The Environmental Tradition: studies in the architecture of environment. London: Taylor & Francis.
Popper, Carl (1959). The Logic of Scientific Discovery. London: Hutchinson.
Porteous, Colin. (2002). The new eco-architecture: alternatives from the modern movement. London: Spon Press

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to demonstrate:

1 A comprehensive understanding of the history of environmental design in architecture, including the role of the natural sciences and technology in its development.
2 A critical understanding of the specific cultural and historical context of environmentally driven innovation today and in the past.
3 An in-depth knowledge of the environmental design strategies and technologies used in historic building, including the post-war building stock.
4 An ability to use of historical research methods in the study of historic buildings from an environmental perspective.
5 An ability to analyse the environmental behaviour of historic structures and the efficiency of past environmental technologies, using modern scientific methods.
6 An in-depth knowledge of building science and its application to the analysis of historic structures and environmental technologies.
7 A comprehensive understanding of cross-disciplinary and collaborative approaches to the study of historic buildings.

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to demonstrate:

1 A comprehensive understanding of the methods used in historical research, such as the gathering and interpretation of historic material, the reconstruction of events or
evolution of a design.
2 The ability to analyse scientific and technical data.
3 A comprehensive understanding of cross-disciplinary and collaborative ways of working.
4 The ability to produce research papers at a publishable standard, reflecting an awareness of the implication of writing for specialist and non-specialist readers.
5 The ability to communicate their research through oral and visual (e.g. posters, diagrams, animations) presentations to specialist and non-specialist audiences.
6 The ability to conduct project work independently or within a team of research collaborators.


  1. Credit level 7. Undergraduate or postgraduate masters level module.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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