ABSTRACT: Designing modern high-performance buildings and cities can be seen as an exercise in the controlled utilization of data derived from a plethora of informational databases and an increasingly massive amount of performance simulation data. The way in which this data is presented to users and assessed is changing, and with this change, so too do the methods of designing the built environment. This presentation shares a selection of projects dealing with environmental data from my time in Singapore at two scales—specific performance model data and big data. The range of projects covered include designing fully free-running buildings that aspire to be without air conditioning or mechanical ventilation, a method of calculating rooftop solar potential for entire cities, and the use of sensitivity analysis to explore large design spaces for energy efficient radiant cooling systems and the holistic sustainable design of urban neighbourhoods.
BRIEF BIO: Alstan is an Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto where he focuses his efforts on the design of buildings and cities with emphases on human comfort, performance simulation, and low-energy design strategies. He believes that through data-driven processes, designers can create comfortable built environments that will support social interaction, require less energy, and last longer before being razed. Alstan co-creates the popular DIVA tool for calculating the daylighting and energy performance of buildings and cities and actively develops new software tools as part of his research. Before joining the University of Toronto, Alstan taught sustainable design to the first four graduating classes at the Singapore University of Technology and Design. He also co-founded Mapdwell, a technology company dedicated to providing information to homeowners about the renewable energy potential of their rooftops. Alstan holds BA (Georgia Tech) and MA (University of Pennsylvania) degrees in Architecture, and a PhD in Building Technology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.