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Master of Science in Architecture - High Performance Buildings

A premiere building technology graduate program

Model for Hybrid Ventilation Studies

Model for Hybrid Ventilation Studies > Top: Wind velocity ranging from 0.21 M/S to 1.58 M/S and wind pressure contures at 12.90M; Bottom: Wind velocity (left) & wind pressure (right) for the north facade (pressure ranging from -0.587 to 0.651 PA)

The Master of Science with a major in Architecture and a concentration in High Performance Buildings is focused around the use of building physics and building technology for sustainable architectural design. Emphasis is placed on the analysis of the energy performance and environmental impacts of buildings, as well as on the integration of these metrics in the development of innovative architecture.  The program is founded on a first-principles approach to building physics, envelope design, modeling and analysis, life-cycle assessment, applied simulation, AEC Integration, and critical ecological thinking.

This three-semester program offers two building technology tracks – one culminating in an integrated design studio, the other in a Master’s thesis.  Students electing the studio will complete a 9-hour capstone summer design studio that integrates prior coursework in modeling, analysis, and simulation into green building design.  Students considering going on to the complimentary PhD with concentration in High Performance Buildings are encouraged to complete an independent thesis over the summer semester.

From Building Physics to Building Technology and Sustainable Architectural Design

The foundation of the high performance buildings program is a sequence of physics-based courses in modeling, simulation, HVAC systems and controls, building enclosure, risk analysis, and renewable energy technologies.  Students are encouraged to take cross-disciplinary, studio-based courses that include architecture, mechanical engineering, building construction, and business students.

Regardless of the track a student chooses, the program’s emphasis is on the incorporation of physical understanding, in addition to building technology, to the process of designing innovative buildings. This theme is then explored more fully in either the capstone design studio  or a scholarly thesis.

Who Should Apply to the Master of Science in High Performance Buildings Program

The high performance buildings program is structured so that students with a professional degree in architecture, architectural engineering, or mechanical engineering can complete the MS degree in one year.

The program has been developed to address the need for architecture firms and integrated practices to have “in-house” experts on building technology to judge the impact of architectural design decisions on building performance at the early stages of design.  These green building practitioners will be able to oversee the engineering and detailing of the building at later stages of the design process to ensure that performance targets are documented and fulfilled.  Graduates of the program will be able to co-engineer and integrate novel building technologies into buildings.