Teaching is one of the primary functions of ArchiLab. The facility is embedded, and located, in the Department of Architecture and Landscape at Kingston University and is used extensively by the Department and Faculty students. ArchiLab allows students to carry out the technical resolution of their projects in a number of areas.
The research and enterprise activity carried out in ArchiLab has led directly to the development of a new taught masters course in sustainable building design and performance. This course takes a holistic approach to the process of procuring genuinely sustainable buildings and deals as much with the measured performance of occupied buildings as it does with architectural design intent.
ArchiLab is equipped to carry out, and capture, physical measurements of a variety of environmental parameters including light, heat, sound and air. We have an artificial sky and heliodon, which can be used to measure and photograph the interaction of light and physical models both qualitatively and quantitatively. We have thermal imaging equipment which can detect to a high degree of accuracy the radiant temperature of surfaces and is a useful tool for determining heat losses from buildings due to lack of thermal insulation or high levels of air leakage. We also have a number of sound meters, including Class 1 and 2 meters which can be used to determine sound levels in a variety of different environments, either as spot measurements or as average sound levels over a period of time.
Although physical modelling of architectural designs is important, digital simulation has become an essential tool for the environmental analysis of buildings. This is particular true in an industry that is increasingly looking at Building Information Modelling (BIM) systems, that enable all stakeholders access to digital information for a particular scheme, as the norm. ArchiLab is equipped with the latest specification PC and iMac computers that run a variety of software packages including CAD and 3D modelling systems, industry leading environmental analysis software, energy and carbon emission tools, visualisation programmes and digital manipulation software.
A broad range of technical literature and texts are held in the ArchiLab library, ranging from manufacturer’s information, national, region and local legislation such as building regulations, codes and standards, software guides and manuals and a variety of journals. We have a complete technical database in ArchiLab with downloadable texts which students have full access to.