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About me

I am Principal Lecturer in Architecture and Environmental Design in the Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment of the University of Westminster. Until September 2013, I was Senior Lecturer at the Architectural Association teaching the MSc and MArch in Sustainable Environmental Design. Previously, I was a Research Fellow at the Department of Built Environment, University of Nottingham (2005-10), working on several European funded research projects.

My experience in environmental design consultancy included the role of Senior Sustainability Consultant at WSP Environmental and at Brian Ford & Associates (1998-2003). I completed my postgraduate studies in Environmental Design in the UK, with a MSc in 'Architecture, Energy and Sustainability' from London Metropolitan University (1999). I subsequently obtained a PhD degree from the Architectural Association on the application of passive evaporative cooling using porous ceramic in residential buildings (2002-2005). In 1998 I obtained a BSc and Diploma Certificate in Architecture from the University 'Federico II' of Naples, Italy.

I am Co-Director of Natural Cooling Ltd and the co-author of The Architecture & Engineering of Downdraught Cooling, published in 2010 and recipient of a commendation by the RIBA President's Awards for Research in December 2011.

Teaching

I am the course leader of the MSc in Architecture and Environmental Design due to start in September 2014. I have taught a range of undergraduate and postgraduate level courses in Environmental Design. I was Senior Lecturer for the MSc/MArch Sustainable Environmental Design Course at the Architectural Association Graduate School, London (2007-2013) and previously (2004-06), part-time Associate Lecturer at Central Saint Martin's College of Art and Design, Design and Environment Degree Course (Architectural Pathway). My teaching experience ranges from a wider holistic approach to sustainable environmental design to more advanced subjects, which cover the environmental engineering and energy aspects of building design and performance. Some of these are: Environmental Design, covering the principles of passive solar design and strategies of bioclimatic architecture (e.g. natural ventilation, enhanced thermal performance of building envelope, passive solar heating and cooling, day-lighting, solar control); Building Physics and Energy Foundations, covering fundamentals of heat exchange and energy balance of buildings; Quantitative and Qualitative Monitoring of buildings and systems performance, such as measurement of environmental and energy parameters, thermal comfort surveys and post occupancy evaluations; Building Energy Modelling and Dynamic Thermal Simulation, covering thermodynamics and fluid dynamics. I am specialised in building integrated Passive and Hybrid Downdraught Cooling systems (PHDC).

I was co-supervisor of three successfully completed PhD degrees from the Energy & Environment Programme, Architectural Association, London. The research topics were: i) Achieving suitable thermal performance in residential buildings in China, by Fei Fei Sun (2012); ii) Climate interactive building design in the Korean climate by Dongku Kim (2013); iii) Transitional Spaces: the role of sheltered semi-outdoor spaces as microclimatic modifiers for school buildings in the UK by Choul Woong (2012). I am also the main (external) supervisor of a PhD student from the School of Architecture, University of Kent on the topic: "Effects of ventilation strategies on the performance and occupancy wellbeing in healthcare buildings in Nigeria" by Emmanuel Odugboye. I have experience in PhD Vivas Chairing, External and Internal Examinations of PhD students at Nottingham University and the AA respectively. I was External Reviewer for the Environmental Design 2 Module, Undergraduate Course in Architecture, University of Nottingham in 2008-09. I was Lead Lecturer of AA-SED team in the 72hrs International Students Design Competition, OpenCourse 2013, in May 2013 in Milan. My team was shortlisted to take part to the competition amongst several European teams and won the 1 st Prize.

Research

Current research interests

The generative potential of environmental design and the shortfalls between predicted and actual performance of sustainable buildings, as well as the socio-cultural and physical interaction between the inhabitants and the built environment, are at the heart of my architectural research agenda. The development and design application of integrated performance analysis methods including fieldwork, full scale experimentation and whole building thermal and energy modelling to the problem of energy demand reduction is part of an integrated approach to sustainable architecture and one of my main teaching and research interests. I am fluent with a variety of research methods ranging from urban to building scale monitoring, to dynamic thermal modelling of buildings and Post-Occupancy Evaluation surveys. The POE of occupants' perception of a building, as well as the post occupancy study of its performance, are crucial in understanding the limitations of current practices and identifying areas for further improvements in the quest to bridging the so called 'building performance gap'. I am very interested in the topic of passive cooling of buildings and of the built environment.

I am particularly knowledgeable on traditional and innovative passive evaporative cooling systems as an alternative to air-conditioning and microclimate modifiers, as well as strategies for cooling and heating energy demand reduction. I am increasingly interested in studying building occupants and life-style trends, and developing more realistic models of their behaviour and preferences whilst observing their impact on building energy use. Other topics of interest, in which I would like to expand my research, are: the impact of urban microclimate in energy demand reduction in buildings; the impact of climate change and global warming on building occupants health; the thermal performance of double facades; the development and application of innovative materials and components for enhanced thermal performance of buildings; bioclimatic strategies and thermal performance of vernacular architecture in Southern Italy.

I have contributed to several EU funded projects (5 th-7 th Framework, Intelligent Energy for Europe Programme, etc.), which included several international industrial and research partners (e.g. Axima Lab, Mario Cucinella Architects, University of Nottingham, BASF, Passivhaus Institute, Polytechnic of Milan, University of Seville, etc.). Most of my research has been focused on the thermal performance of buildings and the application of building integrated passive and hybrid downdraught cooling systems. Other projects, such as the Passive-on, reviewed the applicability of the German Passivhaus standard to South of Europe and to UK homes. The research offered a critique of the German standard and proposed a UK model that complied with the energy and comfort performance standard avoiding prescriptive aspects such as mechanical ventilation. As part of this project in 2007 I have organised a Symposium on 'Towards Zero Carbon Sustainable Homes' and edited the publication on Design Guidelines arising from the project. Subsequently, I have initiated and co-ordinated an EU dissemination project on Passive and Hybrid Downdraught Cooling in Buildings (PHDC). The project included the organisation of a series of symposia around the world and the post occupancy evaluation of ten buildings using passive and hybrid downdraught cooling in various countries. This study has provided fresh insights on occupants' perception and performance of downdraught cooling systems of buildings in Europe, India and the US.

Research group/centre

I am part of the Technical Studies Research group.

Research Appointments

I am a member of the Passive Low Energy Architecture (PLEA) Technical Committee. I have been a peer reviewer for the Architectural Science Review Journal and Wiley International.

Publications

For details of all my research outputs, visit my WestminsterResearch profile.