Simon Vakeva Baird, PhD in collaboration with University College London

This research collaboration between University College London and FCBStudios uses a mixed method approach to demonstrate the importance of stakeholder engagement in the design of healthy zero carbon buildings. The project will use live, early stage FCBStudios projects to develop a framework of design process steps that combine multiple stages of stakeholder engagement and dynamic building simulation to investigate the design and predicted performance of non-domestic buildings across a range of locations, with distinct climatic and cultural contexts.

It aims to develop and test a mixed-method framework for the design of high performance, zero carbon buildings. In enabling a cross-case comparison of the balance between zero carbon building design and wider sustainability and environmental performance objectives, it provides a crucially important intersection in today's evolving architectural and societal landscape. This will be achieved through interaction with project teams including those working on Green City Kigali and Cleeves Limerick through questionnaires, interactive workshops - including a multi-criteria decision-analysis exercise - and building modelling and simulation.


The stakeholder group will cover areas of technical design, planning and use of the projects. They participate in a series of surveys and workshops with the aim to generate useful, insightful and contextual data relating to all aspects of building design and performance. By engaging early in the design process it will be possible to influence carbon and environmental performance and achieve significant carbon reductions.

The ambition is to have outputs that will be socially and environmentally conscious and align with prominent sustainability frameworks. They will include results from an interactive drivers and barriers exercise, design preferences across stakeholder groups that are derived from a multi-criteria decision-analysis exercise, and finally the evaluation of the design process and its results to allow refinement of the proposed framework.


For each case study project, a dynamic simulation model will be produced using DesignBuilders, yielding annual energy data and indoor environmental performance.

Resilience and flexibility will be explored through scenario testing, of both future climatic conditions and building management scenarios. These results will then feed into a whole life carbon assessment, using One Click LCA and FCBS Carbon for the purposes of comparison. Carbon hotspots will be identified to facilitate a technical and environmental assessment of the design iteration.

The results will include energy, carbon and indoor environmental quality performance metrics under current and future conditions, scenario analyses, contextualisation of performance against current benchmark and framework target values, and absolute performance improvements resulting from the workshop activity.

Case study results will be collated with the intent of examining similarities and differences in design processes and results across climatic and cultural contexts. Participants in the research will have a chance to evaluate the activities and their involvement therein, in order to understand the benefits of using such an approach in early stage architectural practice.