Prof.dr.ir. A.A.J.F. van den Dobbelsteen
Professor of Climate Design & Sustainability - Department of Architectural Engineering + Technology
Chairman of Department of Architectural Engineering + Technology
‘I work in the field of sustainable buildings and sustainable energy systems, as well as climate adaptation: anticipating predicted changes in the climate. We conduct research and translate solutions into actions and new concepts. We also look for and find new relationships where none existed before.
The Climate Design & Sustainability chair has close links with the technical aspect of Architecture. Our research focuses on sustainable energy systems and climate adaptation, but we also design and create new and specific products.
Much to do
We have come up with solutions to many problems, but not all of them have been implemented. There are still many challenges ahead of us. For example, in the coming decades, the Netherlands can expect to see a temperature rise of some 2 to 3 degrees. This may not seem much, but is quite considerable when you consider that the temperature has remained fairly constant throughout the last few centuries. Our cities will become quite a bit hotter. Clever design and the use of the instruments available to us as designers will enable us to find the most natural solution possible to this problem. We translate solutions into actions and new ideas, as well as finding new connections.
Although technology is increasingly allowing us to determine the direction that we want to take, it is still early days. I believe it is important to enter into different kinds of partnerships. My main mission is to transfer knowledge and information and show possible sustainable solutions. Often, I show people where the problem lies and what will happen if we do not make any changes, where the big opportunities are to be found and how we can move in the right direction. The best solution is often a question of taking a completely new approach.
Fresh ideas and inspiration
There is almost nothing better than working with young people and doctoral candidates. They have so many fresh ideas, and their different way of looking at things keeps me on my toes. There are so many international students at the Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment that you are surrounded by different, inspiring perspectives. There is so much we can learn from them.
I always try to be open to new points of view. When I supervise students, I try not to direct them too much, but to facilitate their search for knowledge. After all, a basic level of knowledge is absolutely necessary. What are the local conditions at the site in question? What do you need to take into account, now and later? How does your design respond to this? Asking such questions means that you make conscious choices. The result is always a surprise, and the learning process never stops.
Climate Design & Sustainability has provided high-quality work for many years, in particular as a support for architecture. We have achieved particularly good results in the area of redevelopment and transformation. The department is playing an increasingly defining role in urban development and sustainability is a vital part of this.
The solutions that we come up with are largely based on fundamental research carried out by others. So we make use of a lot of knowledge that we would not be able to research ourselves. The great thing about our field is that we can use this knowledge to provide smart solutions, both in design and technology. Developing new concepts, for example for urban planning, new building designs and new technologies to implement in the urban environment – anything is possible.
Andy van den Dobbelsteen is Professor of Climate Design and Sustainability and head of the Architectural Engineering + Technology department. During his career at TU Delft he has managed and executed many research projects. He has also sat on various committees and juries and has published and presented a huge volume of work, both in academia and beyond, at a national and international level.