Rob Marsh has a wide experience with all aspects of sustainability over 25 years, including R&D, consultancy and architectural practice. A special focus has been how sustainability can be integrated into the architectural design process at the earliest possible stages, and be used to widen the role of architectural practice during the procurement process. An interest in holistic approaches to sustainability has given insights into how changing technical and regulative paradigms have through time impacted architectural approaches to sustainability.
Exploring the paradox of Nordic passive solar architecture: on the negative consequences of changing regulative paradigms and architectural responses from 1970 to 2020.
This presentation examines the paradox of passive solar architecture within the Nordic context of Denmark, Norway and Sweden. Regulative developments to reduce space heating demand since the 1970s are explored, highlighting the rise in prominence of passive solar design. An empirical study of passive solar housing schemes documents energy savings and extensive problems with overheating. A theoretical study examines how passive solar was seen as advantageous when viewed with the space heating paradigm, but actually resulted in the diametrically opposite, with extensive overheating, when viewed with the newer environmental paradigm. The paradox of passive solar is then explored with a discussion of how the regulative straightjacket of the space heating paradigm and the functionalist ideals of Nordic modernism meant that passive solar architecture became the de-facto visual, aesthetic and functional expression of environmental design at that time. The article concludes by exploring the implications of the environmental paradigm for the architectural