Dr Ranald Lawrence
Lecturer in Environmental Design
MA, MPhil, PhD (Cantab)
My background in architectural practice informs my teaching and research, focusing on environmental performance, energy consumption and user behaviour in the context of global climate change. I have worked for several award-winning architectural practices, and taught and published on adaptive comfort theory and the implications of the use of technology in buildings.
Prior to joining the University of Sheffield, I lectured in the Department of Architecture at Cambridge while completing my PhD on environmental design strategies in late nineteenth and early twentieth century buildings.
Module Leader for Year 3 Environment and Technology
As a Lecturer in Environmental Design I aspire to bridge the gap between theoretical research and its application to the practice of building. In studio teaching, my personal goal has always been to act as a bridge between what the students have heard in their lectures and the practical work they execute in studio.
I believe architectural education has an influential role to play in implementing the changes it will be necessary to effect in our environment in order to make the transition from a globally destructive carbon economy to a clean, hi-tech, low energy future. The development of new research methodologies, as well as architectural strategies, can aid the promotion of the process of 'design' as a solution to wider environmental and social problems.
Together with colleagues in the People, Environments and Performance group I investigate how architects contribute to sustainable climate change adaptation in different contexts. My research explores architectural strategies that offer alternatives to hi-tech mechanical heating, cooling and ventilation systems that are costly to run and difficult to service or replace.
I am interested in the development of new research methodologies that address the social and cultural dimensions of environmentally responsive architecture, but I also believe it is important that architects and other professionals can learn from key buildings and ideas of the past that reflected on or accommodated for transition and change in society.
I currently supervise PhD students exploring the impact of climate change on building performance in Malaysia, Mexico and Jordan. I am a partner on the Transcultural Understanding of Designing with Climate Change (TUDCC) project, and was a member of the organising committee of Architecture and Resilience, an international conference held at Sheffield in 2015.
I also have a particular interest in the history of environmental design and its influence on the development of modern architecture. My PhD explored the intersection of social, political and environmental concerns in the industrial city towards the end of the nineteenth century, through the evolution of the art school building type.
Postgraduate Research Supervision Interests
Environmental design, climate change, building performance, occupant behaviour, adaptive comfort theory, climate change, history of environment, urban history
|Professional Standing and Distinctions||
‘Post Occupancy Evaluation: the measurable and the unmeasurable’, AECB (Association for Environment Conscious Building) Annual Conference, University of Sheffield, 2015
‘Preserving Historic Environments: The Glasgow School of Art as a case study’, CRASSH (Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities), University of Cambridge, 2014.
‘Design for a Changing Climate’, part of World Green Building Week, Bennetts Associates, London, 2013.
‘Projecting Architecture on the Big Screen’, part of Architectural Projections, University of Cambridge in association with the Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge, 2013.
‘Cultural Climates: The Environment of the Victorian Art School’, The Friends of All Saints Annual Autumn Lecture, Cambridge, 2012.
A list of key publications can be found below. For a full list of recent publications please click here.
- Lawrence R, Elsayed M & Keime C (2019) Evaluation of environmental design strategies for university buildings. Building Research & Information, 47(8), 883-900. View this article in WRRO
- Vargas G, Lawrence R & Stevenson F (2017) The role of lobbies: short-term thermal transitions. Building Research & Information, 45(7), 759-782. View this article in WRRO
- Lawrence R & Keime C (2016) Bridging the gap between energy and comfort: Post-occupancy evaluation of two higher-education buildings in Sheffield. Energy and Buildings, 130, 651-666. View this article in WRRO
- Becerra-Santacruz H & Lawrence R (2016) Evaluation of the thermal performance of an industrialised housing construction system in a warm-temperate climate: Morelia, Mexico. Building and Environment, 107, 135-153. View this article in WRRO
- Lawrence R, Aiman MR & Meagher M (2016) Reverse-engineering culture: Recovering traditional craft practices In Malay housebuilding. Making Futures, 4. View this article in WRRO
- Lawrence R (2014) The internal environment of the Glasgow School of Art by Charles Rennie Mackintosh. Construction History, 29(1), 99-127. View this article in WRRO
- Lawrence R (2014) The evolution of the Victorian art school. Journal of Architecture, 19(1), 81-107. View this article in WRRO
- Lawrence R (2009) Sverre Fehn: the architect who built on the horizon. Architectural Research Quarterly, 13(1), 11-15.
- Lawrence R (2008) Building on the Horizon: The Architecture of Sverre Fehn. ptah: Journal of the Alvar Aalto Foundation, 9(1-2), 3-13.
- Lawrence R () Halls, Lobbies and Porches: Transition spaces in Victorian architecture. Journal of Architecture. View this article in WRRO
- Lawrence R & Fellingham K (2018) Tackling Climate Change: Comparing studio approaches in Sheffield and Cape Town In Lawrence R, Trogal K, Petrescu D & Bauman I (Ed.), Architecture and Resilience View this article in WRRO
- Trogal K, Bauman I, Lawrence R & Petrescu D (2018) Introduction, Architecture and Resilience (pp. 1-14). Routledge
Conference proceedings papers
- Lawrence R & Elsayed M (2017) Post Occupancy Evaluation of University Buildings in the UK (Case Study: The Diamond, Sheffield). Proceedings of the International Conference for Sustainable Design in the Built Environment SDBE 2017 (pp 366-377), 20 December 2017 - 21 December 2017. View this article in WRRO
- Lawrence R & Hawkes D (2017) Theory and Precedent in the Design of Sustainable Environments: A Case Study of Two Schools of Art – Manchester and Glasgow. Design to Thrive: Proceedings PLEA 2017 (pp 240-247). Edinburgh, 2 July 2017 - 5 July 2019.
- Lawrence R & Fellingham K (2015) Tackling Climate Change: Comparing studio approaches in Sheffield and Cape Town. Architecture and Resilience on the Human Scale (pp 509-516). Sheffield, 10 September 2015 - 12 October 2015. View this article in WRRO
- Lawrence R (2015) Design for Flexibility in Low Carbon Offices. The 7th International Conference on Sustainable Development in Building and Engineering. University of Reading, 27 July 2015 - 29 July 2015. View this article in WRRO
- Lawrence R (2011) Assessing the Heritage Value of Environmental Experience. Intervention Approaches for 20th Century Architectural Heritage Proceedings. Madrid, 14 June 2011 - 16 June 2011.
- Lawrence R & Penha A () Assessing the Energy Performance and Occupant Satisfaction of Foyer Spaces. Delivering Resilient High Performance Buildings View this article in WRRO