Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Eco-Architecture 2014 Post Conference Report

Overview

Eco-Architecture 2014
The 5th International Conference on Harmonisation between Architecture and Nature (Eco-Architecture 2014) took place in the Certosa di Pontignano, organised by the University of Siena, represented by Prof Riccardo Pulselli, and the Wessex Institute of Technology, represented by Prof Carlos A Brebbia.  It follows from a series of successful meetings which started in 2006 in the New Forest, home of the Wessex Institute of Technology, and continued in the Algarve (2008), La Coruña (2010) and the island of Kos (2012).

The choice of the University of Siena as a venue was determined by the work carried out by the Ecodynamics Group, where Riccardo Pulselli carries out his research.  The Group, started by the late Professor Enzo Tiezzi, has a well-deserved international reputation.

A few years ago, Enzo Tiezzi, then professor at the University of Siena, asked his students “What do you think the most sustainable building is?”  There were many answers as it is easy to cite hundreds of prime examples from contemporary architecture.  After listening to many answers, Enzo produced his own, ie “The most sustainable building is the one that already exists”.  Enzo wanted to point out that the most sustainable architecture is the result of an evolution, a progressive adaptation of structures to environments and adjustments to new needs.  The sustainable city is not a city full of new buildings, but rather the same city of the past, renovated, repaired and modified in order to be lived in as fully today as it was in the past.

Enzo’s answer in its simplicity encompassed  the objectives of the Eco-Architecture 2014 conference, that the design process should aim for optimum solutions, evolving through the adaptation of architecture to its natural environment, learning from nature and by time honoured traditional construction methodologies.

Prof Carlos A Brebbia opened the conference explaining the importance of this meeting series for the Wessex Institute of Technology, which sees itself as a medium for the International transfer of knowledge.  This is also carried out through a large number of publications, including journals and books, other than those resulting from the conferences.

The book corresponding to this conference is Volume 142 of WIT Transactions on the Built Environment, and is widely disseminated in digital, as well as hard copy format.  Furthermore, the papers are permanently archived in the digital library of the Institute (www.witpress.com/elibrary), where they are available to the international scientific community.  These mechanisms ensure the maximum dissemination to the work presented at the Wessex Institute conferences.

The Wessex Institute’s main strength however – Carlos explained – is in the field of research and development of advanced simulation tools.  At present, a considerable amount of work is focussed on petroleum and aerospace industries applications.  The tools however are of a very general character and can be applied across a wide variety of disciplines.  Modules developed by WIT have been applied in acoustics, electrical and electromagnetic engineering, heat transfer, biomechanics and many other fields.  In certain ways this versatility set up the basis for the work of WIT across different disciplines, including its conferences and publications.

Riccardo Pulselli welcomed the delegates afterwards, and explained the work of the Ecodynamics Group and the importance of the research in ecological problems carried out at the University of Siena.  The city of Siena itself and its surrounding province has become a byword for sustainability.

Riccardo referred to the importance of their work that has now achieved international recognition.

The Conference sessions took place in La Certosa di Pontignano, an old monastery belonging to the University of Siena and now converted into a conference centre. It was founded in the 1300s by the Carthusian Order.  It is still an oasis of peace, most appropriate for research meetings presented near Siena while being in the open countryside, and offers unique views of its surroundings. Vineyards and olive groves surround La Certosa.

The complex has two beautiful cloisters and a series of cells, rooms and facilities around them.  In spite of the many changes that the buildings undertook over the years, the complex is harmonious and its architecture blends with the surrounding landscape.

 Conference Sessions

The papers presented at the meeting covered a wide range of items related to Eco-Architecture, they were grouped in the following sessions:

  • Bioclimatic design
  • Energy efficiency
  • Ecological and cultural sensitivity
  • Ecological impacts of materials
  • Design with nature
  • Building technologies
  • Design by passive systems
  • Heat transfer problems
  • Case studies
  • Education and training
  • Life cycle assessment and durability
  • Sustainability indices in architecture
  • Adapted reuse

 

 Invited Presentations

The conference sessions were enhanced by a series of invited presentations given by well-known colleagues:

  • “Generating a new typology of an urban village”, by Syed Zubir, Universiti Teknologi MARA, Malaysia.
  • “Radiation-active surface design: the use of photocatalytic concrete enabling buildings to be active environmental remediators”, by Nik Nikolov, LeHigh University, USA.
  • “Towards nZEB: modular pre-assembled steel systems for residential buildings”, by Danila Longo, University of Bologna, Italy.
  • “Incorporation of bioclimatic conditions in architectural projects: a case study of the Solar Hemicycle building, Madrid, Spain”, by Elaine Garido Vazquez, Federal University of Rio de Janiero, Brazil.

 

 Social Occasions

There were ample opportunities for the delegates to meet during the conference, not only during coffee breaks but also at lunches and other social functions.  Many of them took the opportunity to visit the sights of Siena in small groups and enjoy the cuisine for which the city is renowned throughout the world.

The Conference dinner took place in the unusual setting of one of the famous contradas of Siena.  A contrada is the name given to a part of town, each of which has the right of having a horse racing for them in Il Palio, the race taking place around the Piazza del Campo.

The contrada is the centre of the social life of this particular part of town, and although opened to all classes it is in practice a highly exclusive club to which one can only belong if born in that part of town.

The contrada contributes to the strong community sense of Siena, a town renowned for its sustainability record and low carbon footprint.  To serve in the contrada cities is an obligation and an honour, to which the community contributes on a voluntary basis.

The banquet was preceded by a visit to the Museum of the Contrada dell’Aquila, which contains the Palii (or banners) they won over the years and other historical memorabilia.  Next door to the Museum a small chapel is used for the ceremony of blessing the horse and jockey before the race takes place.

The dinner consisted of appetizers, followed by two first courses of rice and pasta, and a main course of roasted veal, everything prepared in the Tuscan way.  The food was accompanied by excellent Chianti wines.

The whole evening was most enjoyable and gave the delegates the chance to see a part of Siena life which is not open to most visitors.  The invitation to the Contrada was the result of the academic contacts WIT has built with Siena, over many years of collaboration.

 ISAC Dinner

Members of the International Scientific Advisory Committee (ISAC) and Editorial Board of the International Journal of Sustainable Development and Planning, met over dinner in one of the best restaurants in town, offering authentic Tuscan cuisine.  The discussions centred on reconvening Eco-Architecture in 2016 and where and when the conference ought to take place.

Carlos commented on the success of the Journal as well, the frequency of which has now increased to six issues per year.  The Journal is in the main research databases, and paper citations are recorded.  It may be necessary following the success of the topic to increase the number of issues.  Carlos also mentioned that from now on all WIT Press publications are in full colour in paper as well as digital formats.

 Closing of the Conference

The conference was closed by Carlos who thanked all the delegates for their participation and having contributed to another very successful meeting.  He hoped that they will consider participating in other meetings, as well as the conference in 2016 and other WIT activities.  He also hoped that they will consider visiting the WIT Campus in the New Forest next time they are in that region of England.

 

 Conference Proceedings

The proceedings of Eco-Architecture 2014 – Eco-Architecture V, 648pp (Print ISBN: 978-1-84564-822-0; eISBN: 978-1-84564-823-7) are available from WIT Press. Orders can be placed on the WIT Press web site at www.witpress.com or by email: marketing@witpress.com, telephone: +44 (0) 238 029 3223 or fax: +44 (0) 238 029 2853.

Papers from the conference will also be hosted online at the WIT eLibrary as Volume 142 of WIT Transactions on the Built Environment (ISSN: 1746-4498, Digital ISSN 1743-3509). For more details visit the WIT eLibrary at www.witpress.com/elibrary

 

 Related Conferences

  • Sustainable City 2015
  • Sustainable Development and Planning 2015
  • STREMAH/2015

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Sustainable City 2014 Post Conference Report

Overview

Sustainable City 2014
The 9th International Conference on Urban Regeneration and Sustainability took place in the Certosa di Pontignano, organised by the University of Siena and the Wessex Institute of Technology.

The meeting has a long and distinguished history, having started in Rio de Janeiro in 2000, followed by a series of very successful meetings in Segovia (2002); Siena (2004); Tallinn (2006); Skiathos (2008); A Coruña (2010); Ancona (2012) and Kuala Lumpur (2013).

The meeting is closely associated with the Prigogine Medal and the work of the Ecodynamics Group at the University of Siena.  The work of the Group originated with the research of the late eminent scientist Enzo Tiezzi, who clearly set their objectives and highlighted the difference between development and growth.  Growth pressures a continuous supply of mass and energy that cannot last forever.  Growth based on historical resources is neither sustainable nor enduring.  On the contrary, a dynamic development that maximises energy, reduces or excludes wastefulness and relies on renewable resources, supplied through advanced systems and innovative technologies, can fuel a prosperous economy and guarantee widespread, long lasting well-being.

The Sustainable City is not full of new buildings, but rather the same city of the past, repaired, renovated and modified in order to make it as fully today as it was in the past.  When considering historical centres and, above all, areas of urban expansion and suburbs, the focus of adaptation is increasingly necessary and desirable, especially from the new prospects of having to limit our dependency on non-renewable energy sources.  In this sense, the search for more sustainable cities is the premise that should inspire research, policies and the building industry in the future.

This line of reasoning has been expressed in the lands of Siena, where the commitment to the environment has long been a common shared good.  Such initiatives with the city and provinces have supported the idea of holding the 9th International Conference on the Sustainable City in Siena, whose territory reached an equal balance between academia carbon emissions and absorption as early as 2011.

The Conference sessions took place in La Certosa di Pontignano, an old monastery belonging to the University of Siena and now converted into a conference centre. It was founded in the 1300s by the Carthusian Order.  It is still an oasis of peace, most appropriate for research meetings presented near Siena while being in the open countryside, and offers unique views of its surroundings. Vineyards and olive groves surround La Certosa.

The complex has two beautiful cloisters and a series of cells, rooms and facilities around them.  In spite of the many changes that the buildings undertook over the years, the complex is harmonious and its architecture blends with the surrounding landscape.

The quiet environs and the ample facilities contributed to increased contacts amongst the delegates, outside the conference sessions.  They were offered lunches, as well as refreshment breaks and a conference dinner was arranged in the unusual setting of one of the contradas of Siena.

The success of the conference resulted in a substantial number of papers which were published in two volumes of WIT Transactions on Ecology and the Environment, Volume 191, which are distributed around the world in hard copy and digital format.  The papers are permanently archived in the WIT eLibrary (http://library.witpress.com/).

 Prigogine Award Ceremony

The conference was opened by the University Authorities in their Aula Magna, with a special ceremony to award the 2014 Prigogine Gold Medal.

The Academic procession comprising members of the University and some of the senior members of the International Scientific Advisory Committee entered the Aula Magna, followed by the Vice Rector, Professor Francesco Frati and the Director of the Wessex Institute of Technology, Professor Carlos A Brebbia.

Professor Frati declared the proceedings open and described the importance of the event, welcoming the delegates in the name of the University of Siena.  The Prigogine Medal was established by the University and the Wessex Institute of Technology to honour the memory of Professor Ilya Prigogine, Nobel Prize Winner of Chemistry.  He was a mentor of the work carried out in the Ecodynamics Group and Honorary Co-Chair of the Conference on Ecological Systems and Sustainable Development, organised by both institutions.

Prof Brebbia then referred to the importance of Prof Prigogine’s work.  Born in Moscow in 1917, Ilya Prigogine obtained his undergraduate and graduate education in Chemistry at the Free University of Brussels.  He was awarded the Nobel Prize for his contribution to non-equilibrium thermodynamics, particularly the theory of dissipative structures.  The main theme of his scientific work was the role of time in the physical sciences and biology.  Prigogine contributed significantly to the understanding of irreversible processes, particularly in systems far from equilibrium.  The results of his work have had profound consequences for understanding biological and ecological systems.

Prigogine’s idea established the basis for ecological systems research.  The Prigogine Medal – Carlos said – to honour his memory, is awarded annually to a leading scientist in the field of ecological systems.  All recipients have been deeply influenced by the work of Prigogine.

Previous Prigogine Laureates were:

  • 2004       Sven Jorgenson, Denmark
  • 2005       Enzo Tiezzi, Italy
  • 2006       Bernard Patten, USA
  • 2007       Robert Ulanowicz, USA
  • 2008       Ioannis Antoniou, Greece
  • 2009       Emilio Del Giudice, Italy
  • 2010       Felix Müller, Germany
  • 2011       Larissa Brizhik, Ukraine
  • 2012       Gerald Pollack, USA
  • 2013       Vladimir Voeikov, Russia
Prof Simone Bastianoni, from the Ecodynamics Group at the University of Siena, commented on the personality of the late Enzo Tiezzi (Prigogine 2005).  He expressed how difficult it was to accept that Enzo was no longer with us, so strong was his influence for the Science Group.

Enzo was a renaissance man, building bridges across different disciplines, his work continuously evolving, from chemical processes to biology, ecosystems and many human endeavours.

Enzo did not believe in the idea of becoming overspecialised in a very minor narrow field.  He thought that it was always important to understand the whole, to see the forest, rather than focus all our energies in researching only one particular tree.

The 2014 Medal has been awarded to Prof Mae-Wan Ho, founding Director of The Institute of Science in Society.

Prof Brebbia explained that the Dr Ho’s work provides information about biotechnological issues as well as sustainability, climate change and, in particular, the nature of water.

Prof Ho received a PhD in Biochemistry from Hong Kong University.  She was a Post-Doctoral Fellow in Biochemical Genetics at the University of California, San Diego; Senior Research Fellow at Queen Elizabeth College; Lecturer in Genetics and Reader in Biology at the Open University, UK.

Prof Ho is the author of several books and Editor of Science in Society, produced by her Institute.  She is a prolific author.  Two of her books are prominent in explaining the role of biological water in organising living processes.  She has been extremely productive with nearly 200 scientific papers, over 600 popular articles and several more books.

Moreover, she has written a book showing the lack of sustainability of genetically modified organisms.  She has also contributed significantly to the thermodynamics of complex systems, and has discussed extensively the Prigogine ideas.  A recent article of hers discusses what should be a reliable thermodynamics of living organisms, developing a Prigogine’s approach.

Following the introduction, Prof Ho was given the Medal by Prof Nadia Marchettini, widow of the late Enzo Tiezzi (Prigogine Medal 2005).

Upon receipt of the award, Prof Ho started her Special Prigogine Lecture on ‘Sustainable Cities: A New Perspective’.  She demonstrated that the circular thermodynamics based on dynamic closeness in natural space-time dimensions enable organisms to approach zero entropy production simultaneously at equilibrium and far from equilibrium conditions.  It confirms and extends Ilya Prigogine’s Principle of Minimum Entropy Production for living systems and has implications for sustainable cities and other built environments, as well as ecosystems and economic systems.

Dr Ho referred to the importance of fractals and their role in providing optimum energy consumption configurations.

This led to a discussion of why large systems are inefficient and the advantages of arranging for local energy generation and storage facilities using renewable resources, minimising emissions and CO2 generation.  This can be done by recycling the waste, and redefining urban spaces at human scale.  The modern trend is towards a more compact city, creating new spaces.

 Conference Sessions

The presentations were grouped in the following sessions:

  • Urban strategies
  • Spatial conflicts in the city. (Special session organised by R Barelkowski)
  • Environmental management
  • Infrastructure and society
  • Transportation
  • Waste management
  • Planning, development and management
  • Urban air pollution (Special session organised by E Rada)
  • The community and the city
  • Urban conservation and regeneration
  • Urban metabolism
  • The S3 city: smart, sustainable and safe. (Special session organised by R Fistola)
  • Quality of life
  • Sustainable energy and the city
  • Eco-town planning
  • Flood risk
  • Architectural issues
  • Recent advances on urban transportation planning (Special session organised by F Russo)
  • Case studies

 

 Invited Presentations

The meeting was enhanced by a series of invited presentations given by well know colleagues:

  • “Istanbul’s single truth: a sustainable policy and a sustainable capital”, by Sirma Turgut, Yildiz Technical University, Turkey.
  • “Strategies for the identity of sustainable suburbs”, by Robert Barelkowski, Polish Academy of Sciences, Poland.
  • “Accommodating the cyclist in the city”, by Andrew Furman, Ryerson University, Canada.
  • “Artificial surfing reefs in the Mediterranean Sea: an integrated solution for the erosion of the shoreline in Bahía Norte, Alicante”, by Yolande Villacampa, University of Alicante, Spain.
  • “Qualitative assessment of the Mexicali Valley Landscape: residents and non-residents”, by Rosa Rojas-Caldelas, University of Baja California, Mexico.
  • “The sustainable city and air pollution”, by Elena Rada, University of Trento, Italy.
  • “Pathways to an oil-constrained sustainable city”, by Roger Brewster, Bond University, Australia.
  • “The Sustainable City and the Smart City: measuring urban entropy first”, by Romano Fistola, University of Sannio, Italy.
  • “Novel solutions to a traditional method of property-level flood protection: technical insights into innovative door aperture guards”, by Colin Booth, University of the West of England, United Kingdom.
  • “A comprehensive lifecycle evaluation of vertical greenery systems based on systemic indicators”, by Riccardo Pulselli, University of Siena, Italy.
  • “The process of smart city definition at an EU level”, by Francesco Russo, University of Russo Calabria, Italy.

 

 ISAC and Conference Dinners

The conference International Scientific Advisory Committee (ISAC)  met over dinner to discuss the meeting and way in which it can be improved when it is reconvened in 2016.  The members discussed a series of new topics to allow the conference to evolve and respond to new ideas and demands. A series of new members of the committee were nominated so that their names can add to the prestige of the conference and be able to review papers.  Finally, the members discussed the offers received regarding possible venues for 2016, which will be investigated by the WIT conference department.

The Conference dinner took place in the unusual setting of one of the famous contradas of Siena.  A contrada is the name given to a part of town, each of which has the right of having a horse racing for them in Il Palio, the race taking place around the Piazza del Campo.

The contrada is the centre of the social life of this particular part of town, and although opened to all classes it is in practice a highly exclusive club to which one can only belong if born in that part of town.

The contrada contributes to the strong community sense of Siena, a town renowned for its sustainability record and low carbon footprint.  To serve in the contrada cities is an obligation and an honour, to which the community contributes on a voluntary basis.

The banquet was preceded by a visit to the Museum of the Contrada dell’Aquila, which contains the Palii (or banners) they won over the years and other historical memorabilia.  Next door to the Museum a small chapel is used for the ceremony of blessing the horse and jockey before the race takes place.

The dinner consisted of appetizers, followed by two first courses of rice and pasta, and a main course of roasted veal, everything prepared in the Tuscan way.  The food was accompanied by excellent Chianti wines.

The whole evening was most enjoyable and gave the delegates the chance to see a part of Siena life which is not open to most visitors.  The invitation to the Contrada was the result of the academic contacts WIT has built with Siena, over many years of collaboration.

The conference was closed by Carlos Brebbia who thanked the delegates for their participation and hoped to see them again when the meeting is reconvened.

 Conference Proceedings

The proceedings of Sustainable City 2014 – The Sustainable City IX, 1766pp (Print ISBN: 978-1-84564-820-6; eISBN: 978-1-84564-821-3) are available from WIT Press. Orders can be placed on the WIT Press web site at www.witpress.com or by email: marketing@witpress.com, telephone: +44 (0) 238 029 3223 or fax: +44 (0) 238 029 2853.

Papers from the conference will also be hosted online at the WIT eLibrary as Volume 191 of WIT Transactions on Ecology and the Environment (ISSN: 1746-448X, Digital ISSN 1743-3541). For more details visit the WIT eLibrary at http://library.witpress.com

 

 Related conferences


Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Energy and Sustainability 2014 Post Conference Report

Overview

The 5th International Conference on Energy and Sustainability took place in Putrajaya near Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, organised by the Wessex Institute of Technology, represented by Professor Carlos Brebbia; Malaysia Research and Education Network (MYREN), represented by Professor Hussain Al-Kayiem of Universiti Teknologi Petronas and the Universiti Teknologi Mara, represented by Professor Syed Zubir.

The Meeting follows the very successful conference series which started in the New Forest (UK), home of the Wessex Institute in 2007 and continued in Bologna (2009); Alicante (2011); and Bucharest (2013).

The Conference is reconvened to discuss the challenges affecting the modern world in the field of energy. Modern society is highly dependent on the exploitation of fossil fuels. Depletion of resources and environmental effects resulting from the continuous use of those fuels has resulted in an increasing amount of interest in renewable energy resources and the need for sustainable energy policies.

The changes required to progress from an economy mainly based on hydrocarbons to one taking advantage of sustainable energy resources are massive and require a substantial amount of scientific research, as well as the development of new engineering systems and technologies. The effort also involves collaboration across different disciplines in order to arrive at optimum solutions, including building, energy networks, transportation systems, energy storage solutions, conversion and recovery energy solutions, and many others.

Opening of the Conference

The Conference was opened by Ms Liana Jaganatham, Programme Manager for MYREN which is part of the Ministry of Education and Sponsor of the Conference. She explained the objectives of her programme and the advances made in Research and Education in Malaysia. The programme also covers networks supporting the whole country. She ended by describing some of the future projects.

Professor Al-Kayiem, Co-Chair of the Conference refers to the importance of the work carried out at the conferences and, in particular, those organised by WIT, which help to bring people together in a friendly environment.

Professor Carlos A. Brebbia then described the work done at the Wessex Institute of Technology. WIT, Carlos said, is fundamentally an organisation dedicated to the transfer of knowledge. This is carried out by means of a variety of activities, including conferences, seminars and courses.

An important part of WIT activities relate to provision of knowledge and services to industry. The Institute has developed over many years computer software packages based on their own research on Boundary Element Methods. These codes are now used by many companies around the world, particularly in the energy and aerospace field.

WIT Press, the publishing arm of the Institute, provides also a mechanism to disseminate knowledge. The organisation publishes a series of books and journals in digital and paper format. They are distributed throughout the world by a substantial number of representatives and agents.

Carlos ended by pointing out that the Institute aims to continuously improve the infrastructure of its Campus; which is located in the New Forest National Park in the South of England.

Conference Topics

The papers were grouped into a series of sessions, as follows:

·         Biofuels
·         Energy policies
·         Sustainable energy production
·         Green buildings
·         Energy and transportation
·         CO2 capture and management
·         Energy storage
·         Environmental risk management
·         Processing of oil and gas
·         Waste to energy

Keynote and Invited Presentations

The Conference Programme included a number of invited presentations by well known colleagues, as follows:

·         “Synthesis of novel catalysts for hydrodeoxygenation of bio-oil: guaiacol as a model component” by Nader Mahinpey, Calgary University, Canada
·         “Sustaining thermal power plant production in low water supply regions using cooling towers” by Hussein Al-Kayiem, Universiti Tecnologi Petronas, Malaysia
·         “Sustainable space optimization and function versatility through mass displacement” by Syed Zubir, Universiti Teknologi Mara, Malaysia
·         “Dry reforming of methane under an electro-catalytic bed: effect of electrical current and catalyst composition” by Jean-Michel Lavoie, Université de Sherbrooke, Canada
·         “Increasing the selectivity of the hydrocarbon feedstock pyrolysis” by Elena Magaril, Urals Federal University, Russia
·         “Cost-benefit analysis of living wall systems on school building skins in hot climate” by Mahmoud Haggag, UAE University, United Arab Emirates.

The Conference was characterised by its friendly atmosphere and the many contacts made by the delegates. As all WIT Conferences, it attracted participants from many different countries. It also included the presence of many young researchers, mostly recent PhD graduates, whose contributions presented new ideas and original applications.

Conference Dinner

The International Scientific Advisory Committee met over an excellent dinner hosted by Professor Hussain Al-Kayiem to discuss the way in which the meeting could be improved. The discussions centred on the topics covered and in particular the challenge resulting from the recent fall in the price of oil and gas. These changes will have a profound impact on some renewable resources systems and new hydrocarbons extraction methods such as fracking with consequent new policies. The Committee also discussed the need to appoint new members.

During the Meeting the soon to be launched International Journal of Energy Production and Management was also discussed. The importance of an early announcement is crucial to the future of the Journal, as well as to attract papers by well known colleagues. This will accelerate the inclusion of the Journal in the search engines and appropriate databases.

The Conference Banquet took place on board a boat that sailed along the Putrajaya Lake while a guide explained the different buildings along the way. The new governmental capital of Malaysia has been a major undertaking with a diversity of building styles for the different ministries and state departments. It has several large mosques and malls and an ever-expanding number of residential areas. The first buildings were inaugurated as recently as 2001 but the city is now full of many impressive buildings and has an excellent road and bridge system, together with a fast train link to Kuala Lumpur.

The excellent Malaysian food served during the trip and the good company made this a unique occasion, helping the delegates to strengthen their links.

Closing of the Conference

The Conference was closed by Carlos who thanked the delegates for making Energy and Sustainability such a friendly and successful Conference.

He mentioned that the Conference book is now archived in the Institute’s eLibrary (http://library.witpress.com) where they are accessible to the international community. He reminded the presenters of the possibility of submitting extended versions of their papers to the International Journal of Energy Production and Management, the latest WIT Press Journal.

Carlos invited the delegates to visit the Campus of Wessex Institute in the New Forest, a National Park in the South of England, renowned for its beauty.

Finally, he thanked the Co-Chairmen, Syed and Hussain, for their commitment to the Conference and for making the Meeting such a success.

Conference Proceedings

The proceedings of Energy and Sustainability 2014 (Print ISBN: 978-1-84564-837-4; eISBN: 978-1-84564-838-1) are available from WIT Press. Orders can be placed on the WIT Press web site at www.witpress.com or by email:marketing@witpress.com, telephone: +44 (0) 238 029 3223 or fax: +44 (0) 238 029 2853.

Papers from the conference will also be hosted online a the WIT eLibrary as Volume 186 of WIT Transactions on the Ecology and the Environment ( ISSN: 1746-448X, Digital ISSN 1743-3541). For more details visit the WIT eLibrary at http://library.witpress.com



Eminent Scientist Medal Awarded to Professor Syed Zubir

Professor Syed Zubir from the School of Architecture, Planning and Surveying of the Universiti Teknologi Mara, who has had a distinguished academic career as well as practical experience, has been awarded the Eminent Scientist Award of the Wessex Institute of Technology.
This Medal is given annually by the Board of Directors to colleagues who are not only excellent researchers and teachers, but also people of the highest integrity.
Professor Zubir received his first degree in architecture from the Universiti Teknologi Mara and continued his studies at the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, followed by a Master in Urban Design and Planning at the well known Pratt Institute in New York. After this, he completed a PhD at Sheffield University in the UK.
His main scientific publications deal with Urban Design and Malaysian Architecture, including the importance and value of heritage sites and vernacular elements in contemporary design. He has been equally prolific in the field of Architecture teaching and is renowned for his mentoring of young architecture students.
Professor Zubir’s work came to the attention of Wessex Institute when he participated in the Sustainable City Conference that took place in Siena in 2004. He later contributed with a paper to the 1st International Conference on Ravage of the Planet held in 2006 in Patagonia, also organised by Wessex Institute.
The Meeting, which was opened by a Nobel Prize Winner, produced an important Declaration that referred to the need to prevent further deterioration of the environment and applying the principles of sustainability in urban design and architecture. The Conference was reconvened again in Kuala Lumpur in 2011 under Syed’s chairmanship. His association with Wessex Institute led to a further meeting, also held in Malaysia, and co-chaired by him in 2013 on a topic of The Sustainable City, Urban Regeneration and Sustainability. A subsequent Conference on Energy and Sustainability in 2014 marked one of the many initiatives in which Wessex Institute has had the pleasure of collaborating with Professor Zubir.
Professor Zubir is author of many papers and publications and serves on the Editorial Boards of several prestigious Journals, including some published by WIT Press, the publishing arm of the Wessex Institute.
He is also an excellent teacher and supervisor. WIT had occasion to help him organise a visit to several European Architectural Heritage Centres in 2014. The participants were able to achieve the maximum benefit from a tour that took them to several countries, in addition to visiting WIT Campus in the New Forest.

Defence Heritage 2014 Post Conference Report

Overview

DH_14_200x250
The second international conference on Defence Heritage took place in Venice Arsenale, following the success of the first meeting held in Portsmouth in 2012.

The meeting was co-organised by the Wessex Institute of Technology and the Arsenale.  Its objective was to raise the knowledge of the scale, design and functions of defence sites.  It brings a better understanding of the issues raised by their redundancy and the implications of different disposal processes for the land.

As defence priorities and strategies change a large variety of defence buildings and sites are becoming redundant in different parts of the world.  The conference explores issues related to challenges offered by former defence sites focussing on innovative approaches to achieve sustainable new life in those often significantly important sites.

Understanding and respecting a defence site’s history and significance is essential to appreciate new use, but its potential may not be recognised.  Some sites, once dedicated to national security, are being transformed by artistic activity, via redistribution of whole sites, conversion of individual military buildings, and the construction of new galleries in former defence enclosures, temporary installations, festivals and arts events.  Remote sites may need new infrastructure in order to reconnect them with the civilian world, but for countries with economic pressures financing might be hard to find, as they may be overwhelmed by the sheer weight of their historic defence legacy.

The conference discussed presentations aimed to cover some of the most pressing problems facing defence heritage sites, reviewing and discussing experiences in different parts of the world.

The meeting was opened by Professor Carlos A Brebbia, who explained the importance of this conference for the Wessex Institute of Technology, the aim of which is to disseminate knowledge across the world.

Carlos described the main activities of WIT, including the industrial research and development work.  The Institute carries out advanced consultancy and software development for large energy and aerospace companies from all over the world.

WIT Press, the publishing arm of the Institute, continues to produce a large number of books, in addition to important interdisciplinary journals.  Their work is now reaching a wider audience as digital publishing becomes more prevalent.  This contributes to make the work of Wessex Institute and its activities even more significant.  The papers presented at this conference, for instance, are now permanently archived in the eLibrary of the Institute (http://www.witpress.com/elibrary) as Volume 143 of WIT Transactions on the Built Environment.

Carlos concluded by wishing the participants a successful meeting, hoping that they would be able to strengthen their links.  Networking is one of the most important aspects of WIT conferences, which are characterised by their friendliness, and exchange of experience and knowledge amongst the participants.

Grazia Storelli from the Comune of Venice welcomed the delegates to the Arsenale.  She is an Architect involved with the maintenance and renovation of the complex.

The City is keen to involve the Arsenale more in the city itself, which will open a new area to visitors and locals as well, by integrating it with the Venice community.  A development plan is now being completed for Venice, incorporating the Arsenale.

The Nuova Torre, where the conference took place, was very derelict before restoration.  It was originally built to store the ship masts, which were put on the ships when they left the basin.  It was basically a large open space, but lost its roof and internal timber structures.

Following this, Celia Clark welcomed the delegates, explaining the parallels with the Arsenale’s problems and its integration in the community which are similar to the situation in her own town of Portsmouth.  Because of this, is it important when studying different shipyards around the world to share experiences.

 Invited Presentations

There were a series of invited presentations to enhance the conference proceedings, ie

  • ‘The ecological footprint and the evolution of some Roman sites on the Danube River’, by Dan Constantinescu, Polytechnic University of Bucharest, Romania.
  • ‘Assessment of the masonry strength of the fortress in Terezin’, by Milan Holicky, Czech Technical University, Czech Republic.
  • ‘The history and legacy of the United States Naval Communication Station in Thurso, Scotland’, by James Gunn, Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd, United Kingdom.
  • ‘The Master Plan of Fortifications as a management tool for the conservation and development of the defence heritage of Cádiz’, by Carlos Rubio-Bellido.
  • ‘Conservation of defence heritage structures using corrosion protection techniques’, Rene Brueckner, Mott MacDonald, United Kingdom.
  • ‘Make art not war: defence sites find new life as centres of creativity@, by Celia Clark, Wessex Institute of Technology, United Kingdom.
  • ‘Accessibility to the historic defence sites of Oman for people with mobility impairment: the cases of the Nakhal, Al Hazm and Khasab fortifications’, by Mohammed Al-Belushi, Sultan Qaboos University, Oman.
  • ‘The Pula Forts: opportunities and risks’, John Harris, Fortress Study Group, United Kingdom.

 

 Social Occasions

The participants had numerous occasions for interaction, not only during the formal sessions but in coffee and lunch breaks, which were also enjoyed in the Nuova Torre.  The tower, which has been very significantly restored, has a terrace at the top from where the whole of Venice and the neighbouring Italian mainland can be seen.  It was a popular place for the delegates to meet during the breaks.

The conference dinner took place in a restaurant renowned for preparing typical Venetian dishes.  The recipes were based on research carried out on the history of Venetian cuisine and wines.  They consisted of risotto and pasta with seafood and as a main course a selection of duck, fish or eel, all of these very much local dishes.  The wines were from the Veneto region, specially selected to accompany the dishes.  The delegates ended by having coffee on the Piazza San Marco, accompanied as well, to the sound of music.  The good food, drinks and the excellent weather helped to make this a memorable occasion.

 Closing of the Conference

The conference was closed by Carlos who referred to the importance of the meeting and the excellent level of interaction amongst the delegates.  The success of the meeting will lead to it being reconvened in 2016, at a time and location to be shortly announced.

 

 Conference Proceedings

 The proceedings of Defence Heritage 2014 – Defence Sites II, 432pp (Print ISBN: 978-1-84564-833-6; eISBN: 978-1-84564-834-3) are available from WIT Press. Orders can be placed on the WIT Press web site at www.witpress.com or by email: marketing@witpress.com, telephone: +44 (0) 238 029 3223 or fax: +44 (0) 238 029 2853.

Papers from the conference will also be hosted online at the WIT eLibrary as Volume 143 of WIT Transactions on Built Environment (ISSN: 1746-4498, Digital ISSN 1743-3509). For more details visit the WIT eLibrary at http://www.witpress.com/elibrary

 

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Thursday, 1 January 2015

BEM/MRM 37 Post Conference Report

Overview

BEM/MRM 2014
The 37th International Conference on Boundary Elements and Other Mesh Reduction Methods took place in the New Forest near Southampton, where the method was developed and the first meeting was held in 1978.

The continuous development of the method and the increasing vitality of the research carried out throughout the world are due to its ability to evolve.  This has been more marked with the development of Mesh Reduction Techniques, an area of research which continues to produce excellent results, as evidenced by papers presented at the conference.

The conference was opened by Professor Carlos A Brebbia, Director of Wessex Institute of Technology and Professor Alex Cheng from the University of Mississippi.

Carlos referred to the importance of finding ways of arriving at solutions that require neither initial mesh, even in the case of non-linear or time-dependent problems, nor surface meshes in general.  This objective is becoming more feasible as the research progresses.

Equally important – Carlos said – is the development of powerful and robust boundary element software tools in order to open new areas of industrial applications. In this regard, engineering practitioners will demand software that can cope with a large number of degrees of freedom.  This will lead to the method being fully accepted in engineering practice.

We have seen, in Carlos’ opinion, the emergence of robust codes which are used to solve real engineering problems, with particular emphasis on those for which classical finite elements give poor results.  The experience in fracture mechanics, crack propagation and other extreme cases has reinforced the perception of boundary elements as a highly accurate technique.  Problems extending to infinity is another area in which boundary elements offer elegant and easy to use solutions.

Cases such as these are the basis on which BEM ought to gain acceptance by industry.  The time – Carlos asserted - is ripe for BEM.

 George Green Medal

Following these remarks the George Green medal was introduced by Alex Cheng.

This is a new initiative by the University of Mississippi, in association with the Wessex Institute of Technology.

The importance of Green’s work was described by Alex, particularly his development of his functions which set the basis for boundary elements.  Very little is known about George Green, there is not even a picture of him.  Green was totally self-taught and published a few copies of his most famous works on a subscription only basis.

It is impossible to understand how George Green was able to acquire his knowledge in a backwater place of England, as Nottingham was at that time.  He only had access to a local library and distributed his work around sponsors who were unable to fully appreciate the importance of his work.

One of these sponsors pointed out the work to a Cambridge don and this led to a minor appointment at that University, which he had to leave due to illness.  Shortly after that he died, his research was forgotten and it was only due to Lord Kelvin that much later on Green’s work was rediscovered.  The Green Medal was established to honour him and as a reward to outstanding research carried out in BEM.

The Green Medal Award Committee decided to give the Medal to Professor Carlos A Brebbia, as originator of the technique.  He not only proposed the interpretation of the method in variational terms and weighted residuals, but developed its finite element type methodology.  Carlos also organised the first boundary element conference in 1978 and promoted the application of the method for the solution of practical engineering problems.

The medal was then awarded by Prof Alex Cheng to Prof Carlos A Brebbia, with the congratulations of the Selection Committee.  Prof Antonio Tadeu of Coimbra University presented Carlos with a diploma.

Carlos thanked them for their kindness and accepted the medal in his own name, as well as the many colleagues who were part of his Southampton group.

He then briefly recalled the beginnings of the boundary element, showing the importance of different scientists and groups in its development.  This included the Research School created at Southampton University by the late Prof Hugh Tottenham; the MIT School of Eric Reiner, widely known through the work of Jerry Connor and the discussions with Prof Maurice Jaswon of City University, who was working on indirect boundary integral equations.

The different centres converged towards the Southampton group where the technique originated.  The same group also created a series of other research centres around the world, including Japan, Brazil, Spain, Slovenia and others.  In particular, it collaborated with the groups in the USA working on the method.

The research work carried out in the 1980’s and 1990’s was most productive and resulted in many, now well established, developments.  One of the main objectives of the Southampton group, by then based at the Wessex Institute of Technology, was to create a tool to solve practical engineering problems and methodologies to avoid internal meshes.

As a result, the BEASY code was developed, which is now popular for a range of problems, including problems extending to infinity or those requiring accurate results.  This work still continues and has resulted in a very successful performance for BEASY.

A major contribution was the development of techniques such as Dual Reciprocity Method, and one of the main researchers in this field was Prof Paul Partridge in Brazil, who has just passed away.  Carlos wanted to take this opportunity to pay tribute to his memory.

Paul was one of the first PhD students in the Southampton Group under Carlos’ supervision.  After graduation he found a Post-doctoral position at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil, a country that he dearly loved.  From this Post-doctoral appointment he moved to the University of Brasilia where he became a permanent member of staff, leading to his appointment as a Full Professor.  Two years ago he retired from academia and recently passed away after a short illness.  Paul will be always remembered for his friendliness, modesty and generosity as well as his many academic accomplishments.

The Conference was declared open after this short tribute.

 Conference Topics

The papers presented at the meeting are published in Vol 57 of WIT Transactions on Modelling and Simulation, and permanently stored in the WIT Press eLibrary (http://library.witpress.com/).  They are grouped in the following topics:

  • Advanced formulations
  • Advanced meshless and mesh reduction methods
  • Electrical engineering and electromagnetics
  • Heat and mass transfer
  • Solid mechanics
  • Dynamics and vibrations
  • Fluid flow modelling

 

 Invited Presentations

There were a substantial number of invited presentations given by well know colleagues:

  • “Collocation and optimization initialization”, by Edward Kansa, Convergent Solutions, USA.
  • “The study of porous elastic plates by mesh-free methods”, by Vladimir Sladek, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Slovakia.
  • “A Kansa-RBF method for Poisson problems in annular domains”, by Andrea Karageorghis, University of Cyprus, Cyprus.
  • “A BEM and FEM analysis of fluid-structure interaction in a double tank”, by Elena Strelnikova, Ukrainian Academy of Sciences, Ukraine.
  • “The hypersingular boundary element method revisited”, by Ney A Dumont, Pontificia Catholic University of Rio, Brazil.
  • “Surface integral equation analysis of the electromagnetic interference”, by Dragan Poljak, University of Split, Croatia.
  • “On modification of the method of mechanical quadrature for SIE in crack problems under step-like loads”, by Alexander Galybin, The Schmidt Institute of Physics of the Earth, Russia.
  • “An efficient MFS model for the analysis of sonic crystals including fluid-solid interaction”, by Luis Godinho, University of Coimbra, Portugal.
  • “Wavelet compression of parabolic diffusion integral kernels”, by Jure Ravnik, University of Maribor, Slovenia.
  • “The interface integral BEM for solving general non-homogeneous and non-linear mechanics problems”, by Xiao-Wei Gao, Dalian University of Technology, China.

 

 Lunch Excursion

During the conference there were ample opportunities for the delegates to get to know each other better and for having informal discussions.

The lunch time excursion during the first day was to the village of Minstead, in the New Forest.

Minstead is one of the most charming villages in the Forest and has been described as a typical New Forest Green.  Across the Green is a pub with the unusual sign “The Trusty Servant”, which is the same as that displayed in Winchester College, presumably from the days when the pupils had personal servants.  The delegates were offered lunch at the pub before proceeding to walk around the village and see the Church.

The Church is located at a short walk from the green at the top of a little hill.  The church is a jumble of different styles, including Saxon and Norman. Its most remarkable feature is having a three-tiered pulpit and a series of different seating boxes for the important local families.

In the churchyard one can see the resting place of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes, and his wife, who although from another part of England, lived in a cottage in the New Forest.

Another interesting character buried there is Christopher Tower, a diplomat and poet who became an expert in Arab affairs and Chief Advisor to the King of Libya.  As a poet he was not very successful, nevertheless he established a Poetry Fellowship in his old Oxford College.

North of Minstead lays the Rufus Stone, marking the site where William II, called Rufus for the colour of his hair, was slain by a stray arrow.

The weather was kind during the visit and the delegates had ample time to walk around the village and enjoy the sites.

 EABE Meeting

The annual Editorial Board meeting of the Journal of Engineering Analysis with Boundary Elements took place during the conference with a substantial number of members in attendance.  The discussions took place over an excellent dinner.

Alex Cheng, as Editor in Chief, gave a brief introduction and reported on how the Journal was progressing.  There has been an increase in the number of papers published in 2013 over previous years, and the tendency is to continue to grow.  The Board is aware of the need to retain the quality of the papers, as well as its size and different ways of ensuring this were discussed.  Alex also referred to the excellent special issues now in progress and to the appointment of new Board members.

The issue of how to retain the vitality of the publications was discussed in detail.  The general consensus was that it is essential to appoint a few young scientists and this led to Alex asking for nominations being put forward.

The Journal needs to be promoted better in some countries where substantial Boundary Element research groups exist, but which are under represented by numbers of papers.

The impact factor of the Journal continues to be high, but a special effort is required to raise it in relation to those of the main competing publications.

The evening ended in a very friendly atmosphere and Alex received a number of suggestions of how to improve the EABE journal even more.

 Conference Dinner

The Conference dinner took place in the unique setting of Rhinefield House, a New Forest mansion now converted into a luxury hotel.  The house, built in the 1890s resembles a Scottish castle with a variety of styles for its numerous rooms.  The dinner itself took place in the King’s Room, a French-like dining area, while other rooms are of Spanish, Italian and even Arabic style.

The manor was a wedding present to Mrs Munro-Walker, a rich heiress of a Nottingham fortune, based on coal mines.  Mrs Munro married a Navy officer, who was absent for long periods, during one of which she built a round smoking room in the Mudejar style as an anniversary present.  The task was carried out by workers specially shipped from abroad who were the only ones able to work the intricate plaster decorations.

The main hall of the house has an impressive hammer beam type of roof structure, similar to the one in the ancient Hall of Westminster in the Houses of Parliament.  This room is the central part of the house.

The dinner consisted of excellent dishes, washed down by well-chosen wines, which helped to produce the right atmosphere for creating further links amongst the participants.

The delegates were also shown around the garden by Carlos who explained their history and the considerable efforts made in the last forty years to restore them to their former glory.

 Closing of the Conference

The Conference was characterised by its friendly atmosphere and the quality of the discussions that took place outside as well as during the sessions.

Carlos closed the meeting, commenting on the vitality of BEM research as evidenced by the number of young researchers and PhD students who continue to participate in BEM/MRM conferences.  He thanked the delegates for their commitment to developing the method into a powerful software tool.

The next conference will also take place in the New Forest, home of the Wessex Institute, from 21-23 September 2015.  For more information contact: rloock@wessex.ac.uk.

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Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Design and Nature 2014 Post Conference Report

Overview

Design and Nature 2014
The 7th International Conference on Comparing Design in Nature with Science and Engineering (Design and Nature 2014) has been held in Opatija, Croatia, organised by the Wessex Institute of Technology and sponsored by the International Journal of Design & Nature and Ecodynamics.

The conference started in Udine (2002) and since then has been reconvened in a series of locations around Europe, ie Rhodes (2004); The New Forest, home of the Wessex Institute (2006); the Algarve (2008); Pisa (2010) and A Coruña (2012).

Understanding nature has been a driving force for the research of many scientists and engineers since antiquity. They now have at their disposal a vast array of information for materials, mechanisms and control. They have arrived at sets of laws, products of analytical methods and observations which span from the atom level, leading to the understanding of the whole universe.

Leading thinkers have been inspired by the parallels between nature and human design. Nowadays, the huge increase in biological knowledge and developments in design and systems, together with the virtual revolution in computer power and simulation modelling, have made possible more comprehensive studies of nature.

The conference was opened by the Chairman, Prof Carlos A Brebbia, Director of Wessex Institute, who referred to the work of WIT and, in particular, it acting as a medium for the dissemination of knowledge. The conference series – Carlos said – is particularly appropriate for this as it brings people together from different locations around the world. Most of them are interdisciplinary meetings in which colleagues learn from each other in a friendly atmosphere.

The field of Design and Nature requires the collaboration of a wide range of scientists in order to better understand nature and learn from it.

Carlos also mentioned that the Institute covers a wide range of activities, in addition to research and training. Of particular importance are industrial research and publication of advanced books and journals.

It seems appropriate – Carlos said – in the case of this conference to refer to the Prigogine Medal which the Institute awards annually to renowned colleagues influenced by the work of Prigogine. This medal – established by the University of Siena and the Wessex Institute – started in 2004 to honour Prigogine’s memory and his association with the University of Siena’s Ecodynamics group and the fact that Prigogine was an Honorary Chairman of a WIT conference, as well as Honorary Editor of the Design and Nature Journal.

Carlos ended his remarks by thanking the delegates for coming and wishing them a very successful conference.

 Keynote Address

The keynote address was given by Prof Giora Rosenhouse, until recently professor at the Technion Institute of Technology, and now director of his own company, Swantech, dedicated to sound wave analysis and technologies. The title of this presentation was “Colors of noise fractals and applications”, in which he described a wide variety of topics, ranging from deterministic to chaos analysis and the secrets of life!

 Conference Topics

The rest of the papers were classified under the following topics:
  • Mechanics in nature
  • Natural materials and processes
  • Biometrics and bio-inspiration
  • Biological studies
  • Natural energy behaviour
  • Evolutionary physics

 

 Social Occasions

The delegates had ample opportunities to hold informal discussions and get to know each other better. There were complimentary lunches arranged, in addition to the coffee breaks.

An excursion was offered to visit the ancient city of Pula, the origins of which are pre-Roman. There have been human settlements there for at least the last five millennia, but the city architecture and culture has been influenced by the Romans and later the Venetians.

The most outstanding Roman remain in Pula is a large amphitheatre which could hold up to ten thousand spectators and is in reasonably good condition.

Several Roman temples are still standing in the main square as well as a beautiful Venetian building, housing the City government. Pula was an important trading port for the Romans and many reminders of that past are still dotted around the town.

The delegates had lunch in Pula, which was followed by a guided tour of the main places in town, ending in the amphitheatre museum.

The conference banquet was another occasion for the delegates to build stronger links. It consisted of a boat trip followed by a sit down dinner in beautiful surroundings.

The boat trip took the delegates around Opatija bay so that they could appreciate the hills, summer houses and hotels that cover the slopes and the shore. Then they had a glass of Spumante and some canapés.

Upon disembarkation the delegates were taken to a restored residence known for its paintings, prints and other works of art, and from there proceeded to the restaurant where the dinner was to take place. This was an old house, beautifully restored, facing the bay.

The dinner took place in a room whose walls were covered in paintings. There they had an outstanding meal consisting of Croatian specialities and accompanied by local wines and music of the region. The dishes included pasta, beef and home made ice cream.

The evening was most enjoyable and helped to consolidate the links between the participants.

 Closing of the Conference

The conference was characterised by its friendliness and the high level of discussions. This is particularly important for a topic like Design and Nature that spans many different disciplines.

The meeting was closed by Carlos, who expressed his appreciation to the members of the International Scientific Advisory Committee for their work in reviewing papers and to all attendees for their contribution. He referred to the possibility of publishing in the International Journal of Design and Nature, a unique forum for this type of research.

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