The research programme entitled "Implementation of Sustainable Design Elements of Vernacular Architecture in the Rehabilitation of Traditional Buildings and in the Design of New Structures" with the acronym Biocultural, aims at examining the bioclimatic design considerations of traditional settlements in Cyprus -sited on different climatic areas - and at investigating environmental preservation and refurbishment strategies for these settlements.


The research programme, which was launched in July 2013 and will be completed in July 2015, is funded by the University of Cyprus (as an internal research programme) and has been assigned a total budget of €68,000. The research project coordinator is Maria Philokyprou, Lecturer at the Department of Architecture. The research team of the Department of Architecture includes Aimilios Michael Lecturer, Andreas Savvides Assistant Professor and Eleana Malaktou Research Assistant. The Department of Town Planning and Housing and the Department of Antiquities are the final beneficiaries of the project. These organizations are represented by Kyriaki Trypiniotou-Kalava and Evi Fiouri respectively.


Three case studies of rural settlements have been selected in accordance with their traditional character and their environmental diversity: the village of Askas is a mountainous village at an elevation of 900m; the village of Maroni is a coastal settlement at an elevation of 70m; and Pera Orinis is a village in the high plains, 400m above sea level. Thus the case studies are located on different climatic areas. The research programme is directed at the investigation of the environmental parameters that affect the visual and thermal comfort at both the urban scale of the settlement as well as the scale of particular buildings. A comparative study of the relevant topography, climate, orientation, building design and construction techniques and the materiality of the settlements is recorded, in order to determine how these parameters affect the microclimate of the public and private open spaces. A large number of buildings will be studied regarding their typology, building materials, bioclimatic design principles and passive strategies incorporated in the design, while conducting an environmental assessment of the vernacular building stock. Additionally, meteorological stations and data loggers placed at key locations will be used to measure humidity, temperature, illumination levels and wind speed in order to monitor the comfort conditions in open and / or public spaces (such as streets and squares) and in a sample of traditional building spaces (such as interior rooms, semi-outdoor spaces and courtyards) for the period of a year. The energy performance of vernacular buildings as well as methods for minimizing the energy consumption of traditional building stock will further be determined through software simulations.



The proposed research methodology (qualitative and quantitative) aims at the documentation of the bioclimatic behaviour of the vernacular buildings as well at the recognition of the most favourable microclimatic conditions that take place in outdoor public spaces of rural settlements. At the same time, this research project aims at revealing opportunities for energy performance upgrading and environmental refurbishment solutions of traditional building stock. At the scale of the entire settlement, alternatives to improve the outdoor microclimatic conditions will be proposed. The Department of Town Planning and Housing and the Department of Antiquities, which are the final users of the results of this project, intend to use the research findings to draft new specifications and "smart" and innovative refurbishment solutions for listed buildings as well as of the built fabric in general, in order to promote the most suitable practices for sustainable development. 


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Research Project Coordinator: Maria Philokyprou, Department of Architecture