Event CRAN Presentation

February 4, 2021 - 11:30am

This event has already occurred.


Systems of Systems: The Future of Architecture & Building Science

"You can lead a horse to water…"

If you have a thirsty horse, leading it to water is not enough. It's important and necessary, but not sufficient in itself. In a similar way having all the materials and technologies available to make buildings that are sophisticated and high-performing in multiple dimensions is important and necessary, but not sufficient.
As a society, we have the materials, technologies and understanding needed to deliver homes and buildings that directly support human thriving by creating stunning aesthetics, curating healthy indoor environments, providing appropriate lighting and acoustics, and even eliminating both embodied and operational carbon. We have all that is necessary to achieve these AIA visions for architectural design excellence, yet traditional design practices still dominate and our best work seems to be always yet to come.

Why is that?

Unpacking the answer to that question, and themes adjacent to it in the context both the art and the craft of residential architecture is the focus of this seminar. Please join us for a lively, wide-ranging and thought-provoking conversation.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Understand the relationship between architecture and the building sciences.
  2. Acquire familiarity with systems ecology and emergy diagrams and how they can inform decisions relating to IEQ and the natural ecosystems from which we resource our society. 
  3. Investigate the pervasive impacts of human systems, digital communication systems and natural ecosystems and their potential impact on architectural design and their impacts on the health and well being of our clients and communities. 
  4. Seek solutions to the fact that we have the materials, technologies and understanding needed to deliver homes that achieve fantastic outcomes on multiple dimensions, including human thriving, but we don't avail ourselves of them. 

1.5 LU/HSW 

Kristof Irwin, P.E., M Eng., is the principal of Positive Energy. In that role he works to rethink the way society delivers conditioned space to itself and recognizes the potential of homes and buildings to impact human and planetary thriving. Kristof’s background includes 12 years of experience as a custom builder (including deep energy retrofits and zero-net energy projects) and 11 years as a building science consultant. He worked for 14 years as an engineer, research scientist, and physicist for government and university research labs. He is active in the local and national high-performance building community including his role as past Chair of AIA Austin’s Building Enclosure Committee, Advisor to the AIA Austin COTE Committee, as well as several ASHRAE committees - ASHRAE TC-2.1 (Physiology & Human Environment), ASHRAE SSPC-55 (Thermal comfort), ASHRAE SSPC-62.2 (Ventilation/IAQ) - and serves on the Board of Passive House Austin Chapter (PHAUS). Kristof hosts The Building Science Podcast to promote education, advocacy and understanding for the public and within the AEC industry.


While we are still practicing social distancing due to the pandemic, all tours will be virtual, conducted via Zoom. To receive reminders, please sign up for the CRAN Committee mailings in the footer of our website.

The Custom Residential Architects Network (CRAN) is a resource for those that practice residential architecture. Monthly meetings usually consist of a project tour or presentation providing continuing education credits. Our meetings and events are open to everyone, and we invite you to become more involved with CRAN.

2021 Chair: Mari Russ
2021 Chair-Elect: Megan Lin, AIA
AIA Austin staff liaison: Julia Brown

Meeting: 1st Thursday of each month at 11:30am