Urban Diversity
Community based planning process
Passive solar design and the urban form
"New Urbanism"
The urbanism of tomorrow (La Cité du Futur)

Before we consider photovoltaics and other active solar hardware, we should think about a genuine passive-solar urban form for any new urban development. 

Passive solar design uses simple architectural options to integrate solar energy, without necessitating complicated and expensive hardware.

These options include glazing that is properly oriented towards the sun, with a protection against summer sun (which is higher in the sky), as well as the use of locally available building materials which will provide thermal inertia to the dwellings.

A thorough passive-solar urban form should therefore be first considered for any new urban development, for solar gains in winter and natural ventilation in summer.

As a practicing architect, Jean-Loup Msika chose very early to design and build mostly passive solar projects. As a result, designing with the sun in mind became second nature for him.

Passive solar town house, Holland Park, London (arch. JL Msika)


Sketches by JL Msika

But basic passive solar detached houses are not fully satisfactory since the dwellers have to drive every day to work, shopping, schools, etc, with the constant release of CO2 and the ignoring of each other behind the wheel for hours.

So Msika endeavored, since 1992, to fit passive solar design into a dense mixed-use urban context, in order to let the sun's benefits into the city.

Passive solar section principle proposal for Seine Rive Gauche district, Paris, 1993 (JL Msika)


The drawing above shows, first, the APUR (Atelier Parisien d'Urbanisme) section, with no access to winter sun, and then, the sustainable section which lets the sun into the city.


Msika has developed such researches and projects for many sites since then, including Paris, Edinburgh and Aomori, and also researched how to bring diversity and urban structure, a new sustainability, to existing suburban housing projects plagued by unemployment, crime and riots. 

Some of these researches are available in Case Studies.