Wolfgang Feist visit to London

Wolfgang Feist, founder of the Passivhaus Institute, teaches at AECB national conference, June 2009 and gives masterclasses at bere:architects

Wolfgang Feist came to the UK to provide a series of lectures over two days at this years AECB national conference at Oxford Brookes University. As a physicist and a university lecturer, his talks are always clearly presented and illustrated by graphs based on robust data derived from the monitoring of hundreds of completed projects around Europe and further afield. He explained the fundamental principles of Passivhaus design over a number of packed sessions. Even for those who were already familiar with these advanced techniques, there was much to benefit from hearing them direct from Wolfgang and to be able to hear the answers to questions from the audience.

After the conference, Wolfgang came to London where he spent a long day with invited guests at my home, the Muse.

First I introduced Wolfgang over lunch to Alexis Rowell a UK liberal democrat councillor for the London Borough of Camden. Then we all listened eagerly to a conversation between Bill Bordass and Wolfgang, particularly focussed on ultra low energy school design. Then there was a very detailed conversation about heat recovery ventilation initiated by Andrew Farr of the Green Building Store, in my view probably the UK’s greatest expert on the subject. Finally a series of projects were discussed with Wolfgang in immense detail. Mark Siddall also joined in with a review of his Gentoo Housing. Notable consultants-in-common were Alan Clarke (M&E services) and Andrew Farr (heat recovery ventilation). Wolfgang seemed quite pleased with the level of understanding and was supportive of all the project strategies. Nevertheless there were lots of interesting insights.

Wolfgang gave us the impression that he enjoyed the session as much as we all did. I kept asking Wolfgang if he wanted a break, even to visit the loo. He has the intellectual and physical stamina of an ox and, incredibly, in spite of a large lunch, water, wine, coffee, afternoon tea with cakes and biscuits, in nine hours he never paused five minutes to rest or even visit the loo!

I can without any hesitation say that the three days and particularly the final nine hours on the main roof garden of the muse in the warm summer sun and balmy evening were the most intellectually stimulating hours imaginable and all of us present remain immensely grateful to Wolfgang for being so generous to us with his time.

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