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Ali Malkawi

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Ali malkawi interview part 1

Ali M. Malkawi is the Director of the Harvard Center for Green Buildings and Cities and a Professor of Architectural Technology at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design in Cambridge, MA. He studied Architectural Engineering and Environmental Design in the 1980s, and since then he has taught at several universities and worked as a consultant on a variety of projects worldwide. He has provided presentations and strategic guidance on building energy related topics to several countries including senior members of the Obama Administration and the Vice President of the United States of America.


Academic background

Malkawi received his Bachelor of Science in Architectural Engineering and Environmental Design from Jordan University of Science and Technology in 1989, his Master of Architecture from University of Colorado at Denver in 1990 and his Ph.D. in Architecture Technology/Artificial Intelligence from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1994. From 1994–1995, he had the Oberdick Fellowship at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor.

Academic work

Malkawi was an Instructor at the Georgia Institute of Technology from 1992-1994. From 1994-2001, he worked at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor as an Assistant Professor of Architecture. From 2000 to 2001, he worked at Harvard University as a visiting professor. Since 2001, Malkawi has been on the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania and is a full professor of Architecture. He was the Chair of the Graduate Group in Architecture from 2011 to 2013.

Malkawi is author and/or co‐author of several scientific papers. He is associate editor of two books on the subject of simulation and computationally‐driven design: "Advanced Building Simulation" and "Performative Architecture ‐ Beyond Instrumentality". Additionally, Malkawi is an Associate Editor for Building Simulation, an International Journal published by Springer. In 2011, Thomson Reuters announced that the journal would be listed in the Science Citation Index-Expanded (SCI-E).

Research work

Malkawi’s research focuses on computational simulation, building performance evaluation and advanced visualization. He has been called "an expert in using building simulation, engineering, computation, artificial intelligence and virtual reality as a tool for sustainable design."

Building Simulation Group

In 2001, Malkawi founded the Building Simulation Group (BSG) at the University of Pennsylvania School of Design. Doctoral and graduate students conduct collaborative research through the BSG. The BSG formed the basis for the development of the T.C. Chan Center for Building Simulation and Energy Studies. "The goal of the group is to develop, investigate, and utilize in practice computational models and techniques for building simulation. The BSG addresses broad research issues including inference mechanisms; simulations of airflow, thermal, and lighting systems; process-driven interoperability tools; decision support systems; and interface development such as Augmented Reality (AR)."

The University of Pennsylvania was named to a Top Ten Architecture Colleges list, with distinction given to the Building Simulation Group.

T.C. Chan Center for Building Simulation and Energy Studies

In 2006, Malkawi founded the T.C. Chan Center for Building Simulation and Energy Studies, a center with global outreach devoted to sustainability. Through the T.C. Chan Center, Malkawi leads several research projects including work for the University of Pennsylvania - Facilities and Real Estate Division, the Qatar Sustainability Assessment System, and the Global Sustainability Assessment System, and has been awarded grants from organizations such as the National Science Foundation and the US Department of Energy.

Design Analysis Initiative

Malkawi worked on research as part of the Design Analysis Initiative, which was a joint project between Georgia Institute of Technology, Carnegie-Mellon University and University of Pennsylvania. This project was a US Department of Energy funded project aimed at a new generation of interfaces between building design and analysis. The research focused on the development of new energy simulation paradigms that take advantage of a process-driven approach to be adapted by the building industry. It marked a new area in the development of innovative solutions for the integration of building performance analysis tools into the building design process.

Immersive Building Simulation

Malkawi has pioneered immersive building simulation through Augmented Reality projects. The goal of this work is to construct innovative interfaces to simulation engines and to be able to visualize performance data as buildings begin to embody more sensors. This work was featured in 2004 in Research at Penn, a university publication that highlights "ground breaking advances in knowledge".

Supporting Performance-Driven Design

Malkawi has researched decision support and optimization through performance-driven design research. This work focused on developing methods to allow the user to explore and visualize the design evolution based on rigorous performance targets to stimulate the designer’s creativity and raise output. The methods developed were utilized to demonstrate the correlation among site specific micro-climate conditions, energy efficiency and building morphology.

Human Modeling and Thermal Simulation

Malkawi has collaborated on research focusing on human behavior and thermal simulation with the Center for Human Modeling and Simulation (HMS). This research work included pedestrian and agent simulation. The intention has been to research ways of coupling human behavior with thermal simulations to lower the uncertainty embedded in thermal models and enhance their predictive accuracy.

University of Pennsylvania - Facilities and Real Estate Division Research

Malkawi initiated several collaborative research projects at the University of Pennsylvania that formed the base for the university’s current energy plan and sustainability initiatives. Projects focused on developing the overall campus sustainability goals and environmental audit strategies for campus buildings and procedures; conducting a comprehensive energy audit for selected buildings; producing calibrated performance simulation models for these buildings; and identify strategies for achieving campus sustainability goals. Malkawi also conducted a comprehensive inventory of Penn's greenhouse gas emissions. The outcomes of this study formed the basis for the school’s Climate Action Plan.

Another project developed a normative computational model (decision-making tool) as a cost-effective alternative to managing building energy for a large portfolio of buildings on the university's campus. Malkawi presented this tool to the Vice President of the United States of America and several cabinet members at the USA Green Jobs and Future Building Energy Plans meeting held at the University of Pennsylvania in 2009.

In addition, Malkawi assembled a team to conduct a study on campus energy demand and consumption, to investigate the possibilities of lowering the energy consumption of buildings on campus through mechanical systems control strategies. This work led to a campus-wide plan to reduce energy consumption based on systems operation. The result of this work was a complete audit of almost twenty buildings, which resulted in a verified yearly savings of several million dollars and guided the university plan on energy reduction and commissioning.

Risk Conscious Design and Retrofit of Buildings for Low Energy

Malkawi was awarded a grant, with the Georgia Institute of Technology as the lead organization, from the National Science Foundation for an EFRI-SEED project. The objective of this project, Risk Conscious Design and Retrofit of Buildings for Low Energy, is to identify and quantify uncertainty distributions of parameters affecting building performance.

Energy Efficient Buildings Hub

Malkawi was part of the proposed effort led by Pennsylvania State University for the Energy Efficient Buildings Hub (EEB HUB). This five-year initiative is designed to improve the energy efficiency of buildings in the US. Appropriated by Congress and funded by the US Department of Energy, this $122 million grant funds core research and development. An additional $30 million was contributed to this award by the Governor of Pennsylvania. Malkawi has partly managed the University of Pennsylvania’s research portion of the Hub through work that has intended to build a macro level simulation framework that can aid in decision-making by using projections of possible market adaptation of energy efficient building technologies and their large-scale impacts.

Qatar Sustainability Assessment System

Country Scale Impact

Malkawi is the Principal Project Developer of the five-year research effort to develop the Qatar Sustainability Assessment System (QSAS). QSAS is a green building certification system developed for the State of Qatar. QSAS was developed by the T.C. Chan Center for Building Simulation and Energy Studies at the University of Pennsylvania in collaboration with and on behalf of the Gulf Organization for Research and Development (GORD).

Malkawi presented QSAS Sports at the 9th World Conference on Sports and the Environment in Doha, Qatar. This led to the adaption of the system by the Olympic Committee to apply to all sports facilities including the 2022 World Cup facilities to be constructed in Qatar. In December 2010, QSAS was adopted into the curriculum of the environmental design faculty at King Fahd University and Qatar University. In March, 2011 the State of Qatar integrated QSAS into the Qatar Construction Specifications (QCS) making the implementation of certain criteria mandatory for buildings developed in Qatar. Additionally, Malkawi has conducted numerous workshops in Qatar and provided certification for hundreds of consultants who represent a variety of worldwide firms.

Global Sustainability Assessment System

Malkawi is the Principal Project Developer of the Global Sustainability Assessment System (GSAS). GSAS is a green building rating system that can assess all types of development ranging from urban planning to individual buildings.

Professional Work

Malkawi has been leading projects and various efforts in sustainability framework developments and has been involved with energy policies worldwide including in the Middle East region. Specifically, he was a strategic advisor on several large-scale projects including Barwa Financial District Mega Project in Doha, Qatar, and the master plan for King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Malkawi has consulted globally on many large projects that include airport designs, super towers, industrial factories, and commercial and residential projects. Specific projects include thermal simulations for the Monterrey International Airport - Terminal B in Mexico, computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations for the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania, thermal and evacuation studies relating to the World Trade Center in NYC, and the low energy solutions and environmental concept for the Sky Condos competition in Lima, Peru. Additionally, he has collaborated with China on a variety of sustainability projects.

Civic Engagements

Malkawi has served on several key university committees. Examples include serving as a member of the Presidential Task Force on Global Engagement that was responsible for initiating several university-wide programs, being twice elected by Faculty to represent the School as a member of the Senate Executive Committee (SEC), and being nominated by SEC to represent the faculty senate to the Trustee Committee on Facilities and Campus Planning as well as serving as the secretary of the University Senate Executive Committee.

Events & Speaking Engagements

Malkawi has lectured at several universities, public events, and conferences, as well as hosted several workshops and conferences worldwide. Some of these conferences include: Saudi Green Building Forum Conference Riyadh, Saudi Arabia in 2010; the IBPSA Building Simulation Conference in Australia, the Digital Design Conference in China, and the 9th World Conference on Sport and the Environment in Qatar. In addition, Malkawi and the T.C. Chan Center hosted the United Nations Environment Programme – Sustainable Buildings and Climate Initiative’s Fall Symposium in 2011. The symposium content and outcomes fed into larger global climate discussions at the UNFCCC COP-17 and the UN Conference on Sustainable Development’s RIO+20.

Awards sampling

Malkawi has been given several awards including an Honorable Mention for the 2011 Sky Condos New International Architecture Competition, an Oberdick Fellowship from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, and inclusion in Who's Who in America and in Who's Who in Science and Engineering.


Ali Malkawi Wikipedia

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