Who we are
AfC's founders, Stephen Choi & Sofie Pelsmakers, are environmental architects with over a decade experience in the building industry and in teaching environmental architecture.
Stephen Choi has extensive experience in using the Passivhaus approach, including 3 retrofit projects as part of a research and development programme. Stephen also tested cost-effective new build housing as part of development guidelines for the East Midlands Development Agency and has developed the sustainable construction curriculum and training delivery for the South East England Development Agency at SusCon. Stephen also teaches 'zero carbon' and Passivhaus retrofit on the MA Architecture: Sustainability & Design. Stephen is currently in Australia on a new venture opening the Sydney branch of AfC. Sustainable development in Australia is a very different 'world' to the one we are familiar with in Europe - a carbon trading system kicks off in July 2012, very few buildings have had environmental assessments (such as Green Star, the Australian version of BREEAM or LEED) and attitudes to sustainable living are quite different for a largely car-dependent population in a country economically attached to coal and nuclear energy. We look forward to addressing all of these challenges as we learn from our new colleagues in Australia and hopefully by being able to share our European experiences.
Sofie Pelsmakers is currently a PhD doctoral researcher at UCL's Energy Institute and as part of the UCL/Loughborough Centre for Doctoral Research in energy demand. Sofie taught environmental design at the University of East London for almost 10 years, where she also lead the MA Architecture: Sustainability & Design programme from January 2009 to the end of July 2011. In 2015, Sofie took up a part-time lectureship at the renowned Sheffield School of Architecture to lead an MSc in Sustainable architecture. Sofie has developed environmental design strategies for both new build and retrofit housing schemes alongside her academic pursuit, including Passivhaus. She is also (part-time) Head of Research at ECD Architects.
Sofie has written the RIBA publication 'The Environmental Design Pocketbook', which combines her theoretical and practical expertise with AfC's passion and commitment to help achieve best practice in the building industry. The Environmental Design Pocketbook has received commendation for the 2012 RIBA President's Award for outstanding practice-located research! (December 2012) and its author, Sofie Pelsmakers has been listed among 20 'Women influencing Sustainable Architecture' by AJ Footprint (January 2013 and Feb 2013) and as 1 of 100 top Twitter influencers in sustainable construction, design and the built environment (Ecobuild) and in the top 10 of BDtwitter100 and BD's top ten sustainability tweeters.Sofie was highly commended for the UKGBC/PRP 2013 inaugural Rising Star award (March 2013) and was listed as 1 of 13 Stars of Building Science in Building 4 Change's Virtual Academy of Excellence (Sept 2013).
Sofie's blog can be found here and for a fully up to date profile and other publications, please see here.