M.Arch. thesis books

Congratulations to Turan, Lorrin, Mark for their M.Arch thesis book completion. Thanks to all the committee advisors. Here is the abstract and full text:

Cyber-Physical Experiences: Architecture as Interface

Turan M. Akman, Committee Chair: Ming Tang, Committee Member: Joori Su, Tony Liao

Conventionally, architects have relied on qualities of several elements like materiality, light, solids and voids, patterns and paintings, mass, volume, etc. to break out of the static nature of the space, and enhance the way users experience and perceive architecture. Even though some of these elements and methods helped create more dynamic spaces, architecture is still bound by conventional, namely the physical constraints of the discipline. With the introduction of technologies like augmented reality (AR), it is becoming easier to blend digital, and physical realities, and create new types of spatial qualities and experiences. This ultimately creates possibilities that had not existed for architects before. As AR technology becomes streamlined and commonly used, architects will not be bound by the aforementioned conventional and physical constraints as a result of being able to blend digital and physical elements. Since this technology is not limited by the constraints of the physical world, the nature of the effects AR can bring are unlimited, and dynamic by its nature. Even though AR cannot replace the primary and conventional qualitative elements in architecture, it can be used to supplement and enhance the experience and qualities they provide. To explore how AR can enhance the way we experience and perceive architecture, a museum in downtown Cincinnati will be designed, and AR will be used along with conventional methods(e.g., materiality, light and shade, etc.) to mediate spatial experiences. The history of experience and perception in architecture, as well as the history of AR technology,  will be studied to better gauge what is possible with the technology, and how meaningful relationships between digital, and physical worlds, and between architecture and the user can be created. Results of this thesis will be beneficial for future designers and will help them understand how AR will be one of the methods they can use to enhance the overall architectural experience, spatial qualities, and the perception of space.

Full thesis book.


A User Centered Design Application in Eye Tracking Technologies: Children’s Perceptions Within the Built Environment

Lorrin Kline, Committee Chair: Ming Tang, Committee Member: Ann Black, Joori Suh

As architecture molds to advances in technology, so does the way architecture is thought and conceived. Architecture could be perceived as a function, with an additional layer of information that could be thought of as perception. This psychological layer brings meaning to architecture through the use of light, texture, color, and sound to one’s personal experience within the built environment. However, every user of every structure is different. We all have different needs in which the built environment provides for. It is up to the architect to decide what is best for that given design. More often than not users of that space are not involved within the design process. Children, for instance, never have a say in what their needs are within a space, it is just made for them. To better understand user needs, design strategies have been implemented to gain user feedback throughout the design process. The use of eye tracking has become a way in which designers can gauge user feedback on new designs. Eye tracking becomes a way in which the user’s eye determines what attracts their attention and for how long. This thesis will begin to use eye tracking as a study in which designers undergo the design process seeking a child’s perception of the built environment to make design decisions as well as becoming more involved throughout the process. The research will question whether implementing eye tracking studies into the design process helps understand whether testing its user aids to create better design for them or falls short. This thesis will focus design features though tactics of seeking visual attention.

Full thesis book.


Development of a Parametric Data-Driven Fixed Shading Device Design Workflow

Mark Landis, Committee Chair: Ming Tang, Committee Member: Pravin Bhiwapurkar, Amanda Webb

This thesis presents a new workflow, this thesis calls the Vector Method, to optimize a fixed shading device to reduce heating and cooling energy use so that performance and aesthetic and other design goals can be balanced while exploring various shading forms and typologies during any stage of design. This method is created out of the critique of existing shading device design methods, at times borrowing inspiration from each method’s successful attributes. Baseline test studies are conducted to determine this new method’s effectiveness in terms of reducing thermal loads against the main existing design methods in use today. Studies looking at the iterative capabilities of this method and user interactions with a tool created based upon this method are also included. This thesis culminates in a design project set just north of Civic Plaza in Albuquerque, New Mexico to explore the potential for the Vector Method to create design solutions that perform and support a design intent for an architectural project in physical context. This thesis innovates the shading device design process by combining foundational works of Olgyay and parametric analysis abilities of Rhinoceros and Energyplus to inform data driven design decisions. The workflow presented in this paper will demonstrate optimization of fixed shading devices for cooling and heating loads while providing multiple aesthetic options by not limiting the shading device typology in the beginning of the process. This workflow produces iterations that perform similarly in terms of energy savings so that a designer can select a shading device based on other criteria such as aesthetic concerns or constructability issues. The user can move between different shading typologies and add their own creative, artistic interpretations, while not being required to run many simulations after each design change. This paper will present how a tool based process can be agile enough to handle frequent design changes. This paper will demonstrate a process that is more in-line with the building design process and can facilitate more creative, innovative, design solutions based on performance criteria such as reducing heating and cooling loads. Foundational works by Victor and Adler Olgyay are taken to establish existing shading device design principles. Works such as Design with Climate and Solar Control and Shading Devices, form the initial effort to design shading devices that respond to the character of the project and also perform quantitatively. The logic behind the process the Olgyay brothers layout is of particular interest. Works such as SHADERADE: Combining Rhinoceros and EnergyPlus for the Design of Static Exterior Shading Devices (2011) by Sargent, Niemasz, and Reinhart looks at a variant of a cell based analysis method to create shading devices. Various works by Robert Woodbury are taken into consideration to inform how a useful parametric design structure should be created and implemented.

Full thesis book.