Research

Research fields 

Digital architecture and Performance-oriented architectural design  
Sustainable architectural design  
Computer aided manufacturing  
The connection between digital design research and architectural practice  

 

Current research projects 

experiment in the visualisation laboratory

Experiment in the visualisation laboratory

The Effect of space on emotion – The search for the right way to design architectural spaces is one of the most enduring and fundamental questions in architecture. In their aspiration to improve the built environment, architects are continuously trying to create spaces that positively affect users. Recent technological advances in architectural design and simulation methods allow architects to empirically examine and optimize numerous criteria that affect users. These criteria are primarily related to environmental aspects such as light, temperature and acoustics. However, perceptual and cognitive criteria, which are crucial to understanding the influence of architectural space on people, are still evaluated by relying on the experience of the designer or on rules of thumb.
Throughout the last century, studies in the fields of psychology, behavioural sciences and architecture have tried to define and explain the emotional impact space has over a person. These studies show, mainly via qualitative research methods, that different spaces evoke different emotions, yet it is still impossible to tell exactly how architecture induces them.
The research suggests a new positivist approach to examine the connection between human feelings and architectural space. It attempts to demonstrate that emotional reactions that are generated by various types of architectural spaces can be empirically measured and quantified by employing new virtual reality techniques, physiological sensors and data analysis methods. It thus aspires to add a new dimension to the way in which architectural space is being designed and evaluated, one that relates to human feelings.
 

CFD simulation of a microclimate on building facade

Computer simulation of wave behaviour

Computational fluid dynamics is waterfront design – This research explores the implications of complex geometry enabled by computational technology to architectural theory and practice. It argues that current advances in fluid dynamics simulations open a new fron-tier in the conception of the usable architectural surface, in which the architectural product is no longer a fixed object, but the interaction be-tween a fluid, changing environment and built form. It new approach is examined via a case study design in which computational fluid dynamics are utilized to reconvert a disused breakwater into a ‘blue garden’. The morpholo-gy of the breakwater and its texture are calculated to produce the con-ditions amiable for supporting a varied marine ecosystem, and to shape the waves to generate aesthetically meaningful sensations. The research examines the technical and conceptual challenges of controlling the non-linear behaviour of fluids and speculates on the ramifications of having the surface interact with exterior forces and the subject’s imagination to produce an event enfolding in time.
 

CFD simulation of a microclimate on building facade

CFD simulation of cellular envelope

Cellular building envelopes – The research develops a theoretical framework and a design methodology for employing complex geometry on the building’s envelope for increasing thermal performance. It argues that by manipulating the geometry of the façade’s exterior surface, it is possible to achieve a microclimate that will act as a thermal barrier. The argument is tested via computational fluid dynamic simulations that examined the relationship between various airflows and geometry in different sections of the building envelope. It presents the air velocity and thickness of the outer boundary layer that is created on the suggested geometries.
 

Topological interlocking – The research examines the potential of using the concept of topological interlocking as a structural and organizational mechanism for architecture in general, and for building façades in particular. It develops a catalogue that characterizes the various types of topological interlocking systems and compares the potential of these types to be employed in architectural design. The various types are developed into working 1:1 prototypes and examined is followed by a discussion regarding the results of fabrication experiments that examine the specific types, which appear to have the best potential for architectural de-sign.
 

Autonomous control Mechanism Image: Tanya Pankratov

Autonomous control Mechanism Image: Tanya Pankratov

Decentralised control over kinetic architectural elements – The movement of building façade cladding is used to control buildings’ exposure to environmental conditions such as direct sunlight, noise and wind. Until recently, technology and cost constraints allowed for only limited instances of movement of façade cladding. One of the main restrictions had to do with the limitations that architects face in designing and controlling movement scenarios in which each façade or cladding element moves autonomously. The introduction of parametric design tools for architectural design, combined with advent of inexpensive sensor/actuator microcontrollers, has made it possible to explore ways to overcome this limitation. The research examines the potential of autonomous movement of façade cladding elements. It defines types of autonomous movement strategies and compares the advantages of these strategies over those using traditional methods of centrally controlled movement.
The significance of the proposed approach lies in the centrality of the building envelope to the design, manufacturing and performance of buildings. The suggested shift away from the traditional concept of central control of a building façade’s cladding elements has the potential to improve the building’s overall energetic performance and thus contribute to a more sustainable environment.
 

Experiments in topological interlocking

Experiments in topological interlocking

Composite materials in architecture – Fiber reinforced polymers (FRPs) are a family of strong and lightweight composite materials combining fibers and polymers. FRPs are widely used in the aviation, naval and automotive industries for components that require a high ratio of strength to weight and durability. Despite some pioneering experimental architectural applications in the 1960s, it is only in recent years that a growing interest in FRP elements is evident in the architectural field.
The research proposes a framework and a method to design and fabricate freeform architectural elements and structures from FRP without the need for using molds.