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Frontiers of Architectural Research

ISSN 2095-2635 (Print)
ISSN 2095-2643 (Online)
CN 10-1024/TU
Postal Subscription Code 80-966

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, Volume 8 Issue 2

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RESEARCH ARTICLE
Making Bibelot: Casting material research within cultural frameworks
Erkin Özay, Gregory Delaney, Nicholas Traverse, Andrew Pries
Front. Archit. Res.. 2019, 8 (2): 121-135.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foar.2019.03.003
Abstract   PDF (5083KB)

Material investigations in architecture often exclude practice implications by narrowly determining the scope and limitations of research. Such limitations are necessary and warranted for open-ended inquiries undertaken in controlled conditions. Working with commercial outfits in the context of a prescribed project, on the other hand, requires a clear attitude that accounts for the agency of the manufacturer. A small design-build intervention, completed with an in-kind donation from a terra cotta manufacturer in Buffalo, NewYork, gave us the opportunity to take on such a collaborative investigation. In order to explore the potentials of terra cotta as a building material to the greatest extent, wes trategically increased the complexity of the endeavor, challenging the design and manufacturing team to address production problems in a timely manner to meet the project goals. In doing this, we relied on conceptual constructs that address specific material and institutional histories of terra cotta and the cultural context, registered as form, color, and ornamentation in the project. The paper gives a detailed account of the entire process and the working assumptions by bridging the design and manufacturing decisions in an interrelated manner.

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My Country and My People and Sydney Opera House: The missing link
Chen-Yu Chiu, Philip Goad, Peter Myers, Nur Yıldız Kılınçer
Front. Archit. Res.. 2019, 8 (2): 136-153.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foar.2019.03.002
Abstract   PDF (6095KB)

It is known that Jørn Utzon (1918–2008), the principal architect for the Sydney Opera House project (1957–66), had a lifetime obsession for Chinese art and architecture. However, previous studies did not explore the relationship between Utzon and his venerated Chinese writer Lin Yutang (1895–1976). How Utzon represented the ideas and ideals he received from Lin Yutang's conceptualization of Chinese art and architecture in My Country and My People (1935) has not been systematically documented. To this end, this article examines the role of Lin Yutang' swork in Utzon's architectural career generally and the architect's Sydney Opera House design in particular. It argues that My Country and My People nurtured young Utzon's own architectural philosophy, as reflected in his early manifestoes and design projects. Eventually, Lin Yutang's Chinese aesthetics encapsulated in calligraphy, painting and architecture helped Utzon to initiate, articulate and further communicate the design principles of his Sydney Opera House, as well as several other important architectural works before and after. Although Utzon never fully realized his Opera House due to forced resignation in 1966, the inspiration from Lin Yutang vividly remains in Utzon's yet to be finished masterpiece.

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Reducing architecture: Doing almost nothing as a city-making strategy in 21st century architecture
Marco Enia, Flavio Martella
Front. Archit. Res.. 2019, 8 (2): 154-163.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foar.2019.01.006
Abstract   PDF (6902KB)

This paper discusses a contemporary design strategy to deal with urban spaces. In 21st century architecture it is possible to recognize the existence of several projects that consist in doing almost nothing, carrying out only minimal modifications to their sites of intervention. In present-day architecture, this approach is considered useful sometimes to respect the surroundings and sometimes to improve them through the smallest and tiniest actions. Doing almost nothing is a strategy that can unfold in many ways. It can mean opting for inaction and thus not modifying a place at all; or designing a temporary project intended to occupy it only for a limited period of time; or also carrying out a particularly small but permanent intervention. Depending on the circumstances, it is an approach that can help architecture protecting a place, reclaiming it or reactivating its latent qualities. This strategy can be implemented both through a single intervention on a specific place, or through a network of coordinated projects in different locations. The purpose of the paper is to present this approach in the context of 21st century urban architecture, through cases studied from the last two decades.

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Narratives of a lost space: A semiotic analysis of central courtyards in Iranian cinema
Hamed Goharipour
Front. Archit. Res.. 2019, 8 (2): 164-174.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foar.2019.01.004
Abstract   PDF (3274KB)

Most constructions in Iranian cities today neglect the traditional principles of design, particularly the rules on spatial hierarchy. This interdisciplinary study deploys cinematic analysis to understand the multidimensional aspects of architectural spaces and to investigate the different functions of the “central courtyard,” an important space in traditional Iranian architecture. In addition, this study demonstrates how films provide a perspective for architects to improve their understanding of the dynamics of space. A semiotic analysis of two films, namely, “The Deer” (1974) and “Mum's Guest” (2004), reveals that the central courtyard creates a sequence between public and private realms and, as a semi-private space, provides time and opportunities for residents to react to outside events. Spatial fluidity and connectivity, collaborative activities, and empathy can be the other outcomes of this space, in which residents become familiar with one another's lives.

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Using spatial indicators to predict ventilation and energy performance-correlation analysis for an apartment building in five Chinese cities
Xiaoyu Du, Regina Bokel, Andy van den Dobbelsteen
Front. Archit. Res.. 2019, 8 (2): 175-190.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foar.2019.01.005
Abstract   PDF (4021KB)

In the early design stages, architects are in constant search of a design direction that can determine the success or failure of the final design. However, in real design practice, most of the prediction methods for building performances, in this paper energy and thermal comfort, are utilised in the later design stages. Spatial configuration is one of the most important issues for architectural design in the early design stage. This study investigates the correlations between the spatial indicators connected with architectural design and the building physics indicators ventilation performance and energy performance. The main objective is to explore the potential of applying spatial indicators using space syntax to predict ventilation performance and energy performance in order to support architects for the evaluation of their concepts and schemes in early design stages. The layout of a high-rise apartment in China in five different cities is chosen as a case study. The results show that the selected three indicators: connectivity value, air change rate and annual cooling saving ratio are linearly correlated, not just at building level but also at room level. R2, the correlation coefficient of determination, is between 0.53 and 0.90 (except for the case of Chongqing at building level).

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Shape grammars as a reverse engineering method for the morphogenesis of architectural façade design
Buthayna Eilouti
Front. Archit. Res.. 2019, 8 (2): 191-200.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foar.2019.03.006
Abstract   PDF (2110KB)

The field of shape grammars spans 47 years, but its potential in the practice and education of art, architecture, and engineering remains far from being utilized. Similarly, while reverse engineering in some engineering disciplines is well-established, its implementation in architectural design remains under-represented. By combining the two domains, this paper develops a novel method that merges the power of shape grammars as a parsing tool in reverse engineering to decode the morphogenesis of visual compositions in architectural design. The merged power is demonstrated by decoding the formal language of a façade design of a case study, in which seemingly few simple rules can derive surprisingly complex compositions. The rules of the language can then be used to reconstruct parts of the case façade. Most shape grammars in the architectural literature are applied on formal historical precedents, but the subject of morphological analysis in this paper is contemporary and has a style that exhibits non-orthogonal configurations, which initially appear far from being standardized or subjected to regulatory tectonic rules. The façade derivation grammar is explained and resynthesized in various computations to explore emergent articulations that display its predictive, synthetic, and generative powers in addition to typical analytic ones.

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From appropriation to formal intervention: An analytical framework for understanding the appropriation process in residual spaces of Cairo
Doha Eissa, Marwa Hassan Khalil, Aly Gabr, Ahmed Abdelghaffar
Front. Archit. Res.. 2019, 8 (2): 201-214.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foar.2019.03.004
Abstract   PDF (5058KB)

The paper addresses the issue of how residual spaces are intervened upon through formal and informal processes. It argues that a profound understanding for the dynamics of informal interventions, denotedby appropriation, could enhance the performance of their formal peers. Adopting a qualitative approach, the paper departs from Lefebvre’s unitary theory of space and arrives at an analytical framework that helps to understand the appropriation processes in residual spaces. It, then, attempts to empirically challenge the applicability of this framework through analyzing a Cairene residual space that has undergone two cycles of intervention: a formal and informal one.

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Performing arts buildings in Taiyuan: Cultural history buildings in a second-tier Chinese city
Yingbo Xiao, Yan Wan, Charlie Q.L. Xue
Front. Archit. Res.. 2019, 8 (2): 215-228.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foar.2019.03.007
Abstract   PDF (5307KB)

In the twenty-first century, Chinese cities tend to rely on cultural megastructures to define their new districts and reflect their aspirations. A grand theater, which is a complicated building type in terms of technology and has a striking image, is a central attraction and the focus of a new district. This paper focuses on Taiyuan City, a second-tier Chinese city with a brilliant history that has been gradually reduced to mediocrity. This paper aims to reveal the relationship among productivity, urban development, and theater construction in different historic periods; highlights the initiation, design, and implication of the latest grand theater designed by a French firm; and investigates the city and its performing arts spaces, stakeholders, and various forces that make the theater and its urban form. These affective forces may be typical in Central China, which is a generally backward area compared with the entire country. The paper presents proper descriptors for performing arts buildings in Taiyuan for three generations, and the lessons from Taiyuan can provide references for other cities that face similar problems and challenges.

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Differences between young architects’ and non-architects’ aesthetic evaluation of buildings
Katarína Šafárová, Martin Pírko, Vojtěch Juřík, Tomáš Pavlica, Ondřej Németh
Front. Archit. Res.. 2019, 8 (2): 229-237.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foar.2019.04.001
Abstract   PDF (715KB)

Previous studies showed significant differences between expert architects and laypeople in aesthetic evaluations of buildings. However, studies exploring the aesthetic preferences of architecture students are lacking. The present study focused on a population of students and young architects to explore the aesthetic opinion shift within architectural careers. This study was intended to be a conceptual replication of the study of Brown and Gifford (2001) in a Central European context. A total of 109 participants (21e28 years old) evaluated 40 randomized pictures of houses to detect whether non-architecture undergraduates and fresh graduates of architecture would express different aesthetic preferences compared with their peers from the general population. The study also examined whether laypersons can predict the preferences of architects, and vice versa. Results show a trend that is contrary to the original research, that is, young architects and laypeople did not significantly differ in their aesthetic evaluations of the given stimuli. Analyses revealed high prediction ability in young architects and their non-architect peers. Moreover, the existing professional experience of young architects had no influence on the accuracy of their estimations. Findings suggest that the professional shift in architects’ expertise is obscured at an early career stage, as revealed in their aesthetic preferences.

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Teaching sustainable design in architecture education: Critical review of Easy Approach for Sustainable and Environmental Design (EASED)
Camille de Gaulmyn, Karine Dupre
Front. Archit. Res.. 2019, 8 (2): 238-260.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foar.2019.03.001
Abstract   PDF (5215KB)

In the current context of climate change and ecological awareness, designing sustainable environments is definitely understood as a shared responsibility. With the construction sector consuming half of the world's energy, the role of some key stakeholders such as architects becomes even more critical when providing responsible and relevant design for the built environment. Thus, improving the way our environments are being designed challenges some cultural systems that show evident limits, such as the training of future architects and engineers.

In this research, the focus is on architecture students and aims to demonstrate how the use of a new sustainable performance simulation tool, called Easy Approach for Sustainable and Environmental Design (EASED) could contribute to educate them about innovatively sustainable design. This was assessed through the evaluation of student engagement, their use of the tool and its appropriation. Results show that individual work was not convincing, whereas success was met during group work. Limits and improvement possibilities were found in the interface of EASED as well as in the educational set up of the tool.

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The built environment of Japanese shopping streets as visual information on pedestrian vibrancy
Giancarlo Carmelino, Toshihiro Hanazato
Front. Archit. Res.. 2019, 8 (2): 261-273.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foar.2019.01.003
Abstract   PDF (3009KB)

Twenty shopping streets in Tokyo, Japan, were analyzed based on pedestrian vibrancy and visual information by assessing physical dimensions, objects, shops and quantity of pedestrians and walking speeds. Field survey recorded 12-h periods of a typical weekday by tracking daily variations between July 3rd to August 3rd, 2017 and October 13th to November 10th, 2018. For analysis, Hierarchical Cluster and Discriminant Analyses were performed using the statistical software, SPSS v.24. The study classifies four clusters of shopping streets accordingly to pedestrian vibrancy as eccentric, with large street dimensions and big retailing shops; strong, with variety of specialized daily life stores, balanced, with lower specialized daily life stores, closer residential area and moderate numbers of flower pots; and weakened, with very few shops, residential predominance and higher numbers of flower pots. Findings indicate that larger street dimensions together with specialization of shops, rather than variety or number, are prone to slow walking speeds and larger numbers of people. Also, it was noticeable the connection of number of flower pots with proximity of residential areas. It could be theorized that pedestrian vibrancy correlates inversely to the proximity of residential areas. The closer residential area is the lowest pedestrian vibrancy would be.

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