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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


, Volume 9 Issue 1

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Research Article
Heritage attributes of post-war housing in Amsterdam
Lisanne Havinga, Bernard Colenbrander, Henk Schellen
Front. Archit. Res.. 2020, 9 (1): 1-19.
Abstract   PDF (6574KB)

Modern heritage, particularly post-war social housing estates, is struggling with negative perceptions. Accordingly, this research aims to contribute to a better understanding of the heritage significance of post-war housing estates in general and the Western Garden Cities e a post-war neighborhood in Amsterdam e in particular. A review of the limited body of literature on the heritage significance of modern and post-war housing estates was performed. A significance assessment was conducted on a sample of representative case studies by using expert interviews for data collection. The experts assigned significance levels to attributes based on whether or not they need to be preserved during a sustainable refurbishment. The highest-valued attributes are parcellation, balconies, and semi-public green spaces. The most negative value was assigned to the application of external insulation, replacement of the window frames by PVC-U, and closed character of the façades on the ground floor level. The lack of heritage recognition at the lower scale level may either be due to the important details already being lost or details not yet consistently being recognized as the architecture and buildings are understudied in comparison with the urban qualities of post-war heritage.

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Neighborhood spaces in residential environments: Lessons for contemporary Indian context
Ritu Gulati
Front. Archit. Res.. 2020, 9 (1): 20-33.
Abstract   PDF (3269KB)

The importance of open and unbuilt neighborhood spaces in residential developments has been established by numerous scholars. Having a diverse nomenclature in varied contexts, these areas are indispensable yet often neglected and designated as leftovers in contemporary planning practice. With their usefulness in the Indian context of socially active and sometimes even intrusive communities, such spaces are rapidly losing their place in present-day residential environments due to the pressure of providing for the rapidly growing population coupled with mass migratory patterns. These neighborhood spaces that impart physical, psychological, and perceptual comfort to residents have been present in spontaneously developed traditional Indian cities due to their inherent order and integrity. Moreover, some contemporary housing environments by eminent designers have also utilized the virtues of well-designed neighborhood environments. This study is a comparative analysis of three selected projects, which aspire to devise suitable methods for contemporary Indian context and achieve neighborhood comfort and an overall sense of belongingness among residents.

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Evaluating the impact of mass housings’ in-between spaces’ spatial configuration on users’ social interaction
Wiem Zerouati, Tahar Bellal
Front. Archit. Res.. 2020, 9 (1): 34-53.
Abstract   PDF (9759KB)

This research examines the impact of in-between space configuration on users’ social practices. The effects of different degrees of permeability of these spaces on the social interactions of the inhabitants are also analyzed. This research is based on a comparative approach using space syntax analysis and snapshot observations on four mass housing neighborhoods in Setif, Algeria. The neighborhoods are selected according to their degree of permeability, location in the city, realization period, and syntax measures from integrated to segregated. The activity patterns of two-week days for each study case are observed and recorded. Correlation results of observed social activities and syntactic measures demonstrate that spatial configuration affects people’s use of in-between spaces. Moreover, connectivity and clustering coefficients are revealed to be important indicators of social activities. Previous urban studies argued that integrated spaces are mostly used by people. However, social interaction in the studied cases increases in the least connected areas, adjoining spaces to the buildings, and most closed spaces. This research finds that social activities are dependent on the degree of permeability, which when low, gives rise to increased social interaction and activities.

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Comparative analysis of habitation behavioral patterns in spatial configuration of traditional houses in Anhui, Jiangsu, and Zhejiang provinces of China
Jie Ding, Shanshan Ma
Front. Archit. Res.. 2020, 9 (1): 54-66.
Abstract   PDF (1459KB)

This study investigated the categories of spatial characteristics of traditional houses in Anhui, Jiangsu, and Zhejiang provinces of China by applying syntactic theories and conducting a comparative analysis of their different layout configurations. Six houses in the three provinces were selected as measurement samples, and statistical analysis of their spatial variables was conducted through SPSS 22. Results showed that the correlation of depth and integration in the Zhejiang and Jiangsu samples are negative, whereas the samples in Anhui show no correlation. These results further indicated that spaces with high rates of utilization in Zhejiang and Jiangsu dwellings are located at low depths in the spatial configurations, whereas the samples from Anhui show opposite findings. Different housing spatial structures reflect various habitation behavioral patterns in this area. Zhejiang and Jiangsu residents interact more closely with outside spaces in their daily lives, whereas Anhui residents have very limited interaction with outside spaces, thereby reflecting two different modes of living behavior, namely, extroversion and introversion.

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Parametric modeling simulation for an origami shaped canopy
Caio D.C. Lucarelli, Joyce C. Carlo
Front. Archit. Res.. 2020, 9 (1): 67-81.
Abstract   PDF (3445KB)

This study perceives the developing process of a parameterization modeling in Grasshopper® for complex surfaces using building simulation, considering Annual Average of Hourly Radiation as the key-variable. The major goal of this article is to create, simulate and analyze through factorial analysis a modular canopy, based on Origami. The methodology applied consisted of the selection of the form, canopy parameterization, factorial analysis and simulation for radiation. Ladybug®, together with EnergyPlus™, were used to carry out the simulations. The object of study was the process of creation of a canopy. In countries with hot and humid climates, such as Brazil, the roofing areas are critical parts of building envelopes, highly susceptible to solar radiation. The simulation was performed for a full year for Vi¸cosa, MG (Latitude 20°45′14″S, Longitude 42°52′55″W, Altitude 648 m), but due to parameterization, the canopy can be simulated anywhere else. As main results, the factorial analysis contributed for determining that the slope of the canopy was the most robust factor to the detriment of the cardinal and collateral orientations. For the best case scenario, the simulation generated levels of comfort of about 74.0% with 15.4% Hot and 10.6% Cold for natural conditioned spaces.

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Bridging the gap between research and schematic design phases in teaching architectural graduation projects
Eman S. AboWardah
Front. Archit. Res.. 2020, 9 (1): 82-105.
Abstract   PDF (9506KB)

The architectural design studio course is generally considered the backbone of any architectural curriculum and follows a particular method of problem solving, which makes it a distinctive course. Graduation projects in most of the architectural programs are divided into two main phases, namely, research and project phases. Students generate many findings from the research phase that are considered challenges. The research problem emerges when students finish writing the research thesis, and most face difficulty in translating the collected data into actions to engage the initial idea of the project. Therefore, this study aims to highlight the transitional stage between the research and schematic design phases, which is described in this study as the “predesign bridging phase.” The goal is to propose a practical strategy for bridging the gap between the research and schematic design phases to facilitate derivation of the design concept from different output variables to enable the creation of a suitable architectural morphological language. The study adopts two research methods. One is proposing a new pedagogical framework and applying it to the architectural graduation design studio at Prince Sultan University in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The other is conducting a survey among students to evaluate the efficiency of the proposed framework in helping them bridge the gap between the research and schematic design phases. Descriptive and inferential statistics analysis methods are used to analyze the research data and study the correlation between the reflection of the new applied framework in the predesign bridging phase and the students’ satisfaction toward the final projects’ product and performance in the final critique. This study ends with a conclusion on how the applied teaching strategies facilitate the project starting point and raises the importance of proposing and testing new assessment strategies that are suitable for each phase in the graduation design studio.

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Users as co-designers: Visualespatial experiences at Whitworth Art Gallery
Ahlam Ammar Sharif
Front. Archit. Res.. 2020, 9 (1): 106-118.
Abstract   PDF (3311KB)

The importance of building users in the architectural field has been increasingly acknowledged in architectural research. Some studies have applied actor-network theory (ANT) to highlight the ways through which users are embedded in relation to the built environment. However, many of these studies are limited in recognizing the diverse ways users manipulate these relations as they experience the same built environment differently. This study draws on a recent ANT scholarship by summarizing the ethnographic research of Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester, United Kingdom. Findings show that users see and react to the same built environment in different ways that are not limited to their alignment or misalignment with the design. They extend to include diverse interpretations and reactions (destructing, ignoring, noticing, attending, and interacting). The different user experiences explored in this research demonstrate three main themes, namely, entanglements, continuity, and transformation, which suggest new ways of recognizing the need for increasingly adaptable and inviting designs that address different user preferences and desires.

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Nexus between creative industries and the built environment: Creative placemaking in inner Auckland
Lydia Kiroff
Front. Archit. Res.. 2020, 9 (1): 119-137.
Abstract   PDF (5902KB)

A significant body of literature has examined the location decision-making of creative industry firms. However, research on the nexus between design creative industries and the built environment remains limited. The key finding of this qualitative research is that design creative industries are mostly the users of the inner city’s former industrial buildings that are occupied on leases from property owners who are responsible for the initial physical upgrading. This condition is largely due to the low level of property ownership among this group and the lack of incentive to invest additional capital to their business properties. Therefore, design creative industries cannot be conceptualized as leading actors in urban redevelopment or initiators of urban transformation on a large scale. Instead, they represent a latent demand for physical space and a rich source of inspiration and creative potential. In this regard, design creative industries play a key role as enablers of postindustrial real estate development driven by proactive property developers who transform former industrial buildings into a new form of revenue-generating urban commodities.

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Emotional evaluation of architectural interior forms based on personality differences using virtual reality
Maryam Banaei, Ali Ahmadi, Klaus Gramann, Javad Hatami
Front. Archit. Res.. 2020, 9 (1): 138-147.
Abstract   PDF (682KB)

Recent studies have shown that architectural interior forms could impact the affective state of inhabitants. However, the direct relation of specific forms with specific affective states is difficult to determine. In addition, no systematic categorization of architectural forms and their relation to emotional states exists. The investigation of the impact of architectural features on inhabitants’ emotions is further complicated by the use of two-dimensional images of forms in laboratory investigations, which cannot perceive real-world architecture. Furthermore, the interior form consists of a combination of different forms rather than only pure forms, which was considered in previous studies. This study aimedto fill these gaps by evaluating interior forms on the basis of clustering different images of built living rooms throughout history as well as their impact on emotions. This study used pleasure, arousal, anddominance ratingswith an emphasis on individual differences in personality. Virtual sample rooms were created based on formal clusters of architectural forms. Results showed a relationship between forms and emotional states for different personality traits. This work provided a novel approach on the influence of architecture on emotion by considering systematic form categorization and combinations, personality differences, and a virtual reality setup.

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Reinventing the wheel: A tool for design quality evaluation in architecture
Buthayna Eilouti
Front. Archit. Res.. 2020, 9 (1): 148-168.
Abstract   PDF (4710KB)

Addressing design evaluation as a critical yet under-researched domain, this study analyzes the design evaluation structure and its variables and criteria that guide its outcomes. Within a scope of architectural design in practice and education, this study develops a new tool for design quality evaluation. The study consists of four main parts. The first is explorative which reviews and analyzes literature in the assessment and evaluation fields. The second is derivative and used to develop a tool for design quality evaluation (DQE) that combines design criteria and detailed evaluation rubrics. The tool which is named “Evaluation Wheel” is intended to help designers, educators and other design-related stakeholders judge design products succinctly, comprehensively, systematically and graphically. The third part is experimental and is used to test the applicability of the proposed wheel. A set of design products are evaluated by a group of designers using two methods; one uses various design criteria, and the other uses the wheel tool introduced in this research. The fourth part is analytical and evaluative which uses deductive, inductive and abductive reasoning techniques to analyze and compare the findings of the third part. The findings are presented and discussed. The results that indicate a reduction of the discrepancies of the scores among the evaluators seem to support the uptake of the proposed wheel in the design evaluation fields.

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Urban agriculture in Kathmandu as a catalyst for the civic inclusion of migrants and the making of a greener city
Maurice Mitchell, Amara Roca Iglesias
Front. Archit. Res.. 2020, 9 (1): 169-190.
Abstract   PDF (17342KB)

This research explores the opportunities offered for the creation of a green city on the recently secured Bagmati riverbanks in Kathmandu, which is subject to rapid inward migration from landless rural farmers. The research asks what architectural theory and practice can contribute to this setting to support the fit between emergent bottom-up initiatives and topdown city investments. To this end, it deepens and extends loose fit theory, research methods, and reflective practices to investigate latent possibilities, assemble a narrative of embedded change, and create spatial imaginaries of topographical change on the Bagmati riverbanks. Moreover, it argues that architectural theory and practice can play a vital role in integrating migrants into civic institutions and helping generate a highly green city by making the relationships between setting and occupant explicit, stimulating and representing alternative imaginaries, and framing a civic discourse.

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Blueegreen architecture: A case study analysis considering the synergetic effects of water and vegetation
Friederike Well, Ferdinand Ludwig
Front. Archit. Res.. 2020, 9 (1): 191-202.
Abstract   PDF (2054KB)

Blueegreen infrastructure is a network of natural and near-natural areas that has a positive effect on the quality of urban environment. This multifunctional planning approach addresses different issues and objectives depending on whether the focus is on the blue (water) or the green (vegetation) elements. Green-motivated projects aim to densify urban vegetation and include the growing sector of building greening. A good climatic effect of vegetation can be achieved by sufficient irrigation. In many cases, this approach results in additional water requirements. Blue-motivated projects consider water accumulation in cities (e.g., by heavy rainfall) as a waste product and look for solutions for local drainage and evaporation. These planning approaches offer only one-sided solutions and create no sufficient interfaces between water availability and water demand. Based on four case studies, this work examines the extent to which blueegreen projects take advantage of the possibilities for the synergetic use of resources. The projects are analyzed graphically by applying the daily tools of architects as a scientific method. A graphic presentation of the blue and green components makes existing solutions and missing links visible. Analytical results show that buildings can be considered to be an interface for blueegreen systems. Moreover, the possible synergies are often overlooked during the planning process. This fact highlights the need for a new planning approach that interlinks blue and green aspects that are already in the early planning stages.

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Micromorphological description of vernacular cob process and comparison with rammed earth
Erwan Hamard, Cécilia Cammas, Blandine Lemercier, Bogdan Cazacliu, Jean-Claude Morel
Front. Archit. Res.. 2020, 9 (1): 203-215.
Abstract   PDF (5854KB)

Past builders have developed very low-embodied energy construction techniques optimizing the use of local building materials. These techniques are a source of inspiration for modern sustainable building. Unfortunately, this know-how was orally transmitted and was lost as earth construction fell into disuse during the 20th century in European countries. The absence of written documents makes necessary to use an archaeological approach in order to rediscover these construction strategies. Micromorphological analysis of thin sections collected in earth building walls was used for the first time to describe cob construction technique and highlighted several typical pedofeatures allowing to clearly identifying this process. Finally, a first comparison of the cob and rammed earth micromorphological features permitted to identify two key factors to distinguish these two techniques, the manufacturing state (solid or plastic) and the organization of the material in the wall.

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Applying design science approach to architectural design development
Rania Aburamadan, Claudia Trillo
Front. Archit. Res.. 2020, 9 (1): 216-235.
Abstract   PDF (2818KB)

Unlike research methods for social and positivist sciences, those for architectural design lack a discipline-specific conceptual framework. Performative science aims at producing outcomes for future use and therefore needs a robust methodological approach that encompasses different techniques and methods supporting an evidence-based architectural design development. This study suggests that design science can be successfully applied to architectural design development and provides architects and designers with a powerful tool bridging the gap between research and design. In so doing, this study explores the application of design science to implement a user-centered design approach. A design challenge is reframed within the robust framework of design science by referring to a case study on refugee shelters. The traditional method by which shelter optimization is pursued by designers is questioned by involving the final users through an ethnographic approach within the framework of design science. The design outcome produced through this process is a list of specifications allowing designers to create different architectural solutions and matching the requirements expressed by future users. The authors argue that a user-centered design outcome can be achieved and validated through design science.

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Exploring the influence of the built environment on human experience through a neuroscience approach: A systematic review
Tulay Karakas, Dilek Yildiz
Front. Archit. Res.. 2020, 9 (1): 236-247.
Abstract   PDF (600KB)

The built environment provides a habitat for the most sophisticated mammal in our universe, the human being. Developments in science and technology are forcing us to reconsider the priority of human needs in current theories of architecture and the built environment. Newly developed theories and methodologies in neuroscience have allowed us to improve and deepen our knowledge of human experience in the built environment. The potential of the relationship between neuroscience and architecture for knowledge creation generates an increasing interest in theoretical and methodological approaches to explore this intersection. Thus, a common ground on which to conduct interdisciplinary studies investigating developing and emerging concepts at the intersection must be established. However, few reviews in the literature have systematically examined developing and emerging concepts at the intersection of neuroscience and architecture. The present review aims to examine the existing literature systematically to explain the influence of the built environment on human experience by using approaches from neuroscience by examining the conceptualizations in the field. The study is conducted as a systematic qualitative review that analyzes and synthesizes the developing and emerging concepts that have appeared in the ever-evolving literature. The study concludes with an overall discussion about these concepts as a means of deeply understanding the influence of the built environment on human experience, responses to the environment based on approaches from neuroscience, and their potential for providing further directions for future research.

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15 articles