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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Professional practice in programming large public buildings in China: A questionnaire survey
Ying Deng, S.W. Poon
Front. Archit. Res.    2013, 2 (2): 222-233.
Abstract   PDF (1922KB)

China's large public buildings (LPBs) often become problematic after only a few years' operation, leading to shortened building lifespans. Lacking architectural programming was identified by the industry regulators as a contributing factor to this. Despite a policy shift on the government side since 2007, little evaluation of the actual situation has been made. To raise awareness and attention to this pressing issue from the building industry, its regulators and the general public, a questionnaire survey focusing on the top-tier sector of professional practice in programming LPBs was carried out in Shanghai, China in 2009. The objectives were to evaluate current trends and pressing issues, identify major challenges and opportunities, and make recommendations for improvement. This paper presents a six-part analysis of the survey's findings from 57 professionals and clients who shared their hands-on experience on various programming issues and provided first-hand data of 90 LPBs developed in the 2000s. This pioneering study revealed significant gaps between the real and best practices as well as the mental reluctance and skill mismatch in delivering quality programming services. Given the persisting nature of identified problems, more research work should be done to catalyze a paradigmatic shift among industry players.

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Urban Physics: Effect of the micro-climate on comfort, health and energy demand
Peter Moonen, Thijs Defraeye, Viktor Dorer, Bert Blocken, Jan Carmeliet
Front. Archit. Res.    2012, 1 (3): 197-228.
Abstract   PDF (3113KB)

The global trend towards urbanisation explains the growing interest in the study of the modification of the urban climate due to the heat island effect and global warming, and its impact on energy use of buildings. Also urban comfort, health and durability, referring respectively to pedestrian wind/ thermal comfort, pollutant dispersion and wind-driven rain are of interest. Urban Physics is a wellestablished discipline, incorporating relevant branches of physics, environmental chemistry, aerodynamics, meteorology and statistics. Therefore, Urban Physics is well positioned to provide keycontributions to the current urban problems and challenges. The present paper addresses the role of Urban Physics in the study of wind comfort, thermal comfort, energy demand, pollutant dispersion and wind-driven rain. Furthermore, the three major research methods applied in Urban Physics, namely field experiments, wind tunnel experiments and numerical simulations are discussed. Case studies illustrate the current challenges and the relevant contributions of Urban Physics.

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Cited: Sciencedirect(159)
Reyner Banham and modern design culture
Bagoes Wiryomartono
Front. Archit. Res.    2012, 1 (3): 272-279.
Abstract   PDF (1773KB)

What is modernity in architecture? In English speaking world, the question is likely impossible to answer without considering the works of Peter Reyner Banham (1922-1988). Regardless of his polemist and disparaging style in his critical writings, this study argues that Banham offers a constructive renewal for the body of knowledge on history and theory of modernity in architectural design. Accordingly, he posits and disposes architectural profession with scientific and technological vision in the front line of struggle for environmental betterment. For him modernity in architecture comprises triad components: function, technology, and aesthetics by which historical milestones come into being. A study on Banham’s engagement with modernity is considerably necessary regarding his conviction that history of architecture happens as the consequence of interactions of technological innovations and design creativities, and in response to socioeconomic circumstances as well.

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Phenomenology of rhythm in design
Chiu-Shui Chan
Front. Archit. Res.    2012, 1 (3): 253-258.
Abstract   PDF (1523KB)

Rhythm in design, as explored in this research, is proposed to be the result of cognitive performance generated stylistically by creators and recognized consciously by beholders. This study describes the phenomenon of rhythm; how it is created; the factors that comprise rhythm; the types of rhythms created by human cognition of repetition, and why repetition is recognized as a part of human cognition. Images of seven buildings designed by Alvar Aalto are used to demonstrate the creation and expression of rhythm in building compositions. Evidence gathered in this research explains that rhythm in design is a result of the design method consciously applied by human cognition of repetition. Rules of generating the phenomena of rhythm are also summarized. Designers could apply these rules to generate harmonious patterns through the effective usage of repetition. In sum, rhythm is ingrained in the human conscience and therefore should be a key component of design applied universally.

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Using passive cooling strategies to improve thermal performance and reduce energy consumption of residential buildings in U.A.E. buildings
Hanan M. Taleb
Front. Archit. Res.    2014, 3 (2): 154-165.
Abstract   PDF (5718KB)

Passive design responds to local climate and site conditions in order to maximise the comfort and health of building users while minimising energy use. The key to designing a passive building is to take best advantage of the local climate. Passive cooling refers to any technologies or design features adopted to reduce the temperature of buildings without the need for power consumption. Consequently, the aim of this study is to test the usefulness of applying selected passive cooling strategies to improve thermal performance and to reduce energy consumption of residential buildings in hot arid climate settings, namely Dubai, United Arab Emirates. One case building was selected and eight passive cooling strategies were applied. Energy simulation software- namely IES- was used to assess the performance of the building. Solar shading performance was also assessed using Sun Cast Analysis, as a part of the IES software. Energy reduction was achieved due to both the harnessing of natural ventilation and the minimising of heat gain in line with applying good shading devices alongside the use of double glazing. Additionally, green roofing proved its potential by acting as an effective roof insulation. The study revealed several significant findings including that the total annual energy consumption of a residential building in Dubai may be reduced by up to 23.6% when a building uses passive cooling strategies.

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Restoration of modern buildings
Grazia Lombardo
Front. Archit. Res.    2012, 1 (4): 357-364.
Abstract   PDF (1154KB)

The present paper is part of a research that is developed within the sustainable building design through the revisiting of the traditional construction materials. The results obtained show that the natural stone, enhanced by technological innovations, are often capable of providing excellent performance.

Based on the tests, it was possible to verify and validate the hypothesis that the proposed new system of external vertical opaque enclosure consisting in a panel in dry-assembled and precompressed blocks of natural stone through reinforcing steel has good performances when used both in the case of new design and in the case of recovery of modern buildings, when the intervention is being addressed within of an overall building improvement regarding the security, sustainability, functionality and image.

This paper reports the first results obtained by the study of the feasibility of the envelope being tested, through the definition of all the details of links with the existing building structure.

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Evolution of Islamic geometric patterns
Yahya Abdullahi, Mohamed Rashid Bin Embi
Front. Archit. Res.    2013, 2 (2): 243-251.
Abstract   PDF (2489KB)

This research demonstrates the suitability of applying Islamic geometrical patterns (IGPs) to architectural elements in terms of time scale accuracy and style matching. To this end, a detailed survey is conducted on the decorative patterns of 100 surviving buildings in the Muslim architectural world. The patterns are analyzed and chronologically organized to determine the earliest surviving examples of these adorable ornaments. The origins and radical artistic movements throughout the history of IGPs are identified. With consideration for regional impact, this study depicts the evolution of IGPs, from the early stages to the late 18th century.

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Thermal upgrading of Hui-style vernacular dwellings in China using foam concrete
Xing Shi, Wei She, Hailong Zhou, Yunshen Zhang, Fei Shi, Wei Chen
Front. Archit. Res.    2012, 1 (1): 23-33.
Abstract   PDF (658KB)

Architectural heritage conservation is an important field in architectural research. The Hui-style vernacular dwelling is an essential architectural heritage of China. Its hollow wall system, with horsehead-like upper corners, is a distinct architectural feature that is worth preserving. However, the thermal performance of the hollow wall is relatively poor by today’s standard. The current study developed a novel approach, whereby foam concrete was used to fill the voids inside the hollow wall to improve its thermal resistance. This approach was deemed cost effective, easy to learn, and capable of preserving the architectural integrity of the wall. Different types of foam concrete were prepared and tested. Testing results showed that the material properties of foam concrete are suitable for thermally upgrading the hollow wall system. Climate chamber testing was conducted to investigate the effectiveness of the proposed thermal upgrading strategy. The testing results suggested that filling the voids with foam concrete can effectively improve the overall thermal resistance of the hollow wall system by 24%, which is almost equal to the overall thermal resistance when using the more expensive commercial inorganic stucco system.

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New urbanization: A new vision of China's urban–rural development and planning
Jianguo Wang,Xingping Wang
Front. Archit. Res.    2015, 4 (2): 166-168.
Abstract   PDF (395KB)
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Simulation-based feasibility study of improved air conditioning systems for hospital operating room
Zhiqiang (John) Zhai, Anna L. Osborne
Front. Archit. Res.    2013, 2 (4): 468-475.
Abstract   PDF (3099KB)

The goal of the air distribution inside a hospital operating room (OR) is to protect the patient and staff from cross-infection while maintaining occupant comfort and not affecting the facilitation of surgical tasks. In ORs, HEPA-filtered air and vertical (downward) laminar airflow are often used to achieve a unidirectional flow of fresh air from ceiling, washing over the patient and flowing out of exhaust vents on the side walls, near the floor. However, previous research has shown that this method does not necessarily achieve the desired unidirectional flow pattern or adequately achieve optimal air asepsis. The results from this study show that maximizing the area of the laminar flow diffusers remedies this issue and provides very low contamination levels. The use of air curtains as specified by manufacturers of commercial products may not provide satisfactory results, with noticeable contamination levels at the wound site.

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Evaluation of indoor environmental quality conditions in elementary schools' classrooms in the United Arab Emirates
Moshood Olawale Fadeyi,Khawla Alkhaja,Maryam Bin Sulayem,Bassam Abu-Hijleh
Front. Archit. Res.    2014, 3 (2): 166-177.
Abstract   PDF (1436KB)

This study presents findings of indoor environmental quality (IEQ) investigations conductedin elementary schools' classrooms in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Average TVOC, CO2, O3, CO, and particle concentrations measured in the classrooms were 815 μg/m3, 1605 ppm, 0.05 ppm, 1.16 ppm, and 1730 μg/m3, respectively. Whereas, local authority knownas Dubai Municipality recommended 300 μg/m3, 800 ppm, 0.06 ppm, 9 ppm, and 150-300 μg/m3 for TVOC, CO2, O3, CO, and particle, respectively. Dubai Municipality recommended temperature and relative humidity (RH) levels of 22.5 1°C to 25.5 1°C and 30%–60%, respectively. Average temperature and RH levels measured in the classrooms were 24.5 1°C and 40.4%, respectively. Average sound level in the classrooms was 24 dB greater than recommended sound level limit of 35 dB. Six (6) classrooms had average lux levels in the range of 400–800 lux. Two (2) classrooms had average lux levels in the range of 100–200 lux. The remaining classrooms had lux levels around the recommended 300 lux. High occupancy density was observed in majority of the studied classrooms. Observations during walkthrough investigations could be used to explain measured IEQ data. Poor IEQ conditions in the studied classrooms highlight the need for further research investigation to understand how poor classrooms' IEQ condition could influence students' health, comfort, attendance rate, and academic performance.

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Development of an adaptive thermal comfort equation for naturally ventilated buildings in hot-humid climates using ASHRAE RP-884 database
Doris Hooi Chyee Toe, Tetsu Kubota
Front. Archit. Res.    2013, 2 (3): 278-291.
Abstract   PDF (2377KB)

The objective of this study was to develop an adaptive thermal comfort equation for naturally ventilated buildings in hot-humid climates. The study employed statistical meta-analysis of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) RP-884 database, which covered several climatic zones. The data were carefully sorted into three climate groups including hot-humid, hot-dry, and moderate and were analyzed separately. The results revealed that the adaptive equations for hot-humid and hot-dry climates were analogous with approximate regression coefficients of 0.6, which were nearly twice those of ASHRAE and European standards 55 and EN15251, respectively. The equation using the daily mean outdoor air temperature had the highest coefficient of determination for hot-humid climate, compared with other mean temperatures that considered acclimatization of previous days. Acceptable comfort ranges showed asymmetry and leaned toward operative temperatures below thermal neutrality for all climates. In the hot-humid climate, a lower comfort limit was not observed for naturally ventilated buildings, and the adaptive equation was influenced by indoor air speed rather than indoor relative humidity. The new equation developed in this study can be applied to tropical climates and hot-humid summer seasons of temperate climates.

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Role of bazaars as a unifying factor in traditional cities of Iran: The Isfahan bazaar
Pourjafar Mohammadreza, Amini Masoome, Varzaneh Elham Hatami, Mahdavinejad Mohammadjavad
Front. Archit. Res.    2014, 3 (1): 10-19.
Abstract   PDF (6728KB)

A city is a vital organism that lives and grows like other organisms. Therefore, implementing development plans that would provide a sense of unity and integration in relation to the city as a whole is necessary. Traditional Iranian architecture is full of samples evolved during the course of Iranian history that can serve as architectural paragons of the city. In Iran's traditional cities, a sense of unity exists in various urban areas. The traditional city of Isfahan is one of the most valuable samples and was selected as the case study in this research. Accordingly, the most important questions of this research are as follows: (1) What is the role of bazaars in creating a sense of unity in the traditional cities of Iran? (2) How do bazaars play out their role in the integration of these cities? This research focuses on the concept of a “traditional city” to determine the role of bazaars in such cities. The results show that bazaars are crucial in giving a sense of integrity to the concept of a traditional Iranian city. Bazaars provide cohesion among the different parts of cities, such as residential areas, as well as socio-political and trade centers. This condition means that traditional bazaars play two important roles in traditional cities: (1) they interconnect the different parts of the city's physical structure; and (2) the crucial role of bazaars in a city's social and cultural structure brings about unity among the citizens in the city. Bazaars as a unifying element connect the main urban functions and guarantee the city's economic and social life.

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Quiet environment: Acoustics of vertical green wall systems of the Islamic urban form
Mostafa Refat Ismail
Front. Archit. Res.    2013, 2 (2): 162-177.
Abstract   PDF (3551KB)

The development of sustainability has made the application of green concepts to cityscapes and urban design mandatory and has popularized the installation of vegetation on external street walls. Introducing greenery on external building elements is beneficial to the environment, reducing the heat impact experienced in “urban heat islands” and enhancing an area's visual effect. The popularity of such green systems has necessitated the assessment of their acoustic characteristics and their impact on long-distance noise propagation. These effects become important in hot climates, where the topology of the dense urban texture gives building walls larger areas than exposed streets, thereby amplifying the effects of the former's acoustic characteristics on noise levels. Considering the resultant sound level at a particular location between buildings as the contribution of several remote sources, a simplified computer model based on energy exchange is developed in this study. Owing to the complexity of the urban landscape, buildings are assumed to be an array of rectangular blocks. The computer model is used to investigate the effects of the installation of street vertical vegetation on long-distance noise propagation, as well as those of the geometric parameters of the dense Islamic urban texture on the resultant noise levels.

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Building Guastavino dome in China: A historical survey of the dome of the Auditorium at Tsinghua University
Yishi Liu
Front. Archit. Res.    2014, 3 (2): 121-140.
Abstract   PDF (9977KB)

Established in 1909, Tsinghua College was built on the base of a royal garden, and developed into a modern university through campus designs produced by Henry Murphy. The Auditorium, one of the Four Grand Buildings during Tsinghua's formative times, was a significant part of early construction and has become a symbol of the school. However, no thorough measuring work has ever been done to it since its completion in 1921. This paper delves into archives with combination of field survey and measurement, aiming to better understand the historical background in which the construction of the Auditorium was embedded, and technological and structural features of the Auditorium. Though the Guastavino system was indicated in the original design drawn by Murphy, concrete shell was applied in the end.

The first part combs up the intellectual origins and precedents of the campus planning by Henry Murphy. As the dome is a focal point of the study, a brief course on the history of dome construction in the West is needed. The third part, based upon field measurement in July 2013, compares the actual dome with its original design featured by the Guastavino method, deducing possible reasons that resulted in the differences, including architect's unfamiliarity with Guastavino Company and its parameters, considerations about cost, and local construction tradition.

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Post-occupancy evaluation of residential satisfaction in Lagos, Nigeria: Feedback for residential improvement
Adesoji DavidJiboye
Front. Archit. Res.    2012, 1 (3): 236-243.
Abstract   PDF (360KB)

This study is a post-occupancy evaluation of residential satisfaction in Oniru Estate, Lagos, Nigeria. It conceived residents’ satisfaction as a measure of people’s attitudes towards certain aspects of their residential environment. The very important role of certain physical quality or characteristics of the environment as a dominant predictor of satisfaction is emphasized. Apart from the measurement of residential satisfaction through post-occupancy evaluation, it also utilized respondents’ satisfaction scores as indices for evaluating the performance of residential development in the study area. Analysis was done using Chi-square statistics (ρ = 0.05 with a level of significance of 0.000) to confirm the relationship between the quality of housing physical environment and level of residents’ satisfaction. The results show and confirm that the quality of certain physical characteristics in the housing environment is imperative thereby influencing the level of residents’ housing satisfaction. The need to consider relevant inputs emanating from the end-users or occupants of residential developments in the planning, design and development of satisfactory dwellings is highlighted.

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Management of the Grand Canal and it’s bid as a world cultural heritage site
Yuan Wang
Front. Archit. Res.    2012, 1 (1): 34-39.
Abstract   PDF (398KB)

The Grand Canal is of incomparable importance to ancient China, which still serves it’s original functions in the current society. Given it’s outstanding value, the conservation of the Grand Canal in China is drawing an increasing attention, and there is a proposal to inscribe it in the World Heritage List in the near future. The different functions of the Grand Canal determine the roles of the different departments; however, there are some contradictions that will harm it’s conservation. The current paper attempts to find solutions toward the better management of the Grand Canal in the context of world heritage conservation.

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Sound preferences of the dense urban environment: Soundscape of Cairo
Ismailn Mostafa Refat
Front. Archit. Res.    2014, 3 (1): 55-68.
Abstract   PDF (3808KB)

A questionnaire study was conducted to investigate the soundscape preferences of the sonic environment in Cairo. Participants, who were Cairo residents, were questioned about their appraisal of familiar urban soundscapes in a close- and open-ended format questionnaire.

Psycholinguistic data analysis of verbal descriptions expressed by respondents was conducted to identify the relevance of semantic categories of environmental sounds and quantitative soundscape aspects for the urban sonic environment of Cairo. Results confirmed a direct relevance of the linguistic semantic auditory judgment and of the outputs of the quantitative close-ended questions. Cairenes were also found to express their sonic environment linguistically based on physical properties rather than semantic features and values.

Analyzing the relative annoyance increase (RAI) of the close-ended part, overall positive RAI values for all sound categories reveal how sensitive to noise Cairo residents are. Results further showed that at an RAI value of approximately 27%, sound category perception transforms from positive to negative.

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Problems and solutions in the protection of historical urban areas
Jinghui Wang
Front. Archit. Res.    2012, 1 (1): 40-43.
Abstract   PDF (185KB)

Historical urban areas are the memory of a city, and the overall landscape they constitute displays the typical scene of a city in a certain historical period. Thus, they are of value for protection. The current study gives an overview on the origin and protection of historical urban areas in the world. Moreover, the study also focuses on the principles, methods, and current problems in the protection of historical urban areas under the guidance of related laws and regulations in China. Finally, some effective measures to protect historical urban areas are suggested.

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Differences in spatial understanding between physical and virtual models
Sun Lei, Fukuda Tomohiro, Tokuhara Toshiki, Yabuki Nobuyoshi
Front. Archit. Res.    2014, 3 (1): 28-35.
Abstract   PDF (1718KB)

In the digital age, physical models are still used as major tools in architectural and urban design processes. The reason why designers still use physical models remains unclear. In addition, physical and 3D virtual models have yet to be differentiated. The answers to these questions are too complex to account for in all aspects. Thus, this study only focuses on the differences in spatial understanding between physical and virtual models. In particular, it emphasizes on the perception of scale. For our experiment, respondents were shown a physical model and a virtual model consecutively. A questionnaire was then used to ask the respondents to evaluate these models objectively and to establish which model was more accurate in conveying object size. Compared with the virtual model, the physical model tended to enable quicker and more accurate comparisons of building heights.

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Applying the electroforming process to bio-inspired architecture: The case of Castelbuono Estate Winery
Stefano Rossi, Mauro Pellizzari
Front. Archit. Res.    2013, 2 (4): 435-444.
Abstract   PDF (3260KB)

Inaugurated in June 2012, the Carapace at Castelbuono Estate Winery in Italy is a highly interesting example of biomorphic architecture. The structure, an artistic creation of world-renowned sculptor Arnaldo Pomodoro, is reminiscent of a tortoise shell that conveys a sense of protection: the Carapace structure guards wine barriques in the same way that the tortoise carapace protects the animal. Zoomorphic aspects are further exhibited by symbols on the roof, which remind observers of cuttlefish bone, a recurring element in the artistic production of Maestro Pomodoro. The roof was constructed by assembly of single copper plates with a rough surface in accordance with the design of the artist. Therefore, determining the appropriate production process was crucial. Electroforming was selected as the method to achieve a challenging architectural goal.

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Therapeutic landscapes and healing gardens: A review of Chinese literature in relation to the studies in western countries
Shan Jiang
Front. Archit. Res.    2014, 3 (2): 141-153.
Abstract   PDF (1837KB)

The paper deciphers the Chinese literature to English speaking scholars and bridges the gap between China and the western countries on the topics of therapeutic landscapes and healing gardens. Three parts of contents are included in the paper. Firstly, four schools of theories explaining how and why nature can heal, are introduced based on the studies in western countries with the examination of terminology used. In the second part, 71 publications in Chinese are systematically reviewed, with 19 significant studies analyzed in details, including focus areas, the research method, and major findings. In the final part, Chinese studies are evaluated in relation to the theories in western countries.

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Effects of outdoor shared spaces on social interaction in a housing estate in Algeria
Naceur Farida
Front. Archit. Res.    2013, 2 (4): 457-467.
Abstract   PDF (4835KB)

This study aims to identify how the characteristics of shared outdoor spaces in housing estates influence residents to interact with one another. The study specifically focuses on a housing project called la cité des 1000 logts, which is situated in a zone d'habitat urbaine nouvelle in Biskra, a city in South Algeria. The investigation draws on two sources of information, observations of the ways in which the residents use their neighborhood spaces and a questionnaire survey with residents about the perceived adequacy of these spaces for social interaction.

Data for the survey was collected from the owners of flats in the apartment blocks surrounding the open spaces. Housing samples were taken from a total of 1000 housing units identified within the study area. Twenty five percent (25%) of the total housing units were selected. Out of the 250 questionnaires administered to household-heads who were the respondents, only 230 were subsequently retrieved for data analysis. Results showed that the high degree of “openness” of la cité des 1000 logts and the poor quality of communal outdoor spaces in the area discourage all forms of spatial use and reduce these outdoor spaces to transit areas. Furthermore, findings indicated that the layout of buildings and the quality of common outdoor spaces in residential neighborhoods substantially affect the use of these spaces and the social interaction among residents.

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Breathing architecture: Conceptual architectural design based on the investigation into the natural ventilation of buildings
Anastasia D. Stavridou
Front. Archit. Res.    2015, 4 (2): 127-145.
Abstract   PDF (6975KB)

This study explores architectural design by examining air, fluid mechanics, and the natural ventilation of buildings. In this context, this research introduces a new way of dealing with the process of architectural synthesis. The proposed way can be used either to create new architectural projects or to rethink existing ones. This study is supported by previous investigation into the natural ventilation of buildings via computational and laboratory simulation (Stavridou, 2011; Stavridou and Prinos, 2013). The investigation into the natural ventilation of buildings provides information and data that affect architectural design through various parameters. The parameters of architectural synthesis that are influenced and discussed in this paper are the following: (i) inspiration and analogical transfer, (ii) initial conception of the main idea using computational fluid dynamics (digital design), (iii) development of the main idea through an investigatory process toward building form optimization, and (iv) form configuration, shape investigation, and other morphogenetic prospects. This study illustrates the effect of natural ventilation research on architectural design and thus produces a new approach to the architectural design process. This approach leads to an innovative kind of architecture called “breathing architecture.”

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Mosque layout design: An analytical study of mosque layouts in the early Ottoman period
Faris Ali Mustafa, Ahmad Sanusi Hassan
Front. Archit. Res.    2013, 2 (4): 445-456.
Abstract   PDF (2208KB)

This study attempts to quantify the influence of spatial configuration on the functional efficiency of mosque layouts in the early Ottoman period. The literature review consists of two parts. The first part is a theoretical study of the relationship between spatial configuration and functional efficiency of mosque layouts. This part highlights the key syntactical characteristics and effect of spatial configuration on the level of functional efficiency using space syntax theory. The second part is an analytical comparative description of the changes and transformations in the configurations of mosque layouts. The architectural styles are classified into six types based on layout designs. The main benchmarks and indicators involved in measuring the functional efficiency of mosque layouts are analyzed using the A-graph 2009 software program, which provides numerical results. This analysis compares entire samples of mosque layout designs for each category. The numerical results indicate the effect of spatial configurations and the functions of mosque layouts. This study shows that mosques with courtyard layouts are accessible, efficient, and flexible in terms of function because of their distinct syntactical and morphological spatial structures.

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China’s architectural heritage conservation movement
Guangya Zhu
Front. Archit. Res.    2012, 1 (1): 10-22.
Abstract   PDF (833KB)

China’s civilization is ancient. The country’s architectural heritage conservation activity is an integral part of the world conservation movement. This paper gives a general introduction of the movement in China from four aspects: (1) history; (2) important conservation projects assessments; (3) new ideas and principles being debated and discussed; and (4) issues facing the movement. The present paper summarizes the essential character of the movement in China and highlights the importance of supporting and protecting this movement.

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Planting design for urban parks: Space syntax as a landscape design assessment tool
Ayman Hassaan Mahmoud,Reham H. Omar
Front. Archit. Res.    2015, 4 (1): 35-45.
Abstract   PDF (2080KB)

Trees are a major factor in defining the spatial qualities of outdoor spaces. This study investigates the influence of spatial configuration produced by the proposed tree planting design on the visual fields of an urban park using space syntax theory. Space syntax theory assumes that an urban area can be represented as a matrix of connected spaces. The quantitative properties of this matrix in the form of syntactic measures can be measured using computer simulations. This research investigates how space syntax techniques can help assess the effect of tree configurations on the social structure of a small-scale garden in an urban park. Such techniques are assumed useful in predicting the social structure of the proposed space and in assessing design alternatives. An experimental study using three different planting design proposals for an urban park is conducted. Data are analyzed using space syntax techniques. Results reveal a significant effect of planting configurations on syntactic measures across the three proposals. This study suggests that space syntax techniques may have a significant value in the assessment of schematic planting design, especially at the pedestrian movement level.

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Architectural factors influencing the sense of home in nursing homes: An operationalization for practice
A. Eijkelenboom, H. Verbeek, E. Felix, J. van Hoof
Front. Archit. Res.    2017, 6 (2): 111-122.
Abstract   PDF (1508KB)

Various studies have shown that the architecture and design of a nursing home can have a profound impact on the sense of home of old people residing in the nursing home, next to psychological and social factors. However, adequate guidance on how these factors can be operationalized in practice is not provided for architects and interior designers. This study investigated which architectural factors contribute to a sense of home and how these can be implemented in the design guidelines. Two existing data sets were used, combining the most recent evidence from the literature and experiences of residents, family caregivers, and professional staff of Dutch nursing homes. These analyses resulted in theoretical implications for the private space, quasi-public space,the look and feel of the nursing home, and the outdoors. Furthermore, these analyses were used for the design of a demonstration apartment that integrates the factors of the sense of home. This description was concluded by a checklist for practice, in which design guidelines were formulated. A holistic understanding of which factors influence the sense of home could lead to improvements of the sense of home of nursing home residents.

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A study of the impact of environmental loads that penetrate a passive skylight roofing system in Malaysian buildings
Karam M. Al-Obaidi,Mazran Ismail,Abdul Malek Abdul Rahman
Front. Archit. Res.    2014, 3 (2): 178-191.
Abstract   PDF (1454KB)

A passive skylight system is a significant building design element that provides an ideal condition for interior spaces. However, the use of this system is limited to specific climatic regions because of its considerable effect on the indoor environment. Malaysia is a tropical country that has favorable natural benefits, such as solar geometry and natural light, which can brighten building interiors throughout the year. However, harnessing this benefit affects spaces, especially those in single-story buildings, because of excessive natural loads. This study reviews a concept to understand the passive behavior of solar radiation in the form of light and heat that falls on, interacts with, and is emitted from a skylight system in a single-story building. The study method is theoretically based on descriptive analysis to assess design requirements. The review shows that designs grounded on the physical aspects of climate (influenced variables), materials (design variables), and human comfort (affected variables) in one process (ESI) can develop the architectural way of thinking rather than estimate the condition based on a limited perspective. This assumption indicates that the adoption of this concept in the preliminary design stage will enable designers to balance the building environment effectively.

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Performance evaluation of residential buildings in public housing estates in Ogun State, Nigeria: Users’ satisfaction perspective
Eziyi Offi Ibem, Akunnaya P. Opoko, Albert B. Adeboye, Dolapo Amole
Front. Archit. Res.    2013, 2 (2): 178-190.
Abstract   PDF (1850KB)

This study assessed the performance of residential buildings in public housing estates in urban areas of Ogun State Southwest Nigeria. It was based on the notion that users’ satisfaction with dwelling units is a measure of the performance of residential buildings in meeting their needs and expectations. A cross sectional survey of 452 household heads in nine public housing estates was conducted in the study area. Data were obtained using structured questionnaire and observation schedule; and were subjected to descriptive statistics and factor analysis. A mean satisfaction score of 3.21 was observed; indicating that the respondents were generally satisfied with the performance of the different components of the buildings. Satisfaction levels were generally higher with privacy and sizes of living and sleeping areas than the availability of water and electricity in the buildings. The type, location and aesthetic appearance as well as size of main activity areas were the most predominant factors that determined satisfaction and indeed the performance of the buildings in meeting users’ needs and expectations. The paper highlights critical areas where attention is needed in order to improve the performance of residential buildings and users’ satisfaction with public housing projects in Nigeria.

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