Jun 2021, Volume 10 Issue 2

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    Shijie Sun, Yun Yu

    This study examines the notion of placeness of city center commercial plazas within the context of globalization. Contemporary improvements of commercial public spaces aim to globalize the city image at the expense of local identity and regional characteristics. Although recognized as a major landmark that reflects the globalized image of Nanjing City, Deji Plaza cannot establish a unique sense of place and identity for the community. By adopting a humanist perspective, this study emphasizes people’s experience, perception, and emotional needs of the place as crucial dimensions for improving the relationship between people and commercial spaces. A structural equation model is used to develop a measurement system that evaluates the interaction between the different dimensions of placeness. Findings indicate that optimized locations and environmental characteristics of city center commercial plazas may enhance their image but transform them into consumption spaces for tourists rather than public places for the local community. The results of this study deepen the current understanding and assessment tools of placeness in city commercial public spaces, which are relevant to Nanjing City and similar contexts.

    Natasha Chayaamor-Heil, Louis Vitalis

    As a highly interdisciplinary field, architecture is being influenced by many subjects of natural and social sciences. Biology despite being apparently distant from architecture is currently a scientific field blending into design practices, which have evolved and shifted towards a new hybrid framework. In this article, we present an emerging design field of what we categorize as biomimetic architecture pioneering by six architectural offices in France. We observe the impact of scientific researches on design processes and practices through six case studies led by these offices, which can be seen through the actors who involved in various types of interdisciplinary collaborations, through the competencies of the architect himself, and through new sources of ideas coming from biological sciences and related fields. We propose to use a classification of theoretical uses in modeling practice to better understand the role that biological knowledge plays in architectural design practices. Finally, the result of this analysis shows that the use of biology taking place in a design space has external purposes, which transform it to produce engineering devices or urban schemes rather than architectural projects. It also shows that biology in architectural design induces other kinds of non-biological knowledge, is not strictly theoretical and could be obsolete or approximate. These findings lead to an epistemological discussion concerning the confusion between biological ‘knowledge’ and architectural design ‘know-how’.

    David O’Brien, Sandra Carrasco

    Quinta Monroy is an award-winning co-designed settlement for 93 families on half a hectare of land at Iquique in northern Chile. Neighbors’ complaints about the disorderly settlement peaked after the landowner’s death and provoked untenured residents to seek government subsidies to redevelop the settlement. From 2003, a government social housing project was coordinated by the “Elemental” architecture firm with US$10,000 per household. With the resident’s temporary relocation, 93 modular and interlinked apartments were built around a series of courtyards. These apartments, which were designed as “half-houses,” were subsequently co-opted by residents adding rooms in locations planned in advance by Elemental. Many households have since doubled the size of their apartment and reformed the settlement in ways not anticipated by Elemental.

    This paper details a spatial and ethnographic study of the Quinta Monroy settlement since redevelopment to identify opportunities and risks that accompany this type of social housing model. The study reveals evidence that residents’ capacities to enlarge apartments commonly exceeds the architect’s expectations and that unregulated expansions often compromise the settlement’s livability. This research anticipates further opportunities for expansion in this semi-regulated settlement and investigates possibilities that another contested slum settlement may emerge.

    Agnieszka Faustyna Szuta

    This study explores the architecture and arrangement of prayer spaces in public buildings. It examines whether Polish airports have prayers spaces and whether a correlation exists between the name (e.g., “multi-faith space,” “place of prayer,” and “place of focus”) and design. The study is supported by analyses of ecumenical spaces, which have recently been brought into service andwhere a visible symbiosis exists between their names and functions. This study includes in situ investigations and is conducted based on awide range of literature, statistical data, comparativemethods, and logical reasoning. This study may provide an important indication for countries that are only beginning to face a design problem concerning architecture of multi-faith spaces.

    Mine Esmer, Lana Kudumovic

    This paper aimed to discuss urban conservation challenges along the axes of two streets in the neighborhood of Yenikapı leading towards Kumkapı. The Yenikapı area of the historic peninsula of Istanbul is known to have been inhabited since prehistoric times, and it was the site of an important late antiquity port. Many cultural assets, including monuments from a number of periods and nineteenth century houses, remain in the area, but jarring changes have occurred due to newly built constructions, town planning decisions, and the development of public transport. Before any proposal for future area conservation activities, the current state of conservation was inspected through onsite analyses conducted along Paşazade, Imrahor Hamamı, and Sepetçi Selim streets. By analyzing the pressures affecting the historical peninsula, the challenges in the conservation effort of the study area were determined, followed by some proposals for its enhancement and general conservation.

    The paper stems from the studio of Urban Preservation-Conservation for Graduate Studies Programme, which was run between February and June 2019 under the coordination of the authors. Highlighting the value of the cultural heritage and historic importance of the area, revitalization to preserve the urban character was suggested. The current state of conservation was investigated through recent onsite analyses, one of the most important tasks in understanding the integrity and authenticity of the area.

    Chenyi Cai, Biao Li

    The use of architectural morphological analysis and generative design is an important strategy to interpret current designs and to propose novel ones. Conventional morphological features are defined based on qualitative descriptions or manually selected indicators, which include subjective bias, thus limiting generalizability. The lack of public architectural morphological datasets also leads to setbacks in data-driven morphological analysis. This study proposed a new method for generating topology-based synthetic data via a rule-based system and for encoding morphological information to promote morphological classification via deep learning. A deep convolution network, LeNet, which was modified in the output layer, was trained with synthetic data, including five spatial prototypes (central, linear, radial, cluster, and grid). The performance of the proposed method was validated on 40 practical architectural layouts. Compared to the ground truth, the proposed method provided an encouraging accuracy of 97.5% (39/40). Interestingly, the most possible mistakes of the LeNet were also understandable according to the architect’s intuitive perception. The proposed method considered the statistical and overall characteristics of the training samples. This work demonstrated the feasibility and effectiveness of the deep learning network trained with synthetic architectural patterns for morphological classification in practical architectural layouts. The findings of this work could serve as a basis for further morpho-topology studies and other social, building energy, and building structure studies related to spatial morphology.

    Zao Li, Xia Sun, Shichen Zhao, Hongwei Zuo

    Eye-movement analysis was adopted to evaluate the visual perception of Chinese traditional commercial blocks, and the Chenghuangmiao block in Hefei, China, was selected as a typical case. Eye-movement data from 40 respondents viewing 14 sample pictures were recorded. The spatial elements of the sample pictures, including landmarks and commercial brands, were further extracted to analyze the visual characteristics of spatial elements and the factors that affect the respondents’ perceptions of those elements. Then, the semantic differential method was used to analyze the relationship between visual preferences and psychological perceptions of spatial elements. Seventeen pairs of opposing adjectives were selected to score the intrinsic properties and visitors’ feelings of spaces. The software SPSS 22.0 was used to analyze these data. Results showed that distinctive spatial elements, such as street corridors, Ma Tau Walls, and various landmarks, were the most visually attractive. In addition, the location of a given element within a picture was an important factor affecting eye movements. On this basis, strategies for improving spatial-visual effects are proposed. The strategies include emphasizing the visual characteristics of different spatial elements, considering the overall layout of spatial elements, and creating diversified spaces based on different spatial categories.

    Dake Wei, Xi Li

    The elderly’s perception of their environment largely depends on acquired visual information. This study provides a quantitative analytical method for designing bedrooms in nursing homes by developing a computational model that uses viewing distance, viewing angle, and viewing field as variables. The model is utilized to measure a range of visual environmental properties, including privacy, accessibility, permeability, and visibility, which reflect the quality of bedrooms in nursing homes. The suitability levels of bedroom planes for the elderly and their main living functions as well as the fitting degree of the functional layout are calculated based on these data. After validating the computational model’s feasibility, this study optimizes the typical schemes of single and double rooms in nursing homes. Results reveal certain advantages of the arrangement where bathroom doors are set toward the inside of the bedroom and double rooms have a large width. The computational model can be used in measuring the spatial quality of bedrooms in nursing homes and as a mathematical model for related algorithm design and software programming to assist in the design and optimization of bedrooms for the elderly.

    Iwona Wilczek

    This paper aims to analyse new architectural works that were created within the ruins of castles and fortifications. The contribution addresses the question whether it is possible to indicate common features in these types of objects, by studying what changed and how it changed in the complexes of historic ruins by introducing a new layer: a new form in their space. The analysis covers eight complexes of castle ruins located in Europe, all being important elements of local historical heritage, all preserved in their historical forms as permanent ruins. Such places are characterised by high imageability, which is conducive to maintaining interest, despite political or ideological changes. The need to introduce new functions, which is connected with this interest, raises questions related to preserving the identity and authenticity of the place, while at the same time building relationships with modern architecture.

    The research concerned examples from Europe, mostly post-competition works. Research and analysis have shown that all the objects are characterised by well thought-out urban solutions and carefully selected locations of new buildings within the existing historic ruins, thereby helping maintain the structural order between the existing and the new spatial forms. Interventions within the castle ruins were carried out using modern architectural language, using modern techniques and solutions, with great attention to detail. They are characterised by the abstraction of new forms and the creative reinterpretation of existing architectural elements and material solutions of the monuments. The consciously applied contrast of forms and materials means that the historical heritage is being rediscovered, enriched with new, currently necessary functions. In all the described works, the introduction of new spatial experiences within existing objects constituted a significant value. The examples analysed show that the experience and analysis of the broadly understood historical, urban and architectural context are conducive to the creation of valuable architectural works. The characteristics of these examples may contribute to a broader debate on the dialogue between historical heritage and contemporary architecture.

    Nelly Shafik Ramzy

    Semiotics is used in the sphere of visual arts as a tool that helps reading the message included in a certain work. Gothic architecture, as an outcome of the rich cultural context of medieval tradition, where metaphysics, numbers and geometry were indispensable tools to symbolically manifest cosmological and theological concepts, is suggested as a good example for testing this approach in the field of architecture.

    In this paper, a semiotic reading for one of the most distinguished works of this era; i.e., the cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris, is introduced as a model for this methodology. Among many message included in the building, such as the functional or the technical messages, this is a trial to introduce a reading, i.e., an interpretation, of what could be called “a hidden spiritual message”. The paper comes to a conclusion that the Gothic cathedral, as represented in Notre Dame de Paris, might be perceived as an externalization of a standing hymn that was meant to send continuous appeals of protection to Heaven.

    Nastaran Abdollahzadeh, Nimish Biloria

    The quality of outdoor space is becoming increasingly important with the growing rate of urbanization. Visual, acoustic, and thermal balance degradation are all negative impacts associated with outdoor comfort in dense urban fabrics. Urban morphology thus needs assessment and optimization to ensure favorable outdoor thermal comfort (OTC). This study aims to evaluate the thermal performance of streets in residential zones of Liverpool, NSW, Australia, and tries to improve their comfort index (Physiological Equivalent Temperature) to reveal optimum urban configurations. This evaluation is done by investigating the following urban design factors affecting OTC using computational simulation techniques: street orientation, aspect ratio, building typology, and surface coverage. Our findings reveal that street canyon orientation is the most influential factor (46.42%), followed by aspect ratio (30.59%). Among the influential meteorological parameters (air temperature, wind speed, humidity and solar radiation), wind velocity had the most significant impact on the thermal comfort of the outdoor spaces in this coastal region, which typically experiences intense airflow. The results of our analysis can be utilized by multiple stakeholders, allowing them to understand and extract the most vital design factors which contextually influence the thermal comfort of outdoor spaces. Outdoor thermal comfort has a direct effect on the health and wellbeing of occupants of outdoor spaces.

    Soha Eldakdoky, Ahmed Elkhateeb

    This paper investigates the noise inside a metro coach running through the most recent tunnel of Cairo. The study focuses on the effects of alignment profiles on the A-weighted noise level. Although the latest line has not been studied yet, noise levels inside the old lines attracted the attention of researchers due to their importance as the first mass transit system in Africa. Given that windows are usually kept open, measurements were con-ducted inside the empty cabin at the end of the train with open windows according to ISO 3381:2005. Results showed that noise emissions inside the running coaches are high and do not follow either international or general national legislation, which presents health hazards for drivers and commuters. Speech intelligibility is required for train radio units and driver con-soles for voice communications, which provides a safe working environment for the train crew. The present study reveals that tight curves mainly contribute to high noise. The noise levels are further raised by the reflective surface of the tunnel with a circular cross-section and the unballasted track. Moreover, the noise level is affected by the location of the coach and window conditions (open/close) to some extent.

    Lingjiang Huang, Changchao Fan, Zhiqiang (John) Zhai

    In response to the inadaptation and difficulties for architects in the use of engineering simulation tools and optimization methods, a method is proposed for graphical performance evaluation achieved with a developed plugin for Grasshopper as an architect-friendly tool to support design exploration in early stage. The proposed method follows forward workflow for interactive feedback of performance, focusing on thermal and visual comfort upon a variety of design options. A case study of shading design is demonstrated. The demonstration illustrated an intuitive and graphical process for qualitative performance evaluation, which is assisted by an overall ratio ranking the integrated performance of design options for a quantitative comparison. Compared with engineering optimization methods that focus on optimal performance-based solutions, the proposed method presented graphical feedbacks on design performance that are interactive with the designer for performance-informed decision making. In this way, the proposed method stimulates the effective and positive application of engineering tools and judgment at the early stage of iterative design.

    Lixing Chen, Yingzi Zhang, Jiaqin Han, Xing Li

    Landscape elements in residential areas can effectively improve the outdoor thermal environment, with different outcomes depending on the climate conditions. This study explores how the ground surface and shading properties affect the outdoor thermal environment in a high-altitude plateau climate where few studies have been conducted. The measurements were conducted during summer and winter in a residential area in Lhasa, Tibet. Without natural shading such as trees, there is a positive correlation between Sky-view factor (SVF) and Physiological equivalent temperature (PET) during winter and a negative correlation during summer. When SVF exceeds 0.65 in summer, it may cause human discomfort. Compared to artificial shading such as a tensioned membrane, deciduous trees are superior at improving human comfort, as they can increase PET by 10.56℃ in winter and decrease it by 9.73℃ in summer. During summer, high-reflection water-permeable bricks can reduce the PET by 1.08℃, and lawns can reduce the mean radiation temperature (Tmrt) by 1.65℃; however, the lawns may produce a microclimate with a high air temperature. The results from this paper can be used as a reference for landscape planning and design in residential areas in highaltitude cold-climate regions.

    Fabio Fantozzi, Carlo Bibbiani, Caterina Gargari, Roberto Rugani, Giacomo Salvadori

    Green roofs represent a growing technology that is spreading increasingly and rapidly throughout the building sector. The latest national and international regulations are promoting their application for refurbishments and new buildings to increase the energy efficiency of the building stock. In recent years, vegetative coverings have been studied to demonstrate their multiple benefits, such as the reduction of the urban heat island phenomenon and the increase in the albedo of cities. On the contrary, this study aims to verify the actual benefit of applying a green roof on a sloped cover compared with installing a highly insulated tiled roof. The EnergyPlus tool has been used to perform dynamic analyses, which has allowed to understand the behavior of two different stratigraphies in accordance with weather conditions, rain, and irrigation profiles. Results have shown that the installation of a green roof cannot always be considered the best solution for reducing building energy consumption, especially if compared with a classic highly insulated clay tile roof. In terms of summer air conditioning, the maximum saving is 0.72 kWh/m2. The presence of water in the soil has also been proven a crucial factor.