Apr 2022, Volume 11 Issue 2

Cover illustration

  • YIXING BOOKSTORE AND TEAHOUSE Location: Yixing, Jiangsu, China Client: Dingshu Town Government Architects: ZHU Yuan, XU Qingqing, FAN Cheng, LIU Wenjun, ZHANG Pingping. Profile: Located in Dingshu, Yixing, the bookstore and teahouse is the end note of the tour-route of Gunan Street, around which are low-rise pitched roof houses with brick and wood structures. Responding to the relationship with the site, this project hopes to rethink and transform the traditional elem [Detail] ...

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    Louis Vitalis, Natasha Chayaamor-Heil

    Certain confusion may be observed in the field of biomimetic architecture, as it emerges at the crossroad of two disciplinary domains: architectural design and biological sciences. If biomimetics is defined as a science, once it is applied to architecture, biomimetic architecture should logically be defined as a science too. This assertion collides with the nature of architectural design, which may rather be defined as a technology: its aim is to transform the world, not to explain it. On the one hand, there is no obvious relationship between architecture and life sciences. On the other hand, the biomimetic approach tends to redefine the concept of science itself by seeking to avoid the excesses of scientism. Moreover, existing applications of biomimetic design show that it is difficult to observe a genuine biomimetic architecture; most cases are closer to engineering component or urban planning and sometimes they involve little or no life sciences. The aim of this paper is to describe this conceptual confusion through two movements called “forcings”, occurring between design and science. These forcings are conceptualised as shifts between constructed scientific objects and given empirical objects. Models, used in biology as in architecture, allow these shifts by virtue of their double function. They are both tools for knowledge and for design, thus they may be conceptually forced into what they are not supposed to be, particularly in the field of biomimetic architecture where design process and scientific knowledge are said to meet.

    Maryam Khatibi

    This article explores the socio-spatial interactions of a micro-community in a cluster-house concept apartment. The apartment has been designed for retreat and coliving by mehr als wohnen housing cooperative in Zurich, Switzerland. The methodology of investigation is a qualitative case study, through which housing narratives of three residents as representatives of this communal household are analyzed. In addition, on-site visits and observations, document analyses, and desktop studies are conducted. The originality of the research is in its approach of examining a micro-society through the residential community’s authentic stories, which are in the context of normal times and the COVID-19 pandemic. The findings reveal that the social bonds of the studied cluster cohousing community are significantly maintained through the intermediate zones of the cluster-house arrangement. This socio-spatial interaction has activated the potentials of social innovation and housing resilience in an urban context. The research also highlights points of conflicts and insights for future cluster-concept apartment developments.

    Mohamad Kashef

    This study develops an empirical approach that underlines the effect of land use mix and development grain on pedestrian movement in the streets and public spaces of urban neighborhoods. The study begins with the end in mind; it compares two urban sectors in Abu Dhabi city with broadly recognized contrasting levels of pedestrian movement. The research works backward to identify the combination of built environment attributes that result in differing levels of pedestrian activity between the eastern and western sectors of Abu Dhabi city center. Using Geographic Information Systems maps/data files, direct observations, and field metrics, the study computes various indices related to land use mix, density, and street connectivity for Abu Dhabi central business district. The findings of this study highlight the land use, spatial and street network configurations that enhance pedestrian activity in urban centers. From a local perspective, the research outcome would inform future visions aimed at transforming the city of Abu Dhabi into a global metropolis that provides its citizens and visitors with unique and vibrant urban settings conducive to intra- and inter-neighborhood walkability.

    Gökhan Dede

    The research project illustrates how performance-driven design tools can be conducted as an architectural design methodology that suggests an innovative approach to design a habitation shell in extreme environmental conditions without human assistance. This research study attempts to use environmental data revealed by NASA and its habitat design requirements to develop a conceptual design for an innovative habitation form and then simulate it with Mars conditions to analyze the habitation shell’s structural behavior according to finite element analysis. In this regard, research phases, including layout configuration, form-finding, and structural analysis, have been conducted to explore a habitation concept implemented with generative design tools as a decision-maker in extreme conditions. In conclusion, two generated typologies of proposed habitation forms will be compared in terms of their structural performance under extreme loads of the martian environment. Within this research project, due to the numerous extreme challenges of design and construction of habitation in extreme conditions using conventional approaches, a performance-driven design methodology will provide a rational and sustainable design methodology to tackle extreme barriers to Mars’s environment.

    Xing Chen

    Understanding the physical characteristics and cultural connotations of the historical city is essential for the preservation of their hereditary and cultural values. This work aims to gain a more in-depth understanding of the historical city by identifying the relationship between religious buildings and the urban spatial morphology and the urban operation.

    Taiyuan, a northern city in China, is a suitable case for exploring this research idea. Cities with frequent foreign exchanges and distinct living groups tend to have more prosperous religious cultures than those in the central areas. The expansion of Taiyuan in the Ming Dynasty and the presence of Prince Jin, who respected Buddhism and Taoism, exacerbated the impact of the religious building on urban development. With regard to the evolution of Taiyuan in the Ming Dynasty, we highlight the changes in urban space brought by the religious buildings through the content analysis of the historical documents. Furthermore, the social functions of religious buildings are revealed, fleshing out the trajectory of the mutual development of religious buildings and Taiyuan in the Ming Dynasty.

    On this basis, the research findings are linked to the current needs of historical city preservation through the survey of reality. We suggest to coordinate the protection of religious architectural heritage and urban characteristics brought by religious factors and emphasize the utilization of religious architectural heritage as a potential culture and economic regeneration pathway.

    Esperanza González-Redondo

    The constructive analysis of Madrid’s old timber-framed collective courtyard buildings, whether demolished, preserved intact, or enlarged, has achieved the dating of relevant case studies. New parameters established in this study set a chronology based on front sector original projects: old (1737e1788), pre-modern (1788e1847) and modern (1847e1892). The onsite inspection and archival research point to ongoing misleading construction in the historic Southern area. Some modern corralas erected on top of pre-existing buildings confirm the initial hypothesis. First dimensioning rules for new façades and the stability required in old ones before adding new storeys, maintaining the original masonry or double-layered system, are discovered. Undated buildings suggest their possible origin a la malicia and a later transformation into transitional corralas. Finally, an analysis of the demolished courtyards narrows down the dating and points to new conjectures in some preserved by showing their uneven layout, old features, and structural discordances in each sector.

    Mingjie Zhang, Wei You, Qin Qin, Dandan Peng, Youpei Hu, Zhi Gao, Riccardo Buccolieri

    The morphology of urban residential blocks in China, which is strictly affected by regulations, can potentially improve or deteriorate microclimates. This paper first proposes a framework for identifying typical residential block typologies using Nanjing as an example. A thorough investigation, consisting of 114 samples, was conducted, and 18 typical residential block typologies were summarized. Second, 3D non-isothermal numerical simulations were performed on the hottest days of summer using the ENVI-met. The effect of morphological indices on the microclimate at the pedestrian level was explored using statistical methods and a novel graphic method named m-SpaceMate. The results revealed a strong correlation between the urban heat island intensity (UHII), mean radiation temperature, and universal thermal climate index (UTCI) and floor area ratio (FAR), as well as between wind velocity (U) and building coverage ratio (BCR). A significant increase in FAR (by approximately 1.0) can result in a low UTCI that was driven by MRT and shading conditions. Six-floor blocks, with FAR between 1.8 and 2.1, had a better overall thermal environment (except for lower U) than that of 11-floor blocks. When considering a similar BCR, blocks with slab-type buildings tended to have a U that was higher by approximately 30%.

    Khaled Bataineh, Ayham Al Rabee

    The objective of this study is to identify cost-optimal efficiency packages at several levels of building energy savings. A two-story residential building located in Jordan is selected as a case study. DesignBuilder software is used to predict the annual energy usage of a twostory residence in Irbid, Jordan. Real-time experimental data from a single isolated controlled room was used to verify the proposed model. In addition to energy analysis, the economic, environmental, and social benefits of the proposed design have been investigated. The sequential search optimization approach is used to estimate the minimum cost of the building while considering various design scenarios. In addition, the impact of various energy conservation techniques on residential buildings is assessed, and the payback period for each program is calculated. Ultimately, the optimal combination of design to achieve energy efficiency measures has been identified in several climate regions. The simulations results predict that the annual electricity consumption can be reduced up to 50% if the proper combinations of energy conservation measures are selected at the lowest cost. The payback period is 9.3 years. Finally, energy efficiency measures can lead to a total of 9470 jobs/year job opportunities.

    The study provide practical framework to link between energy performance criteria and economic goals of building. Linking the energy performance requirements to economic targets provides guidelines for homeowners, contractors, and policymakers for making a suitable decision regarding the retrofitting of existing residential buildings. The study focuses on developing new methodologies that support minimizing costs during a building’s lifecycle while maximizing environmental benefits which can not be identified by a series of parametric analyses using individual energy-efficient measures.

    Jeroen van Ameijde, Chun Yu Ma, Garvin Goepel, Clive Kirsten, Jeff Wong

    In the context of ongoing densification of cities and aging urban populations, public spaces are a crucial infrastructure to support the physical and mental wellbeing of urban residents. The design of public space furniture elements is often standardised, and not considered in relation to environmental conditions and mechanisms of social interaction. This article presents a digital workflow to generate site-specific designs for shaded public seating, considering the relationships of local public places to their surroundings. A strategy for customised and site-specific design is developed through the use of multiple software tools, employing evolutionary algorithms and multi-objective optimisation. The method is applied to a small public space canopy prototype installed within a public housing estate in Hong Kong, incorporating additional criteria to achieve a low-cost and light-weight structure. Through multiple stages of refinement and optimisation, a material, structural and social performance-driven outcome was achieved that creates a shaded space for public seating, people watching and social interaction. As part of a larger research agenda exploring architectural form-finding and environmental psychology, the project represents potential new applications in the emerging field of socially driven computational design.

    Iasef Md Rian

    Chinese ice-ray lattices are perhaps one of the earliest and controlled designs of asymmetric and complex patterns applied as a traditional motif in windows. Such intricate and complex designs developed centuries back have created an evident curiosity to explore its underlying geometric rules. Some scholars used the Shape Grammar as a tool to explain and recreate similar patterns. The previous studies conceive the ice-ray lattice design as the iterative subdivisions of a polygon. However, they missed explaining this geometric quality through the discussion of fractal geometry, which can explain the shapes consuming self-similar or self-affine repetitions of itself at different scales. As a novel approach, this paper analytically focuses on the fractal characters of ice-ray lattice designs and uses fractal geometry as a unique tool for generating different types of ice-ray lattices. The significance of this study is the demonstration of the efficacy of fractal geometry and the simple geometric rule of IFS for analyzing and algorithmically modeling complex lattices and cracked-like patterns.

    Xin Yan, Dingwen Bao, Yufang Zhou, Yimin Xie, Tong Cui

    With the ability to generate forms with high efficiency and elegant geometry, topology optimization has been increasingly used in architectural and structural designs. However, the conventional topology optimization techniques aim at achieving the structurally most efficient solution without any potential for architects or designers to control the design details. This paper introduces three strategies based on Bi-directional Evolutionary Structural Optimization (BESO) method to artificially pre-design the topological optimized structures. These strategies have been successfully applied in the computational morphogenesis of various structures for solving practical design problems. The results demonstrate that the developed methodology can provide the designer with structurally efficient and topologically different solutions according to their proposed designs with multi-filter radii, multi-volume fractions, and multi-weighting coefficients. This work establishes a general approach to integrating objective topology optimization methods with subjective human design preferences, which has great potential for practical applications in architecture and engineering industry.

    Xiaoxiao Wang, Ruiting Shi, Fangru Niu

    The living conditions in Macao are characterized by a dense population, a land shortage, and old residences, especially on the Macao Peninsula. This work investigates the demands and living conditions of different types of aged residents of the Youhan Community of Macao through a questionnaire survey and research analysis. The demands and living conditions are then classified and summarized through quantitative analysis, and their correlations are identified. Based on ergonomics and the physical, psychological, and behavioral patterns of aged people, issues that require attention when configuring furniture for different types of aged people in their residential living spaces are identified. Finally, several criteria for interior furniture configuration for different types of aged people are proposed by integrating the demands of different types of aged people with the concerns that need attention. A preliminarily quantifiable model is then proposed for living room furniture configuration from the perspective of aged people.