Doctor of Philosophy with a Major in Architecture

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Now showing 1 - 10 of 173
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    The Afterlife of Roman Amphitheaters in Italy And Their Role in Shaping the City
    (Georgia Institute of Technology, 2024-05-06) Toth, Anna
    The amphitheater stands out as the most recognizable among all the Roman building types for public spectacles. Serving as a venue for gladiatorial contests, the amphitheater became a symbol of Roman entertainment and grandeur. Its colossal scale and innovative design distinguish it from other structures of its time, making it a cornerstone in understanding ancient Rome’s architectural expertise and cultural impact. These buildings of secular entertainment were significantly affected by the decline of the Roman Empire, leading to fundamental changes in social, religious, and cultural life in Italy and beyond. The fading tradition of public entertainment contributed to the deterioration of the buildings, often subjected to spoliation. In some contemporary cities, such as Rome or Verona, within the Roman Empire’s territory, we can easily identify these ancient structures, which still possess the monumental impact they once embodied. However, in cities like Florence, centuries of transformations have seemingly erased these constructions from the urban landscape. Nevertheless, a careful analysis of urban morphology can trace the lingering effects of the amphitheaters that used to adorn the most important Roman cities. In some cases, the gradual fragmentation of ruins, as seen in Lucca, was interrupted by the re-employment of the structure, providing it with a new function. The reactivation process visibly affected not only the building itself but also its surrounding area. This dissertation explores the relationship between the reutilization of Roman amphitheaters and the transformation of their urban context, emphasizing the evolution of architectural structure and the re-imagination of public space. Rather than treating amphitheaters as discrete objects, the analysis places them and the large voids they contained within the changing post-antique cityscape. It seeks to interpret their role in the dynamics of urban transformation. The presented case studies reveal how the evolution of this building type in various cities had different implications for the continued public vitality of the sites. The study goes beyond mere description, analyzing these urban artifacts to determine if they act as propelling or pathological elements in their urban context. The conclusions center on the architectural attributes, historical circumstances, and topological factors contributing to the amphitheater’s ongoing urban presence and public identity.
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    Sketches Count: The Mies Van Der Rohe’s Dirksen Courthouse Archive Redrawn
    (Georgia Institute of Technology, 2023-12-06) Park, James
    Mies van der Rohe’s Everett McKinley Dirksen United States Courthouse in Chicago built in 1964 is arguably one of the most significant buildings in the history of judicial architecture in the United States and abroad because of its transformative role in the formulation of the conventions underlying contemporary courthouse design. Archived in the Mies van der Rohe Archive at the Museum of Modern Art New York, a significant resource associated with the design of the courthouse is the extensive documentation of the design process at the office of Mies. This body of work consists of 135 sketches, diagrams, and drawings, features alternative solutions, variational schemes, and sectional innovations, and provides an untapped resource to allow a closer look at the expressive range of the architectural language and the technical innovations proposed by one of the most influential architects of the twentieth century. The research takes on the Mies van der Rohe Archive and begins to flesh out the implicit design possibilities that the preliminary representations from the design process of the Dirksen Courthouse present: Are all these possibilities parts of the final scheme that was promoted in the end? If not, are there common themes that pervade each one of them? How important are some design ideas that belong exclusively to some of them but did not appear in the final design? To speculate these in depth, how much effort would it take to complete each of the design variations outlined by the preliminary representations? Can they be completed given the clues in the final design? If not, is it because they are not productive or they are just not compliant with the final scheme? In the end, how significant is this design process to contemporary courthouse design? The work here attempts to address these questions through a formal specification of a shape grammar that foregrounds common characteristics and unique ideas presented in the set of preliminary representations. Ambitiously, the work proposes a formal reconstruction of the final courtroom floor plan of the Dirksen Courthouse and an automated completion of the preliminary representations of key courtroom floor design variations from the design process of the courthouse, materializing the unrealized possibilities embodied in them. More specifically, a generative description of Mies van der Rohe’s courthouse design language is presented in the form of a shape grammar designed and implemented in the Shape Machine, a pioneering recursive shape rewriting technology. The grammar is proposed as an open-ended set of shape rules that can be readily expanded to complete an increasing number of design variations documented in the archive and generate some hypothetical ones that can be, in principle, generated by this dynamic grammar. Significantly, at any moment, new shape rules can be introduced seamlessly, as an intrinsic part of the design process of the grammar, without requiring the reformatting of existing rules or advocating the design of a singular Miesian grammar. The work concludes with a critical assessment of the sequences of the rule applications for the generation of complete courtroom floor plans. The contributions of the dissertation are (a) a generative description of Mies van der Rohe’s courthouse design language in the form of a shape grammar that is designed based on the final design of the Dirksen Courthouse and its design process documented in the Mies van der Rohe Archive at the Museum of Modern Art New York; (b) a formal reconstruction of the final courtroom floor plan of the courthouse; (c) an automated completion of the preliminary representations of key courtroom floor design variations from the design process of the courthouse; (d) a critical account on the significance of the design process of the courthouse in the contemporary courthouse design discourse with an emphasis on the innovative sectional idea of the courtrooms as an unrealized possibility in the making of the final courtroom floor plan, which still remains to be rediscovered in the designing of new courthouses; and (e) some speculations on the significance of the computational method developed for the research in the field of shape computation and on its potential role in bridging the gaps between sketching, diagramming, drafting, and modeling in the digital workflows of architects and designers.
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    The Global Role and Impacts of Building Performance Diagnostics Under Climate Change Considerations
    (Georgia Institute of Technology, 2023-04-25) El Masri, Yasser
    With climate change becoming an existential threat for all living beings, and a matter of national security for states around the world, urgent action is needed to meet the challenges it poses. Buildings are responsible for approximately 40% of total direct and indirect CO2 emissions globally, therefore they present an important sector to target as part of a global strategy to address this problem. This work relates the field of building performance to modern-day challenges of climate change, international relations, and national and energy security policy. The goal of the dissertation is to develop a viable and applicable strategy that can ultimately address these issues through a novel approach. Initially, it will identify current issues with approaches to climate change strategies and national and energy security that are predominantly supply-focused, then help synthesize solutions to these problems through a shift to an energy demand-reduction focused approach for buildings. The research utilizes building energy modeling, non-destructive testing techniques, and computational tools to create workflows that can help policymakers assess the benefits, costs, and feasibility of applying such a strategy. The dissertation aims to bridge the gap between climate change, energy security policy, and building energy consumption on various scales and present it as a realistic solution that helps bypass many of the impediments to currently applied approaches.
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    Development and evaluation of a design tool for occupational therapists to facilitate co-design of assistive technology with designers
    (Georgia Institute of Technology, 2022-05-05) Lee, Su Jin
    Development of effective assistive technology (AT) for individuals for disabilities necessitates close collaboration between occupational therapists (OTs) and designers. Currently, their successful collaboration is hampered by absence of a common language; as a result, clinical insight necessary for creating effective AT are poorly integrated into the design process. This problem can be attributed, in large part, to OTs’ inability to communicate with designers in design-actionable language. For successful ATs to be developed, OTs must be able to translate their clinical understanding of task-performance deficits into task-relevant design attributes that are necessary for designers to make informed design decisions. To enhance OT’s ability to communicate their expertise to designers and, therefore, be a better co-design partner in the co-design process, the aims of this dissertation were to: 1) develop the Dyadic Transfer Performance Instrument (DTPI), a tool designed to help OTs articulate, in design-relevant terms, clinical knowledge pertinent to designing AT interventions for caregiver-assisted transfers, 2) Conduct co-design workshops to engage OTs and designers to i) identify task-related problems with transfers from a pre-recorded video; ii) generate concepts for AT solutions, with and without DTPI, for a real-life case (based on a caregiving dyad experiencing transfer performance difficulties), and 3) Evaluate the usefulness of the DTPI, as measured by the extent to which its use: 1) increases OT’s active engagement in the co-design process; 2) increases OT’s use of design-relevant terms, and 3) improves the experience of participants during the co-design process. The primary output of this dissertation is a tool that empowers OTs to be co-equals in the co-design process, a pre-requisite for co-design teams to create more informative design criteria grounded in task-relevant design characteristics. The DTPI consists of several features: 1) a tag function that allow users to analyze environmental interactions during performance at fine-gained task levels, 2) prompts that facilitate consideration of all relevant design characteristics and attributes, and 3) compilation of data to easily visualize results in a way that supports generating design insights. Analysis of the co-design workshops indicate that the DTPI helps OTs to anchor their clinical assessments in more design relevant terms, increase the efficiency at which their assessments are communicated to designers, and increase their proactive contribution in the brainstorming phase of the co-design process. This project has several short- and long-term outcomes. Most immediately, it demonstrates the feasibility of a tool-mediated co-design method to foster more effective collaboration between OTs and designers. Adoption of more effective co-design methods will, over time, result in more effective AT solutions for transfer performance for which there are persisting unmet needs. Further, more effective AT solutions will improve transfer performance, thus enabling individuals aging with disability to remain at home longer, as well as reduce the physical strain on caregivers.
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    Towards Understanding an Imperfect Built Environment: A Methodology for In-Situ Characterization of Building Envelope Thermal Performance
    (Georgia Institute of Technology, 2022-04-01) Pilet, Tyler J.
    As buildings age, retrofits are becoming an increasingly important topic for the ever-growing and aging existing building stock. Following construction, a building's energy footprint typically remains relatively stagnant, effectively locking-in that building's energy usage for its lifetime. With 50% of America’s building stock built before 1980 and only 0.5–1% of existing buildings retrofitted annually, it is essential to reduce guesswork and make building energy retrofits more accessible to reduce the energy footprint of the building sector. Building retrofits are plagued by a lack of original design documentation and general uncertainty regarding the building's envelope composition and integrity. The goal is this work is to utilize the power of transient heat transfer modeling to non-intrusively characterize the thermal properties of a building's envelope to inform energy modeling, facade design, and project appraisal. This thesis presents a literature survey of the state-of-the-art in in-situ thermal testing, a thermal characterization methodology to non-destructively identify representative thermal properties for existing building envelopes, a simulation-based study to verify the thermal characterization method, two physical experiments to validate the thermal characterization method, and a proof-of-concept machine learning approach to classify in-service assemblies via the proposed thermal characterization methodology. This dissertation is designed to bridge the gap between the discrete procedures of building audits and building energy modeling processes to enable a better understanding of existing building envelopes and reduce guesswork from envelope retrofits.
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    Shape Machine: shape embedding and rewriting in visual design
    (Georgia Institute of Technology, 2021-07-27) Hong, Tzu-Chieh Kurt
    Shape grammar interpreters have been studied for more than forty years addressing several areas of design research including architectural, engineering, and product design. At the core of all these implementations, the operation of embedding – the ability of a shape grammar interpreter to search for subshapes in a geometry model even if they are not explicitly encoded in the database of the system – resists a general solution. It is suggested here that beyond a seemingly long list of technological hurdles, the implementation of shape embedding, that is, the implementation of the mathematical concept of the “part relation” between two shapes, or equivalently, between two drawings, or between a shape and a design, is the single major obstacle to take on. This research identifies five challenges underlying the implementation of shape embedding and shape grammar interpreters at large: 1) complex entanglement of the calculations required for shape embedding and a shape grammar interpreter at large, with those required by a CAD system for modeling and modifying geometry; 2) accumulated errors caused by the modeling processes of CAD systems; 3) accumulated errors caused by the complex calculations required for the derivation of affine, and mostly, perspectival transformations; 4) limited support for indeterminate shape embedding; 5) low performance of the current shape embedding algorithms for models consisting of a large number of shapes. The dissertation aims to provide a comprehensive engineering solution to all these five challenges above. More specifically, the five contributions of the dissertation are: 1) a new architecture to separate the calculations required for the shape embedding and replacement (appropriately called here Shape Machine) vs. the calculations required by a CAD system for the selection, instantiation, transformation, and combination of shapes in CAD modeling; 2) a new modeling calibration system to ensure the effective translation of geometrical types of shapes to their maximal representations without cumulative calculating errors; 3) a new dual-mode system of the derivation of transformations for shape embedding, including a geometric approach next to the known algebraic one, to implement the shape embedding relation under the full spectrum of linear transformations without the accumulated errors caused by the current algorithms; 4) a new multi-step mechanism that resolves all cases of indeterminate embeddings for shapes having fewer registration points than those required for a shape embedding under a particular type of transformation; and 5) a new data representation for hyperplane intersections, the registration point signature, to allow for the effective calculation of shape embeddings for complex drawings consisting of a large number of shapes. All modules are integrated into a common computational framework to test the model for a particular type of shapes – the shapes consisting of lines in the Euclidean plane in the algebra U12.
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    (Georgia Institute of Technology, 2021-07-26) Jung, Yun Joon
    Many global cities have announced ambitious net-zero energy consumption targets or net-zero CO2 emissions plans. It is well recognized that this can only be realized through a mix of measures such as efficiency improvements at the sites of consumption and decentralized energy generation, storage and delivery mechanisms. This transition will not happen without major changes to energy supply networks, especially in the way they enable frictionless inclusion of renewable energy sources and local supply, for instance through microgrids. At the urban scale, buildings constitute the major consumers of electricity and their integration through building-to-building and building-to-grid controls is crucial to realize efficient energy sharing in urban energy networks. Over the last decade, the building energy simulation domain has moved its focus from traditional local studies to urban energy studies. The main objective of this thesis is to make a contribution to this growing research domain, especially in enabling the simulation of energy supply networks in a robust manner and at a large scale. It is possible to simulate such networks with customized software but considering that there is no systematic way to specify urban energy models (especially with multiple concurrent control topologies), the simulation software has to be hand-customized which leads to opaque simulations that moreover are hard to use for rapid variant explorations. The thesis argues that this can be overcome by the development of an urban prosumer (UP) schema that facilitates the specification and automated mapping of an urban energy network into simulations, focusing on the effective specification of controls outside the software. At a high level, the UP schema is comprised of a physical and a logical layer. The physical layer conceptualizes existing urban energy networks using directed graphs for energy transport between nodes. The logical layer conceptualizes how the dynamic processing (reasoning) of sensor data leads to instructions to a set of actuators that execute the control. In doing so, two levels of control are distinguished: (a) “private” (mostly rule-based) control such as the internal HVAC system following temperature setpoints, (b) “public” control that is exposed to the rest of the network and thus within the scope of the UP schema. Public control can be either rule-based or optimal control, the latter driven by an appropriate optimality criterion, defined at a network scale. In design situations, the optimality criterion is not limited to control variables but can also include design parameters, such as building design parameters, solar installation sizes, community battery size, and the number of EV charging stations. Mixed-integer non-linear programming (MINLP) is used to solve optimal control problems. The genetic algorithm is employed to solve design optimization problems. The case studies using the UP schema for ten Georgia Tech campus buildings are presented. The purpose of the case studies is to prove that the UP schema can facilitate simulations involving different levels of controls. The simulations target optimal energy decisions for the selected campus buildings in the presence of PV and electricity battery. Additionally, three residential buildings in California are chosen to investigate how the design and control parameters act together to avoid the power outage situation with the embedded UP schema in the simulation platform.
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    (Georgia Institute of Technology, 2021-05-05) Althobaiti, Mohanned Mutlaq M.
    As building performance is increasingly improved and building energy consumption decreases, a greater percentage of the total energy loss of a building occurs through envelope leakage. This leakage is characterized by the effective leakage area or ELA, which is a proxy parameter to what is essentially a complex flow phenomenon through cracks driven by pressure differences. Moreover, different façades and façade parts have different ELA and are typically subjected to different pressure differences in a given wind condition. This poses major challenges to building energy models. Current building performance simulation (BPS) uses software modules that approximately calculate envelope infiltration, but the literature shows that their calibration and validation is still unsatisfactory. In fact, calibration and validation of BPS models is still an important subject of study in our quest to improve the fidelity of simulation-based predictions in various applications. The high level of interaction and subsumption between parameters can result in a model that approximates the measurements well (and thus meets the ASHRAE auditing threshold) but whose “best estimates” of parameters are unreliable. This can be a problem in performance contracting when limits have been agreed on certain parameters such as ELA and U-value. It can also be problematic in the use of the model for certain performance assessments. This thesis exemplifies the underlying issues by comparing the results of direct and indirect calibration at different fidelities. The study focuses on the calibration of building energy models of existing buildings. It does so by conducting calibration for different experiments, i.e., for different sources of data, and for different model fidelities. The calibration is anchored around ELA and its impact on “best estimates” of other parameters is verified. The study is done with explicit quantification of uncertainties in the experiments as well as in model parameters. The two major experiments considered are (a) direct ELA calibration through tracer gas experiments, (b) indirect ELA calibration with consumption data enhanced by spot temperature measurements. Two case studies on existing buildings are performed. The thesis develops a new framework to address calibration and validation for different combinations of data and model fidelity, where each combination leads to probability distributions of the calibration parameter set. For each combination the ultimate aim is to determine the fitness of the resulting building energy model for given application studies such as building energy benchmarking, fault detection, unmet hour verification, etc. This requires the introduction of a novel fitness measure that determines the confidence level of a particular calibrated model for decisions in a predefined building performance assessment scenario. The thesis shows an early example of how to develop and quantify fitness. The results will be meaningful for better understanding façade infiltration, better understanding of the limits of calibrated models, and the way this translates into fitness of the resulting model. The thesis focuses exclusively on existing buildings, but its findings may lead to large scale data sets of calibrated ELA values in existing buildings, that may find their way into better ELA quantification in energy models of new designs.
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    Gentrification or Health-promoting Resource? Long-term Residents' Perceptions and Use of the Atlanta BeltLine
    (Georgia Institute of Technology, 2021-01-27) Matic, Zorana
    Investments in green infrastructure such as multi-use urban greenways are made with the goal to improve the residents' health by creating space for physical activity, recreation, and social interactions, providing opportunities for active transportation, and increasing exposure to nature's healing effects. Despite the host of benefits, regreening initiatives in lower-income neighborhoods can also catalyze 'green' or 'environmental' gentrification. There is growing empirical evidence that gentrification affects the residents' health and well-being, both positively and adversely. The previous scholarship mostly focused on greenway users and has mainly adopted quantitative methods (such as observation and intercept surveys) to measure green infrastructure use, activity patterns, and users' satisfaction. However, the research on the incumbent residents living adjacent to a newly developed greenway is limited. It is still not fully understood whether incumbent residents have a positive perception of newly installed greenways, the extent to which they take advantage of these new resources, and whether the new greenways mostly attract new and habitually active residents. This research seeks to fill this gap by exploring the interrelationships between green infrastructure, green gentrification, and long-term residents' health and healthy behaviors in Atlanta, which that has recently invested into and developed a number of green infrastructure projects. This dissertation has two studies. Capitalizing on free and readily available U.S. census data, the first study proposes a replicable quantitative approach for developing a composite socioeconomic index as a tool for identifying and measuring gentrification. In the second study, this research closely looks at two historically African American neighborhoods in the early stages of gentrification and adjacent to the new BeltLine recreational trail. By interviewing long-term residents, this research seeks to develop a deeper understanding of green gentrification from their vantage point and to examine their responses to new greenway and opportunities for adopting health-promoting behaviors. The quantitative analysis indicated that nearly half of eligible census tracts in Atlanta are gentrifying, while two-thirds will soon be in various stages of gentrification. The census tracts within one-half mile of the BeltLine proposed path are gentrifying at a slightly faster pace. The Atlanta's gentrification patterns echo the previous findings on the proximity of the BeltLine and growing gentrification pressures in the trail-adjacent neighborhoods. Additionally, the results suggest the association between gentrification and residents' better self-rated health. The analysis found a consistent pattern of decreasing rates of residents who report low physical activity and poor self-rated health (both mental and physical) with increasing levels of gentrification. The interviews revealed much more nuanced responses to the trail construction and green gentrification. Most interviewees perceived and used the new trail as a health-promoting resource; while it enabled the habitual exercisers to maintain active lifestyles, it prompted some new trail users to be physically active. However, concerns regarding gentrification and feeling that new amenities cater to the 'gentrifiers' and not the existing community, in some cases acted as barriers to trail usage and regular physical activity. The findings suggest that perceptions of social environment entwine inextricably with perceptions of the physical environment and the extent to which groups or individuals take advantage of health-promoting resources. This study has important implications for future research and design of effective greening infrastructure to increase trail usage among long-term residents, particularly those who are not habitually active.
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    (Georgia Institute of Technology, 2020-12-08) Rajput, Mayuri
    The application of building simulation serves to assess the performance of a building throughout its lifetime. But the proper use of these applications relies heavily on the boundary conditions under which the behavior of a model is simulated. One of the most important inputs for simulation models is the stimulus by the weather conditions (actual or typical) in which it is supposed to operate. Traditionally, weather data for building simulation is a composed of 8760 hourly values of weather variables (temperature, humidity, solar insolation etc.) derived through statistical means from historical weather data acquired conventionally from remote (usually airport) weather stations. The derived data is taken to represent a typical weather year for a city. However, due to rapid increase in urbanization, weather in city centers with high urban density is significantly different from rural areas, a large part of which is due to localized effects, e.g. urban heat islands, increased albedo of man-made surfaces and anthropogenic emissions. This thesis investigates the relative importance of spatial weather variability in predicted building performance simulation outcomes. Ranking the importance cannot be looked at in isolation but needs to be determined relative to all other sources of uncertainty, predominantly in the parameters of the energy model which in this thesis is EnergyPlus. The latter stem from lack of information or ignorance about many physical and scenario of use parameters. Together they are the ensemble of sources of uncertainties that need to be recognized in any simulation. A sensitivity analysis is conducted to reveal their relative ranking. An inspection of the resulting rank of the effect of spatial weather variability reveals whether the knowledge of local weather, in contrast to the assumption of uniform weather throughout the city, significantly reduces the overall uncertainty in the outcomes of the simulation. It should be recognized that there is only limited availability of localized weather data that reflect variability of urban contexts throughout a city. This recognition leads to the first contribution of this thesis: the development of a high fidelity statistical urban weather model fitted on local urban morphology and recorded weather. This is accomplished with a Multiple Tensor on Tensor (MTOT) regression model. The model can be applied universally and enables building modelers to create synthetic meso scale weather data for their site, essentially putting the individual building in the urban fabric of the city. The resulting model is a new cornerstone in the uncertainty analysis of the building simulation with inclusion of spatial weather variability. It is consequently used to inspect the role of spatially diverse weather in two critical applications. First, at the single building scale it is verified in three applications whether spatially diverse weather plays an important role when the assessment is conducted for a non-specific location in the city. Secondly, the role of spatial variability is tested in a three urban decision making cases where the question is answered whether decisions should be diversified per location. The thesis offers answers to both questions that elevate our understanding of the role of meso scale weather information in building simulation practice.