Taubman College

Ph.D. in Architecture / Recent Graduates



The Shipping Container and the Globalization of American Infrastructure.

by Matthew Heins

The Origins of Vancouverism: A Historical Inquiry into the Architecture and Urban form of Vancouver, British Columbia

by Robert Walsh


A Structural Basis for Surface Discretization of Free Form Structures: Integration of Geometry, Materials and Fabrication

by Aysu Berk

This study focuses on free form surfaces and the challenges of construction due to the complex geometry. A unique approach is proposed that incorporates attributes of form, material selection and fabrication methods of free form surfaces into the early stage of design in aid of optimum mesh generation towards redesigning a practically constructible structure. Free form surfaces need to be discretized into panels with manageable sizes so that the surface can be fabricated in smaller pieces that are all assembled on site. Planarity has been a significant constraint for free form discretization because brittle materials, such as glass, can fail suddenly, without any warning. Triangulation has been a common pattern for free form surface discretization, where the panels are always planar. Due to node complexities of triangulated meshing, quadrilaterals are considered as an alternative pattern for free form surfaces. However, the biggest problem with quadrilaterals is that quadrilaterals do not always form planar faces. A method to generate and apply quadrilateral meshing on free form surfaces is introduced in this study where pre-deformed (non-planar) quadrilateral panels are proposed to be used at high curvature areas of the complex surface where planar meshing is not possible. In this study, structural tests and simulations are conducted on quadrilateral panels to find out the limits of surface curvature allowed for specific materials. The analyses demonstrate the behavior of quadrilateral panels under uniform wind load, pre-deformation load and finally a combined load case, which considers wind load on pre-deformed panels. The behavior of quadrilateral panels under pre-deformation is observed, and the relationship between this pre-deformation amount and the related structural and geometric design parameters, such as panel size, thickness, and material properties is investigated. The limiting curvature value for any design then can be determined using these relationships. The results of the study also demonstrate that this pre-deformation acts as pre-tensioning that increases the capacity of the panels to carry more with less deflection.

Life of the Lab: Creating Collaborative Workspaces for Scientists

by Tara Dell

A new generation of research laboratories have entered the academic community. These laboratories have physically co-located several scientific disciplines with the goal of encouraging interdisciplinary interaction, fostering new ideas and laying the groundwork for potential innovation. The purpose of this study is to investigate the relationship between use patterns/social behaviors (for the purpose of this study, social behaviors are defined to survey participants as those that involve physical presence, not interactions via email, text, IM, etc.) and the architectural design of these academic laboratories. The primary question examined is how the design and layout of space influence interaction and collaboration of the occupants. Other related questions arise in this investigation such as how the design and layout influences workspace satisfaction as well as how other workplace design aspects influence the interaction and collaboration of its occupants. The Life Sciences Institute (LSI) at the University of Michigan and the Natural Sciences Building (NSB) at the University of California, San Diego were used as case studies to explore this issue. The LSI and NSB, both completed in 2003, were designed to enhance interdisciplinary collaboration. The buildings house several different science disciplines and also include such design features as open lab spaces, shared equipment, as well as shared group spaces (i.e. conference rooms, break areas). The study focuses on the design characteristics of these two academic science buildings and the interaction and collaboration behaviors of the employees. Multiple methods of data collection are applied to understand these interrelationships. Space Syntax Analysis was used to explore the spatial layout and provide quantitative data explaining the interrelationship among spaces. Several methods were used to gather data regarding interaction within the environment: observations, surveys, and interviews. Social Network Analysis is used to understand the social connections between people working in the building. Collaborative information was obtained from the interviews and Social Network Analysis. Employees' perceptions and satisfaction with their jobs and the workspace were explored through survey questionnaires. The research provides an understanding of the spatial layout properties of each building as well as the interaction and movement patterns of employees. The data shows an association between both the connectivity and integration of spaces with interaction levels. The more integrated spaces show an increased level of movement and the occupants' job role plays a significant part in their interaction and collaboration. The research contributes to an understanding of the interrelationships between workplace design, employee perceptions, interaction patterns and collaboration. Conclusions are drawn from the results to offer suggestions for the design of future collaborative academic laboratories.

Characterizing the Audibility of Sound Field with Diffusion in Architectural Spaces

by Sentagi Sesotya Utami

The significance of diffusion control in room acoustics is that it attempts to avoid echoes by dispersing reflections while removing less valuable sound energy. Some applications place emphasis on the enhancement of late reflections to promote a sense of envelopment, and on methods required to measure the performance of diffusers. What still remains unclear is the impact of diffusion on the audibility quality due to the geometric arrangement of architectural elements. The objective of this research is to characterize the audibility of the sound field with diffusion in architectural space. In order to address this objective, an approach utilizing various methods and new techniques relevant to room acoustics standards was applied. An array of microphones based on beam forming (i.e., an acoustic camera) was utilized for field measurements in a recording studio, classrooms, auditoriums, concert halls and sport arenas. Given the ability to combine a visual image with acoustical data, the impulse responses measured were analyzed to identify the impact of diffusive surfaces on the early, late, and reverberant sound fields. The effects of the room geometry and the proportions of the diffusive and absorptive surfaces were observed by utilizing geometrical room acoustics simulations. The degree of diffuseness in each space was measured by coherences from different measurement positions along with the acoustical conditions predicted by well-known objective parameters such as T30, EDT, C80, and C50. Noticeable differences of the auditory experience were investigated by utilizing computer-based survey techniques, including the use of an immersive virtual environment system, given the current software auralization capabilities. The results based on statistical analysis demonstrate the users' ability to localize the sound and to distinguish the intensity, clarity, and reverberation created within the virtual environment. Impact of architectural elements in diffusion control is evaluated by the design variable interaction, objectively and subjectively. Effectiveness of the diffusive surfaces is determined by the echo reduction and the sense of complete immersion in a given room acoustics volume. Application of such methodology at various stages of design provides the ability to create a better auditory experience by the users. The results based on the cases studied have contributed to the development of new acoustical treatment based on the diffusion characteristics.

Energy Efficiency Design Strategies for Buildings with Grid-Connected Photovoltaic Systems.

by Chanikarn Yimprayoon

The building sector in the United States represents more than 40% of the nation's energy consumption. Energy efficiency design strategies and renewable energy are keys to reduce building energy demand. Grid-connected photovoltaic (PV) systems installed on buildings have been the fastest growing market in the PV industry. This growth poses challenges for buildings qualified to serve in this market sector. Electricity produced from solar energy is intermittent. Matching building electricity demand with PV output can increase PV system efficiency. Through experimental methods and case studies, computer simulations were used to investigate the priorities of energy efficiency design strategies that decreased electricity demand while producing load profiles matching with unique output profiles from PV. Three building types (residential, commercial, and industrial) of varying sizes and use patterns located in 16 climate zones were modeled according to ASHRAE 90.1 requirements. Buildings were analyzed individually and as a group. Complying with ASHRAE energy standards can reduce annual electricity consumption at least 13%. With energy efficiency design strategies, the reduction could reach up to 65%, making it possible for PV systems to meet reduced demands in residential and industrial buildings. The peak electricity demand reduction could be up to 71% with integration of strategies and PV. Reducing lighting power density was the best single strategy with high overall performances. Combined strategies such as zero energy building are also recommended. Electricity consumption reductions are the sum of the reductions from strategies and PV output. However, peak electricity reductions were less than their sum because they reduced peak at different times. The potential of grid stress reduction is significant. Investment incentives from government and utilities are necessary. The PV system sizes on net metering interconnection should not be limited by legislation existing in some states. Data from this study provides insight of impacts from applying energy efficiency design strategies in buildings with grid-connected PV systems. With the current transition from traditional electric grids to future smart grids, this information plus large database of various building conditions allow possible investigations needed by governments or utilities in large scale communities for implementing various measures and policies.


Urban Housing Redevelopment: An Analysis of the Perception of Vitality in Apartment Neighborhood Redevelopment in Korea.

by Youngchul Kim

This study aims to explore residential preferences, satisfaction, and use patterns in a set of case-studies of apartment neighborhoods in Korea. For this, the case-study method is applied with combined research strategies to examine four cases of apartment neighborhood redevelopment in Korea, namely Weolgok R, Gongdeok R, Jangan H, and Yeoksam E apartment estates. This research employs Canter’s place model for organizing a data collection framework to understand the perception of vitality in Korean apartment neighborhoods. The research approach focuses on three elements of Canter’s place model: physical attributes, activities, and meanings. Exploring residents’ perceptions of place vitality, this study reveals that the four examples of Korean apartment redevelopment projects demonstrate increase of physical accessibility and exposure. However, although those four have possibility to be spatially integrated around these neighborhoods, the redevelopment results demonstrate enhancement of segregation from other neighborhoods nearby. In addition, places with vitality are perceived when places inside and outside the redeveloped estates are integrated and exposed, and when people frequent places. However, these perceptions show conflicts of enclosure and exposure and hierarchy of places inside and outside the estates. Accordingly, creating places with vitality is associated with (a) considering integration and exposure of physical place conditions, (b) considering the link between people’s daily experiences and these physical places, (c) balancing boundary conditions around redeveloped neighborhoods. Differentiated, privatized, and semi-gated apartment-dominant context is the model of Korean apartment redevelopment. Findings in the four examples of Korean apartment redevelopment projects indicate that they have integrated spatial configuration inside, yet generate segregation of these apartment neighborhoods from other neighborhoods. Since everyday life is important in and to place vitality, the current method of apartment-dominant neighborhoods needs reconsideration of, indeed promotion of, daily experiences and balance of boundary conflicts in urban housing redevelopment.

Building Siwilai : Transformation of Architecture and Architectural Practice in Siam during the Reign of Rama V, 1868 - 1910

by Pirasri Povatong

This dissertation examines the process through which siwilai–Siamese aristocrats’ conception of civilization–gradually evolved from the mid-nineteenth century to the turn of the twentieth century, as evidenced in parallel transformations in architecture and architectural practice in Siam. During the reign of Rama V, Siamese aristocrats took Europe and their colonies in South and Southeast Asia as the new paradigm of “civilization,” even though the kingdom of Siam was not formally colonized. The construction of siwilai was transcultural since ideas, architectural forms, architectural practice, and even architects, had been transferred and localized in the Siamese setting. Through architecture and urban design, Siamese aristocrats fabricated the public image of not only themselves, but also the kingdom–an independent Oriental nation that was steeped in history yet engaged with enlightened modern internationalism. Late-nineteenth century Siamese architecture was unambiguously syncretic; indigenous and foreign architectural forms and spatial practices were juxtaposed, pastiched, and fused into new cultural forms that defied easy binaries like traditional/modern, Siamese/European, civilized/uncivilized. Furthermore, the dissertation examines how all of this was made possible by the transformation of the architectural practice. During the first half of Rama V’s reign, the Siamese royal master builders gradually gave way to the European builder-contractors, who, in turn, paved the way for the 1889 establishment of the Public Works Department as the institutional means to centralize construction activities. Through the entire period, collaboration between Siamese and Europeans were crucial to the production of hybridized architecture, at the service of the Siamese aristocrat.


by Ashraf Ragheb

In the last two decades, architects and designers have tried to minimize the impacts their buildings have on the environment. Although many architects claim their buildings to be sustainable, unless an objective Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) is conducted, it is difficult to evaluate the total impact that a particular building has on its surrounding environment. The theoretical foundation of the proposed framework consists of two major parts. These are the concepts of environmental sustainability and building environmental assessment. The purpose of this study is to quantify and compare the potential environmental impacts caused by three office buildings throughout their entire life cycle, from extraction of raw materials to disposal of waste. The study also demonstrates how LCA could be applied from a single material to complex systems such as buildings. It highlights the difficulties in modeling a building over a long service life (60 years) and its implications on the design process. To achieve the study objectives, a multiple case study method has been used with the LCA to determine which life cycle phase (manufacturing of materials, construction, use, maintenance, demolition) contribute the most to the total impacts. The study also identifies how building’s key assembly systems (foundations, columns/beams, walls, floors, roofs) influence its environmental impacts during its service life. Three recently-built typical office buildings are used as cases in southeast Michigan along with a streamlined LCA approach based on an inventory of energy use, material inputs and outputs, and environmental impact assessment. Furthermore, the study performed a sensitivity analysis to evaluate the effects of possible materials changes of some of building assembly components (mainly foundations, walls and roofs assemblies) and examine the change on the total impacts during 60 years of life. The study finds that the operation (use) phase of the building has the highest impacts (90+% of total impacts) during its 60 years life cycle in the following impact categories: fossil fuel consumption, global warming potential, acidification potential, and human health respiratory effects potential. Manufacturing phase has the highest impact in the following impact categories: ozone depletion with 87% of total impact, and in eutrophication with 65% of total impact respectively. Furthermore, the study finds that walls system in all building cases has the highest contribution in the following impacts: global warming (26%), acidification (40%), smog potential (35%), and respiratory effect potential (57%). Structure (beams and columns) system has the highest contribution to fossil fuel consumption (31%) and to eutrophication (56%) categories. Roofs system has also significant impacts contribution (second to structure) to fossil fuel consumption (27%), global warming (17%), and comes second to walls contributing in smog potential (29%). Foundations system contributes the most to ozone depletion potential at 58%. Through conducting a sensitivity analysis to the results, the study also find that replacing some building materials with more environmental-friendly alternatives (mainly to foundations, walls and roofs) yields reduction in total impacts by 7%-13% in different impact categories.