Improving Design Decision-Making through a Re-Representation Tool for Visual Comfort Consideration in Dynamic Daylit Spaces

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Virginia Tech

Light and architectural design are inseparable. Light plays a significant role in the perception of the place. One of the main reasons a good number of today's buildings are unsuccessful regarding visual conditions and comfort is because they are only focused on function and structure without considering the quality of the place. Design for spaces often does not fully consider the setting where the building is placed. This connection with the surrounding environment can turn the space into a place where an occupant feels his existence and sense of dwelling while being at peace. Daylight is one aspect that can enhance the sense of place and influence the personal interpretations and impressions that last long after leaving the place. Today, architects are being asked to consider low-energy design with daylighting in their designs. In response to this, there is growing interest in the study of visually disturbing effects such as glare and poor visual comfort that can adversely impact the sense of dwelling. While several studies on visual comfort have been conducted, very little research addressed movement through space and the time-dependency of daylighting. Concern for daylight control is needed in buildings especially museums and art galleries because of their exhibits' sensitivity to light. To address the dynamic daylight conditions, this research proposes a framework for an innovative approach to improving design decision-making by evaluating visual comfort during the early stages of design, which can alter the design process. A framework-based prototype has been designed for this research that uses Grasshopper and its sub-components to interface with Radiance and Daysim. In addition to quantitative outputs, special re-representation is used for qualitative analysis to support design decision-making. Through logical argumentation, prototyping, immersive case study, and member impressions via a Delphi panel, an interpretive approach is used to demonstrate the enhancement in design decision-making that occurs when one considers dynamic daylighting. The research outcomes are expected to provide researchers, designers, and decision makers with a new approach to designing and re-imagining spaces to improve visual comfort and the quality of the place.

Daylighting, Visual Comfort, Glare, Design Process, Decision-making