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Representative M.S. in Architecture Thesis Abstracts


Tahseen Hussain – Dr. Xuemei Zhu
Building Evaluation Tools to Assess the Usability of Primary Care Clinics
Abstract: Primary care clinics play a vital role in the US healthcare system, providing preventative and cost-effective care. New trends in healthcare such as the development of the medical home model for care, the application of electronic medical records (EMRs), the effort to increase access to care, and the need to adhere to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) will have direct impacts on the work flow and spatial delineation of primary care clinics. To ensure the success of primary care practices, the architectural design of primary care clinics needs to address these changes to satisfy both patients and staff, and to improve efficiency and outcomes of care. There is limited literature on the design usability (efficiency, effectiveness, and user satisfaction) of primary care clinics. This study developed a set of building usability evaluation tools to collect, analyze and interpret the “usability” of a primary care facility. The study used previous literature as well as a case study primary care clinic in Maryland as a basis to develop these tools. In the clinic, data were collected through an initial interview with the head nurse, a forty-hour behavioral observation, and a staff survey. A behavioral observation tool and a survey questionnaire were developed for the data collection. For data analysis, JMP Pro 9 software was used to analyze the data collected through behavioral observation and the staff survey. The literature review developed a “Building Usability Framework” specifically for healthcare design. A data analysis tool, the “Usability Matrix” was created to integrate and understand the analyzed data within the Building Usability Framework. Integrating the analyzed data from the case study within the Usability Matrix, a primary care clinic usability evaluation survey was developed at the end of the study. This survey along with the behavioral observation tool and design analysis tools were compiled together to produce the “Building Usability Evaluation Tool-Kit for Primary Care Clinics.” This tool-kit can be used by architects and researchers interested in designing and analyzing “usable” primary care clinics.

Himanshu Madhani – Dr. Stephen Caffey
Assessing the Potential of Developing a Tool for Residential Facility Management Using Building Information Modeling Software
Abstract: Building Information Modeling (BIM) has changed the ways buildings are designed and constructed. Along with design and construction, operation and maintenance of the built facility is also gaining importance in the Architecture-Engineering-Construction industry. Facility management (FM) is widely adopted by industrial, healthcare and other types of commercial facilities for better maintenance and management of assets. BIM is being adopted in the field of Facility management and has become one of the most important tools for better application of operation and maintenance. Facility management is performed by professionals with training and experience in the related fields of building operation, maintenance, upgrade and repair. BIM is a professional tool which requires intense training and knowledge. This tool cannot be used and is hard to understand for non-professionals and people who do not have training to use it. Management of residences is as important as management of commercial, industrial and healthcare facilities for the life and smooth running of such facilities. Residential facilities are properties with one or more residential units or buildings. These buildings could be low rise, high rise or individual units. This thesis will help in analyzing the scope of using BIM and Application Programming Interface (API) for management of maintenance in residences by the owner who are not professionally trained. The research analyzes a single, basic function of a BIM tool to determine the potential for such a tool to help non-expert, first time user to be able to understand their residential facilities maintenance requirements. It is an attempt to propose a system which provides alerts to the owners regarding required maintenance and which shows the location of the work in a 3D model. The system was designed and tested in Microsoft Windows 7 operating system by using Autodesk® Revit building information software to make the 3D model, a Revit API plug-in to craft the alerts and show the location of work and Open Database Connectivity (ODBC) to export the model to a web browser. The system worked through Revit program, but the concept of applying the system to work through web browser failed.


Glenn Marsh – Prof. Kirk Hamilton
Examination of Process Implementation of Evidence-based Design Initiatives on United States Army Medical Construction
Abstract: The objective of this research is to review the degree of United States Army compliance in the implementation of evidence-based design practices within the Military Health System construction cycle. This research looks at the impact of the 2007 Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs memorandum directing the use of evidence-based design within the Military Healthcare System construction process. The memorandum impacted the military medical construction process that includes over 6.2 billion dollars in government programmed military medical construction covering 9.2 million beneficiaries. An analysis of federal construction documents, interviews, and an online survey was conducted with 85 government and civilian healthcare facility planners to measure general evidence-based design knowledge, direct knowledge of medical construction policy requirements, and the level to which the Military Health System Evidence-based Design Principles matrix has been implemented within four selected military medical construction projects. Results of the review of construction publications show minimal evidence of evidence-based design incorporation with key federal regulatory documents. The results of an online survey conducted during the research had a 65.8% response rate (39 government personnel, 17 civilian personnel). The survey showed that basic knowledge of evidence-based design was present, but revealed severe deficiencies in specific knowledge and application of construction policies. Review of selected medical facilities demonstrated non-standardized incorporation of evidence-based design features. This research concludes that evidence-based design has achieved minimal integration into the Military Health System general knowledge base and project execution. Achieving compliance with the 2007 directive memorandum requires that significant efforts be made in personnel training and reconciliation with federal military medical construction documents.


Anorea Hill — Prof. Valerian Miranda
Occupant evaluation of leadership in energy and environmental design (LEED) certified health centers
Abstract: Throughout the life-cycle of a design project, architects rely heavily on their tacit design knowledge to support design decisions. Tacit knowledge is highly personal and implicit. As such, it encompasses expertise, intuitive understanding, and professional insight formed as a result of experience. Due to its implicit nature, tacit design knowledge is typically shared only among colleagues who work in the same office through face-to-face interactions. With emerging Computer-Mediated Communication (CMC) technologies, designers face new opportunities for capturing and reusing tacit design knowledge. However, there is no accepted CMC strategy for sharing tacit design knowledge in the Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) industry. This research investigates the impact of tacit design knowledge on design performance in a distributed design environment supported by CMC software. The software was developed and tested in three design studios in which design students sought advice from experts in remote locations. It provides tools for showing images, such as drawings and renderings, and for engaging in a written dialogue (chat session). The written and graphic artifacts of the conversation are stored in a Web-accessible database. The chat sessions included the identification, clarification, and explanation of real problems. Dialogue records provide evidence of a significant influence upon the students' approach to conceptual design. Content analysis of the comments from the experts provides qualitative evidence for the software's effectiveness. The participants shared past experience, professional recommendations, and intuitive expectations. In follow-up surveys, most participants reported that their experience with the software was very enjoyable and the software is well-designed to support sharing of design knowledge. This research also suggests that tacit design knowledge may be confidently captured and shared through careful strategic implementation of CMC technology in a distributed design environment. Demographic and attitudinal surveys of the participants suggest that enabling factors for sharing tacit design knowledge include knowledge sharing attitude,just-in-time expertise matching, and timing of the communication. URI:

Urmila Srinivasan — Prof. Robert Warden
Approaches to the use of geometry in architecture: a study of the work of Andrea Palladio, Frank Lloyd Wright and Frank Gehry Abstract: Geometry deals with form, shape, and measurement and is a part of mathematics where visual thought is dominant. Both design and construction in architecture deal with visualization, and architects constantly employ geometry. Today, with the advent of computer software, architects can visualize forms that go beyond our everyday experience. Some architects claim that the complex forms of their works have correlations with non-Euclidean geometry, but the space we experience is still Euclidean. Given this context, I have explored possible correlations that might exist between mathematical concepts of geometry and the employment of geometry in architectural design from a historic perspective. The main focus will be to describe the two phenomena historically, and then investigate any connections that might emerge from the discussion. While discussing the way geometry has been approached in architecture, I have focused on the Renaissance, Modern, and Post-modern phases as they have a distinct style and expression. Andrea Palladio, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Frank Gehry's works will be case studies for the Renaissance, Modern, and Post-modern phases respectively. One of the important conclusions of this study is that architects use geometry in a more subconscious and intuitive manner while designing. Certain approaches to geometry can be determined by the way an architect deals with form and space. From the discussions of the works of Palladio, Wright, and Gehry, it can be concluded that from a two-dimensional simple approach to form and space in architecture, there has been a development of thinking about complex forms three dimensionally. Similarly, in mathematics, geometry has developed from a two-dimensional and abstract description of our surroundings to something that can capture the complex and specific nature of a phenomena. It is also shown that architects rarely come up with new concepts of geometry. Significant developments in geometry have always been in the domain of mathematics. Hence, most correlations between geometry in architecture and geometry in mathematics develop much later than the introduction of those concepts of geometry in mathematics. It is also found that the use of Euclidean geometry persists in architecture and that later concepts like non-Euclidean geometry cannot be used in an instrumental manner in architecture.
PDF: Srinivasan.pdf


Kapil Upadhyay — Prof. Liliana Beltran
Evaluation of a deep plan office space daylight with an Optical light pipe and a specular light shelf
Abstract: This research developed the Optical Light Pipe (OLP) as a feasible solution to solve the problem of insufficient daylighting in deep plan office spaces for predominantly sunny climates. It further combined the OLP with a Specular Light Shelf (SLS) to achieve uniform daylighting. This research was performed with an experimental setup of two 1:4 scale models of deep plan office spaces, modified from an earlier research on optical light pipe at College Station, TX. Blinds and shading devices were installed on the south façade to provide daylight to the front zone of a 20 feet by 30 feet office module. The back zone was daylit by the OLP hidden in the plenum. The existing OLP design was optimized through computer aided ray-tracing. The SLS design was based on an earlier prototype designed at Lawrence Berkeley National Labs (LBNL). Results were based on observations made on clear and cloudy sky days between February 3rd and March 17th. The OLP achieved more than 300 lux of average workplane illuminance for 7.4 hours, when global horizontal illuminance was greater than 40,000 lux. It also achieved 200 lux of illuminance higher than an earlier prototype (Martins-Mogo, 2005) on workplane between 1000hrs and 1630hrs. It exhibited a glare free daylight distribution with luminance ratios well within prescribed limits on most of the vertical surfaces, with a relatively uniform illuminance distribution on back taskplane. OLP was better than windows with blinds and shading at providing diffuse daylight in backzone on a cloudy day, when global horizontal illuminance was greater than 20,000 lux. The OLP used in combination with SLS achieved more than 500 lux of average workplane illuminance for 6 hours, when global horizontal illuminance was greater than 40,000 lux. SLS also produced more uniform illuminance levels on the workplane at all times and on the left wall at most times. However, it produced non-uniform luminance distribution on walls and ceiling and luminance ratios higher than allowable limits on the sidewall for some morning hours, and hence needed further refinement in design.

Lesa Rozmarek — Prof. Robert Warden
An examination of the pre-design process documentation and the impact on the renovations of three historic theaters
Abstract: This thesis examines the pre-design documentation from the renovation of three historic theaters located in Detroit, Michigan. Two theaters hired architectural firms to produce a pre-design document. The third theater utilized a design-build approach to renovation. Interviews were conducted to review the approach and final outcomes. It became evident through the analysis of the documentation and interviews that it was beneficial in the renovation of a historic theater to have a comprehensive pre-design process that identifies: the nature of the pre-design document, the nature of the client, the nature of the pre-design team, and the scope of work and time available. It also became apparent that the organizational approach that would apply to most any document for a heritage building should follow the Problem Seeking format of: Form, Function, Time and Economy. Utilizing this format for a pre-design record should yield a document that is concise, comprehensive and flexible.
PDF: Rozmarek.pdf


Azza Al Zaabi — Prof. Valerian Miranda
Demonstration and analysis of tangible heritage management strategy using geographical information systems for the city of Al-Ain, United Arab Emirates
Abstract: The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is focusing on towards two paradoxical directions especially after the oil-boom. The first is the contemporary architectural development, while the second is the conservation of traditional dwellings and historical sites in the country. It is obvious that the management and planning towards the first direction are fully integrated and highly précised to be implemented efficiently, thus,unveiling a new façade of contemporary lifestyle to the world. But the second direction is lacking good strategic efforts for conservation, preservation methods and tourism promotion, especially among different authorities that are in charge of either management or implementation of conservation techniques. Therefore, the country started looking for solutions that initiate the right management strategy to be followed and improve the use and promotion of tangible heritage . In this research, I am taking the case of the city of Al-Ain since it has started taking the path and has established an agreement with UNESCO. Geographical Information Systems is used in this research as a tool to implement the major objectives and solutions for issues discussed in the agreement. In this research, the main issues that were discussed in the agreement were segregated and studied separately in terms of geographic extent, then, spatially represented on the map. Furthermore, they were analyzed using the different techniques in the Geographical Information Systems software ArcGIS to demonstrate each issue and problem and study its expected results. It was clear from this research that these issues were clearly presented using the software and will aid in the decision making process, especially for stakeholders and different entities in the city of Al Ain.
PDF: etd-tamu-2006B-ARCH-Al.pdf

Jin Su Jeong — Prof. Valerian Miranda
Web-based feedback system: The life cycle management as continuous maintenance of apartment facility information.
Abstract: This research investigates the feasibility of web technology as a means of delivering facility information for better support of facility operations and maintenance. This study proposes a web-based feedback system as a pragmatic solution to the limitations of current facility management (FM) processes, increasing the efficiency of these processes via web technology. In practice, work orders and records are often misplaced, resulting in reduced efficiencies, redundancies, and time-consuming, costly tasks. This problem may be overcome by use of a system that stores information digitally and provides a web-based interface. The interface could allow operations personnel to create documentation, share and monitor work orders, provide feedback for service online, and facilitate communication between facility teams. The benefit for a FM department is that it can receive feedback on performance, which would improve the quality of service and build a record of practical experiences. In this research, the software was tested using two types of prototype testing: first, system testing to evaluate functionality, usability and capability; and second, a post-task questionnaire survey was conducted to test and review the concept, interface, and usability of the system. Facility Management Industry Advisor Council (FMIAC) members answered the questionnaires after using the system posted on the web. By using web-based feedback system, a facility web site can be created and maintained easily through a standard web browser. The questionnaires from the FMIAC members were analyzed to test research questions. The tests show that the software aids facilities managers in maintaining living documents of their facilities.
PDF: etd-tamu-2006B-ARCH-Jeong.pdf

Kwang Jun Lee — Prof. Valerian Miranda
The web-based graphic service request system for facility management of apartments
Abstract: This research investigates the feasibility of web technology as a means of handling service requests for delivering high quality service in building operation and maintenance. This research proposes a web-based graphic service request (WGSR) system as a pragmatic solution to the limitations of current computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) processes. Service request process in CMMS was developed as text-based, so that it is hard for ordinary tenants to use. Therefore, when tenants have a problem in a facility, they prefer calling in service requests or going to the office instead of using the internet service request application. In practice, work orders and records are often misplaced - resulting in lower efficiency and customer satisfaction. This may be overcome by a system that states information digitally and provides a web-based Graphic Service Request (WGSR) interface. The interface allow customers to report environmental problems in the facility, trace their work order progress, view schedules for maintenance, and provide feedback for service online. The WGSR system is an end-user point-and-click graphical interface that allows residents to request service by selecting a problem fixture on a floor plan image. By using HTML image map tags and combination of location, part, and types of problem identification number, the resident's input produces a text-based problem report for Facility Management (FM) departments that allows them to service requests on the fly. To solve the complexity and inefficiency issues of CMMS, the user interface for the WGRS system consists of a perspective drawing or isometric drawing of each unit's plan. An empirical test of the system and post-task survey was conducted to determine the efficiency and usefulness of the system. The analysis of the results shows the system to be efficient and convenient in several fields, including comprehensibility, navigability, simplicity, clarity, compatibility, and graphic appeal. This result shows that residents prefer to use the WGSR system and could reduce the effort needed to make and receive service request phone calls and input information into a database. The labor and time for daily work could be saved to recognize problems correctly and set the right schedule so that this could be used for preventive work and project work.
PDF: etd-tamu-2006B-ARCH-Lee.pdf

Melanie Joseph — Prof. Phillip Tabb
A Pattern Language for Sacred Secular Places
Abstract: "Pattern Language" is a term popularized by Christopher Alexander and his co-authors of the book A Pattern Language: Towns, Buildings, Construction, Sara Ishikawa, and Murray Silverstein in the late 1970's. Though intended to enable every citizen to design and construct their own home, pattern language never quite caught up with those in the field of architecture, mostly because of its lack of flexibility. The core idea of Alexander's pattern language was to arm architects, designers, and the common people with a tool that would empower them to make informed decisions related to designing places that would comply with their needs and wants. What architecture needs the most today is the ability to heal and invigorate. I believe that contemporary architecture lacks such places that enable occupants to connect and communicate with what is within and what is without. A number of studies have proven that universally sacred (a majority of which are religious in function) places are charged with energies that could contribute towards this process. The energies, also referred to as "patterns," are the energies unique to a place that make it special and sacred (not just in the religious context but also in the secular context). This thesis is an attempt to derive a new pattern language for the creation of sacred "secular" places like our homes and work places which draw from the pattern lists that have been proposed in four separate instances by authors including Christopher Alexander and Phillip Tabb. This new pattern list is aimed at providing architects and designers with a tool for creating secular places with an element of sacrality without having to taking on a religious meaning.
PDF: etd-tamu-2006A-ARCH-Joseph.pdf


Alene Reich — Prof. David Woodcock
Utilitas and Venustas: Balancing utility and authenticity in stewardship of our built heritage
Abstract: This thesis examines the past, present, and potential future of the practice of Heritage Conservation. Beginning with ancient Roman Architect, Vitruvius, this study establishes a vocabulary for the ideals of preservation practice. Utilitas and venustas, as two of the defining features of good architecture, are also key features to consider in the stewardship of a historic building in active use. The data set used in this evaluation comes from a symposium given in November 2004 by the Association for Preservation Technology International (APT), the United States General Services Administration (GSA), and the United States National Park Service (NPS). Historical background is presented to give a context for the symposium, which includes foundations, policy, and practice in the United States. The Venice Charter, National Historic Preservation Act, NPS, and GSA have been chosen for the Literature Review to provide this background. With utilitas and venustas as additional criteria for evaluation, the symposium case studies were mined for examples of practice that could be used to make suggestions for the future. Based on these examples and the possibilities for improving practice, this study concludes that the United States should draft a new document outlining an updated philosophy and policy for preservation. Future research would serve to develop refinements of existing frameworks and to create a new standard for "best practice".
PDF: etd-tamu-2005C-ARCH-Reich.pdf

Joon Ho Choi —Prof. Liliana Beltran
Study of the relationship between indoor daylight environments and patient average length of stay (alos) in healthcare facilities
Abstract: This study investigates how indoor daylight environments affect patient Average Length of Stay (ALOS), by evaluating and analyzing daylight levels in patient rooms in comparison to their ALOS. The patient ALOS data were taken at one general hospital in Inchon, Korea and the other in Bryan, Texas, U.S.A.; physical, environmental and daylighting conditions were assessed at each building site. The gathered data were analyzed using SPSS statistical package to determine the trends in patients' length of stay in hospital wards with 95% and 90% statistical significances. The data were categorized based on the orientation of a patient room and were compared between different orientations and types of patient rooms in the same ward of each hospital. Selected hospital wards were classified based on their orientations and types of patient rooms. The other variables considered in the study were: the differences in daylighting environments (illuminance, luminance ration, daylight factor, diversity and uniformity of illuminance), and physical environment properties of the patient rooms of each hospital, and how these affected patient ALOS in both locations (Inchon and Bryan). To analyze the daylighting environment, on-site measurements, RADIANCE simulations and physical scale model measurements were conducted. This study also investigated patients' feelings and opinions, and their preferences in daylighting environments with the questionnaire survey. Through this study, three hypotheses were tested and was evidence for the following conclusions. First, there may be a positive relationship between indoor daylight environments and ALOS. Second, seasonal weather differences cause different indoor daylighting levels and may influence the length of patient hospitalization. Third, overall patient satisfaction and reactions to patient rooms may be related with indoor daylight environments. More controllable shading devices, naturally lighted indoor environments, and glare prevention create positive outcomes for patient ALOS and visual comfort. To increase the validity and confidence about the positive effects of daylight on human physiological conditions, further studies are necessary which provide more samples, facilities and other variables. This study was created as a basis for the development of recommendations for designing patient rooms in healthcare facilities and, as a result, should be used to achieve more effective healing environments.
PDF: etd-tamu-2005C-ARCH-Choi.pdf

Nancy Crowley — Prof. Anat Geva
The influence of local and imported factors on the design and construction of the spanish missions in San Antonio, Texas
Abstract: San Antonio, Texas, is home to several eighteenth-century Spanish Franciscan missions, which represent some of the best examples of Spanish colonial mission architecture in the United States and which together comprise the city's historic Chain of Missions. This study traces the history of four of these missions: Mission Nuestra Senora de la Purisima Concepcion de Acuna, Mission San Jose y San Miguel de Aguayo, Mission San Juan Capistrano, and Mission San Francisco de la Espada. Founded by Franciscan friars, who traveled from Spain to Mexico and ultimately to Texas to christianize native populations of the Americas, and built by craftsmen transplanted from Mexico, the missions are an amalgam of diverse cultures and decades of evolving architectural styles. This study examines the cultural, religious, and environmental factors that influenced the design and construction of the original mission structures. Specifically, it analyzes the vernacular architecture of eighteenth-century Spain and Mexico, as well as the traditions of local Native American groups of the period, and studies the effect of these cultures and San Antonio's environmental conditions on the resulting vernacular construction of the San Antonio missions. Each of the four missions in this study is examined within the context of three main factors: (a) the unique combination of broad cultural factors - both local and imported - that influenced the architectural forms of the missions; (b) the religious prescriptions of three cultural groups and their effect on the structure of the missions; and (c) the impact of the specific environmental conditions of the San Antonio area. The goal of this study was to identify the multiple forces that contributed to the creation of a vernacular architectural form-Spanish mission architecture-in Texas. The findings suggest that the design and construction of the San Antonio Missions were most strongly influenced by Mexican religious factors, followed by Spanish cultural factors. Environmental conditions of the area were not highly influential.
PDF: etd-tamu-2005C-ARCH-Crowley.pdf

Mini Malhotra — Prof. Jeff Haberl
An analysis of maximum residential energy-efficiency in hot and humid climates
Abstract: Energy-efficient building design involves minimizing the energy use and optimizing the performance of individual systems and components of the building. The benefits of energy-efficient design, in the residential sector, are direct and tangible, provided that design strategies with a substantial combined energy and cost-saving potential are adopted. Many studies have been performed to evaluate the energy-saving potential and the cost effectiveness of various design options, and to identify conditions for optimizing the performance of building systems and components. The results of these studies, published in various resources,were analyzed discretely using different techniques, and were reported using different bases for comparison. Considering the complex interaction of, and energy flows through various building components, it is difficult to directly compare/combine the results from various studies to determine the energy-saving potential of combination of strategies, and to select an appropriate set of strategies for making design decisions. Therefore, this thesis develops a comprehensive survey and analysis of energy-efficient design strategies and their energy-saving potential, in isolation as well as in combination, using a DOE-2 simulation model of a prototype house in the hot and humid climate of Houston, Texas. Optimized strategies that included building configuration, materials/ assembly for building envelop components, and efficient mechanical and electrical systems, equipment and appliances, were applied in combination that could minimize the annual energy use. Application of these strategies is expected to allow downsizing systems and equipment and to confirm their operation at their rated performance, resulting in additional installation and operation cost savings. The study is concluded by outlining the procedures for selecting optimized set of strategies, and by developing guidelines for achieving maximum energy-efficiency in single family detached houses in hot and humid climates. Thus, this study will facilitate the selection of energy-saving measures for their individual or combined application for developing energy-efficient residences in hot and humid climates.
PDF: etd-tamu-2005C-ARCH-Malhotra.pdf

Betina Martens Mogo — Prof. Liliana Beltran
An experimental setup to evaluate the daylighting performance of an advanced optical light pipe for deep-plan office buildings
Abstract: This research focuses on an advanced optical light pipe daylighting system as a means to deliver natural light at the back of deep-plan office buildings (15ft to 30ft), using optimized geometry and high reflective materials. The light pipe configurations follow a previous study at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Beltrán et al., 1997). The current system is designed for College Station, TX (lat: 30° 36'N), with predominantly mostly sunny sky conditions. This work consists of the monitoring of two scale models simulating a portion of a multi-story office building with open-plan configuration, with interior dimensions 30ft x 20ft x 10ft, built at 1:4 of its real scale, one of the models being the reference case and the other the test case where the light pipe system is placed. The main objectives of this thesis are (a) to examine this daylighting system comparative to the reference case, taking measurements for longer periods than the study at LBNL, as well as to collect de tailed data of its performance under different weather conditions and with different materials; (b) to evaluate the visual comfort and possible glare problems of the light pipe system through photographic evaluation and the conduction of a survey that provides people's opinions and suggestions about the daylighting system. The light pipe system demonstrated a higher performance than the reference case in terms of appropriate levels of light and people's preferences. The illuminance at the workplane level showed to be adequate with any of the two different diffusing materials used to spread the light into the room. The light pipe without a diffuser was the other condition observed to further understand the bounces of the sunbeam inside the reflective chamber and its consequences on the lighting output. Recommended standards for office spaces with VDT screens together with the analysis of the daylight system, led to preliminary suggestions on how to integrate the light pipe system in an open-plan office configuration. Further study is indicated to reach the complete potential of this advanced optical light pipe that ties illuminance quality with energy savings through the integration of daylight and electric light systems.
PDF: etd-tamu-2005B-ARCH-Martins.pdf

Siritip Harntaweewongsa — Prof. Liliana Beltran
Thermal and lighting performance of toplighting systems in the hot and humid climate of Thailand
Abstract: This study evaluated the potential of toplighting systems in the hot and humid tropics by using Bangkok, Thailand (latitude 13.7°N) as a test location. The analysis tested both the thermal and lighting performance of three toplighting systems. Toplighting, designed for use in one-story buildings or on the top floor of taller buildings, yields a uniformly distributed light throughout a space. However, in lower latitude locations, where there is no heating period, heat gain is a critical design issue since it significantly affects the annual energy consumption of the building. Accordingly, the decision to use toplighting in these locations needs to be carefully examined before any design considerations occur. In this study, the thermal and lighting performance of three toplighting systems were compared. For the thermal performance, total cooling loads, heat gains and losses, and interior temperature were evaluated. The lighting performance parameters examined were daylight factor, illuminance level, light distribution, and uniformity. EnergyPlus was used as the thermal analysis tool, and RADIANCE, along with a physical scale model, was used as the lighting performance analysis tool. The sky conditions tested were overcast, clear sky, and intermediate sky. Results have shown that, for locations with hot and humid climates with variable sky conditions such as Bangkok, Thailand, the roof monitors perform better than the other two systems in terms of the thermal and lighting performance. With similar cooling loads, the roof monitor provides better illuminance uniformity than the skylights and lightscoops, with adequate illuminance level (at mostly higher than 500 lux).
PDF: etd-tamu-2005B-ARCH-Harntaw.pdf

Young No Kim — Prof. Mark Clayton
A web-based timesheet tool for the design studio
Abstract: This research is related to time management and the use of timesheets in architectural design education. It focuses on the role of Web-based timesheets in the architectural design studio. The main purpose of the research is to explore whether Web technology is helpful in increasing compliance with time documentation and can determine which student behaviors and habits can be observed with Web-based timesheets in architectural design education. In time management, using timesheets is a common method to analyze time usage. However, a traditional timesheet is usually focused on the investigator's (teacher or employer) perspective. Therefore active participation is hardly expected and data analysis is not easily offered to participants as useful information in real time. To overcome the identified problems, Web technology may be useful. For this research, a pilot software tool was developed and tested in design studios at several grade levels. Research was focused on empirical observation to determine which student work patterns and behaviors can be observed with a Web-based timesheet tool. The Web-based timesheet tool was successfully fielded in the design studio and the utility of the Web-based timesheet tool was observed. By analyzing the collected data from the experiments with this Web-based timesheet tool, it was possible to observe various work patterns and behaviors and to develop insights in the students' design process. Analysis of log data gave interesting insights into students' work patterns and design behaviors. Web technology was helpful in increasing the value of the timesheet in architectural design education.
PDF: etd-tamu-2005B-ARCH-Kim.pdf

Jaya Mukhopadhyay — Prof. Jeff Haber
Analysis of improved fenestration for code-compliant residential buildings in hot and humid climates
Abstract: This thesis presents an analysis of energy efficient residential windows in hot and humid climates. To accomplish this analysis, the use of accurate simulation tools such as DOE-2.1e is required, which incorporates the results from the WINDOW-5.2 simulation program to assess accurate fenestration performance. The thesis also investigates the use of optimal glazing types, which, for future applications, could be specified in the code to reduce annual net energy consumption to zero. Results show that combinations of low-E and double pane, clear-glazed windows, which are optimally shaded according to orientation are the best solution for lowering both annual energy consumption and peak electricity loads. The study also concludes that the method used to model fenestration in the simulation program plays an important role in accurately determining the effectiveness of the glazing option used. In this particular study, the use of the WINDOW-5.2 program is highly recommended especially for high performance windows (i.e., low-E glazing). Finally, a discussion on the incorporation of super high performance windows (i.e., super low-E, ultra low-E and dynamic / switchable glazing) into the IECC code concludes that these types of glazing strategies can reduce annual net energy use of the window to zero. Future work identified by this thesis includes a more extensive examination of the passive solar potential of high performance fenestration, and an examination of the appropriate methods for specifying these properties in future versions of the IECC code. This implies that future specifications for fenestration in the IECC code could aim for zero net annual energy consumption levels from residential fenestration.
PDF: etd-tamu-2005B-ARCH-Mukhopa.pdf

Jeong Han Woo — Prof. Mark Clayton
Sharing tacit design knowledge in a distributed design environment
Abstract: Throughout the life-cycle of a design project, architects rely heavily on their tacit design knowledge to support design decisions. Tacit knowledge is highly personal and implicit. As such, it encompasses expertise, intuitive understanding, and professional insight formed as a result of experience. Due to its implicit nature, tacit design knowledge is typically shared only among colleagues who work in the same office through face-to-face interactions. With emerging Computer-Mediated Communication (CMC) technologies, designers face new opportunities for capturing and reusing tacit design knowledge. However, there is no accepted CMC strategy for sharing tacit design knowledge in the Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) industry. This research investigates the impact of tacit design knowledge on design performance in a distributed design environment supported by CMC software. The software was developed and tested in three design studios in which design students sought advice from experts in remote locations. It provides tools for showing images, such as drawings and renderings, and for engaging in a written dialogue (chat session). The written and graphic artifacts of the conversation are stored in a Web-accessible database. The chat sessions included the identification, clarification, and explanation of real problems. Dialogue records provide evidence of a significant influence upon the students' approach to conceptual design. Content analysis of the comments from the experts provides qualitative evidence for the software's effectiveness. The participants shared past experience, professional recommendations, and intuitive expectations. In follow-up surveys, most participants reported that their experience with the software was very enjoyable and the software is well-designed to support sharing of design knowledge. This research also suggests that tacit design knowledge may be confidently captured and shared through careful strategic implementation of CMC technology in a distributed design environment. Demographic and attitudinal surveys of the participants suggest that enabling factors for sharing tacit design knowledge include knowledge sharing attitude,just-in-time expertise matching, and timing of the communication.
PDF: etd-tamu-2005B-ARCH-Woo.pdf

Umesh Atre — Prof. Mark Clayton
Effect of daylighting on energy consumption and daylight quality in an existing elementary school Abstract: This research investigates the effects of daylighting in an existing elementary school in College Station, Texas. The conclusions are generalizable to similar school designs in hot and humid climates. This study focuses on the trends observed in the building's heating, cooling, and lighting energy consumption due to daylighting, and the overall effect on total energy consumption. Skylights with 1% to 10% glazing surface to floor area and clerestories from 2 ft to 8 ft glazing height were analyzed to formulate balanced daylighting designs that could provide for decreased electricity and gas energy consumption and increased daylight illuminance levels and energy cost savings. Classroom and Library areas inside the case study school building were analyzed using walk-throughs and daylight factor measurements to understand existing lighting conditions and the potential for daylighting. Physical scale models of the study spaces with and without daylighting alternatives were built for daylight factor and daylight penetration analysis. Computer simulation models were created for the base case and all proposed daylighting designs for building energy performance evaluation using theDOE-2 building energy simulation program. Daylight factors from the actual spaces, physical model measurements, and computer simulation outputs were studied for trends in interior daylight illuminance levels. Annual energy consumption analyses were performed using DOE-2 and involved heating, cooling, and electrical energy use comparisons of all proposed designs with the base case. One design each from the skylight and clerestory cases, and an overall design based upon the performance criteria are proposed for the existing school building. The building energy analyses suggested that a considerable reduction in artificial lighting and total electricity use could be achieved through proper sizing of skylights and clerestories. Heating energy use stayed almost constant in all cases. Considering all different trends in energy use, all the proposed cases perform better than the base case in terms of total energy savings. The spaces analyzed constituted 15% of total school area, and projected savings would be much higher if daylighting could be applied to the entire school building.
PDF: etd-tamu-2005A-ARCH-Atre.pdf

Sonia Punjabi — Prof. Valerian Miranda
Development of an integrated building design information interface
Abstract: This research recognizes the need for building simulation/performance tools that can easily be integrated into the building design process. The study examines available simulation tools and attempts to determine why these tools are not used by building designers/architects. Findings confirm that the complexity of simulation tools created by scientists, who are more technically oriented, discourages use by architects who are more visually oriented people. The evaluation and analysis of available simulation tools suggests a thorough research methodology for creating a new front-end interface that solves current usage problems. The research is limited to the interface design of the new front-end which is named Integrated Building Design Information Interface (IBDII). The new front end provides an interface that allows designers to make more informed decisions during the design process while providing a front-end that supports AutoCAD and permits a user interface where the mode of input is graphical and not numerical. Criteria for the new front-end interface enable the development of a series of mock-up interface designs that are responsive to the needs of architects. A working graphical user interface of the building information prototype is created and is then put through an empirical user testing. The usability testing establishes the usefulness, effectiveness, likeability and learnability of the developed interface design. The testing includes six factors which act as indicators of usability and provide suggestions for future developments. The testing evaluation ascertains that the interface is easy to learn and use. Findings also show that the best feature of integrated building design information front-end is its interface design and there is room for improvement in the way input is selected.
PDF: etd-tamu-2005A-ARCH-Punjabi.pdf

Azza Mohamed Kamal El Sayed Ibrahim
Morphological themes of informal housing in Colonias: impacts of sociocultural identity on Webb County housing form
Abstract: Informal settlements are a form of housing found in many parts of the world. Self-help housing in informal settlements has different influences that are denoted in the customs and preferences of the residents, which in turn, are reflected on the elements of house exteriors as well as its interior. Colonias in the U.S-Mexico border region are a model of informal settlements. The purpose of this study is to analyze  the social and cultural influences on housing fronts in Webb County Colonias. The study focuses on investigating traditional features, vernacular forms, building rituals, and social features as they relate to the morphology of house fronts and their production. The housing model of Geddes and Bertalanffy explained by Turner (1972) was the premise of establishing the argument of this study. A mixed-method approach was used in data gathering from the following three Colonias: Los Altos , Larga Vista, and Rio Bravo . Utilized methods included image-based research through systematic random sampling of housing fronts in the Colonias, as well as a group-administered structured survey distributed during community monthly gathering for food distribution. The development of the research process and methodology incorporated the input of the local community and local leaders and volunteers assisted in its implementation. The study concluded that past and present experiences of Colonias residents have intense impacts on different aspects contributing to the themes comprising the morphology of Colonias housing fronts. A classical pattern of migration as well as maintained contact and continuous dialogue between residents and their kin were found to result in preserving the inherent native culture of the Colonias' residents and can thus be considered as core elements. This preservation of native culture was indicated by utilization of semi-private space, traditional roof forms, privacy and security elements, and building rituals. The study also identified additional secondary modified elements, represented by the lack of gates utilization as a measure of security. These core and modified elements coincide with the Geddes and Bertalanffy model and therefore it can be deduced that this model can be applied in the case of the Colonias.
PDF: etd-tamu-2005B-ARCH-Mohamed.pdf


Rebecca Rowe — Prof. David Woodcock
Can historic neighborhoods compete? Analysis of and recommendations for local incentives for owner-occupied historic housing
Abstract: This research study sets out to determine what incentives and programs are being utilized throughout the country and in Texas to keep historic residential neighborhoods maintained and vibrant. For this purpose, federal, state and local programs have been surveyed to discover what programs are being utilized and which might be successful in Texas cities. Also surveyed were prospective homebuyers to determine what incentives and maintenance assistance could induce them to purchase, or to consider purchasing, an older home versus a new home in a builder community. The responses of the prospective homebuyers' survey indicates that there is a good deal of interest in older homes among prospective homebuyers. A program to assist them should be based on education, making pertinent information and resources available, and providing financial relief for those purchasing and rehabilitating an older or historic home.
PDF: etd-tamu-2004B-2-ARCH-Rowe.pdf

Krisanee Muendej — Prof. Paul Woods
Predictions of monthly energy consumption and annual patterns of energy usage for convenience stores by using multiple and nonlinear regression models
Abstract: Thirty convenience stores in College Station, Texas, have been selected as the samples for an energy consumption prediction. The predicted models assist facility energy managers for making decisions of energy demand/supply plans. The models are applied to historical data for two years: 2001 and 2002. The approaches are (1) to analyze nonlinear regression models for long term forecasting of annual patterns compared with outdoor temperature, and (2) to analyze multiple regression models for the building type regardless of outdoor temperature. In the first approach, twenty four buildings are categorized as base load group and no base group. Average temperature, cooling efficiencies, and cooling knot temperature are estimated by nonlinear regression models: segment and parabola models. The adjusted r-square results in good performance up to ninety percent accuracy. In the second approach, the other selected six buildings are categorized as no trend group. This group does not respond to outdoor temperature. As the result, multiple a regression model is formed by combination of variables from the nonlinear models and physical building variables of cooling efficiency, cooling temperature, light bulbs, area, outdoor temperature, and orientation of fronts. This model explains up to sixty percent of all convenience stores' data. In conclusion, the accuracy of prediction models is measured by the adjusted r-square results. Among these three models, the multiple regression model shows the highest adjusted r-square (0.597) over the parabola (0.5419) and segment models (0.4806). When the three models come to the application, the multiple regression model is best fit for no trend data type. However, when it is used to predict the energy consumption with the buildings that relate to outdoor temperature, segment and parabola model provide a better prediction result.
PDF: etd-tamu-2004B-2-ARCH-Muendej-2.pdf

Byoungsoo Ahn — Prof. Liliana Beltran
Daylighting systems for the Kuwait national museum
Abstract: Daylight has a deteriorating effect on the museum objects. For this reason, usually museums totally block the daylight. This research is the part of restoration works of Kuwait National Museum (KNM), which was destroyed during the Gulf War in 1990. The purpose of this research is to investigate the lighting performance of the top lighting and side shading devices in KNM. This research will cover daylighting systems for Building 3 and 4 of the KNM. Daylighting systems are evaluated by using the scale model and Desktop RADIANCE, a lighting simulation program. This research will present how to make use of daylight in museum buildings while protecting museum objects from the harmful portion of daylight.
PDF: etd-tamu-2005A-ARCH-Ahn.pdf

Abey George — Prof. Valerian Miranda
Remote collaboration in the design studio
Abstract: Information technology offers many tools for promoting collaboration and communication in architectural design. A growing number of companies and individuals are adopting computer-based techniques to facilitate remote collaboration between geographically distributed teams. Thus, it is important to investigate the use of technology in developing collaborative tools for architects, especially as required training in architectural education. This research explores the feasibility of augmenting communication in the design studio using a web-based collaboration tool. A prototype was developed for an integrated system that allows for streaming media, real-time collaboration, and multi-way video, audio and text messaging, tailored specifically to the needs of a distributed architectural design studio. The Collaborative Online Architectural Design Studio (COADS) is based on a three-tier client-server structure consisting of an interface tier, an application-logic tier and a data tier. COADS allows role-based participation for students and teachers, facilitating collaboration over design sketches and presentations using personal computers equipped with a microphone and a web-cam. The system was developed and subjected to usability testing in a design studio consisting of graduate-level students of architecture. The participants were required to use COADS for conducting peer evaluations of designs for their class project and subsequently, to answer a questionnaire assessing the usability of the system. The analysis showed that COADS has definite advantages as a tool to augment communication in the design studio. The biggest advantage was that participants could get immediate feedback about their designs from their peers, irrespective of their location. COADS was also relatively easy to set up on end-user machines and provided an integrated point for accessing relevant studio resources from a single location. The disadvantages were mostly due to the limitations of the hardware on end-user machines such as small screen sizes, low quality microphones and web-cams. Further, the collaborative whiteboard within COADS lacked essential tools, such as pan/zoom and erase/undo tools, which reduced its usability. In conclusion, systems such as COADS can effectively augment communication within the architectural design studio. However, they need to be integrated closely with the course structure, right from the introductory stage of the project to the final presentation stage.
PDF: etd-tamu-2004A-ARCH-George-1.pdf