Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Sketch Series 5: Acoustic Analysis for Gatewood Building

Acoustical data was collected while class was not in session, but some students were in the area working.  All units are in decibels (dB).

The studio’s geometry determines the path the sound waves travel from the originated source, the buildings occupants, reverberate along the smooth surface of the concrete floor, ceiling and walls.  The glass around the perimeter of the building resonates absorbing significant amounts of low frequencies, but reflects the high frequencies back into the space.  Some of the sound is absorbed by the wood surfaces.  Some sound attenuates as it spreads without interruption.  In a reverberant field sound waves are multiplied and interwoven.

Control of unwanted sound reflection by changing acoustical energy into heat energy absorbed within the room’s contents, wall structure, and materials surfaces.  The content of the space controls the noise levels in the space while the building structure controls the transmission of the noise between the spaces.  In the library where there is plush carpeting, many books, and furnishings the sound is absorbed within the room’s boundaries.  The concrete cavities in the ceiling help to dissipate some of the sound waves and prevent them from travelling outside the room’s boundaries.  The studio spaces with their high ceilings and sparse furnishing have none of these controls so the sound is amplified.  Adding absorptive materials to a room changes the reverberating characteristics.  As the studio spaces fill up with student’s materials and projects the sound transmission is reduced.  The graduate offices of the art students have building materials and furnishings to reduce the sound attenuation.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Shading for Visual Comfort

Daylight availability for visual comfort is optimized through the angled surface apertures of the shading device.  The surface configuration captures the daylight and reflects the diffused light into the interior space.  The path of the sun in the Northern Hemisphere of 36 degrees latitude is at the height f solar gain at 4pm during the Summer Solstice with the solar azimuth 52 degrees and the maximum solar altitude 30 degrees.  Based on the path of the sun, we rotated the angles surface apertures 52 degrees to permit more light into the space during the winter months that summer.  

                                    Daylight Shading Model

Inspiration for the shade was influenced by eastern architecture from a culture whose patterns of design were based on the studying the transitional phases of the sun.  The transition in the design of the shade from positive to negative openings follows this philosophy of controlling the access of the desirable qualities of light to enter the interior space.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Light Series 4

     Semi-Direct Downlight Indirect Uplight Lighting Conditions

                                      Wall Grazing

             Cove lighting, wall washing and task lighting

                                Slot and accent Lighting

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Sound Experiences

I was raised in a California ranch with high ceilings.  When I was younger, the floor covering was vinyl with few household furnishings.  I can recall the house echoing.  My brother and I use to yell across from one end of the house to each other, just to hear acoustics of the space.  As I grew, so did the furnishings in our home.  The apex of the house was about 20 feet high, where my father built a library wall filled with books.  The vinyl floor was replaced with thick carpeting.  Lots of furnishing filled the walls and spaces in every room.  Our home became cozier and quieter.

I use to go to church with my family in a very Old Catholic Church building with a transept, nave and high ceilings.  The priest would step into the nave to give his sermons to the congregation.  His voice would carry to the back row of the church without microphone assistance.  The Italian priest was a very good public speaker annunciating every syllable in a rhythmic tone to reverberate alone the hard surfaces towards the rear of the church.      

Many years later as the congregation grew; the Church built a large auditorium below the school as an annexation to hold larger groups for their sermons.  To enter the auditorium, you would need to walk one flight down, but daylight would still enter into the space from windows located high up on the walls.  It was a very large rectangular space with a flat ceiling.  A sound system was required for the space in order to be heard clearly.  Sound did not travel well in the space, but it was still a noisy space.

When I recall the Old Italian priest with his sympathetic note; I remember he only gave his sermons in the old church.  Sometimes his sermons were in Latin, with a musical and religious tone modulating at a perfect pitch throughout the space.  When looking for which sermon to attend on Sundays, my siblings and I would always request to attend the mass in the church.  At the time, I thought it was the visual experience of the environment with their beautiful stain glass windows, carved moldings and décor that inspired our choice; but now I realize that we made a subconscious decision of preference,  because it was the acoustical experience within the church that added to our enjoyment of the space.

As a young student, I recall a fellow male student who was an excellent whistler.  On one occasion during our math class, we all stopped to listen to him whistling from one end of the empty hall corridor down to the other the tune “Andy Griffith of Mayberry.” It was a great whistling tone that reverberated wonderfully down the hard surfaces of the corridor to our attentive ears; a very pleasant memory of math class that I recall fondly today because to the auditory enjoyment of that experience.      

When I was younger, I use to take guitar lessons.  I was never a very good guitar player, but I enjoyed listening to the reverberating sound from the strumming of the strings on my Old Spanish guitar.  The guitar was small with a wooden frame and metal strings of different thicknesses.  I still possess this guitar in my mother’s home, kept tucked away neatly in its case.  Occasionally, when I go home to mom’s house, I pull out of my closet that old guitar, just to listen to its beautiful tone once again, and I’m instantly transported back to my youth.  I smile, cause the sound just washes away the years.        

Friday, October 5, 2012

Illuminance Reflectance Transmittance

Illuminance - Reflectance - Transmittance

Light Model

Light Model Project

Team members 

Shahrzad Sabzehar, Majedeh Modarres, Ayten Nadeau, and Eileen Carroll


Spectrum of Shadow Forms

Humans see objects through reflections of light from surfaces of forms.  Shadows are partial obscurities of light casting exaggerations of the form in space.  Our light light model depicts architecture form to focus the reflections of light into a sculptured spectrum of shadow forms to energized the space with playful delight and uniqueness of character.



The angular form supports the exaggeration shadows with a colorful spectrum of light from the three primary light colors, red, green, and blue.  Blue and red light together creates magenta.  Red and green light creates yellow.  Green and blue light creates cyan.

Light Series 1

Light Sketches Series 1

Thursday, October 4, 2012


Light Sketch Series 2

The Weatherspoon Gallery is one of my favorite interior spaces.  The combination of volume with architecture details highlighted with quality layers of lighting, compliment the space into a harmonious balance of uniqueness.  The use of daylight interacting with volume captures the viewers interest immediately upon entering the space.  The halogen lights supports the daylight atmosphere of stars as the architecture separates shadow from light.  The culminated result is an effective use of lighting to display fine artwork, while enhancing the museum experience.

The Pet Store Plus on High Point Rd in Greensboro is a very good example of quality linear fluorescent lighting in a commercial retail space.  Even though, the field of the store has only one layer of lighting by the fluorescent bulbs, it is evenly uniform throughout the store, and effectively used for display of merchandise.  This strong luminance feature of the space invites the patron to linger as they ponder their selections.  

The China Cafe on Spring Garden is an example of very poor lighting conditions in a restaurant.  I illustrate the pendent lighting as showing some illuminance, but that is not the case for this space.  The lights are not on, and in some cases do not even have bulbs.  The pendent fixtures themselves are low to the table with the base fanning out too far for comfort.  The main lighting of the space is fluorescent bulbs integrated into the ceiling with plastic diffusers.  The plastic diffusers are old with a yellow film casting an uncomfortable luminance.  The lighting is sparse and uneven within the space.  No one ever eats in the restaurant; it is primarily used for take out.  I believe the only reason patrons frequent the space is because the food is very good.  To change the lighting conditions for the space, I think pendent lights would work well in the booths where a fixture was better suited for the size of the space, and raised at an appropriate height.  Fluorescent lighting works well within this space if there are more bulbs, and the diffuser covers were replaced with new ones.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Light Experiences

 Source: http://www.galinsky.com/buildings/hermes/index.htm

Light and Place

Light plays a dominant role in our daily lives enhancing the quality of our experiences; it provides light as well as contentment.  Living on the east coast in a temperate climate, we enjoy an abundance of sunshine brightening our spirits and promoting outdoor activities in our daily lives.  As I rise to greet the day, my mood is mostly cheerful, as I look forward to the brightness of the sun.  This was not always the case, for a brief period of time; I lived in Portland, Oregon where my experiencers with light were dramatically different.  I was lucky to see the sun one day out of a month.  When that day occurred, I would wake up cheerier, rush to my balcony window to view the glory of Mt Hood in the distant horizon.  A beautiful canvas scene of light purple hue floating along the hazy atmosphere sky always accompanied the white peaks of Mt Hood.  Unfortunately, in Portland the normal daylight conditions were predominately dull and uninspiring, as my rise for the day often required additional lighting accommodations. 

Light and Nature

Glistening and filtering are the first words that come to mind when I think of light and nature.  Raised on an island close to the water, I was memorized by the reflections of light upon the water’s surface.  At optimum moments of the day, the water takes on a glisten quality that captures the mind and promotes gazing in contented silence by its beauty. 

I enjoy walks through the woods, watching the light interacts playfully as it filters through the canopy of trees. The quality of light is enhanced by the presence of nature.  Light takes a supporting role highlighting the unique qualities of the natural environment.         

Light and Climate

Everyone is drawn to the warmth of the sun.  Turning our cheeks towards the sun, we momentarily close our eyes to soak up a few rays of sunshine. We feel energized.   We love to vacation in warm climates, and get sunburned in the process.  The strength of the sun makes us consider the needs of protection from sunscreen to architectural qualities of roof overhangs and window treatments for shading.

Light and Time

Humans in essence are tuned to nature.  Our biological clocks awaken us in the daylight, and wind us down towards the night.  My internal clock starts opening my eyes at 7 and dozing me off around 11, but as winter draws near my timeline shifts gradually.  I want to go to bed earlier.  I hate coming home from work in the dark.  I enjoy leaving my workplace when its still light outside.  I think its human nature to want to be safe and secure in your natural habitat, protected from unforeseen elements of the night.  Daylight savings time has distorted the winter months into a prolonged dreariness of longing for seasonal change.  

Light and Task

Working on drawings all my adult life has always made me keenly aware of the needs of task lighting to illuminate my working surface.  As I’ve aged I need additional sources of ambient lighting accompanied with a focused task light source.  Florescent lights usually bother my eyes, whereas incandescent lights are usually more soothing.  The new eco-lights of a florescent wound up like a bulb shape promotes headaches.  The ceiling fan in my bedroom is accompanied with an LED blue hue light that provides little illumination for any task including walking.  

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Impact of Light on Human Health and Welfare

Modern life has created a multitude of advantages that were not possible for a pre-industrialized nation.  Yet with all its comforts and technological advancements, none has had a more profound effect upon humans as our simulated environments with sources of light.

During the 1960s and 1970s, a forward thinking professor from Kent State University, John Flynn hypothesized the psychological effects of artificial light on humans.  In Flynn’s research, he proposed resolutions to improve the quality of light for our “spatial Illumination.” 

As research continued into the study of light upon humans, notable ailments have been attributed to the lack of natural light.  Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is common in humans who live in climates where prolong periods of daylight is absent.  A notable difference in depression, as well as a deficiency of vitamin D is linked with the lack of exposure to daylight.  This same effect is identified in shift workers, whose exposure to natural light is limited. 

In 2001 ganglion, a new eye cell receptor was identified as a sensor to slight changing patterns of light upon humans by signaling the nervous system.  This response signals the human brains with changes to the body’s circadian rhythms.  The resulting effect causes an impact upon our emotional state of mind as well as our vital organs, and immune systems. 

A serious impact to our cardiac system invokes changes in patterns of heart rate variability (HRV).  These variations in heart rate can increase our stress levels and ultimately shorten our life expectancies.

Continued research is needed to fully understand the effects the absences of natural light has upon the human body, but enough evidence has concluded that we as designers must recognized the impact of light on human health and welfare when we analyze our building lighting systems.