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Title: Transitional spaces : the role of sheltered semi-outdoor spaces as microclimatic modifiers for school buildings in the UK
Author: Kwon, Choul Woong
Awarding Body: Open University
Current Institution: Open University
Date of Award: 2011
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Abstract:
This research project was undertaken to achieve a better understanding of the microclimatic characteristics of the outdoor and indoor environments of school buildings in the UK through the mediation of transitional spaces. Improvements in thermal comfort outdoors around buildings and reductions in energy demand for indoor spaces are two possible contributions of transitional outdoor spaces located adjacent to classrooms or other indoor spaces. The effects of these two functions must be considered jointly so that improved performance in one does not compromise performance of the other. The underlying hypothesis is that the transitional outdoor space can affect environmental conditions in ways that can enhance both the outdoor thermal comfort of occupants and their appreciation of the space and have the potential to reduce the energy demand (e.g. for lighting and space heating) of the building. Moreover, while interest in outdoor pedagogy has been growing in schools, outdoor spaces are rarely equipped to provide for such activity. The microclimate of the transitional outdoor space as an architecturally potential space is therefore central to the ways in which teachers and students can be encouraged to use the space frequently as an extended classroom without adversely affecting the indoor environment. The project focuses on the architectural elements of the transitional outdoor space and aims to reveal its environmental impact on both the outdoor and indoor spaces, and to propose design considerations. Transitional spaces are considered mainly as taking the form of a canopy. Understanding the dynamic environmental processes impinging on these spaces will assist in designing spaces that can support functional use throughout the year. Fieldwork conducted at Effra Nursery School, London focused on the environmental performance of an outdoor canopy and play area adjacent to the classroom. Based on the results of the fieldwork and using well established computer models, simulations were performed to identify the influence of different parameters: that of having a canopy; the effect of the transmissivity of the canopy material (three transparencies 0%, 50%, 90% were considered), the operability of the canopy, orientation (four orientations N,E,S,W were considered), and location (three cities: London, Manchester, Glasgow). The combined effects of canopy transparency and orientation were shown to be critical design considerations in affecting comfort conditions in both indoor and outdoor spaces. The exception was when the canopy was not fixed but operable. It was found that outdoor comfort conditions in the transitional outdoor space can be enhanced by 13.8% by choosing a canopy of 0% transparency compared with a reference case without a canopy, while it could be enhanced by 27.8% using a movable type of canopy in the case of a south facing classroom in London. Daylight and heating energy demand, however, can worsen by 40% and 50% respectively with a fixed canopy, while they could improve by between 23% and 45% using the movable canopy. The fixed canopy with a higher transparency can help to increase outdoor thermal comfort in Glasgow, while one with a lower transparency shows better performance if facinq south in London. The work clearly demonstrates that the architectural design of the transitional space plays an important part in the resulting environmental conditions indoors and outdoors. Using established simulation tools in new ways this research project has quantified the combined effects of external canopies on occupant thermal comfort and on classroom energy demand for space heating and lighting. These have been documented for different canopy characteristics and different UK locations thus providing design guidelines for the provision of such transitional space in school buildings.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.552794  DOI: Not available
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