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Title: The application of visualisation tools to enable architects to explore the dynamic characteristics of smart materials in a contemporary shanashil building design element for hot arid climates
Author: Alqalami, T. A.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7231 3567
Awarding Body: University of Salford
Current Institution: University of Salford
Date of Award: 2017
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Contemporary architecture has changed the features of building façades and this affects the design identity, forms and aesthetics, yet despite the advantages of modern technology, architectural elements have difficulties in fulfilling the idea of beauty that once traditional elements provided. This problem calls for an interdisciplinary design approach to deliver sustainable development solutions to protect and control against the surrounding environment, especially in hot arid climates. This research seeks to select a smart material which mimics the dynamic characteristics observed in nature, inspired from biomimetics, taking into consideration the role of sustainable development. Such qualities are found in the characteristics of smart dynamic glazing material particularly in the switchable, reversible properties of transparency and colouration efficiency. With this in mind, can a traditional window/wall/balcony design element be revived through the integration of new smart materials? This study adopts a design science methodology incorporating methods of biomimetics, analogy, and 21 semi structured interviews with a thematic analysis as the main data analysis technique. The emergent findings are then evaluated by conducting further interviews with 6 architects, where the material characteristics are attached to a digital prototype to visualise the difference between dynamic and static properties. Lumion 3D, Smart glazing VR, and Revit plugin visualization tools were used to develop a 3D digital prototype that expressed the difference between a traditional window/wall/balcony element and smart dynamic glazing element. These tools were needed not just to engage the interviewees to be part of the design process, but also to provide a clear illustration of the dynamic material characteristics and its impact on the architectural façade to improve design quality. Whilst they favoured the smart material in improving environmental control it was not favoured in its aesthetic aspects due to the transparency role and the abstraction of screen pattern details. Accordingly, the fixed image of traditional shanashil still imposes difficulties in understanding the dynamic characteristics, both aesthetically and functionally. This research concludes that the dynamic characteristics of smart glazing material are effective in delivering a multifunctional design quality. However, they still lack the potential to illustrate aesthetic aspects regarding colour, texture, order and proportion. Future research is needed to improve dynamic material characteristics in order to collectively blend in harmony with the surroundings.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available