Conference Paper

Use of an online interactive space analysis tool to understand student perceptions of four secondary schools

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With the sheer complexity of the built environment, understanding the aspects of the building that directly impact the occupants can be prohibitively difficult. Previous methods have been largely split between low-number, high-detail methods (photo-surveys or interviews), or high-number, low-detail methods (questionnaires). This study presents an alternative to these methods; creating an online tool that represents a navigable building, enabling the occupants to freely identify any aspect of the building that they feel is important. This online tool deliberately works in a manner similar to Google Street View, taking advantage of this familiarity to reduce the learning curve and maximise immersion. Using spherical images captured with a special camera or smartphone, each space in the building is captured and then uploaded into the online tool. Whilst in the online version of their building, the respondent can navigate through the building, make unguided comments about any part of the building. Using this tool, four recently built secondary schools were imaged and online versions created. In each school, students from three ICT lessons aged between 11 and 14 explored the online version of their school and marked parts of the building that were important to them. The students were asked to follow a typical day in the school, moving from lesson to lesson and to the spaces they use at breaks. The tool collected both the movement data and the comments, allowing analysis of not just the occupant attitudes, but also the route the students take through the building. The movement data for each school was compared to the visual graph analysis of the building, showing that the movement of the students within the tool resembles patterns seen elsewhere; configurational logic with attractors. The rich data that is generated in parallel with the movement data allowed insights into the way in which the students moved through the space and what was important to them.

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... Understanding the relationship between usage processes and built form is often beyond the reach of the occupant feedback tool, but space syntax as a field gives the tools to explore this relationship. Creating links between the occupant usage patterns and the school as space will help to generate understanding of the effect of the building while adding the space syntax community knowledge, where schools are underrepresented [15]. In this context, De Jong [16] through an empirical study on the relationship between the organization, and the layout of the space syntax found out that the layout of the building, classes/ other facilities arranging are affecting the movement inside the complex, as well as the gathering area. ...
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An analytical approach to architectural planning requires an investigation into possible systems of movement and spaces where people move and find their way. One of the most complex and comprehensive problems in architectural design is designing of floor plans and circulation systems for effective accessibility. This study aims to inspect three different floor plan typologies of elementary school based on space syntax analysis and feedbacks assessments of the school staff. Duplication in the evaluation methods provides a deeper understanding of the types of the educational building and identifies differences and similarities among them to diagnose any of them more suitable for easy circulation and access to its main spaces and functions. Ground floor plan of the selected cases was analyzed and evaluated according to three main syntactical indicators such as integration, connectivity, and visibility. By analyzing multivariate variance, the relationship between evaluations and school types was statistically estimated. As a result, the advantages and defects of each kind of elementary school were evaluated. The mixed-method approach applied in this study has contributed effectively as a powerful tool in detecting the perceptibility and readability of elementary school building typologies. It would become useful knowledge for future elementary school designing and planning.
... Due to the small and simple VE (one room) and the possibility to directly interact with the participant in the CAVE (seeing / hearing each other), no methods for collecting user feedback were developed in this project. Williams, Sailer and Priest (2015) developed an online tool for assessing the perception of school buildings. Their Interactive Space Analysis Tool (ISAT) used a series of 360°photos of a built building (however, the tool can principally also be used for future buildings) for experiencing and navigating through the building (similar to Google Street View). ...
... ventilation [5], lighting [6], acoustic [7], CO 2 and VOC) affect significantly the upgrading at classroom level by 50% [9]. The strong correlation between user and built environment defines comfort levels and proficiency of workers [10] and students [11] [12] and health and safety of the indoor spaces is nowadays a core topic. An additional and correlated issue is related to the characterization of occupancy profiles [13] in the school buildings aiming at optimize the space organization strategies and identify in a proper way the effects in term of energy consumption [14] in order to predict the variability of the energy performance owing to users' behaviors and fluxes [15]. ...
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Bioclimatic design strategies have been proposed for decades, on a qualitative basis, because a quantitative approach, ineludibly based on dynamic measurements or simulations, was too expansive and complex. If simulation considerably evolved, in the last years, in terms of speed, cost and diffusion of available tools, their utilization is still complicated by the managing a huge amount of hourly data. The passive behavior of a building, moreover, is not effortlessly synthetized: conditioned buildings may be easily compared just summing the hourly consumption of primary energy, while buildings with no thermal plant need more sophisticated statistical analyses because in these kind of buildings, it is particularly difficult to assess the effect thermal inertia. The existing school buildings stock has a strong need of energy renovation in accordance with Government vision of a community 24hours a day use and consequently increasing the requirement of comfort conditions and energy consumption. Hence, a current school building heated and not cooled is considered as application field of the novel methodology and a classroom is used to test different energy retrofit solutions compared against a base-line, in terms of capacity to decrease the indoor air temperature variation. The analyzed simulations have been thus compared with ideal comfort conditions by an original analysis approach based on a visual tool as a support for designers in choices comparison to simply assess and visualize the performance of building technologies.
School buildings have undergone significant changes in their structure, layout and interior organisation over the last centuries. Steadman (2014) traced the development of English elementary schools from the 1870s to 1930s showcasing how school buildings turned from tall compact buildings into low open pavilion types as concerns for hygiene and daylight increased. In an even broader historic overview of school buildings from the 17th century onwards, Thomas Markus argued that a school is an “instrument for shaping society” (Markus 1993, 93) and that pedagogy and design are deeply intertwined. Evidencing the development of shifting building forms – from factory-like halls for vocational training and skills development for boys and girls in the 18th century; to the open halls, naves and teaching galleries of the Sunday schools of the early 19th century and the monitorial schools of the mid-19th century, shaped by long rows of desks and hierarchical furniture arrangements; followed by typical corridor and classroom schools at the end of the 19th century, to the open school movement of the 20th century – Markus showed how industrial, economic and societal developments coincided with changing ideas of pedagogy, teaching and learning, and as such bore the construction of matching spatial structures that supported the power models inscribed into society at that time.
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