Sareh Saeidi The Agency of Architectural Envelopes: A Design-based Approach for Performative Envelopes

The standardization in today’s culture and the prevailing technological advancements has resulted in the production of synthetic, identical environments that are mostly independent of their local climate, cultures, traditions, and regional building materials. This research approaches envelope designs as the spatial zone that addresses local specificity for creating architectural atmospheres and experience through a strong focus on the performative aspects of envelopes. This is to establish a design-based approach that leads to non-discrete architecture (Hensel, 2013). Non-discrete architecture represents built forms that integrate with and correspond to, their local conditions and surrounding environments through design considerations and strategies. As an essential element of conceiving non-discrete architecture, the research defines a clear thematic of performance focused on climatic design, multi-sensory experience, and agency with reference to Active Network Theory (Latour, 2007).

The aim of the investigation is to redefine the notion of envelopes through their performative role in coordinating ranges of effects on the interior and exterior conditions, and decisive factors in determining the start or end of these effects. The objective is to initiate a design approach, both conceptually and methodologically, through which the envelopes’ integrated performance and design concepts can be adequately assessed, measured, and actuated. The approach applies a mixed method mode of inquiry consisting of quantitative and qualitative studies to enable the investigation for processing diverse, interrelated issues within the design scenarios. The methodology of the research utilizes the studies conducted on the conceptual approaches based on the literature studies, and taxonomy of envelope within the design experiments. The design process follows an iterative logic and includes digital simulation, and data-driven analysis and assessment, to provide an informed mode of exploration and feedback.

The Ph.D. research is constructed through an articles-based structure in which the articles address and evaluate the conceptual and methodological approaches of the research. The overarching argument engages the research’s explorations on the phenomenological and spatial aspects of performative envelopes to elaborate on, and fulfill, the objectives of the articles. Through establishing this approach, the research tries to propose a design approach that can be applied both in academy and practice for further research and development.

Institute of Architecture / Michael U. Hensel, Søren S. Sørensen (Supervisors)

PhD started in 2014