Introduction to Architectural Building Systems

The primary focus of this course is the study of the thermal, luminous and acoustic behavior of buildings. The course examines the basic scientific principles underlying these phenomena and introduces students to a range of technologies and analysis techniques for designing comfortable indoor environments. Students will be challenged to apply these techniques and explore the role light, energy and sound can play in shaping architecture.

Following a brief review of how to analyze a site’s climate and local energy mix, the first part of the course is dedicated to the principles of heat storage and heat flow in and around buildings. Basic manual and computer-based methods to predict the energy use of buildings will also be discussed. In order to introduce students to the effective use of computer simulations in the design process, a Building Optimization Game that mimics a LEED design charrette will be organized during lab time on October 18. During the game students will compete in groups of two who develops the building with the lowest energy use. The second part of the course will introduce students to the art and science of lighting buildings along with manual and computer-based methods for analyzing daylight within and around buildings. The last part of the course consists of brief introductions to natural ventilation concepts and building acoustics.

The course format consists of semiweekly lectures, weekly labs and occasional evening software tutorials. Individual and group assignments as well as in-class presentations and exercises will help students to study the use of environmental technologies in contemporary buildings.