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Interdisciplinary perspectives on building thermal performance

Tweed, Chris and Zapata-Lancaster, Gabriela 2018. Interdisciplinary perspectives on building thermal performance. Building Research and Information 46 (5) , pp. 552-565. 10.1080/09613218.2018.1379815

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The performance of buildings remains topical, but in many current conversations the definitions of ‘good performance’ are taken for granted. Building performance evaluation tends to be dominated by studies of how buildings behave with reference to technical standards. However, past studies show that the perceptions of good performance are based on broader understandings of what buildings offer, often augmented by interpretations emerging from historical social practices and cultural context. This paper considers different approaches to describing thermal experience as one way to explore what is meant by ‘performance’, arguing that just as the social sciences have enriched earlier approaches to describing relations between people and the thermal environment, there are benefits to embracing humanities-based approaches to describe thermal experience. Architectural theory is replete with examples of a deliberate focus on environmental aspects, but its methods and concepts rarely cross the line from ideation to evaluation. This paper disrupts current notions of building performance evaluation by positing alternative perspectives of how people experience buildings. It discusses how current methods might co-exist with phenomenological insights in ‘thick descriptions’ of how buildings ‘perform’ and considers possible contributions from modes of enquiry in the humanities to describe thermal experience, illustrated by the authors’ research in housing.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Architecture
Subjects: N Fine Arts > NA Architecture
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
ISSN: 0961-3218
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 5 December 2017
Date of Acceptance: 12 September 2017
Last Modified: 06 Oct 2021 21:51

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