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Beyond the performance gap: reclaiming building appraisal through archival research

Patel, Hiral and Green, Stuart D. 2020. Beyond the performance gap: reclaiming building appraisal through archival research. Building Research and Information 48 (5) , pp. 469-484. 10.1080/09613218.2019.1672517

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Current debates about building performance evaluation often emphasize the ‘performance gap’ between how buildings perform in practice and how performance was envisaged during the design stage. While such debates continue to be dominated by energy considerations, increasing attention is directed towards the subjective experiences of building users in terms of thermal comfort and wellbeing. The latter trends are undoubtedly to be welcomed, but buildings continue to be conceptualized as fixed physical objects rather than entities that are enacted in practice. With the aim of challenging current assumptions, research is described which sought to reclaim the concept of building appraisal as practised by the pioneering architectural practice DEGW. The concept of building appraisal differs from current notions of building performance evaluation in that the point of departure is not the supposedly fixed entity of the building, but the essential fluidity of the occupying organization and their aspirations in terms of space. Empirical data are derived from archival sources and through extensive interaction with the DEGW diaspora, many of whom remain active at the leading edge of international practice. It is concluded that the continued fixation with the ‘performance gap’ reinforces long-since discredited assumptions of environmental determinism.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Architecture
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
ISSN: 0961-3218
Funders: University of Reading Endowment Trust Fund
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 24 October 2019
Date of Acceptance: 19 September 2019
Last Modified: 14 Oct 2021 21:07

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