Didactic daylight design for education
White, Jonathan Robert
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Statement of issue . This thesis investigates a modeling method for daylight design in the early design phase, as a means of promoting a positive and inclusive educational environment that allows for multiple modes of learning. Specifically, this study focuses on developing a tool for designers to study and apply daylighting methods in a rapid but informed manner. It also provides metrics to allow designers to analyze different daylighting design variables in relation to one another and against the lighting requirements of different modes of learning. Statement of significance of issue . The design of learning environments is an important specialty within architectural practice, and encompasses "ever changing educational theories, the subtle spatial and psychological requirements of growing children and practical issues that are unique to these types of buildings." (Dudek, 2000) It is argued that the architectural environment has a psychological effect on all humans, but can an inclusive, naturally well-lit environment presented to children aid in cognitive, spatial, and sensorial development? The significance of this topic lies in the fact that our first formal learning environments have the capability to influence the development of attitudes, knowledge, and skills throughout our lives. If all children experienced well-designed, inclusive environments, would they be more curious, creative, and open to new experiences, people, and places? Numerous studies have concluded that children experiencing naturally well-lit environments perform better on standard tests and that natural light promotes positive learning behaviors. Despite this, there seems to be few examples of naturally well-lit schools. This thesis proposes a tool designers can use to aid in the development of day lit schools and how can the lighting strategies be customized based on the different modes of learning? Method of inquiry . The method of inquiry includes a literature review of research on childhood psychology, elementary educational theory, behavioral design, and inclusive design with a specific emphasis on the effects of the architectural environment on children. It also includes extensive research on daylighting with an emphasis on its application to schools. The research includes daylighting design guidelines and case studies of daylighting strategies in schools. This research provides an evidence base for the development of a didactic daylighting design tool, metrics for its use, and theoretical designs it can produce. The daylight design tool takes the form of a scale model and drawings with metrics that utilize photographic and multimedia tools. Outcome . This thesis provides research on the ways that daylighting can contribute to the development of educational environments that promote learning for a wider range of elementary school children. Preliminary work (research, experiments, and discussions) and a proposal for a didactic design tool complete with drawings, models, and corresponding data are included in the documentation, which is bound and submitted to the Faculty of the Graduate School of the University at Buffalo, State University of New York in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Architecture.