Perception

The overall aim of this project is to clarify the behavior and psychology for humanizing technologies and innovations for future homes. Existing models of comfort and experience of quality cannot be directly applied to novel building concepts and materials since they have been developed for traditional construction processes. An important further aim is the creation of restorative environments using novel materials and building concepts.

With new materials and integration of indoor and outdoor environments, future homes will have acoustic, lighting, smell and indoor air/temperature characteristics that are different than those for existing passive houses. Since comfort is multimodal experience (Fransson et al 2007, Västfjäll et al 2002) we need to consider the interaction between different sensory modalities in creating an overall impression of comfort (Broadbent 1971). We look for homes that are both comfortable to live in and nurture human well-being and positive health. Hence environmental quality and restoration are key experiential values. It is known that restorative spaces lead to long-term positive effects on health (Hartig et al 1996). Restoration is often closely linked to the experience of Nature and therefore restorative homes can use Nature as an inspiration for design and as a means for customizing a home.

One approach is the integration of the indoor and outdoor soundscapes in the urban context that qualify as restorative and recreational environments from a perceptional point of view. The semi-outdoor areas, such as courtyards, atria and balconies are of special interest, since they offer access to quiet Nature-enriched environments. The spatial acoustics of indoor-outdoor spaces will be studied using computation and scale models. Studies relating these physical properties with perception and indicators of restoration will be conducted through psychophysical studies. Both research methods will then be collated to extract design methods for the spaces.

A further approach is to investigate the potential and limitations of new technical solutions in an adaptive building envelope (such as the aerogel mentioned above) coupled to transfer of air and daylight through the building envelope, the distribution through the living space and the impact on occupants. Experimental studies will concern the use of transparent thermal insulations, optical fibre solutions, smart window technology, daylight chimneys and fluorescent materials. For air, experiments will focus on smart and sensor controlled ventilation, breathable membranes and indoor air flow patterns. The effects of the air and light variables on humans will be through psychophysical studies which will provide multimodal indices of comfort and restoration (Västfjäll et al 2010).

 

More information:

Daniel Västfjäll
Dept of Applied Acoustic
daniel.vastfjall@chalmers.se