Princeton University School of Architecture
Announces the Final Public Oral Exam of
“DESIGN FOR HEAT TRANSFER:
FORMAL AND MATERIAL STRATEGIES TO LEVERAGE THERMODYNAMICS IN THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT"
Monday, May 18, 2020, 10:00 a.m.
Hosted on Zoom
Forrest Meggers (Princeton University, Advisor)
Axel Kilian (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
Stefana Parascho (Princeton University)
William Braham (University of Pennsylvania)
The geometric and material characteristics of heat transfer at the scale of a building tie together the disciplines of architecture, engineering, and physics. However, contemporary practices create knowledge siloes that prevent a full leverage of the many potential trajectories for thermal energy flows in the built environment. Architects have spent the past decades developing multiple tools to describe and construct increasingly complex forms of building surfaces and volumes, yet have largely overlooked the impact of such design decisions on surface radiation and volumetric airflow. At the same time, engineers have developed and employed internal climatic control systems for buildings, but those reside hidden within mechanical rooms, plenums and shafts, detached from the building’s materiality and form, as well as from the external climatic forces. Bridging these fields would allow for an integrated view of the building itself as a coordinated machine which regulates the transfer of heat from the human body to the external environment.
In order to achieve this goal, several methods to characterize the dependencies of heat transfer on architectural elements are presented. Measurement, analysis, and simulation tools are developed to reveal the quantities and qualities of invisible energy exchanges. A special emphasis is given to radiant heat transfer, which is intrinsically connected to architectural surface formation.
Once characterized, it is possible to productively design the paths of energy flows through buildings, thus reducing their reliance on mechanical systems and external energy supply. A series of prototypes is constructed to test the interaction of heat and architectural form in full scale. These prototypes include experimental pavilions magnifying the influence of radiant heat fluxes on human occupants, and various designs for a roof aperture that combines radiant and evaporative cooling for desert climate through kinetic envelopes and adaptive materials. Sensor measurements taken from the prototypes are used to analyze their performance within their intended environments. This work is meant to demonstrate how the design field can contribute to the pressing need for energy conservation, and reciprocally, how the inclusion of thermodynamic interactions within the design process may enrich the pallet of the architect with generative formal and material strategies.
Electronic version of the dissertation is available upon request: email@example.com