Ph.D Thesis

Ph.D StudentCapeluto Isaac
SubjectArchitecture and Environment:
Modeling a Sustainable Architecture
DepartmentDepartment of Architecture and Town Planning
Supervisor PROFESSOR EMERITUS Edna Shaviv


The research deals with the creation of design tools for finding an architecture that consider the environment and its natural conditions. Such an architecture will seek to improve the comfort conditions of the inhabitants using in an efficient way the existing natural resources, affecting the natural environment in a minimal form. This kind of architecture is defined as Sustainable Architecture, and helps to achieve a Sustainable Environment.

The purpose of the research is to develop a computerized model (SustArc), based on knowledge and procedural methods, intending to create alternatives of architectural design, dealing with climatic, energetic and environmental aspects at the residential quarter’s scale. The emphasis is on energy related issues, including energy for heating, cooling, lighting, traffic and materials. In the proposed model, the architectural design process is understood as a process in which there are many participants, each of them fulfilling a certain function in this process and influencing the shape of the solution. The participants are defined according to the subject they are dealing with, such as climate, energy, traffic, etc. The role of each participant is to act as “consultant” in his field and to assist in the definition of the solution in each design stage. Thus, the model enables to achieve a design, taking into consideration a variety of subjects (multi-disciplinary design) by combining several tools, brought to the architect’s design table whenever necessary. From this point of view, the model is an IDS-Integrated Design System.

The SustArc model, which is proposed in this research, deals mainly with the conceptual design stage and the preliminary design stage. The conceptual design stage deals with the determination of the urban fabric. In this stage, attention is given mainly to the establishment of the general geometric features of the design solution and to examination of the various influences of street’s orientation and geometry of blocks on the solution’s functionality and quality. In the preliminary design stage, a more detailed examination is made of subjects related to the different buildings on the defined lots and to the open spaces between them, emphasizing the determination of geometric features of the proposed solution and the preliminary selection of materials and details of buildings.

SustArc and all the design tools that were developed in the framework of this research, include two levels of treatment for each subject, adapted to the stages of conceptual design and preliminary design, and supporting the designer on the level of advice, creation, critic and evaluation of the following subjects: solar envelopes for preservation of solar rights, shadow casting, solar radiation, winds, transportation and visualization.

Systematic use of the model will help in the development of recommendations and design guidelines, to assist the designer to take different design decisions already at the beginning of the design process. The design guidelines to be developed will be in the future part of the system’s knowledge base which will be based, as well, on the accumulated experience.