Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 1 session / week, 1.5 hours / session

Labs: 1 session / week, 3 hours / session

Subject Overview

This course consists of a series of extended experiments:

  1. Passive solar design and evaluation
  2. Natural ventilation
  3. Daylighting design and evaluation, via models and simulation.

All experiments will draw on recent or ongoing work by Department of Architecture faculty and students in the Hunza Valley of Northern Pakistan, in the state of Gujarat, India, and in Beijing and Shanghai, China. The second experiment will address natural ventilation in houses, either in Pakistan or China. The first experiment will consider passive solar heating in buildings and will feature design and construction of models for outdoor tests, using temperature sensors to record variations in indoor temperatures due to changes in solar radiation and outdoor temperature. Investigations in the second experiment will focus on airflow around the outside of buildings as well as within them, and will be based on both measurement in models and on simulations using programs that calculate pressure drops between zones and those that rely on computational-fluid dynamics. The third lab will focus on how to size and locate windows to provide adequate natural light in houses in rural villages in Gujarat. This work will require construction of realistic models, use of daylighting design procedures to size windows, testing of the models under natural light with illuminance meters, and simulation of daylighting using AutoCAD® and Lightscape.

Learning Objectives

Emphasis will be placed on experimental methods, including use of instrumentation and thoughtful analysis of data; simulation, including appropriate modeling and interpretation of results; and attention to cultural issues associated with the buildings and occupants used as inspiration for the experiments.

Completion Requirements

Lab projects will be done in small teams. A commitment to consistent attendance is expected from all. The course grade is based on lab reports and participation.


The course grade will be based on participation in class and lab reports.

Participation is crucial to the success of the course. While attendance will not be taken, the instructor and teaching assistant will make a subjective but informed judgment, relative to the ideal of arriving more or less on time and staying for the entire lab. Poor attendance will result in a reduced grade.

You will typically be encouraged to work in small groups, depending on the lab and available resources. Groups of 2-3 can work well; pairs are usually optimal and a group size larger than a threesome is unwieldy. Solo work is also permitted but is necessarily more work.

Three Lab Reports 30% each
Final Design Project 10%

Lab reports may be submitted up to one week late with no reduction in credit. Further delays must be authorized by the instructor or the score will be reduced by 10% of full credit per additional week. Resources needed to complete labs may not be available after the nominal completion date. Lab reports will be returned within one week of submittal. Schedule adjustments will be made as necessary to accommodate major studio reviews or other significant deadlines.

Academic integrity is a serious issue. Data sources must include attribution. Lab reports must reflect the thoughts and efforts of team members, unless noted.

There is no final exam in this course and there will be no quizzes.


Buy at Amazon Murdoch, J. B. Illumination Engineering: From Edison's Lamp to the Laser. Washington, DC: Visions Communications, 1994. ISBN: 1885750005.