Research Projects

Systemic Approach to Architectural Performance

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Project Leader: Marie Davidova

PhD candidate, University of Liberec

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Systemic Approach to Architectural Performance is fusion of process-based fields formally initiated by integration of Systems Oriented Design and Performance Oriented Architecture. It develops methodology and generates theory through experimental practice.

SAAP involves Time Based Eco-Systemic Co-Design that involves both, biotic and abiotic agents, including humans.

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The Field involves various interrelated case studies:

Wood as a Primary Medium to Eco-Systemic Performance: A Case Study in Systemic Approach to Architectural Performance

The present research considers wood as a study material for a wider question on architecture’s environmental interaction. It aims to explore its potential for eco-systemic performances and atmospheres  as well as to broaden the discussion on this problem area by accessing the public space and professional practice calls. My project researches such interactions through practical experiments as well as theoretical reflections, including examinations of other scientific, design, artistic and crafts disciplines. It honestly discusses the successes as well as the failures and weak points to develop a strong background for eco-systemic collaborative design-research practice.


The methodology Research by Design while full scale prototyping is covered by the Systems Oriented Design to interpret and develop complex environmental relations. While doing so, this work also claims develop the methodology itself and to generate theory through experimental practice. The fusion of these process based fields led to the ratification of new design field: Systemic Approach to Architectural Performance.




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Figure 1: Davidová: Environment Responsive Screen GIGA-map, Showing Transdisciplinary Relations within the Project, Research by Design GIGA-Map (Davidová 2013 – images from Forest Products Laboratory, 2010; Hoadley, 1980; Menges, 2009; Němec, 2005; Tolasz & Coll., 2007 or photographed by the author, used with the courtesy of USDA Forest Products Laboratory, Taunton Pres, Achim Menges, Grada and Tolasz) – please, zoom in at Systems Oriented Design’s Giga-Mapping Gallery (Sevaldson, 2017a)


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Figure 2: LOOP Pavilion Design-Research Process GIGA-map as a Result of Transdisciplinary Studio Course[1] (administrator of the map and photo: Pokorný 2014) – For high resolution image see Systems Oriented Design web site (Sevaldson, 2016b) or RSD5 proceedings (Davidová, 2016d)


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Figure 3: LOOP Pavilion GIGA-map as a Result of Transdisciplinary Studio Course (administrators of the map: Hrušová & Pokorný 2014) – For high resolution image see Systems Oriented Design web site (Sevaldson, 2016b) or RSD5 proceedings (Davidová, 2016h)

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Figure 4: Davidová: GIGA-Map of Design’s Boundary Conditions in Relation to Both, Abiotic and Biotic, Including Social, Environmental Interactions, Mapping the Spaces Organized from Fully Open to Almost Closed 2016 – please, zoom in at SAAP blog or in RSD5 proceedings (Davidová, 2016a, 2016c)

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Figure 5: Davidová: GIGA-mapping Svalgangs 2016 (the map of Norway is a public source from: Central Intelligence Agency: the macro climatic diagrams are used with the courtesy of reached at yr, 2016) – please, zoom in at SAAP blog or in RSD5 proceedings (Davidová, 2016a, 2016e)


Related Published Work:












Bio-Climatic Layers of Built Environment: Exploring Environmental Dimensions

To design in relation with light, sound, wind, weather or stars position, politics, etc. has been common throughout the architectural history (Davidová, 2009). This also involves other biotic factors (M. Hensel & Turko, 2015; M. U. Hensel, 2011) - flora, fauna, etc. Layering of different climatic spaces, ranging from spaces insulated by ground and green roofs to permeable screens of semi-interior spaces, has been common in traditional architectures across the continents and climates (Vegas, Mileto, Cristini, & Checa, 2014; Vegas, Mileto, Songel, & Noguera, 2014), most common in the extreme ones (Davidová, 2016). Today, governments across the world, such as Czechia, Norway, Turkey, Canada or US (Czech Republic Ministry of the Environment & Czech Hydrometeorological Institute, 2015; Flæte et al., 2010; Republic of Turkey Ministry of Environment and Urbanization, 2012; Richardson, 2010; U.S.Department of State, 2014), are releasing strategies for climatic adaptations. The changes in society and technology are equally fast. It seems to be certainly overlooked fact, that our architectures can learn from traditional examples of more extreme climates and society changes, that have already adapted to these fluctuations over generations. The research seeks to analyse such human, as well as non-human spaces and search for their application in today built environment. This will be done through onsite measures and registering, GIGA-mapping (Bjørndal Skjelten, 2014; Davidová, 2014, 2016, Sevaldson, 2011, 2015, 2016), workshops and university teaching and implications to my practice and NGO, Collaborative Collective (Collaborative Collective, 2016; Davidová, 2013). The methodology covers transdisciplinary “Research by Design”, joining academy, NGO and practice with the focus on Systems Oriented Design and should propose new applications of traits in Performance Oriented Design (M. U. Hensel, 2012, 2015) to practice.

Sub-Projects Sites:
GIGA-map and Time Line:
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Figure 6: GIGA-mapping of Performance of Cappadocian Caves and Underground City (map by Davidová 2016, images of caves by Davidová 2016, Turkey map of Köppen climate classification has been used under creative common licence (Zifan 2016), Map of Cappacocia has been used under creative common licence (Dörrbecker 2009), Climate and Temperature Diagrams used from with expired copyright in 2015 ( 2015b; 2015a), Climate Zones Rainfall in Turkey map used with the courtesy of Fanack (Fanack 2016))

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Figure 7: Time Line of Historical Development of Cappadocia (Uygan 2016, photos: Davidová 2016 and Elelicht 2007, information source: Akyürek, 1998; Görmez, 2002; Gülyaz, 1998; Gürler, 2007; Nevşehir, 1998; Okuyucu, 2007; Ötüken, 1987; Sözen, 1998)


Related Published Work:



GIGA-Mapping the Architectural Performance: Appreciation of New Coming Cultures

Performance Oriented Design (Hensel, 2015) in the means of architecture that reacts to its environment has strong background in traditional oriental architecture. In the same time, it is perceived as a necessity of our future. Weather extremes are expected in climatic adaptation documents of many countries, i.e. Norway, Czechia, Turkey or Canada (Czech Republic Ministry of the Environment & Czech Hydrometeorological Institute, 2015; Flæte et al., 2010; Republic of Turkey Ministry of Environment and Urbanization, 2012; Richardson, 2010). In this settings, we need to generate environment friendly and habitable environments that gain from previously developed architectures with tradition of weather extremes. Considering the refugees’ crisis, within western world, we shouldn’t ask what we lose by accepting different cultures, but how can these cultures enrich us. Semi-interior spaces, natural ventilation, hygroscopicity, etc. has been widely used feature in the orient (Fathy, 1986; Hensel, 2011). Such performative spaces have high significance in socio-cultural relations (Vegas, Mileto, Songel, & Noguera, 2014). People who experienced such in everyday life can save us from the worst harms of coming environmental changes, thus gaining new identity and appreciation in their new homeland.

The ongoing series of workshops is using the methodology of Systems Oriented Design (Sevaldson, 2013), namely GIGA-mapping (Sevaldson, 2011), for mapping the socio-cultural as well as environment-performative potentials in oriental architecture with refugees participation for practice applications in their new countries.




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Figure 8: Mapping with Bachelor Level Students at the University of Eskişehir, Turkey; The GIGA-map is structured into several transdisciplinary topics fields that penetrate into each other. There are marked relations within and across the fields and all these relations are linked to proposed supportive solutions on the right side of the GIGA-Map (photo: Davidová 2016)


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Figure 9: Mapping with MSc. Level Students with Majorly Immigrant Backgrounds at the University of Arizona in Tucson; The GIGA-map is organized as geographical map marking countries of interest. It is in fact field map, where the topics on the images are colour coded. There are marked relations within and across the fields and countries. The most interesting and surprising relations were narratively evaluated with scenario speculation of their positive and negative development. (photo: Davidová 2016)

See also pictures from similar workshop co-held with Sevaldson at RSD 5 in OCAD University: >>>>>


[1] tutors: Marie Davidová, Šimon Prokop, Martin Kloda, students: Alena Novotná, Anna Hrušová, Antonín Hůla, Barbora Slavíčková, Jakub Kopecký, Jiří Fáber, Jiří Pokorný, Petr Tůma, Tereza Jílková, Radim Sýkora, Eliška Antonyová, Tereza Lišková, Filip Janata, Tomáš Kytka, Marie Kortanová, Vojtěch Holeček, Martin Vaníček, Jakub Hlaváček and Petr Havelka 2014








Ulstein Bridge Concept


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This research project is financed by the owner Ulstein Power and Control, (Ulstein Group), the partner Kwant Controls and 50% by the Norwegian Research Council.

The Oslo School of Architecture and Design is the main institutional partner. The University College of Ålesund is also partner in the rpoject.

The project has a four year life span and finances also a PhD, Sigrun Lurås.

A successful design pilot financed by the Norwegian Design Council prepared the ground for a full R&D application to the MAROFF program of the Norwegian Research Council. The project started in April 2011. In UBC we are focussing on vessels for complex offshore operations, like supply vessels, anchor handling vessels and ships for sub sea operations. These ships have in common that they have special needs for operation and the bridge hence is more complex than in other types of ships.

Systems Oriented Design is the main theoretical framework for addressing the super complexity involving the design of such control centers. This involves bringing together many technological systems on board, integrating products fromm a larg enumber of sub contractors, addapting to complex production processes, looking into safety regulations and ship class definitions etc.

But most central is the user centered approach where information design and the desing of input systems is crucial for user confort and experience but ultimately most important to increase safe operation.

The project also initiated the built up of the Maritime Design Lab at the Oslo School of Architecture and Design.


Publications in the project relevant to S.O.D.

Lurås, S. A different Systems Approach to Designing for Sensemaking on the Vessel Bridge. in Systems Engineering in Ship and Offshore Design Conference. 2012. London: Royal Institute of Naval Architects.

Sevaldson B., Paulsen A., Stokke M., Magnus K., Strømsnes J. Systems Oriented Design in Maritime Design. In Systems Engineering in Ship and Offshore Design Conference. 2012. London: Royal Institute of Naval Architects.

For full publication list in the project go to the project site.


The main staff in the UBC project at AHO is:

Dr. Kjetil Nordby, Project Leader, Director of the Maritime Design Lab

Sigurd Winningstad, Designer

Sigrun Lurås, PhD candidate

Prof dr. Birger Sevaldson,

Here is the project website >>>>>