Systemic Approach to Architectural Performance

Apr 2017 | R&D Projects

Project Leader: Marie Davidova

PhD candidate, University of Liberec

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

Systemic Approach to Architectural Performance is the fusion of process-based fields formally initiated by the 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 biotic and abiotic agents, including humans.

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The Field involves various interrelated case studies described below.

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

The present research considers wood as 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, 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 to develop the methodology and generate theory through experimental practice. The fusion of these process-based fields led to the ratification of a 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).

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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: gigamapping Svalgangs 2016 (the map of Norway is a public source from: Central Intelligence Agency: https://www.cia.gov/ the macro climatic diagrams are used with the courtesy of yr.no reached at yr, 2016) – please, zoom in at SAAP blog or in RSD5 proceedings (Davidová, 2016a, 2016e).

Related Published Work


https://www.researchgate.net/publication/312501181_Socio-Environmental_Relations_of_Non-Discrete_Spaces_ and_Architectures_Systemic_Approach_to_Performative_Wood?ev=prf_pub













Bio-Climatic Layers of Built Environment: Exploring Environmental Dimensions

Designing in relation to light, sound, wind, weather or the stars’ position, politics, etc., has been common throughout 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 the 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 a certainly overlooked fact that our architectures can learn from traditional examples of more extreme climates and societal 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’s built environment. This will be done through onsite measures and registering, gigamapping (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 a 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





GIGAmap and timeline

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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 Climatemps.com with expired copyright in 2015 (Climatemps.com 2015b; Climatemps.com 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




Gigamapping the Architectural Performance: Appreciation of New Coming Cultures

Performance oriented design (Hensel, 2015) in the means of architecture that reacts to its environment has a strong background in traditional oriental architecture. At 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 setting, we need to generate environment-friendly and habitable environments that gain from previously developed architectures with the tradition of weather extremes. Considering the refugee crisis within the western world, we shouldn’t ask what we lose by accepting different cultures but how these cultures can enrich us. Semi-interior spaces, natural ventilation, hygroscopicity, etc., have been widely used in the orient (Fathy, 1986; Hensel, 2011). Such performative spaces have a high significance in socio-cultural relations (Vegas, Mileto, Songel, & Noguera, 2014). People who experience 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 use the methodology of systems oriented design (Sevaldson, 2013), namely gigamapping (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 gigamap 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 gigamap. (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 gigamap is organized as a geographical map marking countries of interest. It is, in fact, a 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)