Simulating Human Behavior in Built Environments

Friday, 13 February 2015: 8:00 AM-9:30 AM
Room LL21E (San Jose Convention Center)
Yehuda Kalay,Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel
Buildings are one-of-a-kind artifacts, whose large size and high cost of construction does not permit prototyping. If the architect makes a mistake, and that mistake is not recognized before the building has been constructed, it can only be corrected at great cost, or not at all.

To overcome this problem, architects have been using building models and a host of tools to help them predict and evaluate the product of their design before it is realized. Such tools include simulations of structural stability, energy performance, lighting, cost, and many other performance characteristics.

Still, architects, and their clients have no means to help them predict and evaluate how well the proposed building will perform from a users’ point of view before it has been constructed and occupied.

Ever since Vitruvius coined his famous three predicates: firmitas, utilitas, venustas(solidity, usefulness, and beauty) some 2000 years ago, the importance of making buildings perform well from the users’ point of view has been acknowledged as the core value of the architectural design process: a building that does not meet its users’ needs and expectations cannot be considered a successful product.

With the exponential growth in computing power and the availability of new simulation methods and tools, analyses of human-environment interactions have begun to be introduced into building performance evaluations. They are gradually overcoming the shortcomings derived from the heretofore domination of normative approaches (codes and regulations), yet at present, their real contribution is limited to the representation of specific occurrences and/or specific aspects of human behavior (e.g. fire egress, pedestrian movement, crowd simulation, etc.).

This presentation describes a more extensive and comprehensive simulation model of human behavior in built environments, able to predict not just future users’ movement in the building but also their social activities and cooperative events, thus help solve the problem of assessing the performance of buildings from a human behavior point of view.

The presentation shows how time-based, socio-cultural information concerning the future users of a building can be integrated with Building Information Models (BIM), in a manner that expresses the influence of the building on their behavior, and vice versa.