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Title: Flourishing the indoor environment quality of workplaces using the biophilic architectural design
Authors: Al-Dmour, Youmna
Advisors: Garaj, V
Balachandran, W
Keywords: biophilic workplaces;flourish model;environmental design;co-design toolkit;Monitoring IEQ
Issue Date: 2023
Publisher: Brunel University London
Abstract: The central argument in this thesis is that workplace users’ health, well-being and productivity are affected by indoor environmental quality (IEQ) and that their overall satisfaction is related to the IEQ factors within the workplace. In addition, it is proposed that enhancing the indoor environment using Biophilic Design can positively influence occupants’ health, well-being and productivity in co-working offices and university research rooms. To test this argument, a methodology based on the Flourish Model was developed to collect interview data, discrete IEQ measurements and post-occupancy evaluation (POE) responses. This thesis is made up of three empirical parts. The first part evaluates occupants’ health, well-being and productivity in the Second Home co-working offices, which contain 30 multidiscipline companies. Data were collected through on-site observation and interviewing 10 HR members; these data were then analysed to determine how the implication of Biophilic Design patterns can help solve several IEQ issues and establish how these patterns are related to overall satisfaction and productivity. The results of this empirical part show two main points: first, the addition of plants as part of the Biophilic Architecture positively affected occupants’ health and well-being positively, and some of these plants controlled the thermal comfort, which includes the temperature and humidity as well as the air quality of the office environment; second, other Biophilic features were added to control noise levels in the space, while some of them were for aesthetic value. However, using some green features for atheistic value is not enough to reach the best environment quality and meet occupant expectations in the office environment. Finally, the implication of the Biophilic patterns is connected to the cost used in a project, starting from adding plants to significant changes in the whole building construction. The second empirical part of this study was conducted in five research rooms at Brunel University London in 2 old and 3 recently developed buildings by surveying the researchers twice and conducting a measurement test using Arduino sensors in five zones for 14 days. The most obvious finding to emerge from this study is that the II qualities of the five key aspects of IEQ, namely thermal comfort, indoor air quality, lighting environment, acoustic environment and office space layout, have significantly positive correlations with occupants’ productivity. Moreover, the participants assured that Biophilic Design offers many ways to improve their offices. Several suggestions have been presented for Biophilic solutions depending on the building age and issues raised. Finally, although some of the measured IEQ conditions were relatively good, with no significant fluctuation across the research rooms, it was noted that there is a difference between objective IEQ data and subjective occupant evaluations. The recently developed buildings which designed with fully double-glazed façades showed the highest overall health, well-being and productivity levels, whereas the old buildings constructed with small windows or with no access to the daylight had the lowest; they had lower window-to-wall ratios. The results support that the measurements do not express the absolute satisfaction of the occupants. Nevertheless, the findings were useful to be considered in the third imperial part. As the main research output, this project created a co-design toolkit that offers an opportunity for designers and architects to indicate their perspectives on improving open-plan workplaces. At the same time, this toolkit helps enhance the office environment by means of Biophilic Design and by bringing the natural environment indoors. This project is the first of its kind to develop a co-design toolkit for workplace design that can be used by designers, architects, students and even stakeholders to improve the design of workplaces in a way that positively affects their occupants. The toolkit was created in a co-design study in which the participants interactively discussed and shared their ideas as to the functionality and design of the toolkit. Then, using tow testing rounds with 6 and 15 designers and architects respectively. The researcher collated and modelled the results in the direction that they wished by using four types of cards: the activity guide, which is designed to explain the aim and the process of the toolkit to the user; the flourish cards, which created to evaluate the existing workplace situation and determine the main IEQ issues; the Biophilic cards, which present different solutions with different user budgets; and finally, the plant cards, which deliver a number of floor and desk plants with some tips that help the user to find the right location for using them.
Description: This thesis was submitted for the award of Doctor of Philosophy and was awarded by Brunel University London
Appears in Collections:Design
Brunel Design School Theses

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