Solemma's Architectural Design and Daylight Analysis Event Draws a Crowd

Charts projected on a screen and a man at a podium speaking to audience.
Dogan welcomed symposium attendees and gave a research overview of the Environmental Systems Lab. photo / Demi Chang (B.Arch. '20)
People seated in rows of chairs listening to a lecture in a meeting room.
A full house at the symposium. photo / Demi Chang (B.Arch. '20)
Dogan welcomed symposium attendees and gave a research overview of the Environmental Systems Lab. photo / Demi Chang (B.Arch. '20) A full house at the symposium. photo / Demi Chang (B.Arch. '20)
November 19, 2018

A capacity crowd of designers, building scientists, educators, and environmental performance consultants, as well as students in architecture and engineering, attended the two-day Solemma Symposium and Training held at AAP NYC in October. Solemma is a group of professionals in the field of environmental analysis and design practice, research, and architectural education.

"We had an amazing lineup of speakers and the event was completely sold out," said assistant professor of architecture Timur Dogan. Dogan, who leads Cornell's Environmental Systems Lab (ESL), is the senior research advisor for Solemma and brought the annual event to AAP's New York City facility this year. Three previous symposia were held at the University of Toronto, Berkeley, and the Architectural Association in London.

According to Dogan, two main themes emerged during the New York City event — the use of Solemma's DIVA-for-Rhino and ALFA simulation tools as design and performance evaluation workflows, and their use as educational tools.

The first day of the symposium included presentations on performance and design, such as "Light in the Public Realm," given by James Carpenter and Joseph Welker of James Carpenter Design Associates; and "Connectivity of Natural and Artificial Light," delivered by Gabriele von Kardorff of Kardorff Ingenieure Lichtplanung GmbH. Leaders in the field of sustainable design Sean Quinn of HOK and Luc Wilson of Kohn Pedersen Fox also gave presentations titled "Driving Form: Intersection Departure," and "Relative Performance: Designing the Smart(er) City," respectively.

Presentations on circadian lighting design included "The Eye is Not Just for Seeing," given by Steven W. Lockley of the Circadian Physiology Program at Harvard Medical School and the Division of Sleep Medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital. Dogan notes that ALFA software simulation is of particular interest to those working at the intersection of building design standards and public health, such as hospitals, because it employs full-spectrum light simulation.

Day one ended with two lively panel discussions on practice and teaching building science, including three CEOs of consulting firms, considered leaders in the field — Thomas Auer, Technical University of Munich and Transsolar; Nico Kienzl of Atelier Ten; and Cameron Thomson of Arup Group. The panel "Teaching Building Science as a Game" examined "gamified" simulations that teach the basic principles of building design. The panel included Dogan; Jeff Geisinger, RISD and Utile; Liz McCormick, Tulane University; Alstan Jakubiec, Singapore University of Technology and Design; and Tarek Rakha, Syracuse University, among others. The games are currently taught each semester at Cornell, MIT, University of Pennsylvania, and other institutions.

Day two was devoted to software tutorials and practice sessions. AAP students from ESL who participated and helped organize the symposium included Allison Bernett (B.Arch. '20), Demi Chang (B.Arch. '20), Lancer Gu (B.Arch. '20), and Ye Chan (Daniel) Park (B.Arch. '20). ESL students Patrick Kastner, a Ph.D. candidate in systems engineering, and Eesha Khanna '19, an engineering student minoring in architecture, also participated.

"It was a great pleasure to host the Solemma Symposium 2018 at AAP NYC," said Dogan. "It's a fantastic venue to connect our students and ESL with leading practitioners and educators who care deeply about sustainability in the built environment."

By Patti Witten

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