Welsh School of Architecture

Architectural Science Group (ASG)

Sara Alsaadani

Sara Alsaadani has been a qualified architect in her home country of Egypt since 2006. She holds both a BSc and MSc degree in Architectural Engineering and Environmental Design from the Arab Academy for Science and Technology (AAST), Alexandria, Egypt. She began her career in academia as a full-time member of staff at her home university; involved in teaching, design-studio tutoring and research. Alongside this, she also practiced architecture part-time and participated in a number of architectural competitions.

Sara's research interests are consistent in their motivation and link with sustainability and improving environmental performance to create a better built environment. She has previously published research in sustainable design on building and urban scales, as well as integrating sustainable design teaching into architectural curricula. This interest in sustainability led her to pursue a PhD in the area of building performance simulation at the Welsh School of Architecture.

Sara Alsaadani

PhD Abstract:
A Socio-cultural Exploration of Building Performance Simulation Users for Integration in the Architectural Design Process

Sara's on-going PhD project explores integrating building performance simulation (BPS) in the architectural design process. BPS is investigated from a socio-cultural perspective, focusing particularly on its main user-contexts. Architects and BPS specialists are the main actors in the building industry involved in working with BPS, and are required to collaborate to achieve enhanced building performance. Therefore, the research aims at investigating the complex worldviews of architects and BPS specialists, constructed through background education and professional experiences. Worldviews are thought to determine problem-solving paradigms followed, and foundation belief systems from which practitioners perceive their respective professional cultures. Understanding worldview is important because it affects collaboration and communication between architects and BPS, who routinely work together as members of multi-disciplinary teams in real-time project design and delivery.

The research adopts a triangulated methodological approach. Firstly, semi-structured in-depth interviews on a narrow-scale will be conducted with architects and BPS specialists. These aim at exploring and extracting ideas, personal opinions, perceptions, belief systems, outlooks and concerns with respect to their own profession and the building industry at large. The aforementioned are issues which are not openly discussed or circulated between building practitioners. This stage is followed by a wider-scale quantitative survey to test whether the opinions, perceptions and beliefs extracted in the previous stage are representative of the wider architectural and BPS communities, respectively.

The above-described combination of qualitative and quantitative methods is expected to result in the following potential outcomes:

  1. Defining key features of architects' and BPS specialists' worldviews, and highlighting similarities and differences between the two.
  2. Reaching in-depth understandings of socio-cultural user-contexts affecting uptake and use of BPS, which is likely to produce invaluable knowledge informing software-level solutions and development of future BPS interfaces and/or tools.
  3. In the case of multi-disciplinary collaboration between architects and BPS specialists; deciphering and explaining key features of each other's worldviews holds the potential of improving effectiveness of communication between architectural and BPS specialist team-members.

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