University of Sydney Handbooks - 2019 Archive

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Areas of interest – Architectural and Building Science and Technologies

The Architectural and Building Science and Technologies Research Group seeks to understand and manage the phenomena affecting building performance, and also the effects of buildings on external and internal environments, and their occupants. Our research activities are organised into three labs: Indoor Environmental Quality Lab, Audio and Acoustics Labs, and the Lighting Lab.

Architectural Science research undertaken in the Sydney School of Architecture, Design and Planning is world class. We combine cutting edge research infrastructure, a critical mass of world-leading research personnel, and a research environment conducive to the development of creative solutions for the significant research challenges facing the built environment.

It is possible to undertake some advanced coursework within higher degree research programs.

For further information contact Professor Richard de Dear (

) or any member of the research group.
Indoor Environmental Quality Lab

The mission of the IEQ Lab is to quantify and improve the quality of internal environments in buildings where we spend over 90% of our day-to-day lives. The lab applies rigorous scientific methods to identify and quantify the impacts of indoor environments on comfort, health, wellbeing and productivity of their occupants. From that analysis comes occupant-centred, evidence-based design guidance that is relevant to both the design-stage and operational-phase of a building’s life-cycle.

  • Adaptive thermal comfort
  • Climate chamber and field studies of thermal comfort
  • Non-steady-state thermal comfort and alliesthesia
  • Indoor air quality and ventilation rates
  • Interactions between IEQ elements of thermal, lighting, acoustics and indoor air quality
  • Building rating tools for IEQ
  • Post occupancy evaluation of built environments by their occupants
  • Impacts of IEQ on productivity and performance
Spatial Audio and Acoustics Lab

The Spatial Audio & Acoustics Laboratories in the School of Architecture, Design and Planning at the University of Sydney support research and teaching concerned with sound in the built environment. They are among Australia’s most capable research facilities for acoustics and audio.

Acoustics is one of the main contributors to the quality of the built environment, but poses many challenges in architecture because sound cannot be seen and it behaves in complex ways. It has a profound effect on human communication, comfort, productivity and enjoyment. Audio systems are a part of almost every building, and play a substantial role in supporting human activity. The Spatial Audio & Acoustics Labs provide a context for advanced research on problems of acoustics and audio applications, contributing to improving the sound environment in which we live.

  • Room acoustics
  • Psychoacoustics, including loudness and spatial hearing
  • Audio reproduction quality and signal processing
  • Simulation and auralization of acoustical environments
  • Acoustic aspects of Indoor Environmental Quality
  • Advanced measurement techniques
  • Auditory display and sonification.
Lighting Lab

The lighting research program at the University of Sydney concentrates on forward-looking applications of light, to provide leading ideas on how the characteristics of future technologies can be leveraged to maximize benefit to human users of light. The researchers in the lab question the status quo of lighting design practice to develop innovative, sometimes fundamentally new, ways of using lighting in architectural spaces. Experiments investigate the impacts of these applications on both the experience of human users of architecture and energy consumption.

A variety of projects revolve around three research focus areas: the spectrum of illumination, the spatial distribution of light, and user control of lighting.

  • Applications of emerging and next-generation lighting technologies
  • Visual perception, particularly colour vision
  • Novel light source spectra for improved efficacy
  • Colorimetry and development of colour standards
  • Innovative modes of lighting control and human interaction.
Sustainable design
  • Cultural sustainability through integration of architectural science, archeological and heritage conservation knowledge
  • Form and space making potential of sustainable design
  • History of climatic design in Australia
  • Simulation of building environmental performance
  • Comfort analysis of urban outdoor and semi-outdoor microclimates
  • Building integration of renewable energy sources.