Elder Visual Performance Viewing System – Orfield Labs
Theory and Practice . Architectural traditionally uses design charrettes to determine user satisfaction with schematic design directions, yet these opinion-based methods have no scientific validity, as they are simply focus groups used for opinion gathering. And as psychological research and academic market research have known for decades, users cannot accurately self-report on their design preferences or motivations.
With this in mind, we are quite focused on helping the design team to achieve design resonance, and the sense of spiritual satisfaction provided by a building that is designed with user measurement to determine the emotional attachment the user will have to the new building.
We provide POP Visual Jury measurement of a universe of examples of any building type, and further Visual Juries as the design team continues onto early schematic design.
Design aesthetics can be measured subjectively, and we can know with certainty what design solutions the user will find most resonant. Yet this very important step is seldom used on real projects, no matter how large or how important.
The device on the right is a perceptual demonstration viewer to show how our vision is altered by age, by visual diseases and by lighting level. It is part of our award winning standards development of building performance standards (including lighting,daylighting, glare, colors and patterns) for 90 year old users with dementia.
Orfield Open Plan Laboratory – RASTI/STI Testing
Specialties. We can measure design success by measuring user response, and this can be done on a large scale, such as building facades, or on a smaller scale, such as interiors or workstations. It can even be done on design colors and finishes, as these seemingly small decisions can have a major impact, as our research has shown.
In our OPWG Open Plan Laboratory, we can install ceilings, floors, wall materials, furniture systems, and lighting, and we have audio simulations of speech babble, HVAC, sound masking and other signals. We also have multiple systems for measuring STI and RASTI, for speech privacy. This lab can be programmed to simulate any open plan configuration and system use, so that performance can be demonstrated for the user prior to acceptance, as most users find that after a listening test, they usually decide to increase the quality of privacy.
Orfield Acoustic Simulation Lab
Philosophy. We believe that buildings are for users, and if the user is not included in the process, in terms of measurement, there will be no predictability in terms of response to the final design. For this reason, when we moved into our new lab in 1990, we decided to develop many facilities for demonstration, so that we could reduce our discussions explaining the sciences, and we could simple demonstrate the perceptual effects of design.
Our Acoustic Simulation Lab was featured in Sound & Communication Magazine, and in the Minneapolis Star/Tribune in 1991, when we designed it under contract to Yamaha Pro Audio for use in demonstrating environments for concert pianos in NYC. At the time, we decided to build the same facility in our labs to simulate architectural acoustic design changes before there was software available for that purpose. Now the ASL is used for background noise investigations, directional sound studies and other similar research studies.
Summary. Measuring users is the only primary measurement that can be done in architecture. Measuring environments (acoustics, lighting, daylighting, thermal comfort, indoor air quality) are only meaningful when we know what values users want.
An example of this was the RASTI speech intelligibility testing system designed in Denmark by B&K.
The STI was introduced by Tammo Houtgast and Herman Steeneken in 1971, and was accepted by Acoustical Society of America in 1980. In about 1985, the RASTI (Rapid Speech Transmission Index) was introduced by Bruel and Kjaer in Denmark to speed up architectural speech intelligibility measurement. Orfield Labs was the first North American firm to acquire a RASTI system that year, as part of our long history of measuring analytical and subjective speech intelligibility.