Francisca Rodriguez

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Thesis Title "New framework for appraising daylight changes in dynamic outdoor views"

Master of Science in Architectural Lighting Design, KTH (Sweden)
Bachelor in Architecture (Hons) Universidad Tecnica Federico Santa Maria, UTFSM (Chile)

Meet Francisca Rodriguez, with a Master of Science in Architectural Lighting Design from KTH (Sweden) and a Bachelor in Architecture (Hons) from Universidad Tecnica Federico Santa Maria, UTFSM (Chile), Francisca is one of the many talented PhD Students associated with the QUT Design Lab.

With a vast work history including Lecturing at UTFSM, Chile, writing lighting chapters for the Sustainable Building Standards for Housing in Chile, being a practicing Architect and Daylight consultant, and also Co-Founding Accecity, a collaborative geolocation app aimed at providing inclusive urban navigation experiences to all city dwellers, Francisca decided it was time to embark on her next adventure and commenced her PhD entitled “New framework for appraising daylight changes in dynamic outdoor views” in July, 2017.

Her supervisors include, Principle Supervisor Veronica Garcia-Hansen of the QUT Design Lab, The University of Queensland’s Alicia Allan and Gillian Isoardi from Light Naturally.

When asked who inspires her education / research goals, Francisca responded “I come from South America, where you need to be resourceful and down-to-earth to conduct research. Because of this I am inspired by the lay people that could see their daily lives improved by small interventions in their work or domestic spaces. ”

Francisca has also been quoted as saying she is “privileged to conduct research and to have dedicated time to do [my research] in Australia, thus my ultimate goal is to give back by working with first-in-family students and risk communities, to leverage the access to opportunities and shape more equitable societies”.  It’s a pleasure for us at the QUT Design Lab to support you during this process Francisca and we look forward to celebrating your completion in July of this year!

Thesis Abstract :

It is estimated that the urban population now spends an average of 90% of their time indoors. This has consequences for access to daylight and the outdoor environment, which supports physical and mental wellbeing. Building science and design aim to supply functional indoor spaces that have access to daylight and views to the outdoors, which are dependent on spatial, environmental, and temporal factors. Although outdoor views promote health and psychological benefits, these effects have only been examined in terms of static view composition, disregarding the temporal and atmospheric changes that may have positive effects on people.

The development of new immersive technologies enabled the subjective assessment of spatial and environmental conditions indoors. Novel studies validated virtual reality instruments to examine the subjective effects of daylight at specific points in time. This path supports the use of immersive technologies for testing the effects of views over time under varying daylight and atmospheric conditions. In particular, it supports investigating the extent by which preference for a view is mediated by individuals’ ability to obtain time and environmental cues from that view.

This Ph.D. project reports the methodology and preliminary findings of an immersive experiment that examines the effects of daylighting and environmental changes on individuals’ responses to views. A novel quantitative framework was used to classify, collect, and evaluate views under dynamic conditions. First, a sample of potential views (n=125) was categorized using a semantic segmentation method. Next, selected views (n=20) were recorded over the day to produce panoramic time-lapse videos. Data loggers, spectral measurements, and daylight tracking technologies complemented the collection of in situ view information. Digital images were then processed in Matlab, resulting in absolute lightness variation for each time interval. Per-pixel information was further analyzed in combination with in situ daylight and environmental measurements.

Following the implementation of the dynamic views procedure, representative view scenes were selected for conducting the virtual reality experiment. Panoramic time-lapse videos were edited to obtain static and dynamic visual stimulus (e.g. photographs at a point in time; video fragments), depicting a range of lightness variation and hue scaling values in views. Participants (n=50) were instructed to wear a virtual reality headset, and rate the randomized visual stimulus in terms of perceived light variation, perceived time and environmental cues, and subjective appreciation of views through validated scales for view assessment. Ratings were examined concurrently with ground truth information registered during data collection.

Ultimately, this Ph.D. project exposes the relationships between perceived daylight variations and time cues with regard to individuals’responses to outdoor views using a dynamic approach. Further, it urges the need to consider dynamic daylight and environmental factors in view research. The outcomes of this work lay the foundations of a new evaluation and decision-making procedure, aiming to support individuals’ physical and mental wellbeing through design.