SUNY/BuffaloDepartment of Architecure

Ergonomics in Building Design

Edward Steinfeld, Instructor 

Assignments (Spring '10)


Team Formation

All Homework Assignments are to be completed in teams of 3 individuals (unless the class has less than 15 students). During the first class, organize yourselves into teams. If you are not at the first class, contact the instructor and he will assign you to one of the teams or form a new team with the new students.

Homeworkd #1: Task Analysis

In the Anthropometry of Wheeled Mobility Project, the IDEA Center studied the use of doors by wheeled mobility device users. The objective was to discover what changes should be made to the current ADA Accessibility Guidelines. We recently completed a research report on our study. But, we had difficulty interpreting some of the findings as described in the report and in class. This assignment will attempt to improve our analysis.

In class, the instructor will explain the use of a rating scale the IDEA Center developed for evaluating the difficulty of a task in an environment. A set of video clips will be provided of a person using a wheelchair while opening and closing three doors. Each team will prepare a Task Analysis for opening doors, breaking the activity into a series of component tasks. Each member of the team will independently use the rating scale to evaluate the ability of the person in each clip to complete each component task for each door. Enter all the data in the template spreadsheet provided and compare your results. Compare results and discuss why there are differences, watch the video clips again and resolve the differences either by redoing the ratings independently or changing the Task Analysis to make it easier to do the ratings. If you cannot resolve the differences, be prepared to explain the problems you had in class. Write up your findings and questions. Include recommendations on how you could obtain better information to inform standards development and design. Copy the report to the team's shared drive folder for your team. Be prepared to present the results in class.

Homework #2: Stair Design Practices

We are about to start a new project at the IDEA Center on stairway safety. We have noticed many unusual stairways being designed in high end buildings. The Apple Store examples shown in class are only one set of examples. We want to complete a systematic review of the design and product literature to identify a full set of design practices that we should study further in field and laboratory studies. As a start to this project, each team will be assigned several years from 2000-2010 and conduct a review of Architectural Record for the assigned years. There will be some overlap to test the thoroughness of the review. Using the typology provided, each team will identify the unusual stairway design practices found in the journals, including articles and advertisements. Photograph each with a digital camera that has at least a 5 megapixel resolution. Prepare a citation for each stairway or design feature identified in the Endnote template we provided with a code number for each. After you have completed your survey review your findings and identify the practices that, based on your knowledge of stairway safety, may be questionable. Select the stairway you consider to be the most unsafe in the ones you found with reasons why. Write up your findings and organize your photos chronologically with the file name including the same code as on the Endnote database. Copy everything to the team's shared drive folder. Be prepared to summarize your findings and show the worst stairway to the class.

Homework #3: Design for Extreme Events

Imagine that you are a team of architects working on the design for the renovation of Crosby Hall. Chose an aspect of emotional design related to a disaster scenario in buildings. Search the appropriate scientific literature to find publications on that aspect of emotional design and prepare a summary of your findings with recommendations that could help the design team make the building feel safer in case of a disaster. Consider the needs of people with disabilities and injured individuals. Prepare a report using MS Word. Be prepared to present your findings in a brief report and copy it to the team's shared drive folder. Be prepared to summarize your findings to the class.

Independent Project: Wayfinding Information Needs

Choose one of the three main wayfinding activities to study: orientation, navigation or destination verification. The Instructor will present current IDEA Center projects related to each fo these activities. Using the NTK model, identify an information need that you can research during the time remaining in the semester. Prepare an outline of your research activities and sources of information and present it to the class. Complete the research and present preliminary findings to a small group. Discuss each individual's project within the group. Complete the research and write a report using the Design Resource format developed by the IDEA Center. Put the final report on the class shared drive.


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