SUNY/Buffalo Department of Architecure

Ergonomics in Building Design

Edward Steinfeld, Instructor

Reading List

Part One: Basic Readings

This material is the basic material for the course. It must be read during the three weeks prior to the Readings Quiz. The Quiz will be solely on this material and include 20-25 objective questions.

Sanders, M.S. and McCormick, E.J. Applied anthropometry, work space design and seating. In Human Factors in Engineering and Design, 7th Edition. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1993, pp.415-455. This is an introduction to the basics of anthropometry in design.

Skim: Diffrient, N., Tilley, A. R. and Harman, D. Humanscale 1-9. Cambridge: MIT Press,1981. This is an interesting compilation of anthropometric data for designers. Become familiar with its contents.

Marras, W. S. Biomechanics of the human body, in Salvendy, G. (ed.) Handbook of Human Factors and Ergonomics, 2nd Edition. New York: John Wiley, 1997. pp233-267. An introduction to biomechanics with an emphasis on design of work tasks and workplaces.

Proctor, R.W. and Van Zandt, T. Perception of objects in the world. In Human Factors in Simple and Complex Systems, Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 1994, pp. 131-158. A basic overview of perception for all the senses. Good article for architects because it emphasizes Gestalt psychology which is most relevant for building design issues.

Norman, D. The Design of Everyday Things. New York: Doubleday, 1988. [Hardback Edition called " The Psychology of Everyday Things"] pp. 1-53 and 187-217. This is a key text on cognitive issues in design. The focus is on products but building design is also addressed in examples.

Lane, JP and Flagg, JL Translating three states of knowledge–discovery, invention, and innovation. Implementation Science. 2010, 5/1/9. Download full text in PDF at

Part Two: Additional Required Readings

These readings must be completed prior to the class on which lectures will be given on these topics. A short quiz of 5 questions each will be given at the beginning of each class.

Task Analysis

Steinfeld, E. and Danford G. S. Automated doors: toward universal design. Construction Specifier, August, 1994 pp. 90-102 - An analysis of a simple and ubiquitous building product that describes the hidden complexity of usability issues.

Emotional Design

Norman, D. Emotional Design: Why we love or hate everyday things. New York: Basic Books, 2004. Read entire book except chap. 7. This book can be purchased through A paperback copy can be purchased for as little as $10 and received overnight. The book is a key reading on how emotions come into play in usability of products and environments.

Stairway Safety

Templer, John. The Staircase: Studies of Hazards, Chap. 1 Falls and Safer Design and Riser and Chap. 2 Tread Geometry for Comfort and Safety. Cambridge MA: MIT Press, 1992. pp. 3-38. An introduction to ergonomic issues in stairway design with an emphasis on gait, balance and anthropometry, and their relationship to safe use of stairways.

Extreme Events

Pauls, Jake, Building design for egress. JAE, Vol. 33, No. 4. Summer, 1980, pp. 38-42. A critical review of emergency egress design criteria found in building codes from a human factors perspective. Available online at .

Archea. John. "The path to refuge." Buffalo: School of Architecture and Planning, unpublished paper, 1993; also published as Archea, J. Immediate reactions of people in houses. R. Bolin (Ed.) The Loma Prieta Earthquake: Studies of Short-Term Impacts. Boulder, Co: Program on Environment and Behavior, Institute of Behavioral Science, University of Colorado, Monograph #50, 1990, pp. 56-64. This article illustrates how our perceptual world can be altered by events around us.


Passini, R. What are spatial orientation and wayfinding? Wayfinding in Architecture. New York: Van Nostrand Rheinhold, pp. 27-52. This article introduces environmental cognition as a central concern for building design.

Supplementary Readings on HFE

These readings are not on reserve but are available in the UB library system. This is a bibliography that you may find useful in completing your projects.

Grandjean, E. Ergonomics of the Home London: Taylor and Francis, 1973.

Kaplan, S. and Kaplan, R. Cognition and Environment: Functioning in and Uncertain World. New York: Praeger, 1982.

Panero, J. and Zelnick, M. Human Dimensions and Interior Space. New York: Watson and Guptill, 1979.

Pheasant, S. Bodyspace. London: Taylor and Francis, 1986.

Proctor, R.W. and Van Zandt, T. Human Factors in Simple and Complex Systems, Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 1994.

Pushkarev, B. and Zupan, J. Urban Space for Pedestrians. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1975.

Salvendy, Gavriel. Handbook of Human Factors and Ergonomics, 2nd Edition. New York: John Wiley, 1997.

Sanders, M.S. and McCormick, E.J. Human Factors in Engineering and Design, 7th Edition. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1993.

Tilley, Alvin R. The Measure of Man and WomanHuman Factors in Design. Henry Dreyfuss Associates, 2002

Wickens, C.D., Gordon, S.E. and Liu, Y,  An Introduction to Human Factors Engineering. New York : Longman,  1999, Chap. 4, Visual Sensory System, and Chap. 5, Auditory, Tactile and Vestibular System, pp. 81-144.

Old Readings

These references were used in a previous version of the course and will not be needed this year.

Kira, Alexander. The Bathroom. New York: Bantam, 1967, or,

Kira, Alexander. The Bathroom. Ithaca, N. Y., Center for Housing and Environmental Studies, Cornell University [1966] This is the library's copy of the book.

Zeisel, J. Focused interviews. Inquiry by Design, Monterey, CA: Brooks/Cole, 1991, pp. 137 - 156. The basics of doing focused interviews with individuals but much of the material can be applied to focus groups as well.

Caplan, S. Using focus groups methodology for ergonomic design. Ergonomics 33(5), 527-533, 1990

McNamara, C. Basics of Conducting Focus Groups. - a checklist of things to do in preparing for a focus group.

Periodical Literature

The following sources are very useful to find articles in the periodical literature that might be relevant for your projects. The designation after the source indicates the media in which it is available and location. In some cases, these sources require some effort to use effectively. Plan to spend some time learning how to use them before doing your literature review. The librarians in the respective libraries can help you to do more effective searches.

[Home] [Description] [Schedule] [Readings] [Notes] [Assignments] [Teams]