Faculty Fellows: Interacting with the Built Environment

Expertise: Emerging material technologies, human interaction, and computational simulations influencing the design of sustainable built environments.
Backstory: As a doctoral student at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Bess Krietemeyer was part of a team that developed an innovative facade system installed at the SyracuseCoE headquarters as a demonstration project. After she joined the faculty of the Syracuse University School of Architecture, she turned to SyracuseCoE as a natural partner for assistance with developing her own research projects.
SyracuseCoE Connection: Krietemeyer leads the Interactive Design and Visualization Lab at SyracuseCoE, where she conducts interdisciplinary research on advanced building technologies and human interaction using immersive simulation techniques. “The lab is intended to support different systems being tested in the building,” she says. “A lot of the work I do explores reactive facade systems that respond to weather conditions and people’s movements within a space. These products are often too expensive to prototype at a large scale, but we absolutely need to know what they’re going to look like and how they behave with building inhabitants. By using simulation in the lab, we can explore a range of design, engineering, and human factors issues and make modifications early on.”
Lab Report: With funding provided by SyracuseCoE, Krietemeyer is developing a computational tool that combines traditional energy analysis with virtual reality tools. The project includes collaboration with fellow Syracuse University School of Architecture Professor Amber Bartosh, Syracuse University College of Engineering and Computer Science Professor Jianshun Zhang, and visual artist Lorne Covington. “We’re conducting energy analysis and translating that information into dynamic, spatial, 3-D visualizations so we can virtually experience energy flows within a building in an interactive way,” Krietemeyer says.
Extra Credit: Another aspect of the project examines energy flows at the urban scale. Krietemeyer has created what she calls a “Projective Urban Design Laborator y” using a scale model of the City of Syracuse that she uses to project dynamic energy information onto—data ranging from light pollution to solar radiation—to better visualize ambient energy flows in the city that are typically invisible. The interactive display has been installed at the Museum of Science and Technology (MOST) in Syracuse. “We want to extend this research outside of the lab so we can engage a much wider audience,” Krietemeyer says. “We’re hoping end users and stakeholders will make use of it for potential design decisions for the city.”