Using Simulation Tools in Architectural Education: An Approach to Teaching Islamic Vernacular Urbanism

By Aliaa Elabd and George Hallowell.

Published by The International Journal of Sustainability Education

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: December 7, 2015 $US5.00

Sustainable built environments are revealed in Islamic vernacular urban forms, particularly in meandering streets, courtyards, compactness, and hierarchical streets and open spaces. Architecture education programs are currently attempting to instill the principles embedded in these traditional buildings and spaces; however, communicating the value in vernacular form is not always an easy task. Fortunately, new simulation, modeling, and gaming tools can provide hands-on experiential learning techniques that will assist students in their understanding of sustainable concepts inherent in the vernacular form. These tools help visualize and evaluate the potential of integrating sustainable vernacular design into contemporary built environments. This study addresses the need to develop better teaching techniques to convey the sometimes-obscure sustainable power in vernacular form and space. A variety of recent simulation techniques will be discussed including UMI, Pulse, UrbanSim, and CityOne. These tools can be used to simulate digitally and to analyze student design scenarios for the urban environment including their sustainability characteristics within an architectural studio context. This inquiry specifically examines the application of digital simulation and modeling techniques as a robust educational and learning tool for architecture programs in Saudi Arabia.

Keywords: Sustainability, Vernacular, Simulation

International Journal of Sustainability Education, Volume 10, Issue 3-4, December 2015, pp.1-10. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: December 7, 2015 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 435.162KB)).

Dr. Aliaa Elabd

Assistant Professor, College of Engineering, Alfaisal University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

George Hallowell

Postdoctoral Fellow, College of Design, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina, USA