Performance in the Swedish Building Code : An Inquiry into the Consequences for Architectural Design of the Formulation and Assessment of Performance Requirements
Abstract: This thesis investigates performance-based regulation in Sweden and its consequences for architectural design. In the last 50 years, there has been a transition from prescriptive to performance-based regulation, propelled by the drive to further innovation, productivity and competitiveness by expressing the functions expected of the buildings as performances. This thesis examines the promise of freedom in design and solution that this regulatory construction offers, considering two specific performance aspects of the Swedish building code: the requirements regarding energy performance in relation to user-comfort, and the requirement in terms of daylight in relation to health and hygiene. Each case investigates the implications of the performance-based system of regulation for the synesthetic and multidisciplinary process of design, focussing on how it affects the work of architects.This thesis also addresses the disciplinary knowledge necessary for assessing performance requirements, which in turn connects to the entry into building regulation of abstract natural science models quantifying societal goals in legislation, and to the disciplinary histories of the engineering and architectural professions.Speculating on ways forward that address the concerns that emerge from this analysis, the thesis turns to a historical example that dealt with a similar problem to evaluate its potential for developing current architectural practice. The dual nature of design, reaching into both expressional and technical concerns, has been the subject of research and eloquent discussion within the architectural concept of tectonics. The concluding section of this thesis raises questions about the architectural discourse in relation to tectonics. It suggests that there is work to be done to reconcile the division between architectural design and technical characteristics connected to building physics that permeates systems of building regulation in Sweden and more generally. The thesis suggests that if performance-based regulation is to offer freedom in architectural design, the architecture community needs to be much more involved in both the research and critique of performance requirements and of their formulation and assessment methods when addressing this.
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