CCAE: Cork School of Architecture - Doctoral Theses

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    Participation and triangulation: learning from non-institutional international Architecture Live Projects through a comparative case approach
    (University College Cork, 2022) Lehane, Jack R.; Mulrooney, Sarah; Linehan, Denis; Mccartney, Kevin
    Noticeable opportunities for architecture education are opening up in the world, markedly non-institutional international Live Project networks that practice independently of university course structures. As distinct from conventional volunteer-based construction in the humanitarian development sector, this emergent and ‘independent’ model of international architecture education represents a unique intersection between the Live Project and new spatial agency. However, despite the increasingly participative nature of Live Project initiatives, there is still a lack of research into the role stakeholder participation plays in the first place, exacerbating this emergent model’s underrepresentation within formal research and literature not least due to its recent and decentralised nature. To address this knowledge gap — and in line with calls for a departure from traditional understandings of participation in an era of globalisation — this thesis employs a first principles reasoning and (re)turns to the fundamental question: What constitutes stakeholder participation for this new model of Live Project in the first place? Through real world participation and a comparative case study approach, this thesis embarks beyond the boundary of the university structure and engages multiple stakeholder groups across three real world Live Project cases in Lebanon, Fiji and Nepal. Each case is investigated according to three sub-research questions: • What can the built artefact reveal about the stakeholder participation? • How are these aspects of stakeholder participation experienced by the stakeholders? • What are the extended implications of this participation for the organisation and the community? Mixed methods were utilised for concurrent data collection during and after each case study — participant observation, semi-structured interviews and post-occupancy participatory walking probe. Following this, three phases of sequential data analysis were employed to measure, contextualise, and assess the implications of stakeholder participation in the projects. The findings offer an original and measurable understanding of stakeholder participation, as revealed through the built artefact. As a result, this research formalises this emergent typology of Live Project through comparative measure; demonstrating distinctions from, and extendedly limitations of, Architecture Live Projects in academic institutions. This extends our current knowledge of how stakeholder participation in these Live Projects operates, informing participation for the organisations and the communities within future initiatives, and offers an empirical basis to broader participatory conditions of an emerging architectural space.
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    AI-assisted analysis of heart sounds and interpretation of acoustic representation of brainwaves in neonates
    (University College Cork, 2022-08-18) Gomez Quintana, Sergi; Popovici, Emanuel; Temko, Andriy; Wellcome Trust; Grand Challenges Canada; Science Foundation Ireland
    Numerous reports from World Health Organisation (WHO) consistently list the diseases of the heart and the brain among the top three causes of death across the globe. In low and low-to-middle-income countries, the neonatal stage is the most dangerous of the whole life and is a time of particular concern for medical professionals and parents. Timely detection of abnormalities during the first days of life allows medical staff to make informed decisions which have life-saving consequences. For this, continuous monitoring is required and it has several challenges in a clinical setting. First, acquiring physiological data from neonates is not trivial, often involving time-consuming processes that require specialised training. Second, specific monitoring equipment is often expensive and not affordable in low-income communities. More importantly, the complexity of the data may be difficult to interpret even for trained professionals and the required expertise might not be available 24/7. Alternative methods and tools that are low cost and require minimum training while providing the accuracy level of a specialist medical professional are required. This work deals with the development of such methods for the analysis of neonatal heart and brain signals by means of artificial intelligence (AI) and AI-guided sonification. Sound analysis can play an important role as a non-invasive, intuitive, and cost-effective tool to facilitate the interpretation of physiological signals. Heart auscultation is already part of the clinical examination routine. It uses a stethoscope, which is a low cost and reliable tool to screen for neonatal heart defects. However, heart sound interpretation is subjective, dependent on the assessor’s hearing acuity and the acquired level of expertise. Assistance from AI can provide an objective interpretation of heart sounds to complement the traditional auscultation method. A novel, accurate method for detecting congenital heart disease in phonocardiogram (PCG) signals using AI is presented. When dealing with the brain abnormalities in newborns, neonatal seizures are one of the most common neurological conditions, and they need to be treated as a medical emergency with prompt detection and intervention. Electroencephalography (EEG), the gold standard for monitoring electrical brain activity, is often difficult to interpret visually and requires a highly specialised medical professional. These professionals might not be readily available in low or medium-income settings, and even in high-income countries, they might be available only in tertiary care centres and not present 24/7. AI-driven sonification of EEG for detection of neonatal seizures, which is developed in this work, helps to improve the detection of these threatening seizure events by decreasing the level of expertise required from healthcare professionals while maintaining the same accuracy. It is shown that AI-assisted sonification can augment the medical professional to make decisions which are better than AI alone while improving the interpretability of the made decisions, which is a key requirement in the medical domain. The proposed algorithms and methodologies are validated on numerous datasets. The developed prototypes are implemented using cloud and Internet of Things technologies. It is shown that these technologies allow for an affordable, real-time analysis of heart and brain physiological signals with minimum training.
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    The NZEB retrofit of Regional Technical College buildings
    (University College Cork, 2016) Ó Riain, Marc; McCartney, Kevin; Harrison, Jim D.
    The EU introduced nearly Zero Energy Building (nZEB) performance targets for all new and retrofit public buildings by 2019 and all commercial buildings by 2021 (EPBD 2010). In Ireland, a low regulatory scenario persists for non-residential retrofits since 1974. McKinsey (2009) established retrofit as one of the most cost effective means of achieving emission abatement. With over 50% of Ireland’s commercial building stock pre-dating energy regulation (1919-1992), this paper establishes that it is possible to retrofit precast concrete building typologies from the 1960s/70s, using primarily passive means, achieving Net Zero Energy Building performance. However systemic barriers to NZEB adoption are retarding the potential for Ireland to meet the aspirations of the Energy Performance Directive (2010). This paper also explores the factors that retard NZEB retrofit adoption in an Irish legislative context, and proposes a systematic design process to address performance oriented building retrofits. Outside the design process the structural pillars of low mandatory minimum standards and a poor availability of financing models undermine the development of the low energy-building sector in Ireland. Without this external framework, market forces result in lower performance targets at the outset of projects, truncating design processes, impacting decision-making and reducing opportunities for the adoption of energy conservation measures. Case study analysis illustrates a poor standard of knowledge, experience, and understanding of performance oriented design practices in Ireland which may impact the development of relevant skill sets, tacit knowledge and suitable design processes to deliver on the aspirations of the Energy Performance in Buildings Directive 2010 in an Irish context. To address the barriers to Deep Retrofit in Ireland, existing design processes may be augmented with specialist skillsets, developing new practices and broadening the experience of existing practice with performance oriented design processes.
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    The architecture of influence: Paul Rudolph's Art and Architecture Building at Yale
    (University College Cork, 2014) Mulrooney, Sarah Bernadette; Boyd, Gary A.; McCartney, Kevin
    Focussing on Paul Rudolph’s Art & Architecture Building at Yale, this thesis demonstrates how the building synthesises the architect’s attitude to architectural education, urbanism and materiality. It tracks the evolution of the building from its origins – which bear a relationship to Rudolph’s pedagogical ideas – to later moments when its occupants and others reacted to it in a series of ways that could never have been foreseen. The A&A became the epicentre of the university’s counter culture movement before it was ravaged by a fire of undetermined origins. Arguably, it represents the last of its kind in American architecture, a turning point at the threshold of postmodernism. Using an archive that was only made available to researchers in 2009, this is the first study to draw extensively on the research files of the late architectural writer and educator, C. Ray Smith. Smith’s 1981 manuscript about the A&A entitled “The Biography of a Building,” was never published. The associated research files and transcripts of discussions with some thirty interviewees, including Rudolph, provide a previously unavailable wealth of information. Following Smith’s methodology, meetings were recorded with those involved in the A&A including, where possible, some of Smith’s original interviewees. When placed within other significant contexts – the physicality of the building itself as well as the literature which surrounds it – these previously untold accounts provide new perspectives and details, which deepen the understanding of the building and its place within architectural discourse. Issues revealed include the importance of the influence of Louis Kahn’s Yale Art Gallery and Yale’s Collegiate Gothic Campus on the building’s design. Following a tumultuous first fifty years, the A&A remains an integral part of the architectural education of Yale students and, furthermore, constitutes an important didactic tool for all students of architecture.
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    MyRoom: A user-centred model of affective responsive architecture
    (University College Cork, 2014) Dalton, Cathy; Harrison, James; McCartney, Kevin; Higher Education Authority
    Can my immediate physical environment affect how I feel? The instinctive answer to this question must be a resounding “yes”. What might seem a throwaway remark is increasingly borne out by research in environmental and behavioural psychology, and in the more recent discipline of Evidence-Based Design. Research outcomes are beginning to converge with findings in neuroscience and neurophysiology, as we discover more about how the human brain and body functions, and reacts to environmental stimuli. What we see, hear, touch, and sense affects each of us psychologically and, by extension, physically, on a continual basis. The physical characteristics of our daily environment thus have the capacity to profoundly affect all aspects of our functioning, from biological systems to cognitive ability. This has long been understood on an intuitive basis, and utilised on a more conscious basis by architects and other designers. Recent research in evidence-based design, coupled with advances in neurophysiology, confirm what have been previously held as commonalities, but also illuminate an almost frightening potential to do enormous good, or alternatively, terrible harm, by virtue of how we make our everyday surroundings. The thesis adopts a design methodology in its approach to exploring the potential use of wireless sensor networks in environments for elderly people. Vitruvian principles of “commodity, firmness and delight” inform the research process and become embedded in the final design proposals and research conclusions. The issue of person-environment fit becomes a key principle in describing a model of continuously-evolving responsive architecture which makes the individual user its focus, with the intention of promoting wellbeing. The key research questions are: What are the key system characteristics of an adaptive therapeutic single-room environment? How can embedded technologies be utilised to maximise the adaptive and therapeutic aspects of the personal life-space of an elderly person with dementia?.