February 12, 2015

Data and Daily Life at the Center for Integrated Design

The Center for Integrated Design has now made the Bullitt Center its home for almost 2 years.  The Center for Integrated Design is comprised of two entities: the Integrated Design Lab (IDL) and the Discovery Commons (DC).  The IDL is a self-supporting research lab and has been involved in many different ways with the Bullitt Center from early design to completion. Now the building is serving as a laboratory, inspiration, prototype, and data for our ongoing research in addition to providing exhibition space and a classroom for the outreach activities of the Discovery Commons.  The Discovery Commons is focused on community outreach and hosts exhibits and classes on topics in energy and sustainability and provides tours of the Bullitt Center.

The Bullitt Center’s success relies on the integration of many different strategies that involve multiple systems and players all working together.  This complexity and coordination creates many challenges, but it also generates a tremendous opportunity to understand how this ambitious building actually operates.  For the IDL we have been gathering data about daylighting performance, plug loads, occupant behavior, and energy end use.  As with any research effort, the data doesn’t interpret itself, so much of our effort is in validating, analyzing, interpreting and visualizing the many different types of information being measured within the Bullitt Center.

Data Visualization Graphics:



The HDR photos of the IDL space show the variable lighting conditions and provide a way to quantify the contribution of daylight to the experience of the space.


The IDL is documenting the daylighting of the Bullitt under different sky conditions and seasons.

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One of the design elements is an “irresistible stair” to promote activity and decrease elevator use. The IDL used people counters to document the stair’s irresistibility.


A graph of the lighting of the IDL space combining multiple sources of data to give a sense of the contribution of daylight and lighting controls to energy performance.

All of these graphics have been developed to interpret the data that is being collected from the Bullitt Center for different audiences.  In addition to data visualization there is also the effort to validate and verify the data that is being measured, which in a living building is an ongoing process.

Alongside the research of the IDL, there is the Discovery Commons, which gives the UW Department of Architecture a place to educate the public and professionals on high performance building strategies.  The outreach activities include public tours, technical tours that give a detailed account of the building systems, and hosting classes and events.  There is a lot happening on Capitol Hill and we are now part of the mix.

The Integrated Design Lab is always looking for interested graduate students for work-study positions.  So if you are interested in research, data visualization, or need an excuse to get to Capitol Hill, just contact Linnea Kretz (linneak@uw.edu).