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Pre-Evaluation method of the experiential architecture based on multidimensional physiological perception
Pre-Evaluation method of the experiential architecture based on multidimensional physiological...
Pei, Wanyu; Guo, Xiangmin; Lo, Tiantian
JOURNAL OF ASIAN ARCHITECTURE AND BUILDING ENGINEERING https://doi.org/10.1080/13467581.2022.2074019 Pre-Evaluation method of the experiential architecture based on multidimensional physiological perception Wanyu Pei, Xiangmin Guo and Tiantian Lo School of Architecture, Harbin Institute of Technology (Shenzhen), Shenzhen, China ABSTRACT ARTICLE HISTORY Received 29 November 2021 With a people-oriented principle, contemporary architectural design regards the users’ spiritual Accepted 2 May 2022 and emotional satisfaction as fundamental needs. However, it was tough for designers to collect and quantify the users’ accurate perception of a design scheme in the past. This KEYWORDS research aims to propose a method incorporating virtual reality (VR) and sensors, and wearable Experiential architecture; technology to pre-evaluate the impact of spatial schemes on user experience. Specifically, it Pre-evaluation; collected users’ physiological signals to detect emotions and eye-tracking data to understand multidimensional visual attention during their roaming in a VR environment. An empirical design scheme for the physiological signals; Eye-tracking; virtual reality International School of Design’s outdoor spaces in Harbin Institute of Technology was adopted as a study case. For this purpose, multiple groups of contrast schemes were established in VR for users to experience. Participants’ physiological signals were collected and analyzed using the paired-samples T-test method. Subjective questionnaire data were also collected to assist in the verification of objective physiological data. The results showed that designers could evaluate the experience of the designs by comparing user reactions through analysis of physiological signals. Simultaneously, this evaluation method explores a feasible way for designers to promote architecture designs to be more humanized and scientific. 1. Introduction can convey the metaphor and concept of the design The relationship between human perception and the to users. That means the space users, who know little physical environment is always a central issue for archi- about the history, design intention, and construction tecture design. Architects generally agree that the user techniques of the building can still perceive the infor- experience, which can be used as feedback informa- mation the designer wants to convey when experien- tion, plays a crucial role in improving design schemes cing the space. Merleau-Ponty’s Phenomenology of and realizing design concepts (Dias et al. 2014). The perception (Mooney 2012) grants a central role of the experiential architectural design looks at how users will world to the human body because perception is interact with the space and builds the environment a prerequisite for understanding the external environ- around human needs and experience. One of the ment (Cañas 2019). Since the 1960s, the decline of proofs of good “Experiential architecture” is that it Modernism, research on the relationship between CONTACT Tiantian Lo firstname.lastname@example.org School of Architecture, Harbin Institute of Technology (Shenzhen), Shenzhen 518055 ,China © 2022 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group on behalf of the Architectural Institute of Japan, Architectural Institute of Korea and Architectural Society of China. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. 2 W. PEI ET AL. human and built environment has become further preferences (Rogge, Nevens, and Gulinck 2007). At influential. Studies were concerned with the mutual that time, the research used traditional techniques, interaction of individuals and the architectural spaces such as questionnaires (Caicedo and Van Beuzekom (Leavitt 1988; Rapoport 2016). The development direc- 2006), scales or verbal protocols for self-report (Mauss tion of contemporary architecture design is gradually and Robinson 2009), group discussion and interview being transferred from designer-oriented to user- (Annemans et al. 2014), video content analysis and oriented (Cho and Kim 2017), which make the design behaviour observations. These survey methods were prioritizes human perception and experience feeling of time-consuming and prone to errors introduced by the the building environment. One of the essential respon- subjective feelings of the surveyed. While these tradi- sibilities of architects is designing experiences in tional methods can provide valuable subjective spaces (Soltani and Kirci 2019). This means architects insights, they are less effective in making objective need to intentionally use design elements to elicit an comparisons between multiple designs schemes emotional connection to space and immerse users in (Wingler et al. 2020). Other researchers have attempted a narrative, using colour, light, and form composition to analyze users’ perceptions and emotions through to communicate spirit, quality, and character (Spence “Overt behavior” such as facial expressions (Cowie et al. 2020). 2008; Li and Elmaghraby 2014) and body gesture However, too often, some buildings could not recognition (Kapur et al. 2005). However, the accuracy match the original aspirations of architects. Once the and objectivity of “overt behavior” are still controver- building space is built, changing or rebuilding will sial. For example, people can hide their emotions by cause higher-than-expected resource consumption. changing expressions. In recent years, perception tests To avoid the significant deviation between the users’ combined with biosensing and information technol- experience and the architect’s design objective, in the ogy can provide an opportunity to detect and analyze planning and design stages of building, the prelimin- cognition and feeling. Psycho-physiological measure- ary evaluation of the design scheme is essential to ments on the signals emitted from the central and promote a sustainable and humanized building envir- peripheral nervous systems are currently several of onment. During the design process of the architectural the essential techniques to get users perception environment, one of the assignments of architects is (Yadav et al. 2018). The sensors such as those collecting Combining rationality and emotion and provide peripheral physiological signals, wearable devices and a positive spatial experience for users. Hence, archi- eye trackers present an opportunity to capture users’ tects need to get users’ accurate perceptions in the physiologic parameters and cognitive states in a real- design spaces to evaluate and improve the schemes. time and non-intrusive way. Compared with the former The experiential user data collected by researchers two kinds of evaluation methods, using bio-sensors to allows architects to understand users’ needs and collect physiological data and recognize users’ percep- expectations and create a further harmonious relation- tions is a generally accepted and objective measure- ship between humans and the built environment ment method at present (Li et al. 2015). Although the (Horayangkura 2012; Leavitt 1988). However, describ- neurophysiological recording analysis would require ing perception is more challenging than the descrip- even more time than the questionnaire survey, the tion of physical environment. It always involves collected physiological data are not easily controlled psychological characteristics, which are qualitative fac- by people subject awareness because these data tors (Husserl 1997) and could be challenging to reflect the activity of the physiological systems caused describe accurately (Li et al. 2020). It was tough for by real emotion change. architects to collect and quantize users’ perception The primary work of applying the perception test to feedback in the past, especially before construction. the building environment is to prepare the experimen- Heilig (1992) believed human attention could be tal setting. The experimental environment could be influenced by various senses, including vision, audi- divided into two categories. One is the natural envir- tion, olfaction, touch (occupy 70%, 20%, 5%, 4% onment, and the other is the experimental environ- respectively), and so on (Rouch 1985). In addition, the ment which can be constructed by adopting users (with normal vision) mainly obtain spatial infor- technologies such as VR and augmented reality (AR) mation, which is processed to recognize space through etc. VR is a unique tool (Liu et al. 2020) that allows vision (Kiefer et al. 2017). Hence, previous research on high-quality visualization of architectural space before the relationship between architectural spaces and construction. Besides, quantifying the human percep- human perception largely depends on visual percep- tion of architectural spaces need to create controlled tion and focused on surveying occupants after com- testing environments (Franz, von der Heyde, and plete construction (Hedge et al. 1989). For example, Bülthoff 2005) in which architects can alter and test the “Likert scale” and “Factor analysis” were used as the architectural design elements individually. The visual evaluation tools to obtain users’ quantifiable recent advancement of some technologies like VR pro- psychological feelings and reveal their aesthetic vides opportunities to offer controlled environments JOURNAL OF ASIAN ARCHITECTURE AND BUILDING ENGINEERING 3 Figure 1. Methods and techniques in human perception and the built environment (Source: adapted from Karakas and Yildiz 2020). with a high degree of realism for users and architects understanding of the designed architecture spaces to replicate rapidly and alter testing conditions flexibly (Nikolic 2007; Paes, Arantes, and Irizarry 2017) and (Heydarian et al. 2015; Zou, Li, and Cao 2017). Some improve design decision-making. Integrating VR and studies combined VR and bio-sensors to identify the psycho-physiological measurements (Figure 1) effec - spaces that may lead to negative emotional experi- tively quantify human perception and combines it ences (stress, anxiety and fear) (Dias et al. 2014; into architectural design and evaluation. Engelniederhammer, Papastefanou, and Xiang 2019; Physiological changes are the sympathetic nervous Lee et al. 2020;) and compared the alterations between system’s response (SNS). The SNS will automatically acti- cognition and affect in real and virtual environments vate physiological responses when the body perceives (Skorupka 2009; Westerdahl et al. 2006). Afterwards, an environmental stimulus, including accelerated heart proposed virtual reality technology as a strong poten- rate, dilated pupils, and increased sweat gland activity tial psychological and architectural research tool (Levenson 2014). This autonomous response can be (Kuliga et al. 2015). VR provides a controllable environ- triggered by many emotional reactions (such as surprise, ment for testing unbuilt design schemes and provides fear, anger or stress) and is difficult to hide. In addition, the possibility to study various architectural spaces the experimental result has shown that some auto- quickly (Jansen-Osmann 2002). Besides, virtual envir- nomic nervous system activities are not culture- onments could awaken users’ emotions, such as relaxa- specific; that is, the emotional differences reflected by tion or anxiety (Marín-Morales et al. 2018). The autonomic nervous system activities have cross-cultural application of VR in buildings will enable users to consistency (Levenson et al. 1992). Hence, it is recently interact more strongly with the design environment, becoming prevalent in using ambulatory sensors to eliciting emotional and psychological responses measure objective physiological signals and analyze (López-Tarruella Maldonado et al. 2016). Many the emotional reaction (Zeile et al. 2015) (Figure 2a). researchers have found that VR can assist in assessing Skin conductance, heart rate, and blood volume were users’ emotional reactions to gain a more precise valid and extensively utilized emotional arousal Figure 2. Research technologies: (a) ErgoLAB physiological sensors for EDA and PPG; (b) Tobii Pro VR eye-trackers. 4 W. PEI ET AL. measures (Dawson, Schell, and Filion 2017; Wac and integrating objective physiological signals into an evalua- Tsiourti 2014). For example, Radwan and Ergan used tion workflow to improve architectural schemes in the a data collection platform named Body Sensor design stage. It would therefore be of interest to combine Networks (BSN) to record the subjects’ physiological biometric sensors and eye trackers to get both emotional metrics (i.e., heart rate, facial muscle movement) in and visual perception feedback of users and support the interior architectural spaces (Radwan and Ergan 2017). improvement and evaluation of spatial design before Some other studies collected some physiological data construction. (i.e., skin conductance, skin temperature) to compre- This research integrally applied multidimensional phy- hend people’s emotional states in urban built environ- siological detection, including psycho-physiological and ments (Engelniederhammer, Papastefanou, and Xiang eye-movement measurements, which can reflect the 2019; Lee et al. 2020). users’ emotional state and the causes to evaluate the In addition to emotional responses, visual percep- architectural spatial design. The combination of emotion tion testing is one of the essential psycho- and eye movement knowledge will contribute to con- physiological measurement technologies in the structing a more comprehensive perception evaluation research field of neuroarchitecture. Eye-tracking is an method. The research presented in this paper aims to established technique standardly utilized in medicine, propose a method of integrating virtual reality and sen- psychology, usability and User Experience (UX) (Junker sors and wearable technology to a pre-evaluate spatial and Nollen 2018). Eye-tracking was used to obtain scheme based on the design goals of the human visual evaluation information of spatial design in VR experience. and fused with users’ location data (Jacob and Karn The research objectives including: 2003, p.; Zhang, Jeng, and Zhang 2018). The main (1) Proposing a method combining physiological sig- purpose of the eye-tracking application is to measure nals to assist the pre-evaluation of the experiential space the users’ attention and identify the specific parts of design by integrating VR and bio-sensor technologies; a design (Yousefi et al. 2015) by monitoring the parti- (2) Applying this method in the design stage of cipants’ attention towards the Area of Interest (AOI). a practical architectural project to verify its applicabil- However, for architecture applications that need the ity of assisting the pre-evaluation and perception- immersive representation of a design model, this kind based analysis of spaces; of set-up used not work, and few studies focused on This paper is structured as follows: Section 2 reviews using eye-tracking for architectural design (Aries et al., existing literature and related works on using VR and 2010; Hasanzadeh, Esmaeili, and Dodd 2016). bio-sensor technologies in the architecture spaces Recently, with the fast technology development, some design. Section 3 presents the framework of the evalua- software is compatible with HTC Vive Pro (Figure 2b) and tion method combining with an empirical case, which available to support the analysis and visualization of eye- includes the experimental design and its sub- tracking data gathered in VR studies. The most important components. Section 4 details the statistical analysis thing is to create interactive virtual environments to applied to our physiological signals and questionnaire measure the subjects’ attention when experiencing var- data and the implications on the pre-evaluation of ious architectural designs (Du et al. 2018; Radwan and design using affective physiological signals. Finally, the Ergan 2017). Some researchers have begun to use eye- conclusion and future directions of this work are tracking to understand users’ visual perception in archi- described briefly in section 5. tectural design (Tang n.d.; Zhang, Jeng, and Zhang 2018). Both the physiological test of emotion and eye-tracking 2. Materials and Methods measurement are not easily subjectively control by peo- ple, which is generally accepted as a suitable measure- The pre-evaluation method proposed in this ment method. These two methods reflect human research adopted the VR technology, eye-tracking perception from different aspects. Combining these two signal acquisition and peripheral physiological sig- technologies will help understand a depth physiological nals to get human vision interest and arousal detection mechanism. However, combining eye-tracking dimension of emotions when roaming in the pre- test and physiological test has not previously been con- simulated VR environment. In this study, we chose sidered by existed research especially on how to support physiological sensing (PPG and EDA) to detect the the evaluation of building space design. Even though emotional arousal of the participants because the some previous research (Higuera-Trujillo, Llinares, and participants need to roam around the virtual envir- Macagno 2021) has used biometric sensors and VR as onment using the VR controllers and the physiolo- helpful technologies to quantify users’ perceptions in gical sensing is more ease-of-use during exercise building space, little research has proposed applying and other physical activities. Although more com- the perceptual measurement to assist the pre- prehensive emotional information could be evaluation of design objectives and practical design obtained by means of EEG, the participants cannot stage. Besides, there is a lack of empirical research move their limbs freely and need to minimize the JOURNAL OF ASIAN ARCHITECTURE AND BUILDING ENGINEERING 5 Figure 3. The evaluation workflow. number of blinks in order to reduce the interference After finishing the construction of experimental of Electromyography (EMG) and Electrooculogram spaces, the fourth part analyzed the method of (EOG) signals with EEG. In this experiment, the par- extracting spatial elements and generated the com- ticipant’s head could not remain stationary and parison schemes. The design and details of the experi- needed to look around during the roaming process, ment are also introduced in the fourth part. which made it difficult to meet the conditions for collecting effective EEG signals. 2.1. The pre-evaluation workflow By collecting the physiological data and analysis combining with the experiential design intention, this The pre-evaluation workflow mainly includes four assists method could provide the suggestion for stages (Figure 3). This workflow constructed rely on assisting architects and decision-makers improve the the application of technologies mentioned before. design of the spaces. This part includes four sections The workflow construction was detailed introduced to introduce the research method and experiment in the writers’ conference paper (Pei, Guo, and Lo design. The first part proposes the construction of 2021a). The workflow of evaluation mainly including a pre-evaluation workflow. The second section is four parts: about the background information of the empirical 1. The researcher created the immersive spaces of case. The third section introduces the process of design scheme through the use of virtual space based visualizing the tested space of the practical case. on VR. Figure 4. The axis space of SISD (design by Ateliers 234). 6 W. PEI ET AL. 2. The researchers extracted design factors from about some spatial design objectives. At the same time, the design scheme and modified the design art to the architects did not get enough feedback from users to construct several different scenarios through solve these design disputes. l variables. 3. The researchers obtained eye-tracking and sig- nal data peripheral physiological from subjects in the 2.3. The generation of the virtual environment simulation space through VR eye-trackers and We firstly constructed SketchUp manual models and sensors. used Unity3D software to build the VR environment 4. The researchers analyzed physiological data to (Figure 5). The data analysis tool, Tobii Pro VR Analytics, explore the human feeling of the spatial design envir- can collect and playback eye movement data in a Unity onment and provide suggestions combined with 3D environment. Hence, Unity3D meets the compat- design objectives. ibility requirements of perceptual detection. At the same time, Unity3D provides a VR environment that can be experienced by wearing a head-mounted dis- 2.2. The empirical case play. Quantitative data (including eye movement, skin To apply this pre-evaluation method to assist experi- electricity, electrocardiogram, etc.) of humans are col- ential space design and analysis the feasibility of this lected by wearing physiological instruments in real- method. In this study, we chose an axis campus space time for perception analysis and evaluation. design of Harbin Institute of Technology Shenzhen International School of Design (SISD) (Figure 4) as the sample to finish an empirical case study. 2.4. Spatial elements and comparison schemes This experiential space scheme was in the stage of 2.4.1. Spatial elements design optimization. Hence, it would be possible for us The spatial components are the mainly stimulus for the to construct a VR environment with efficient spatial users roaming in the spaces. To investigate and test the details. SISD space has an essential campus location that user’s perception feedback on the space design, the connects the entrances and the main building. During the space components should be classified according to the design optimization process, the university decision- exist criteria proposed. In 1959, Edward Hall summed up makers, design units, construction units, and experts three types of space with different formal characteristics: launched several rounds of discussion on the functional fixed space, semi-fixed characteristic space and informal layout, public space, energy-saving issues, landscape space (Zimmerman and Kitsantas 2005). Based on Hall’s design, facade design, etc. However, due to the significant theoretical point of view, Amos Rapport summarized the differences in the aesthetic preferences, professional elements of the architecture in 1982 and further divided knowledge and concerns of the interest representatives the space into three categories: fixed features, semi-fixed of different parties, they had some other points of view Figure 5. Construct VR scenario in unity3D. JOURNAL OF ASIAN ARCHITECTURE AND BUILDING ENGINEERING 7 Figure 6. Dividing spaces’ elements into three categories. features and non-fixed features (Figure 6) (Rapoport stages of design formation. The nonfixed-feature ele- 1990). Each element forms the final architectural space ments are related to the using patterns of users when based on a certain combination. they use the physical space which are usually be con- Hence, basically all kinds of architectural spaces com- sidered and observed after finishing construction. ponents could be divided into three categories. Firstly, Therefore, the main object of discussion is the semi- the fixed-feature elements (Rapoport 1990) refer to the fixed-feature elements. standard components like walls, ceilings, and floors To identify the semifixed-feature elements that need fixed or changed slowly. In most cases, they are supple- to be evaluated in the design of SISD campus space. We mented by other elements to convey the meaning of reviewed the recordings of the discussion sessions spaces. Secondly, semifixed-feature elements are the (Figure 7) attended by decision makers from various arrangement and type of furniture, plants, facility and parties. Through reviewing the sessions’ recording, we other elements that change pretty quickly and easily. concluded the most mentioned and controversial semi- Semifixed-feature elements are essential in current fixed-feature elements during the process of design research on spatial meaning. Thirdly, nonfixed-feature optimization (Table 1). The university decision-makers elements are related to the human behaviours in the (party A) proposed these spatial elements and design spaces, including their body positions and postures, issues, which could not be answered by designers (party hand and arm gestures, facial expressions, eye contact. B) with absolute certainty. We will focus on testing these Since the pre-evaluation method proposed by this spatial factors by designing contrast schemes. research is developed for the design optimization stage for the practical projects (after completing the 2.4.2. Comparison schemes design and before conducting the construction). According to the design scheme from Ateliers 234 Hence, the fixed-feature elements like the plane layout architecture office, this SISD axis campus space mainly and section form have been determined in the early composed of three parts: the entrance space, the Figure 7. The recording of the controversial elements during (a) the discussion sessions and (b) the site survey. 8 W. PEI ET AL. Table 1. The point at issues of the controversial semifixed- elements most worthy evaluation and form compari- feature elements of SISD design. son schemes, this research analyzed the controversial Semi-fixed features The point at issues (whether or not) elements and the elements designed to have Entrance School gate stone The gated stone can reflect the a significant impact on human feeling by the architect Space culture of the school for the spatial nodes. Finally, we identified three ele- The position of the school gate stone makes it attractive ments: “school gate stone”, “palm trees group”, and Square Several rows of palm Palm trees can increase the square’s “Corridor bridge” in each spatial node as the variable Space trees cultural atmosphere Impacts the visibility of the square/ elements. blocks the building facade To fully understand people’s physiological feedback Is visually appealing Stone engraved with Is visually appealing to various spatial elements on the roaming path, this school name experiment set two kinds of comparison (Figure 8): one Axis Building elevation The entrance on the facade is visually space attractive was the “horizontal comparison”, the other was “verti- Corridor bridge The axis space has the depth of field cal comparison” (Pei, Guo, and Lo 2021b). The “hori- Increase attention of the main zontal comparison” is applied to evaluate the influence building Generate emotional arousal in the on users’ perception caused by the three most essen- axis space tial elements when they experience the three spatial Feel campus culture and arouse emotions during roaming nodes separately. Meanwhile, the “vertical compari- Have an occlusion on the line of sight son” is designed to test the users’ visual attention to Landscape belt Is visually appealing Lounge seats are easy to find the other spatial elements appeared during the roam- Signage system Is visually appealing ing process as well as the change of emotional arousal level during roaming process. Combining the horizon- tal and vertical comparison, we could collect the feed- square space and the axis space. The program back data required for the design scheme evaluation. designers defined these three spatial nodes with the At the same time, the users only need to roam two themes: “Origin”, “Development” and “Transcendence” times in the experimental group and control group to show the development of the university over the virtual environments separately. past century. Therefore, starting from the entrance of The horizontal comparison including “experimental the campus, the designers designed a series of spatial group” and “control group”. Along the “experimental nodes along the walking sequence and wish to let the group” path, the three essential elements were set and users have a gradually emotional arousal during the appeared gradually with the roaming process. On the process of roaming and eventually reach the core area contrary, along the “control group” path, these three of the campus (the main building). Each of the three elements were removed. Comparing spatial nodes spatial nodes (entrance, square, axis) on the path had along the path removes these elements. Through ana- many spatial design elements. To point out the lyzing the two groups’ perception results, we can know Figure 8. Dividing spaces’ elements into three categories. JOURNAL OF ASIAN ARCHITECTURE AND BUILDING ENGINEERING 9 the influence of these spatial elements on the user’s space sample before the experiment. They were told and whether the design of these elements can truly all the possible risks of the investigation before the reflect the design objectives of architect. The “vertical experiment and agreed to participate in this research comparison” including the contrast of users’ percep- study. tion change when roaming different spatial nodes and To eliminate accumulative error caused by experi- their visual perception of the other spatial elements ment order from one condition to another, 15 subjects including gate stone, palm trees, building elevation will first roam the control group and then the experi- landscape belt corridor bridge and signage system mental group; the other 15 participants will wander in etc. along the path. reverse order. Because this will be an open campus space that welcomes the public, the subjects’ educa- tional background and occupation are not restricted in 2.4.3. Participants this experiment. To eliminate or reduce the errors caused by differences between subjects, this experiment was a within- subjects (within-groups) design test. Each participant 2.4.4. Experimental equipment and environment has to conduct experiments with all conditions. In this This research used the ErgoLAB man-machine synchro- study, through the distribution of recruitment informa- nization platform (“ErgoLAB 3.0” King far International tion on social platforms and online platforms, a total of Inc.) (Figure 9). This platform has the function of real- 30 participants (16 female, 14 male) were eventually time synchronous acquisition, processing and analysis recruited, ranging in age from 18 to 40 (7 was 18– of multimodal human-machine-environment data. 25 years old, 18 was 26–30 years old, and five was Since 2013, the platform has been used as an academic 31–40 years old). Of the 30 participants, 10 people scientific research tool in relevant research units or had VR devices at home or workplaces and used institutes. The test sample groups (subjects) cover them regularly. 12 people said they had limited experi- a wide range of research fields such as built environ- ence using VR before, and 8 people had never used it. ment, safety engineering, user experience, military Besides, the subject pool included people from differ - defense, traffic and driving behavior, industrial innova- ent educational and occupational backgrounds. In this tion design, sports, psychology, etc. The search terms study, the 30 subjects had different occupational back- of the outcomes using this platform is “ErgoLAB & grounds, including students, financial workers, sales- kingfar” people, technical engineers, translators, and product In this study, ErgoLAB 3.0 was used to synchronize developers. Only two of them worked in architectural the HTC Vive Pro VR eye-tracking system (recording design-related jobs, so the spatial perception bias frequencies: 120 Hz, Resolution: 1440 × 1600 pixels would be mitigated. The experiment’s participants’ per eye, the trackable field of view: 110°) in real time conditions were normal vision and no diseases such with an eye movement sampling frequency of 120 Hz. as heart disease or vertigo. Participants did not join in The velocity-threshold (I–VT) algorithm was used to the design process of this project or experience this extract gaze points and further analyze eye movement Figure 9. The interface of the ErgoLAB platform. 10 W. PEI ET AL. vffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffi indexes such as gaze count, gaze duration, pupil dia- uX meter, eye beat, and blink count. Meanwhile, the eye SDNN ¼ ðRR RR Þ (1) i¼1 movement data are synchronized in real time with the ErgoLAB wearable wireless physiological recording sys- tem. Among them, the skin resistance sensor (EDA) sffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffi and ear tip pulse sensor (PPG-HR/HRV) were sampled X RMSSD ¼ ðRR RRÞ (2) iþ1 i at 64 Hz (EDA sampling accuracy 0.01 μs; HR sampling N 1 i¼1 accuracy 1 bpm) to further analyze heart rate (HR) and heart rate variability (HRV) in the time domain (stan- For the data analysis, the ErgoLAB includes signal pro- dard deviation of RR intervals-SDNN and root mean cessing modules, which can preprocess data, and square difference of adjacent RR interval sequences- select data fragments to filter and extract meaningful RMSSD) with frequency domain indicators (energy data results. The data of preprocessed physiological ratio LF/HF) and physiological indicators such as skin signals collected by wearable sensors can be exported conductance (SC), some of which were calculated as for statistical analysis after being processed. follows (1) (2): Figure 10. Experimental design process. Figure 11. Wearable physical sensors were used in this experiment. JOURNAL OF ASIAN ARCHITECTURE AND BUILDING ENGINEERING 11 The experiment was carried out in the laboratory 4. The second stage of the experiment: the subjects of Beijing Jinfa Technology Co., Ltd. The laboratory completed the roaming in the other space. The subjects is an independent room that includes the experi- wore Tobii Pro VR eye tracker and wandered along the ment area and the analysis area to reduce the path of the tested spatial sequence. Their physiological environmental interference in the experiment. devices recorded was collected by the ErgoLAB plat- Through strictly controls experimental variables, form, and the second stage lasted about 5 minutes. this research minimized the real environmental 5. Finish subjective questionnaire: help the subjects influence on the participates’ sense of presence remove the devices they wore and let them take when experience VR. The researchers synchronously a short rest to complete the subjective questionnaire monitored the data collected and conveyed experi- survey, which was used to verify and analyze the phy- mental instructions in real-time. siological signals and collect the subjects’ suggestions on the spatial schemes. This process took about 10 min- utes. At the same time, the researcher sorted out the 2.4.5. Experimental process stored data and prepared the next subject for the The formal experimental process (Figure 10) design experiment. mainly includes the following five stages: 1. The preparation stage: explaining experiments and the method to wear physical sensors. Subjects 3. Result first understand the experiment content, the path of The data analysis in this study is based on objective roaming and wear the related equipment (Figure 11) data collection and a subjective questionnaire survey. and VR eye movement device. The eye movement The physiological signal includes the physiological equipment needed calibration, after which the sub- indicators and eye-tracking data. This research used jects calmed down for about 5 minutes until ready to the data analysis modules of the ErgoLAB platform to start the experiment. do the data analysis. This study used ErgoLAB EDA 2. The first stage of the experiment: the subjects analysis software which has the function of smoothing completed the roaming in the experimental space. data to automatically extract the Skin conductance The subjects wore Tobii Pro VR eye tracker and wan- (SC) data (μs) varied with time. Besides, we used dered along the path of the tested spatial sequence. ErgoLAB PPG analysis software Their physiological devices recorded was collected by the ErgoLAB platform, and the first stage lasted about 5 minutes. 3.1. Objective data 3. Rest: Let participants rest for about 10 minutes. The researcher switched the VR scene (remove the 3.1.1. Emotion model and physiological signals space elements) and checked whether the collected Although human emotions are complex, several stan- physiological and eye movement data were complete, dard models are used in psychological research to regular and exportable. define and measure emotions. There are two types of Figure 12. Wearable physical sensors were used in this experiment (Braithwaite et al. 2013). 12 W. PEI ET AL. models for emotions measurement: one is the discrete often used to study psychological and emotional emotion model; the other is the dimensional emotions states (Porges 1995). The SC has been shown to be model. Compared with the discrete emotion model, higher during activated states, such as states of high the dimensional emotion model is more suitable for emotional arousal level. The SCRs is the phasic data of emotion recognition based on physiological signals, SC which represents the fast-changing signal res pond- which does not need to judge the emotion type pre- ing to a stimulus. SCRs usually last for a few seconds cisely. The Circumplex Model (Figure 12) is a widely and is caused by a particular stimulus or event. The SCL used dimensional emotion model (Russell 1980) that is the tonic data of SC which stands for continuous, has two such dimensions: Valence and Arousal, and slowly-changing Skin Conductance Level that could can quantitatively describe emotion. The valence last for at least 30s (Braithwaite et al. 2013). The SCL (X-axis) is used to describe the degree of liking, from refers to respondents’ long-term reaction to stimuli liking (positive) to disliking (negative); Emotional arou- and general changes in autonomic arousal which is sal (Y-axis) is used to describe the degree of arousal used in this research to indicate moment-to-moment from low arousal (low arousal) to high arousal (high (roaming process in the built space) arousal level arousal). Since 1980, the emotion mode tool has begun change. to be applied in environmental psychology research PPG is mainly used to measure the user’s heart rate and was widely accepted in architectural studies variability (HRV), which can give objective indicators of (Plutchik 1980). sympathetic (SNS) and parasympathetic nerve activity The key to measure emotion based on physiological (PNS) balance in the autonomic nervous system response patterns is collecting reliable physiological (Electrophysiology 1996). Descriptive values (mean ± signals. In this study, EDA and PPG, the two most sd) of HRV in time, including i) the mean of Heart Rate commonly used and stable physiological indicators in (Mean HR); ii) standard deviation regular RR interval physiological and emotional analysis, are selected to (SDNN) and iii) root mean square of successive differ - conduct physiological sensing detection and emotion ences squared (RMSSD). In the frequency domain vari- recognition for users who have roaming experiences in ables, the following was considered of the spectral architectural space. components: i) very low-frequency component (VLF); Electrodermal activity (EDA) describes autonomic ii) low-frequency component (LF); iii) high-frequency changes in the skin’s electrical properties which is component (HF), and iv) LF/HF ratio. decomposed into Skin Conductance Level (SCL) and The most commonly used time-domain measures for Skin Conductance Responses (SCRs) (Park 2009). The short-term recordings are RMSSD and SDNN. RMSSD most widely studied property of EDA is the metric is thought to primarily represent the indicator Skin Conductance (SC). Skin Conductance (SC) is of beat-to-beat variations related to PNS (Kreibig 2010); the time-domain indicator that has been suggested SDNN indicates overall variability. Subjects who had by preliminary evidence which is an important index high SDNN exhibited greater activation of other auto- of respondents’ arousal levels. Since there is a positive nomic nervous (including PNS and SNS). Frequency- linear correlation between SC and arousal level, it is domain main variables: LF/HF ratio reveals the balance Figure 13. Set the spatial elements as an AOI. JOURNAL OF ASIAN ARCHITECTURE AND BUILDING ENGINEERING 13 between SNS and PNS. Heart rate is slowed due to elements. The more Fixation times, the more inter- increased PNS activity when people have a rest. When ested the subjects are in the area of interest. (ii) AOI people have an emotional episode, the PNS and SNS Fixation Duration denotes the duration of fixation influence would be reduced and increased, respectively, when the subject’s viewpoint stays in the AOI. The increasing heart rate. The PNS activity can be measured longer the AOI Fixation Duration, the longer the sub- as the RMSSD, while SNS activity can be indicated by ject spent fixing the AOI during the roaming, which heart rate (Daniel and Kamioka 2017). The higher the means the subjects may be more interested in these emotional arousal (positive or negative), the higher the elements. Besides, (iii) Pupil diameter has been proved Mean HR and the lower the RMSSD. to be a reliable physiological feature that can reflect subjects’ emotional state and degree of focus. Pupil dilation is determined by emotional arousal, indepen- 3.1.2. Area of interest and eye movement indicators dent of whether visual stimulations are pleasant or To analyze the visual attention of spatial elements that unpleasant. (iv) The more blink counts the user has, occurred along this roaming path, Area of Interest to some extent, the more nervous or anxious the user (AOI) tools should be used to select regions of is; The average absolute distance reflects the degree of a displayed element in advance (Figure 13) so that openness and narrowness of space. the area by which metrics are calculated. For analysis, AOI Fixation Count (N) and AOI Fixation Duration (s) were selected as the eye-movement index. These two 3.1.3. Experimental result indexes can reflect users’ attention to spatial scene As mentioned above, this experiment adopted factors. (i) AOI Fixation Count represents how the sub- a within-group design. This research used statistical ject processes and distributes attention to the spatial methods for the experiment data analysis, including Figure 14. Check outliers of physiological feedback data of the whole roaming path (generated by SPSS). (a) Mean HR difference. (b) SDNN difference (c) RMSSD difference (d) HF/LF difference (e) SC difference. Table 2. Physiological feedback data of the whole roaming path. N MeanHR(bmp) SDNN (ms) RMSSD (ms) LF/HF SC(μs) Experimental group 30 86.27 ± 9.81 118.58 ± 68.35 150.72 ± 94.46 1.18 ± 0.72 5.13 ± 5.70 Control group 30 86.43 ± 9.66 134.19 ± 99.15 166.43 ± 123.84 1.28 ± 0.95 5.27 ± 5.77 t /Z Z = −.220 t = −.792 Z = −.933 t = −.298 Z = −.526 p .828 .428 .358 .765 .603 Figure 15. Physiological indexes mean value of 30 subjects of whole roaming path. 14 W. PEI ET AL. paired-sample t-test and Wilcoxon Signed Rank Test. software “SPSS”. Paired sample t-test can be used Meanwhile, before data analysis, the descriptive sta- when our data follow a normal distribution; otherwise, tistic function of SPSS (version 20.0.0) software was the Wilcoxon Sign-Rank test should be used to analyze used to check the outliers of collected data. The whether the difference of each physiological index value of more than 3 standard deviations above or between two sample means is “statistically significant”. below the mean can be regarded as extreme values. In addition, we analyzed the mean value physiological When the extreme value has information, the nor- signals of the 30 subjects were to obtain the central mal processing method uses the edge value corre- tendency of their physiological feedback. sponding to the upper and lower limits instead. We 1. Comparison of whole roaming path extracted the physiological, eye movement and sub- According to the physiological data statistical ana- jective questionnaires data through horizontal and lysis of the whole path (Table 2), we found that the vertical comparison analysis, which has significant subjects’ physiological data have no significant differ - differences (P < 0.05). We finally obtained feedback ence when roaming the experimental path and control on spatial design and factors using multivariate data path (p > 0.05). The average level of 30 subjects’ phy- to conduct integrated statistics and mutual verifica - siological indexes shows that (Figure 15) the subjects’ tion. All Statistical calculations are performed in autonomic nervous is more active when roaming the SPSS. control path, in the process of path roaming. These 30 subjects may have higher emotional arousal level when roaming in the “control group” path. However, 220.127.116.11. Horizontal comparison. The horizontal there was no statistical significance of users’ percep- comparison mainly includes the comparison of the tion when roaming in the “control group” and “experi- paired comparison of “entrance”, “square”, and “axis” ment group” paths which means the presence or three spaces and some comparison according to absence of these three spatial elements would not design intent. Firstly, we used SPSS to check data out- have a statistically significant effect on the participants’ liers (Figure 14). After processing extreme value data, emotional arousal level during the process of roaming we conducted Normality tests in the statistical the whole path. Besides, we analyzed the user’s eye movements data, including Pupil Diameter (mm), Absolute Table 3. Statistics of the eye movement feedback data of the Distance (Px) and Blink Count (N/s). From the statistical whole path. analysis result (Table 3), there was still no significant Pupil Absolute Blink count N diameter(mm) distance(px) (N/s) difference when subjects were roaming in two differ - Experimental 30 3.12 ± 0.52 117.69 ± 24.40 0.25 ± 0.25 ent paths (p > 0.05). The average analysis of the 30 group subjects’ eye movement indexes (Figure 16) showed Control group 30 3.09 ± 0.45 120.53 ± 23.60 0.23 ± 0.22 t/Z Z = −.097 t = −.953 Z = −.915 that their average Absolute distance was larger when p .922 .349 .360 they were roaming the control group path. Daniel and Figure 16. Eye-tracking data mean value of 30 subjects of whole roaming path. JOURNAL OF ASIAN ARCHITECTURE AND BUILDING ENGINEERING 15 Table 4. Statistics of the physiological feedback data of three space nodes. N Mean HR (bmp) SDNN (ms) RMSSD (ms) LF/HF SC(μs) Experimental group Entrance space 30 85.07 ± 10.44 119.43 ± 137.91 157.05 ± 196.24 2.28 ± 2.21 5.74 ± 5.67 Control group 30 84.73 ± 9.58 119.18 ± 105.61 163.93 ± 190.23 1.84 ± 1.61 5.61 ± 5.67 t/Z Z = −.321 Z = −.381 Z = −.463 Z = −1.327 t = .392 p .748 .704 .644 .185 .698 Experimental group Square space 30 85.83 ± 10.49 138.10 ± 124.39 178.45 ± 175.74 1.31 ± 2.21 5.15 ± 5.60 Control group 30 86.03 ± 10.83 122.23 ± 116.26 149.99 ± 141.22 1.60 ± 1.41 5.27 ± 5.73 t/Z Z = −.127 t = .603 t = .817 t = −1.144 Z = .668 p .899 .552 .421 .262 .504 Experimental group Axis space 30 85.83 ± 10.49 138.10 ± 124.39 178.45 ± 175.74 1.31 ± 2.21 5.15 ± 5.60 Control group 30 86.03 ± 10.83 122.23 ± 116.26 149.99 ± 141.22 1.60 ± 1.41 5.27 ± 5.73 t/Z t = −.505 t = .469 t = .328 Z = −1.656 t = −.672 p .618 .642 .746 .0980* .507 (Significance:* p < 0.1, **p < 0.05, ***p < 0.01)3. Vision situation of the main building Figure 17. Heat map of fixation count of the main building (schematic diagram). (a) Fixation count of the main building (experiential group); (b) Fixation count of the main building (control group). Kamioka (2017) compared their research and showed saccade distance was larger under complex content Table 5. Statistics of the physiological feedback data of three conditions . The analysis result showed that there space nodes. is more spatial information in the control path. AOI Fixation count AOI Fixation duration In the horizontal comparison, after statistical data N (N) (s) processing, no significant differences were found in Experimental 30 86.77 ± 69.73 .16 ± .038 physiological indicators. To some extent, these three group Control group 30 73.13 ± 59.34 .16 ± .052 spatial factors have no significant effect on users’ emo- t/Z t = 1.729 Z = −.257 tional experience and visual perception when roaming p .094* .797 on the whole path. (Significance:* p < 0.1, **p < 0.05, ***p < 0.01) 2. Horizontal comparison of three space nodes Table 6. Vertical comparison of physiological feedback data in the three spaces. MeanHR (bmp) SDNN (ms) RMSSD (ms) LF/HF SC(μs) Entrance(A) 85.07 ± 10.45 119.43 ± 137.91 157.05 ± 196.24 2.28 ± 2.21 5.74 ± 5.67 Square(B) 85.83 ± 10.49 138.10 ± 124.39 178.45 ± 175.74 1.31 ± .96 5.15 ± 5.60 Axis(C) 87.00 ± 9.84 125.36 ± 107.56 149.91 ± 141.33 1.31 ± .89 4.88 ± 5.79 Compared as a whole: one-way repeated measures ANOVA F (2,58) 6.158 .597 .695 4.621 5.73 p .04** .554 .503 .014** .000*** Pairwise comparison between spatial nodes: paired-sample t-test A pk B t −1.432 −1.100 −.912 2.411 4.907 p .163 .280 .369 .022** .000** B pk C t −2.268 .804 1.418 −.035 2.047 p .031** .428 .167 .973 .050* A pk C t −3.169 −.306 .232 2.237 4.172 p .004*** .762 .819 .033** .000** (Significance:* p < 0.1, **p < 0.05, ***p < 0.01) 16 W. PEI ET AL. We replayed the experimental videos of the sub- The experimental group has the axis space with the jects and marked three time periods on the whole horizontal corridors. The scenery created by corridors roaming path according to the participant’s position will make users unable to see the full view of the main in the 3D virtual space. Then, the data were derived in building when they just enter the axis space and gra- sections to obtain the physiological perception data of dually see the whole facade of the main building mov- the participants in these three spatial nodes. The data ing. It can be seen from the analysis results of eye of these three spatial nodes in the experimental group movement data that the attention of the subjects to and control group were compared, respectively. the main building can be enhanced to a certain extent. According to the results of statistical analysis (Table 4), However, the difference of existing visual attention is there was no significant difference in emotional arousal not significant enough. Designers can further among all the subjects when experiencing different space strengthen this effect by optimizing the horizontal nodes (p < 0.05). This means that the design of three corridor’s design or adjusting the corridors’ location. essential elements in each spatial node did not cause different emotional arousal level. Partly explains, the exist- 18.104.22.168. Vertical comparison. In the vertical compar- ing essential design elements did not have a substantial ison, the physiological and emotional feedback of impact on constructing experiential space. For example, users when roaming “entrance”, “square”, and “axis” the designer wants to use a large school stones gate to three spaces in turns will be analyzed. One-way form an atmosphere of the entrance space and impress repeated-measures ANOVA was used. In addition, the the users. However, through the experiment, we found spatial elements seen in sequence along the path are that this design did not have a significant effect on users’ set as AOI areas to explore the visual feedback. emotional arousal. Therefore, the form of the school gate still needs to be further optimized to enhance the effect Table 7. Analysis of eye movement data of three spatial nodes on users’ perception. in longitudinal comparison. In the axis space design, one of the designs aims to Pupil Absolute Blink count(N/ diameter(mm) distance(px) s) use the horizontal corridor to enhance the depth of Entrance 3.12 ± .52 115.68 ± 25.96 .25 ± .27 space and users’ attention to the facade of the main (A) building, located at the end of the axis. Therefore, in Square 3.95 ± .71 115.58 ± 24.35 .24 ± .27 (B) the horizontal comparison, we also set the main build- Axis (C) 3.12 ± .51 118.19 ± 25.49 .26 ± .24 ing as an AOI area and collected the subjects’ eye Compared as a whole: one-way repeated measures ANOVA movement data on the main building when roaming F (2, 58) 126.01 .758 .453 in the “axis space” with and without corridors p .000*** .473 .654 (Figure 17). According to the statistical analysis result Pairwise comparison between spatial nodes: paired-sample t-test (Table 5), the axis space with and without horizontal A pk B t −11.861 .039 .453 corridors had approached close to a significant impact p .000*** .969 .654 B pk C t 11.563 −1.065 −1.037 on the users’ Fixation Count on the facade of the main p .000*** .295 .308 building (p = 0.094 < 0.1). There was no difference in A pk C t .156 −1.110 −.279 p .877 .276 .783 fixation duration, and the average happens to be the (Significance:* p < 0.1, **p < 0.05, ***p < 0.01) same. Figure 18. Vertical comparison of mean trend statistics of three spatial physiological signals. JOURNAL OF ASIAN ARCHITECTURE AND BUILDING ENGINEERING 17 Figure 19. The visual attention of spatial elements in the test path. 1. Physiological signals of three spaces nodes people in this experiment have never been exposed According to the statistical analysis (Table 6), there to VR environment at all), which may be one of the were significant differences in some physiological reasons for the high average emotional arousal of the indexes of the subjects during precepting the three participants in the entrance space. spaces. For example, when the three spaces were 2. Eye movement situation of three spaces nodes compared as a whole, it was found that the Mean HR, We found that only average Pupil diameter were LF/HF and SC indexes of users were significantly differ - significant differences (Table 7). When subjects roam- ent (p < 0.05). Hence, the emotional arousal states of ing in the square space (B), their average pupil dia- users in these three spatial scenes are other. meter was larger. According to the previous studies, To further analyze the differences of emotional the pupil diameter larger means the space may be arousal in the space, we conducted paired sample more attractive. The subjects were likely to be happier t-test for every two spatial nodes. It can be seen from when roaming the square space. To verify the result, the results that:(i) Mean HR and SC indexes of users in this study also used the subjective questionnaire to the “square” and “axis” space are significantly different; assist. (ii) There are significant differences in the p values of Another essential comparison is to analyze the LF/HF and SC indicators of users in the process of visual attention of spatial elements in this testing roaming in the “entrance” and “square” space respec- path in the vertical comparison. According to the eye- tively; (iii) Significant differences were found in the movement data analysis result of the subjects in each mean HR, LF/HF and SC of users during their roaming AOI below (Figure 19), it can be concluded that, during in the “entrance” and “axis” space. the roaming process, the 30 participants: According to the vertical comparison (Figure 18), in general, the emotional arousal degree of the subjects Had the most frequent fixation count on the in the three spatial nodes is as follows: entrance facade of the main building (N = 79.95). This >square >axis. The users in the roaming process of indicates that the main building has “axis” did not have high emotional arousal. However, a substantial degree of attention. “entrance” is also the starting point of roaming. The Had a more frequent fixation count (N = 49.92). roaming perception experiment has just started, which Even though the participants had been informed will cause some users to be relatively nervous (8 of the roaming path in advance, they still spent a 18 W. PEI ET AL. Figure 20. Subjective survey results of the entrance space. long time reading the guide system and bulletin a specific role in cultural metaphor, but its board (Mean value = 0.24s), which indicated that appearance needs to be designed more eye- their design was relatively distinct and easy to catching. attract users. ● Had less attention to the entrance of the build- ing. According to the recordings experiment, 3.2. Subjective questionnaire data most of the subjects did not notice the After completing the physiological sensing test, this entrances. The fixation count and duration were study used the subjective questionnaire to verify the few and very short. On the one hand, the design objective physiological detection results. The subjec- of the entrance was not clear enough; on the tive questionnaire mainly consists of two parts: The other hand, the subjects were told that they first part is the primary information survey of the could not enter the building to ignore the subjects, including their age, gender, education entrance. level, occupation, VR experience, etc. The second ● Had the most prolonged attention to the stone part is about their spatial perception and feeling carving on the ground, on which the designer after completing the roaming. The questionnaire has carved famous quotes to reflect the cultural design mainly adopts the Semantic Differential nature of the campus. Since it was on the floor, Technique. Subjective survey for each space specifi - many of the subjects ignored them while roam- cally includes two main contents. The first is to give ing. But the participants would stop and read the a semantic rating on spatial elements and obtain the stone inscriptions word by word once they saw user’s preference. The second is to score the them. This shows that this design element has Figure 21. Subjective survey results of the square space. JOURNAL OF ASIAN ARCHITECTURE AND BUILDING ENGINEERING 19 Figure 22. Subjective survey results of the axis space. semantic meaning of the emotion scale for the emo- Axis space includes landscape, markers (guide sys- tem and billboard), rest seats, corridors, building tional experience. This part is to get the information facade (entrance) and other spatial elements. It can of emotional valence (positive/negative). be found from the subjective questionnaire results 1. Entrance space that the users felt more relaxed and pleasant in this As the semantic differential chart shows (Figure 20), space. Therefore, regarding the degree of emotional on the whole, the emotions of the 30 subjects in this arousal, the subjective questionnaire (Figure 22) and space are positive. Most of the subjects feel relaxed physiological data results show a similar trend; the and happy with positive arousal. However, the partici- entrance space will make users produce higher emo- pants generally did not feel the apparent emotional tional arousal. As roaming deepens, users’ emotions fluctuation or surprise in the entrance space. Besides, level off. the scale of the entrance space gives people the For spatial elements analysis, the subjective feed- impression of being relatively open and uncrowded. back was consistent with the results of eye movement However, it should be noted that the subjects gener- result to some extent. (i) The subjects generally ally believe that the school gate stone was not very believed that the content of the guiding system and eye-catching, which is consistent with the eye move- the billboard was relatively explicit, with strong visual ment analysis results. The school gate stones’ AOI had attraction and distinct location for easy viewing; (ii) The fewer fixation counts overall. scores of the building entrance obviousness were low, 2. Square space indicating that the users thought that the design of the The square is a transition space for users from the building entrance had not attracted their attention; (iii) entrance space to the axis space. According to the the corridors was an essential factor in this space. chart (Figure 21), (i) on the whole, the square spatial Some users thought they blocked the line of sight. scale is big to users, but most of the users did not However, they give the space a sense of hierarchy. find apparent geographical features through design; Users cannot see the whole of the main building at (ii) palm trees give users a positive feeling on the a glance. This design enhances the degree of attention whole without delivery the ritual sense of the uni- paid to the facade of the main building. versity that different from the designer expectation and needs to be improved. (iii) The facade design of the building, the skin of the building, will not pro- 4. Discussion duce a too dense visual impression. As for the emo- 4.1. The findings of the empirical case experiment tional survey, users thought their emotional state was relatively happy and relaxed. At the same time, 4.1.1. Horizontal comparison users generally believe that their emotions in the According to the analysis of physiological detection square space are more stable than in the entrance results and subjective survey, the most critical ele- space. This is consistent with what the physiological ments in these three spatial nodes have little influence feedback tells us. on users’ perception. Compared with the designers’ 3. Axis space design concepts, the existing design could not fully 20 W. PEI ET AL. Table 8. Analysis of eye movement data of three spatial nodes in longitudinal comparison. Design objectives Spaces (from scheme) Feedback results School Have a good viewing angle, good display surface, Less eye-catching; not strong attention gate have a strong cultural atmosphere. (short gaze duration). stone Palm trees The line of sight in the square is transparent and The cultural atmosphere is not strong group have a good sense of ritual. and cannot give people a sense of ritual and strong emotional arousal. Horizontal Use the horizontal connection to enhance the depth Users’ curiosity and attention of the corridors of axial space; Form spatial sequence; Let users main building was enhanced, but no produce emotional arousal and a sense of apparent emotional arousal worship. appeared. Table 9. Comparison of design objectives and feedback results. Design objectives Analytical aspect (from scheme) Feedback results Space The design of a dynamic axis space enables users After the test, it was found that there was no sequence to generate rich emotional changes and apparent emotional arousal, and the convey campus culture. emotional state was relatively calm. Cultural The design ground carving stone, publicity The publicity column was eye-catching. The atmosphere column, the name of the school stone show location of the carving stone on the ground the mountains and valleys culture, the spirit of was not easy to find, but users were willing the campus-style. to read. Space The building entrance is eye-catching, the guide The guiding system has good visual appeal, function system is transparently clear, and the but the building entrance is the opposite. wayfinding is convenient. reflect the design objectives (Table 8). Based on this, the experience of architects, on the one hand, the this study puts forward the following optimization material selection and form design could be used to suggestions: improve the cultural nature of the school gate stone. 1. The design of the school gate stone in the On the other hand, the combination of school gate entrance space needs to be further optimized to stone and landscape design would be a method to foil improve the effect of emotional contagion. Basing on the campus cultural atmosphere of the entrance space. JOURNAL OF ASIAN ARCHITECTURE AND BUILDING ENGINEERING 21 In addition, considering the tension of users when they 4.2. The findings of pre-evaluation method first enter the unfamiliar campus environment, the application designers could appropriately design a guiding system This study extracted the spatial elements that need to for entrance space and help users quickly understand be evaluated according to the design scheme text, the the walking path. designer’s design concept and the viewpoints of all 2. The design of the palm trees group in the square interested parties during the design optimization pro- did not achieve the architect’s design goals. While cess. The different spatial elements were used to form most users felt peace and comfort and did not have the comparison schemes in next step to test the high emotional arousal, reflecting the effect on cam- emotional and visual perception of users. The percep- pus culture’s emotional contagion was somewhat tion results standing for the users’ feedback provided insufficient. The architect could combine landscape objective suggestion and made the design optimization design, such as setting statues between the palm process more effective and scientific. In addition, this trees to enhance the emotional appeal of the square; pre-evaluation method is based on the extraction and 3. The horizontal corridor in axis space is suggested test of controversial spatial elements mentioned in the to be preserved here because the comprehensive practical project. Hence, this method is expected could results can better enhance the sense of sequence of to be applied to the evaluation of experiential building the axis space and improve their attention to the main spaces with different types and functions such as monu- building. We infer that this result is that when users mental, commercial, iconic and transportation spaces enter the axis space, the horizontal corridor blocks the which emphasis the user’ experience. At the same view of seeing the main building. The horizontal facade time, the method could help to improve the process texture of the buildings on both sides guides users to walk forward. This design can cause the association and results of scheme optimization especially when and curiosity of the users to the distant main building. there are controversial factors or difficult to predict the spatial design effect by providing more scientific sug- 4.1.2. Vertical comparison gestion and feedback for optimization and comparison. There are still some deficiencies of this research and According to the vertical comparison result, there are result. First of all, collecting physiological signals need significant differences in the emotional changes of sensing devices and a controlled environment. Hence, it users when exploring three spaces. After analyzing was difficult to widely collect the users’ perceptions to the impact of space on users’ emotions and architect’s analyze combing design objectives. Besides, the physio- design intention (Table 9), this study puts forward the logical signals such as PPG and EDA used in this research following optimization suggestions: could only reflect arousal dimension but not valence 1. The emotional arousal of users decreases gradu- dimension of emotions. Among them, the valence ally as they enter the campus. This is different from the dimension is used to describe the degree of (un)plea- designer’s design goal, which wanted the user to have santness, from pleasantness (positive) to unpleasant- emotional change as the sequence unfolds, at least, ness (negative); the arousal dimension of emotion is the design effect was not significant. Hence, the used to describe the degree of arousal, from low arousal designer needs to optimize the space design to to high arousal. One of the limitations of this research is enhance the impact of emotional contagion to better the lack of measuring valence dimension using physio- convey the campus culture atmosphere and spirit. logical signals. Through physiological detection results, 2. According to the feedback results of eye- this research could only obtain information on the arou- movement data, users do not pay enough attention sal dimension, without able to judge specific types of to the building entrance. The guides system could be emotions. Hence, this research used questionnaires to helpful to solve this problem and help users find the verify the physiological detection result and got some entrance more easily. information related to the emotional types. In the fol- 3. At present, the guide system, bulletin boards and lowing research stage, some other physiological detec- ground stones landscape are used to convey campus tion methods such as Electroencephalogram (EEG) and culture. According to the eye-tracking data, the FER could be used to obtain the user’s emotional type. ground carving stones were important landscape The existed research (Horlings, Datcu, and Rothkrantz design. However, through watching the experiment 2008) proved that the EEG signals contained enough recording, we found that they were challenging for information on both the valence and arousal dimension. users to find in the process of roaming which they Besides, developing an algorithm to build a direction need to walk into and lower the head to see them on between the psychological and neurophysiological the ground. It is suggested that the design can opti- results is an expected research direction. Meanwhile, mize to form a certain angle with the ground so that the pre-evaluation method proposed in this research users can read and watch it easily and give full play to requires a simulation of the schemes in a VR environ- its role in cultural communication. ment with high quality. 22 W. PEI ET AL. Funding 5. Conclusion In this paper, we describe a workflow to pre-evaluate This work is partially supported by The National Social Science Fund Later Stage Funding Project. Grant no: the design of experiential architecture combined with 19FXWB026; the Guangdong Science and Technology VR and physiological detection. Firstly, the architectural Project, Grant no: The Guangdong Science and Technology spaces that need to be tested were constructed in the Project 2017A020220011; The Higher Education Teaching VR environment, which could quickly add, subtract or Research and Reform Project of Guangdong Province, Grant change the spatial elements and create comparison no: HITSZERP19001, Virtual simulation experiment teaching project of Harbin Institute of Technology, Grant no: schemes. Secondly, through physiological sensors and AY11000014. eye trackers, users’ emotional and visual perception data were recorded when roaming in the spaces. Thirdly, the users’ subjective feelings were collected Notes on contributors using questionnaires to verify the objective physiologi- Wanyu PEI was an architecture master student who gradu- cal test result. In the end, the users’ perception data ated from Harbin Institute of Technology (Shenzhen). were statistically analyzed to compare the users’ differ - Currently, she is a PhD student in the Department of ent reactions to the spaces and elements. In this way, Architecture, College of Design and Engineering, National this research found that the existing three spatial fea- University of Singapore. Her main research areas are archi- tures, which are most controversial in discussions tectural evaluation and design in VR Environments; human environmental perception; VR+architectural education, between school decision-makers and designers, have urban information modeling, 3D urban information map- little influence on the perception and need to be ping, circular urban design. improved based on the design objectives. This research Guo Xiangmin is currently an associate professor at HITsz, a proposed a pre-evaluation workflow which combine member of the Foreign Urban Planning Committee of the biometric sensors and eye trackers to get both emo- Urban Planning Society of China, a member of the editorial tional and visual perception feedback of users and could board of authoritative international SCI, and A&HCI journals, be used to improve architectural schemes in the design and an expert in rewriting international SCI journals. His main stage before construction in a more objective and scien- research interests include urban and architectural design tific way. In addition, this method is based on dividing methods supported by virtual digital technology, decision- making evaluation of urban and rural development, urban building space elements to construct comparison operations, and strategic planning. He has presided over and schemes for testing which could be applied to the pre- participated in a number of national funds and projects. evaluation of many types of building spaces as well as Tiantian Lo is an Assistant Professor at the HITsz. During his their design elements. The research result shows that doctoral study, he was awarded a full doctoral scholarship by this proposed workflow could help architects to real- the Chinese University of Hong Kong and Victoria University time iterate or compare designs and enhance the exist- of Wellington. His main research area is the bottom-up ing evaluation process of participatory design in some human-centered architectural design concept. Using VR, respects. On the one hand, physiological data and BIM, and gamification to create an interactive environment. At present, he has published nearly 30 international journal detection provided more scientific and objective evi- and conference papers with some published and distributed dence for scheme optimization. On the other hand, by Springer. He is also the organizing committee member the evaluation flow did not require users to understand and reviewer of computer-aided Architectural Design professional knowledge or imagine 3D space based on Research in Asia (CAADRIA), Architectural Science 2D drawings. In further work, we expect to aggregate Association (ANZAScA), and other international well-known conferences. the perception data and spatial elements using big data information interaction technologies to provide direct guidance for experiential architect design. This evalua- Data availability statement tion method is expected to provide evidence-based recommendations to designers and make the architec- The data that support the findings of this study are available from the corresponding author: LO T.upon reasonable tural design process more humane and scientific. request. Acknowledgments Institutional review board statement Thanks to the “King far Research Support Program” of King This study involves no greater than minimal risk to the far International Inc. for supporting this study and providing participants and informed consent were obtained in the necessary equipment. advance. This research did not involve a prospective eva- luation, did not involve interventional studies (human or animal) and only involved non-invasive physiological detecting and devices. The rights and welfare of the Disclosure statement participants will not be adversely affected. 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Journal of Asian Architecture and Building Engineering
Taylor & Francis
Pre-Evaluation method of the experiential architecture based on multidimensional physiological perception
Journal of Asian Architecture and Building Engineering
, Volume 22 (3): 25 –
May 4, 2023
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