This is an archived SimAUD Conference website from a previous year.

To view the current year's conference, please visit the SimAUD website.


We are pleased to announce that several workshops are being organized as part of SimAUD 2017. The workshops will take place in parallel sessions from 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM on Sunday, May 21. The workshops will address the topic of simulation from a unique perspective and will offer hand-on learning opportunities on cutting edge computational approaches, workflows and tools.

Each workshop runs for about 4 hours and can host a maximum of about 15 participants. If the subscriptions exceed the limit, the 15 participants who registered first have priority. Each workshop requires min 5 participants to take place. If a workshop is cancelled due to non-sufficient subscriptions, the participants can join one of the other workshops. The registered conference attendees will have free access to the workshops. A small fee applies to the others participants (full fee: $70 – students fee: $30), for which there is no refund in case of attendance’s cancellation after May 1st. Prior to the workshops, the participants will be informed by the workshops’ instructors about what is needed (e.g. laptops, etc.).

Proposed Workshops

There are four proposed workshops, as listed below.

  • Workshop 01: A Simulation Platform to evaluate health and interest in daylit architecture using an immersive approach, by Siobhan Rockcastle and Dr. María Lovísa Ámundadóttir
  • Workshop 02: Advanced Optimization Technology for generative building design, structural analysis and lighting simulation, by ESTECO Academy
  • Workshop 03: Energy and Daylight Modeling in Grasshopper, by Dr. Timur Dogan
  • Workshop 04: Urban Building Modelling (Energy and Microclimate), by Dr. Umberto Berardi

A detailed description of each workshop is provided below. You may visit the Registration page to register to a workshop.


Workshop 01:
A Simulation Platform to Evaluate Health and Interest in Daylit Architecture Using an Immersive Approach

Given by:
Siobhan Rockcastle and Dr. María Lovísa Ámundadóttir

Workshop Introduction

This workshop will introduce attendees to a novel daylight simulation platform called OcuLight, developed in the LIPID lab at EPFL by a team of researchers specializing in human-centric daylight performance. The first of its kind, OcuLight is a state of the art BPS tool for assessing the impacts of daylight on human health-potential, visual interest, and glare.

OcuLight integrates novel performance modules for predicting the effects of daylight on human-responses to provide an immersive, ocular evaluation of daylight. Designed to interface with Radiance, OcuLight provides a user-friendly platform to define inputs for geometry, material, view position, view directions, sky conditions, and desired time-series. Using existing case-study examples, this workshop will introduce the workflow for uploading geometry, selecting inputs for a dynamic multi-criteria evaluation, and launching batch scripts to compute temporal simulations in Radiance.

Workshop Description

Starting with an overview of the theory behind human-centric daylight analysis, the presenters will introduce two novel performance models for predicting human health and visual interest. Using a pre-computed assessment of the Ryerson Student Learning Center by Snøhetta architects, the presenters will then demonstrate the spatially immersive and temporally dynamic capability of OcuLight. After this theoretical introduction and demonstration, we will provide attendees with a geometry model and offer hands-on guidance in launching a simulation, offering the participants the opportunity to compute their own results or interact with a pre-computed analysis. No previous experience in daylight simulation is required.

Instructor Bios

Siobhan Rockcastle
Siobhan is a researcher exploring topics at the intersection of architectural design, human perception, environmental dynamics, and building performance. She is in the final stages of her PhD at the LIPID Lab of EPFL, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, Switzerland. Siobhan earned her professional BArch from Cornell University in 2008 and her SMArchS degree in Building Technology from MIT in 2011. She currently consults on daylight design integration and environmental performance for a number of architectural and urban-scale projects in Switzerland and the US. Siobhan’s research proposes new metrics that predict the impacts of daylight and spatial composition on perception and emotion in architecture.

María Lovísa Ámundadóttir
Maria graduated in 2016 with a PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering from EPFL, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, Switzerland, that she conducted at the LIPID lab. Before joining EPFL, she obtained a MSc in Computational Science and Engineering from ETH Zurich and a BSc in Industrial Engineering from the University of Iceland. Maria’s research explores the evolution of nonvisual light effects over time with respect to changes in intensity, spectral composition and duration of light exposure using mathematical models. This work has led to the development of simulation-based techniques that can inform designers about the effect of lighting on human health and wellbeing in real-life settings.


Workshop 02:
Advanced Optimization Technology for Generative Building Design, Structural Analysis and Lighting Simulation

Given by:
ESTECO Academy

Image credit: Design and image by Sun Yimin Studio (Architectural Design & Research Institute of South China University of Technology)

Workshop Introduction

The objective of this 4-hour workshop is to demonstrate to architecture students, researchers and practitioners familiar with digital design tools, the – still unexplored – potential of integrating advanced optimization technology in building and architectural modeling. Optimization will be addressed as exploration of design alternatives, via modeFRONTIER. modeFRONTIER is a leading integration platform for multi-objective and multi-disciplinary optimization. It offers a seamless coupling with third party engineering tools, enables the automation of the design simulation process and facilitates analytic decision making. The workshop will focus on workflows where modeFRONTIER is coupled with modelling and simulations software familiar to architects and engineers in the building industry. The participants will hear about successful application from the AEC industries and will have the chance to try modeFRONTIER, being guided from ESTECO experts providing training, tips and advices.

As an example, during the design process of the Cheongna City Tower modeFRONTIER was coupled with CATIA and ROBOT, looping parametric modelling, structural simulations, optimization and data analysis. "This way of working redefines engineering workflows and potentially, the roles of architect and engineer in the design process. The danger here--something we are consciously avoiding--is an anemic understanding of optimization as a reductive quest for efficiency rather than as a generative design process which can result in architectural ‘species’ characterized by both efficiencies and excesses." TOM WISCOMBE ARCHITECTURE - Cheongna City Tower project, 2008

Workshop Description


  • Optimization in AEC | success stories: generative design, light simulation, structural analysis, NZEB
  • Introduction to modeFRONTIER: software environment and main features

OPTIMAL BUILDING DESIGN: Integrating AEC modelling & analysis tools with modeFRONTIER (3 hours):

  • Parametric modelling with Rhino/Grasshopper
  • modeFRONTIER workflow set up: direct integration node, parameter chooser, linking parameters to objectives and constraints
  • Optimization Strategies and Algorithms: Hands-on example - Optimization setup and execution; post-processing tools
  • Execution monitoring and post processing: decision support tools and final design choice

Image credit: David Benjamin, Daniel Kidd (Columbia University) - UMNA09

Image credit: Tom Wiscombe, Emergent Architecture

Instructor Bio

Zhendan Xue, PhD

Zhendan is currently working as Senior Research and Application Engineer for ESTECO, from Novi MI office. He has been with ESTECO for over 6 years supporting ESTCO customers for their engineering optimization activities. He graduated in 2009 with Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the State University of New York at Buffalo. Research specialization was Computer simulation of emergency evacuation using modified Particle Swarm Optimization Algorithm. General Technical Interest: Process Integration and Engineering Optimization, Design for Six Sigma, Data Analytics, and Machine Learning.

ESTECO is an independent technology provider delivering first-class software solutions aimed at perfecting the simulation-driven design process. With more than 15 years’ experience, the company supports leading organizations in designing the products of the future, today. ESTECO smart engineering suite brings enterprise-wide solutions for design optimization, simulation data management and process integration and automation with the aim of helping companies excel across this innovation journey and accomplish the shift to agile product development. Over 300 international organizations – including Cummins, Embraer, FIAT, Ford Motor Company, JLR, Honda, Toyota, Whirlpool, VOLVO - have chosen ESTECO to consolidate specialized expertise, streamline teamwork and boost product development across a wide spectrum of industrial sectors. Founded in 1999, the company is headquartered in Trieste (Italy), with offices in Michigan (USA), Pune (India) and an international network of channel partners.


Workshop 03:
Energy and Daylight Modeling in Grasshopper

Given by:
Dr. Timur Dogan

Workshop Introduction

This course is geared towards helping designers, sustainability consultants and students to learn how to integrate daylight and energy simulations within their work. This is a hands-on class in which participants will learn how to conduct a series of simulation exercises using the DIVA 4.0 within Rhino and Grasshopper to perform Radiance and EnergyPlus simulations.

Workshop Description

The exercises and concepts explored include: Point in time visualizations and glare analysis in Radiance Daylight Factor and point-in-time illuminance distributions for LEED 2009 compliance Irradiation mapping and analysis. Climate-based annual daylight calculations with dynamic shading and electric lighting controls Spatial Daylight Autonomy (sDA) and Annual Solar Exposure (ASE) calculations for LEED v4 compliance Further, we will cover how to construct and manipulate multi-zone EnergyPlus models.

Instructor Bio

Timur Dogan is an Assistant Professor at Cornell AAP. His background is in architecture and building technology. He holds a PhD form MIT, an MDes from Harvard GSD and a Dipl.Ing. from TU Darmstadt. Timur's research expertise is in daylight and energy modelling, passive climate control strategies and performance driven design workflows in both urban and architectural scales. His work has been supported by the Cornell Atkinson Center for Sustainable Future, an MIT Presidential Fellowship, Transsolar Energietechnik GmbH, the German Academic Exchange Service-DAAD and the German National Academic Foundation.


Workshop 04:
Urban Building Modelling (Energy and Microclimate)

Given by:
Dr. Umberto Berardi

Workshop Introduction

Detailed individual building energy models and regional and country-level building stock models on the other side have become common modes of analysis for building designers and energy policy makers, respectively. More recently, these two toolsets have begun to merge into hybrid methods that are meant to analyze the energy performance of neighborhoods, i.e. several dozens to thousands of buildings. This workshop reviews emerging simulation methods and implementation workflows for bottom-up urban building models. The focus will be on simulation input, energy flow model generation, and result validation.

Workshop Description

Over the past decade, building energy models have become common for building designers. Meanwhile, starting from energy simulations, energy policy makers and urban planners have increasingly required to develop bottom-up models to predict the energy consumption of the building stocks at the neighbor or regional scale. Bottom-up models have started to become common instruments to help traditional top-down statistical models to assess the energy needs of the built environment in a disaggregated way. In particular, in the last few years, several new tools have proposed hybrid methods aimed to analyze the energy performance and urban microclimate at both the building and neighborhoods. This workshop will focus on emerging simulation methods for urban building models and urban microclimate modelling. The focus will be on simulation input, energy flow model generation, and result validation. The value of these instruments as tools for supporting smart grid models will be finally discussed.

Instructor Bio

Dr. Berardi is a Faculty member in the Department of Architecture Science at Ryerson University. Dr. Berardi’s researches concern the application of applied physics and sustainability principles to the built environment. His expertise include several energy saving technologies for zero energy building design. Dr. Berardi is also particularly active in monitoring and simulating urban micro-climates. He is currently leading a large national Canadian project titled “Policy Guidelines for Increasing Outdoor Thermal Comfort in Toronto”. He is a member of the IEA Annex 73 titled “Towards Net Zero Energy Public Communities”. His research records include over 60 journal papers. Dr. Berardi was the International Committee Chair of the International Conference on Sustainable Design, Engineering and Construction - ICSDEC 2016 - in Tempe-Arizona, and the Technical Program and Leadership Committee co-Chair of ICSDEC 2015 in Chicago. He will chair the 10th IAQVEC conference in 2019.