Relating Material Experience To Technical Parameters: A Case Study On Visual And Tactile Warmth Perception Of Indoor Wall Materials

Lisa Wastiels, Hendrik Schifferstein, Ann Heylighen, Ine Wouters

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

23 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Experiential aspects of materials are addressed rather intuitively by architects during the material
selection process for buildings. This paper explores the possibilities of relating material experience in
architecture to technical material parameters and uses the perceived warmth of indoor wall materials as
a case study. Various building materials were assessed technically and their perceived warmth was
evaluated by participants. As people experience a building and its materials through multiple senses, the
separate effects of vision and touch were considered.
Results show that the senses used for evaluation have a major impact on the perception of warmth,
and that a distinction should be made between the visual warmth and tactile warmth of a material. The
overall perception of warmth was shown to correspond to its visual perception. Furthermore, the
perception of material warmth was correlated with several technical material parameters, such as the
thermal effusivity, the surface gloss and the hue and saturation of the material color. The color study
suggested that the material color has a larger effect on the perceived warmth than other material
parameters. An indication of the relationships between the perceived material warmth and measurable
technical material parameters offers architects insights on how to change the experience of warmth by
changing specific technical parameters and thus allows to select materials in a better informed way.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)359-367
Number of pages9
JournalBuilding and Environment
Volume49
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2012

Keywords

  • architecture
  • building materials
  • material experience
  • perception
  • warmth

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