The VITAL SIGNS Curriculum Materials Project: Equipment
Instruments are tools of translation. They convert aspects of our physical environment into numbers which can be interpreted in the context of abstract codes & standards and a growing body of knowledge concerning human performance in the physical environment. Beyond these numbers, however, lies the intent of design. A designer's ultimate goal in striving for a particular interior air temperature or luminance ratio lies not in the flexing of technological prowess to achieve these standards but rather in a commitment to occupant comfort and well-being.
In Building Science, instruments capture patterns which help shape a designer's
intuitive sense of the experiential environment as well as provide more conventional
measures of quantitative performance. With practice, a user of these instruments will
begin to develop an intuition regarding built environments. Just as she can approximate
the width of hallway, the user might acquire enough experience to not only approximate a
space's illuminance level, but also be able to recall what forty footcandles is
Information on Equipment Manufacturers and Vendors - The Vital Signs Project has gathered information on North American providers of measurement equipment related to the field evaluation of buildings. In the process we have assembled 4 meters of bookshelf filled with catalogs. Summary data, providing details on over 600 vendors, are available as a Filemaker Pro database file (EQUIPDB.FM) or an ACSII file containing comma-separated data (EQUIPDB.TXT).
Proposal to the National Science Foundation - We asked the National Science Foundation's Instructional Laboratory Improvement Program (ILI) for support in assembling loaner sets of equipment for use by architecture schools in trying out the Vital Signs methods. After blind peer review, we garnered the maximum award available under the ILI Program. Check this link to see what we proposed.
The Vital Signs Toolkit - The National Science Foundation proposal establishes a standard Vital Signs Toolkit containing devices from eighteen vendors of measurement equipment. These pages provide a roster of the equipment, images of the devices, and information on sources.
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All contents copyright (C) 1998.
Charles C. Benton.
All rights reserved. Revised: August 19, 1996