Building Simulation: An International Journal

Article Title

Analysing user daylight preferences in heritage buildings using virtual reality


daylight preferences, heritage buildings rehabilitation, immersive virtual reality, statistical analysis


Technology has always been creating effective ways to support human decisions. Immersive virtual reality (IVR) has emerged to engage users in a simulated world, and this has gained the interest of a wide variety of users in the heritage industry. A historical case study built in the early 19th century is considered for an adaptive reuse exhibition. The palace is located in Cairo, Egypt, and named after Prince Omar Tosson. The current palace state incorporates a smashed top-lit zone, which is being studied and analyzed for daylighting adequacy. Three simulated distinct optimum skylight configurations are suggested for the redesign where the selection should not be based solely on simulation data, but should consider real-user preferences. Most daylight design criteria are previously based on simulation data that do not necessarily indicate the users' preferences. But utilizing user interactive tools such as IVR to test daylight redesign options, a whole new dimension is provided. In this study, the VR users' survey data is statistically analyzed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS), where results revealed that the assessment attributes succeeded in reflecting the users' preferences; which, motivated designers to consider potential users' daylight preferences in reused spaces. The paper highlights the most significant emotional attributes that provide cost-effective and reliable information concerned with the performance of daylight in IVR before design implementation. This study compares and analyzes the effect of three skylight designs (Cases A, B & C) on the users' perception before design implementation using (IVR) post-survey. Forty-eight participants have contributed to the study, providing their feedback on six attributes namely: Pleasant, Contrasting, Brightness, Uniform Distribution, Visual Comfort, and Satisfaction. Those attributes are evaluated for the three cases in space using five scale rating values to reveal that the "Pleasant" attribute is most reliable in the study to reflect the users' preferences for design Case B.