The Value of Variability

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Dr. Gail Brager, Professor of Architecture at UC Berkeley, discusses the value of (mostly thermal) variability in terms of human experience, and implications for design of the built environment.

Gail begins with a visual argument for why variability is important, followed by some research examples showing evidence of the positive and pleasurable responses to variability. She proposes a framework for how we can better relate what our bodies are experiencing (which is primarily the mindset of researchers) to the design and operation of the physical environment that is creating those conditions, and how we can think about these ideas in terms of both spatial and temporal patterns. She then concludes with thoughts about designing for sensory space and experiential design patterns.


Gail S. Brager, PhD, is Professor of Architecture at UC Berkeley. Gail is CBE's Associate Director, and leads research efforts in mixed-mode buildings, which combine natural and mechanical ventilation.