Oliver Neumann

Associate Professor

Relevant Thesis-Based Degree Programs


Graduate Student Supervision

Doctoral Student Supervision

Dissertations completed in 2010 or later are listed below. Please note that there is a 6-12 month delay to add the latest dissertations.

Third-placeness: supporting the experience of third place with interactive public displays (2016)

In contemporary western cities, socialization often occurs in locations with a mix of public and private characteristics. Oldenburg defined these settings as “Third Places” because they provide a space of conviviality in between the privacy of home and the rigidity of work. Coffee shops and pubs are some of the prototypical Third Places providing a welcoming and neutral atmosphere for conversation that is essential to community development. Consumer computing and telecommunications have impacted how we socialize with each other and use Third Places. This brings about the question of how technology can support Third Places or if technology has a role at all in these settings.We propose an alternative paradigm called “Third-placeness” defined as a state of socialization, of which a Third Place is a physical embodiment. Third-placeness arises when information is uncensored, which minimizes inequalities and differences, and is characterized by low barriers to information access, regularity, lightheartedness and comfort. We identify aspects of Third-placeness and study how a particular type of technology, interactive public displays, could affect these aspects. Through our observations and lessons learned we identify social, public, and physical characteristics of interactive public displays that could support aspects of Third-placeness. Our research contributes a framework, the Sociality, Publicity and Physicality Framework, that organizes aspects and requirements of designing interactive public displays for Third-placeness. It also describes a way in which to communicate about these designs and a way such designs can be approached.

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Master's Student Supervision

Theses completed in 2010 or later are listed below. Please note that there is a 6-12 month delay to add the latest theses.

Expanding opportunities for mid-rise buildings in Chile through the application of timber panel systems (2012)

During the last few years, the merging of timber building tradition with the application of new technologies has produced new prefabricated building systems in Europe and North America. Mid-rise buildings present a unique opportunity to apply new timber technologies. Chile has shown sustained growth of buildings construction during the past decades but little further development in the use of wood. To establish the feasibility of timber systems applied to the Chilean context this research considered social aspects, technical aspects and local standards related to the manufacture and construction using timber components. A project proposal is used to analyze the architectural applications of timber systems according to the Chilean context. The design considers the case of densification in the city of Santiago and investigates the possibility of developing mid-rise structures using the structural properties and features of timber systems. So far only two systems applied to mid-rise structures have been tested for seismic resistance on full scale prototypes: Midply and Cross Laminated Timber. Both systems are suitable for the Chilean context despite their different features. However, it is essential to modify the Chilean Structural Code in order to properly incorporate the seismic performance of timber structures. Also, further research is needed on the application of softwoods and local construction techniques are required for timber panel systems in order to change the negative perception of users about timber housing.The Chilean context has interesting design opportunities to develop buildings that use prefabricated timber panel systems. These structures are flexible, light and have shear high-resistance. However, it is necessary further exploration on architectural possibilities that could expand the use of these alternatives.

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Wood-based 3D printing for space innovation in emergency and social housing production (2012)

Since the 1900s, urban population settlements have experienced explosive growth.To respond to this urban population growth, suburban areas and industrialized housing production were developed. However, today, a series of negative impacts from these solutions has been detected.While suburban areas create big morphological changes to the city, causing problems of transport, fragmentation, and social connectivity, industrialized prefabrication methods result in a mass repetition of identical houses that elicits social and physiological problems of individuality and community belonging. The case of Chile is notable because of its 86% urban population and its stable social housing response to homelessness. In addition, the country is subjected to frequent natural disasters, and the government has to respond quickly with emergency and social housing solutions. However, calls to the attention that being an exporting country of forest products, wood is not considered a building material solution for long-term houses.This research analyses the historical and current development of emergency and social housing in Chile, the country’s forestry production, and the characteristics of local wood products. Advantages and disadvantages are examined along with highlighted case studies, and a new emergency and social housing architectural strategy is proposed. To meet this need for massive emergency and social housing, a flexible, fast, and optimized building system is required.Digital fabrication technologies are presented as a basis for rethinking mass housing production, focusing on a prefabricated full scale 3D printing process; a parametric manufacturing relationship between structure, thermal performance and material composition is proposed.In the initial stage with structural simulations, this research explores the optimization possibilities of the architectural elements with the relationship proposed, and suggests possible applications and future developments.

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