Resilient by Design: informing pandemic-safe buildings

Could changes to building organization reduce the chance of disease spread? This question was explored in this project which developed a computational design-support tool to test safe-distancing measures enforced during the COVID-19 pandemic. The tool models scenarios for congestion in migrant worker dormitories (these dormitories experienced high rates of COVID-19 transmission in 2020.) Building from agent-based and network based computational simulations, the tool presents a hybrid method for simulating building resident movements based on known or pre-determined schedules and likely itineraries. This hybrid method affords the design tool a novel approach to simultaneous explore spatial and temporal design scenarios.

Migrant worker dormitory with 25,000 resident workers.
Model setup: converting BIM model to network representation of spaces and circulation
The movement of agents across the network according to the schedule templates (left, below) generates different patterns of congestion across network edges (circulation spaces) depending on the pathways available.
Model schedules, current on left and staggered cohorts on right.
Study workflow, connecting schedule scenarios and spatial configuration studies.
Summary visualization of baseline model simulation and six schedule/design variations.
The model logs data for all agents at every minute of the day, making it possible to zoom in and out of specific hours and spaces. Similar to discrete event simulations, these models can also developed with sensor data on occupant movement and behaviors – developing more accurate tools for design tests.

PI F Peter Ortner
PhD Student Tay Jing Zhi