VSimulators: A New UK-based Immersive Experimental Facility for Studying Occupant Response to Wind-induced Motion of Tall Buildings

Antony Darby, James Brownjohn, Erfan Shahabpoor Ardakani, Kaveh Heshmati

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Current vibration serviceability assessment criteria for wind-induced vibrations
in tall buildings are based largely on human ‘perception’ thresholds which is shown not to be directly translatable to human ‘acceptability’ of vibrations. There is also a considerable debate about both the metrics and criteria for vibration acceptability, such as frequency of occurrence or peak vs mean vibration, and how these might vary with the nature of the vibration. Furthermore, the design criteria are necessarily simplified for ease of application so cannot account for a range of environmental, situational and human factors that may enhance or diminish the impact of vibrations on serviceability. The dual-site VSimulators
facility was created specifically to provide an experimental platform to address gaps in understanding of human response to building vibration. This paper considers how VSimulators can be used to inform general design guidance and support design of specific buildings for habitability, in terms of vibration, which allow engineers and clients to make informed decisions with regard to sustainable design, in terms of energy and financial cost. This paper first provides a brief overview of current vibration serviceability assessment guidelines, and the current understanding and limitations of occupants’ acceptability of wind-induced motion in tall buildings. It then describes how the dual-site VSimulators facility at the Universities of Bath and Exeter can be used to assess the effects of motion and environment on human comfort, wellbeing and productivity with examples of how the facility capabilities have been used to provide new, human experience based experimental research approaches.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)347-362
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of High-Rise Buildings
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2022


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