Francisco "Paco" Arumí-Noe, professor of architecture, died on September 16, 2005. He was 65. Dr. Arumí-Noe was born in Valparaíso, Chile, on February 4, 1940 to Francisco Arumí Xercavins (1916-1992) and Rosa Matilde Piedad Noe Shuart (1921-1984). Paco's father was born in Barcelona, Spain and his mother in Ibarra, Ecuador. Paco's brother is Fernando Joaquin Arumi. His maternal grandfather was born in Lebanon. Paco's nationality was Ecuadorian. In November of 1957, he arrived in Miami, Florida via TAN Airlines from Quito, Ecuador, en route to Charlotte, North Carolina. On the advice of his maternal grandfather, he had decided to continue his studies in the United States. He had hoped to enter the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, however, he did not have a diploma so he was forced to enroll in Myers Park High School in Charlotte as a junior. His academic work was outstanding, and after a year, he was able to persuade the admissions office at University of North Carolina at Charlotte to let him enroll as a physics major. His junior class photo at Myers Park High School is at right.
Again his work at UNC at Charlotte was outstanding, and after two years, he convinced UNC at Chapel Hill to admit him into their physics program. He entered the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1960.
On December 22, 1963 in Chapel Hill, NC, Francisco married Betsy Elaine Battle of Andrews, NC. The following year, Betsy graduated from UNC Chapel Hill with a degree in French and Paco completed his master's degree. Following graduation the he and Betsy moved to San Luis Obispo, CA where he taught physics at California State Polytechnic College for one year. Francisco became naturalized in the U.S. in 1965.
Paco and Betsy then spent two years in Costa Rico where Paco taught physics and mathematics at the University of Costa Rica and served as a physics specialist for the National Science Foundation. Betsy learned Spanish and became a high school Spanish teacher. She later, with courses at University of Texas at Austin and in Mexico, earned a master's degree from California State University in Sacramento, CA. Betsy was a Spanish teacher at St. Andrews Episcopal School in Austin for eight years. Paco and Betsy had two children, daughter, Ana María and son, Francisco Alexander. They divorced in 1981. In 2001, Francisco and Charlette Beillon were married in Austin, TX. Charlette, a musicologist and language teacher, was born in France. Charlette had a son, Phillipe by a previous marriage.
In 1967, Francisco entered the physics graduate program at the University of Texas at Austin, maybe encourage by Professor Robert N. Little whom he met while in Costa Rica.
At Texas, Francisco's research interest was theoretical plasma physics. He received a PhD in physics from The University of Texas at Austin in 1970 under the supervision of Professor Melvin Oakes. At the time of his graduation, Professor Oakes was chatting with his friend architecture professor Richard Swallow. Swallow mentioned that the School of Architecture would like to branch our into computational architecture. Oakes recommended Dr. Arumí. He was hired as an assistant professor of architecture and taught at the University for the next 35 years. He was later promoted to associate and then full professor in the School of Architecture.
Dr. Arumí-Noe developed and taught a range of principles and methods courses in architecture, including physical principles of building construction (Statics: the statics and strength of materials), and a suite of more advanced, innovative courses on topics relating to computer modeling and energy performance: Manual Methods for Energy Analysis of Buildings; Applied Computer Technology; Computer Simulation; Daylighting; Thermal Design; Energy, Form and Architecture; and Solar Geometry. He also supervised numerous advanced graduate students in individualized research.
Long before the topics of energy efficiency and building energy performance became issues of popular public concern, Dr. Arumí-Noe was performing pioneering work and making internationally notable strides in the analysis and simulation of energy use in buildings. Of particular note in Dr. Arumí-Noe’s career was his research in modeling the passive solar heating and cooling of buildings. His most active period of sponsored research culminated in the development and use of the DEROB (Dynamic Energy Response of Buildings) computer software for the dynamic simulation of passive solar heating and cooling. DEROB became the national standard for determining building energy performance by the U.S. Department of Energy after it was tested and calibrated under the sponsorship of Los Alamos Scientific Laboratories. In the 1980s, a professional society was formed to further the use of DEROB; and subsequently, the software was refined and deployed with assistance from the Lund Institute of Technology in Sweden and renamed DEROB-LTH. Four annual conferences were held from 1983 through 1987 for users of DEROB, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy and other sources. The software continued to be developed and applied and was extensively published by Arumí-Noe and others in peer-reviewed literature. Other more recent research by Dr. Arumí-Noe involved the integration of 3-D solid graphics modeling with energy analysis of buildings, including the development of the MUSES software codes. He continued to work on enhanced applications of MUSES, unveiling his newest applications in graduate research seminars, until the time of his death.
For many years, Dr. Arumí-Noe served on the editorial board of Energy and Buildings, an international journal of research applied to energy efficiency in the built environment. He was a member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, Pi Mu Epsilon Honor Society (mathematics), and Sigma Pi Sigma Honor Society (physics). He
was awarded Fulbright Scholarships for travel and research in Bangladesh, Colombia, and Ecuador. Products of his research accomplishments were presented frequently over the course of his career at international conferences in the following countries: Mexico, Sweden, Portugal, Switzerland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, South Africa, Guatemala, and the United States.
The School of Architecture realized the significance and value of Dr. Arumí-Noe’s research and teaching by creating, under his supervision, a series of academic degree-granting programs and research centers. The first, beginning in the mid-1970s, was titled the Numerical Simulation Laboratory, through which the DEROB dynamic simulation software was developed. The school founded the Energy Program under Arumí-Noe’s leadership in the early 1980s and began to offer a graduate degree program in computer and energy studies. In the early 1990s, the master’s degree program was renamed the Design with Climate Program and more recently was renamed the Sustainable Design Program.
Dr. Arumí-Noe’s teaching successes were considerable. In 1990 he received the Texas Exes Excellence in Teaching Award. Anecdotal remembrances by his former students portray his relentless efforts to build their confidence in numerical analysis methods and to learn by making assertions, rightly or wrongly. “Dare to be wrong!” was the message given to students if their answer wasn’t forthcoming. His speed in writing and solving equations on the blackboard was a topic of considerable discussion. And he was considered a dramatic and effective teacher, known to produce humorous and original demonstrations, for example, on the principles of
Dr. Arumí-Noe was a man of passion. In the words of a close friend, "He enjoyed his coffee strong, his cigarettes unfiltered, and he could really tear up the dance floor." Eager to delve into deep discourse whenever the opportunity afforded it, he would expound on history, religion, and aesthetics. Physics and the marvels of light, wind, sun, and energy were terms that he made seem simple and profound.
This article is based on the memorial resolution prepared by Professors Daniel E. Leary (chair), Kent Butler, and Richard P. Swallow and information from Ana María Arumí, Francisco and Betsy's daughter and Mel Oakes.
Francisco Arumí Noe Photo Album