Studio Design
taught 2009 - 2016

My design studios are influenced by both my practice and research, and are specifically structured to address topics related to environmental stewardship with projects that expand our students’ ability to think critically about the impact of their design decisions on the built environment and human health. Each studio involves a series of thematically-related projects designed to engage the students in a formalized design process that simultaneously considers the competitive trade-offs of building performance, context, culture, and craft. Every project requires project-centered research and analysis and involves student-led user group/client feedback and engagement. Each project is framed to engage specific learning objectives which, in turn, act as scaffolding for the final, comprehensive project in the studio and the students’ future approach to building design solutions. To further ground the students’ design education in the grand challenges of today and the demands of contemporary practice, I have embedded senior engineering students in the studio (via the practical elective AME 47431, developed with Prof. David Go) to enable architecture and engineering students to work collaboratively, in co-design, to achieve aggressive building performance objectives on all assigned projects. Students meanwhile develop the communication and collaboration skills becoming increasingly central to both practical disciplines.

The coursework below represents the two most-recently taught semesters of my Environmental Stewardship Through Interdisciplinary Research + Design Studio, DESIGN VI (ARCH 41121 with AME 47431), which were Spring 2015 and Spring 2016.

Sefaira

To accelerate the objectives of the studio and help the students gain a deeper understanding of the relationship between their design decisions and building performance, I worked with one of the industry’s leading building performance software vendors to secure Sefaira’s first education-only agreement with an academic institution. This meant free licenses of their proprietary software for our students’ use in the course and a series of focus group-like feedback sessions hosted by Sefaira to gain insight from our students about their tool. Sefaira has now widely expanded their Sefraira Education Program to Universities across the globe.

2015 | 2016

2015

Environmental Stewardship through Interdisciplinary Research & Design Studio
Studio Abstract

How and Where Do We Live? What is our connection to place? 1

This semester, we will consider the relationship between place and culture through a series of projects focused on understanding and evaluating the many different ways that our buildings must perform. Following two short “mini projects”, you will engage in a comprehensive and multi-scale design exercise to address the current – and pressing – issue of graduate housing at the University of Notre Dame, focusing, specifically, on a new neighborhood and model housing for Graduate Students.

Course Materials

Projects

Examples of student projects: Context, Climate & Form – Analysis of a Traditional Chinese Courtyard House; Critical Circumstances – a Survival Cabin; Proposal for a New Graduate Student Residential Neighborhood

Tours and Events

Solomon, Cordwell and Buenz (SCB Chicago)

At mid-semester, we traveled together to Chicago for the day for a tour and a series of talks at the internationally-recognized firm, Solomon Cordwell and Buenz (SCB Chicago). While there, we met with SCB’s Sustainability Group and both energy modeling and systems design engineers who helped put into practical context the work the students pursued in studio this spring.

Final Review 2015

One of the hallmarks of the interdisciplinary co-design studio is that the architects and engineers present their work together, for every design project assigned in the course. For the final, comprehensive project, architecture students and engineering students are paired and work iteratively, from the very earliest stages of the design process, to arrive at their final design solution. This requires close collaboration and communication between the two disciplines, which can be seen in the students’ final projects and their joint presentations to a jury of prominent architects and both architecture and engineering faculty (see video below for portions of the 2015 final review).


2016

Environmental Stewardship through Interdisciplinary Research & Design Studio
Studio Abstract

The Notre Dame Linked Experimental Ecosystem Facility – ND-LEEF

This semester, we will consider the relationship between climate, context, and architectural form through a series of projects focused on evaluating, understanding, and optimizing the various aspects of building “performance”. Following two short, mini-projects intended to hone your understanding of passive and bio-climatic design strategies, you will engage in a multi-scale design exercise for a new, near-site research and education campus to support critical environmental and land-use change research. The site for the future research campus is the Notre Dame Linked Experimental Ecosystem Facility (ND-LEEF) at St. Patrick’s County Park (South Bend), a unique public-institutional partnership between the Environmental Change Initiative (ECI) at Notre Dame and the St. Joseph County Parks Department (see ND-LEEF Studio Design project below, as well as ND-LEEF Research).

Course Materials

Projects

Examples of student projects: Context, Climate & Form – Analysis of a Native American Pueblo complex; Critical Circumstances – sketch analysis for a Model Rural School in Chad; Proposal for a New Interdisciplinary Research and Education Campus for ND-LEEF.

Tours and Events

Adam Joseph Lewis Center for Environmental Studies

To support the objectives of the studio, we visited the Adam Joseph Lewis Center for Environmental Studies at Oberlin College, named by the AIA as “the most important green building of the past 30 years,” and “one of 30 milestone buildings of the twentieth century” by the U.S. Department of Energy. While there, we met with David Orr, renowned author and Paul Sears Distinguished Professor of Environmental Studies and Politics, and the visionary behind the AJCL and “Full Spectrum Sustainability”.

All Courses

2016

Design VI
ARCH 41121 & AME 4743
Interdisciplinary Research and Design Studio

  • Collaborative Studio (students):
  • 8 Architecture
  • 8 Mechanical Engineering

2015

Design VI
ARCH 41121 & AME 4743
Interdisciplinary Research and Design Studio

  • Collaborative Studio (students):
  • 8 Architecture
  • 7 Mechanical Engineering
  • 1 Civil Engineering

ARCH 67611
Special Research in Sustainable Design and Building Technology

2014

Design VI
ARCH 41121 & AME 4743
Interdisciplinary Research and Design Studio

  • Collaborative Studio (students):
  • 9 Architecture
  • 4 Mechanical Engineering

ARCH 67611
Special Research in Sustainable Design and Building Technology

2013

Design VI
ARCH 41121
Interdisciplinary Research and Design Studio

  • Collaborative Studio:
  • ND Dept of Biological Sciences
  • ND Dept of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering
  • ND Environmental Change Inititative
  • St. Patrick’s County Park

ARCH 20411
Introduction to Building Technology

ARCH 67611
Special Research in Sustainable Design and Building Technology

2012

Design VI
ARCH 41121
Interdisciplinary Research and Design Studio

  • Collaborative Studio:
  • R. Smith, University of Utah Integrated Technology and Architecture Center
  • ND Dept of Biological Sciences
  • ND Dept of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering
  • ND Environmental Change Inititative
  • St. Patrick’s County Park

ARCH 20411 & ARCH 60411
Introduction to Building Technology

ARCH 67611
Special Research in Sustainable Design and Building Technology

2011

Design VI
ARCH 41121
Interdisciplinary Research and Design Studio

  • Collaborative Studio:
  • ND Dept of Biological Sciences
  • ND Dept of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering
  • ND Environmental Change Inititative

ARCH 20411 & ARCH 60411
Introduction to Building Technology

ARCH 67611
Special Research in Sustainable Design and Building Technology

2010

Design VI
ARCH 41121
Interdisciplinary Research and Design Studio

  • Collaborative Studio:
  • F. Uvina, College of Architecture and Planning, University of New Mexico
  • the Town of Bernalillo, New Mexico
  • the Bernalillo Chapter of the Youth Conservation Corps
  • ND-CUSE

ARCH 20411 & ARCH 60411
Introduction to Building Technology

ARCH 67611 New Course
Special Research in Sustainable Design and Building Technology

2009

Design VI
ARCH 41121
Design Studio

ARCH 20411 & ARCH 60411
Introduction to Building Technology

Design VII
ARCH 71131
Integrated Design Studio

2008

ARCH 20411 & ARCH 60411
Introduction to Building Technology

Design VII
ARCH 71131
Integrated Design Studio