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Feature Article

BRIK: A Research Portal for Discovery and Engagement

Where do you turn to back up good design with data?

The Building Research Information Knowledgebase (BRIK) offers a starting point. BRIK is an interactive portal with free online access to peer-reviewed research projects and case studies in all facets of the built environment. From new approaches to fundamentals, BRIK covers architecture and related disciplines and compiles research from a growing number of knowledge providers including associations, firms, and universities. This collection of accessible knowledge supports applications to practice in order to benefit your clients, your firms, and your communities.

What research studies are most valuable to you?

BRIK classifies resources into three Research Use categories:

Practice Issues cover the "how to's" as well as the tools, technologies, standards and regulations that govern the building industry.

Design Issues cover research projects that pertain to the art and science of creating and sustaining the built environment and include case studies of projects.

Economic Issues cover the production, distribution, and management of resources within the industry.

Within those categories, research is tagged by facets such as building type, materials, performance, and associated keywords. The BRIK taxonomy enables you to view collections of your choosing. For example: housing facilities, glasses, lighting, accessibility, and sustainable design.

A search on ‘lighting’ demonstrates how the tagging and contributors work together to reveal relevant research from the 1900s to present day:

Item records for each research product list the researcher, contributor, description, and hyperlinked key terms. This contextual information leverages the expertise represented in BRIK to guide you in locating the knowledge to advance your projects. The variety of insights within the collection opens up opportunities to incorporate research throughout the design process.

What findings do you find most interesting and relevant to your practice? The research collection as well as frequently asked questions and articles about BRIK may be obtained at

Five ways to connect with BRIK are:

    Search and browse BRIK to find content related to your work and interests.

    Sign up as an individual registered user of BRIK to rate and review research.

    Provide research content via your firm or organizational affiliations.

    Suggest 1-3 organizations / firms as knowledge contributors or sponsors.

    Link to the BRIK site via your Web site or other distribution channels such as e-news.

Launched in 2013, BRIK is a joint venture of AIA and the National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS) and is guided by a multidisciplinary AIA/NIBS Building Research Council steering committee.

Virginia Ebbert, Manager, Architect’s Knowledge Resource


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