AIA Upjohn Research Initiative

The AIA Upjohn Research Initiative supports applied research projects that enhance the value of design and professional practice knowledge. The program funds up to six research grants of $15,000 to $30,000 annually for projects completed within an 18-month period. This section lists recent recipients and jury panelists.

View published Upjohn-funded research.

Nexus between Sustainable Buildings and Human Health: Quantifying EEG Responses to Virtual Environments to Inform Design

Principal Investigators: Ming Hu (University of Maryland), Madlen Simon, AIA (University of Maryland)

Collaborators: Justin Benjamin, Assoc. AIA (Perkins + Will), Tim Bakos, AIA (Perkins + Will), Edward Bernat, PhD (University of Maryland)

The goal of this research project is to develop, test, and validate a data-driven approach using virtual reality (VR) and electroencephalogram (EEG) technology for understanding the potential physiological influences of sustainable design features. In collaboration with an architecture firm and a neuroscience laboratory, the researchers propose technology-enabled, repeatable measures for quantifying how sustainable building features affect occupants’ health and wellbeing.

Retooling Bamboo Tectonics: From Vernacular Aesthetics to Milled Material System

Principal Investigators: Jonas Hauptman (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University), Katie MacDonald, Assoc. AIA (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University), Kyle Schumann (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University)

This research project centers on an affordable, intelligent, digitally-enhanced fabrication system for the evaluation, milling, and joining of structural bamboo at an architectural scale. The project will demonstrate how robotic fabrication can contribute to innovation in sustainable construction with novel, democratized joint machining technology that harnesses real-time data and feedback systems and parametric part selection to enhance the feasibility of widespread use of structural bamboo. The researchers will produce a cohesive system of firmware, software, hardware, and user interface that is inexpensive and field deployable. The end result will be a structural bamboo construction fabricated with the generative system.

Polycasting: Multi-material 3D Printed Formwork for Reinforced Concrete

Principal Investigators: Shelby Doyle, AIA (Iowa State University), Nicholas Senske (Iowa State University)

This research explores dual-extrusion 3D printed formworks for casting concrete, simultaneously printing a combination of water-soluble PVA (polyvinyl alcohol) containment as well as printing integrated reinforcement. The focus of this project is to design, construct, and test prototypes for a new generation of non-standard concrete formworks that are structurally efficient, reduce material and labor costs, and expand the expressive design potential of concrete.

Development of Artificial Leaf-based Façade Cladding (ALFC) Systems for Energy Production and Carbon Sequestration

Principal Investigators: Rahman Azari, PhD (Illinois Institute of Technology), Mohammad Asadi, PhD (Illinois Institute of Technology)

Collaborator: Farid Pour, PhD (HOK)

This research project aims to develop and test an artificial leaf-based façade cladding (ALFC) prototype that produces clean energy for operation of buildings and removes CO2 of the air through chemical processes. This study proposes that successful integration of artificial leaf technology can convert urban envelopes into large-scale sponge systems with massive carbon removal and sustainable energy production capabilities. A combination of field measurements and simulation techniques will be used to achieve the objectives of this study.  


Illya Azaroff, AIA (chair), +LAB architect PLLC

Daniel S. Hart, FAIA, PE, Parkhill Smith & Cooper

Peter Kuttner, FAIA, CambridgeSeven

Paul Mankins FAIA, LEED AP, Substance Architecture

Barbara A. Sestak, FAIA, Portland State University

Jessica Sheridan, AIA, Mancini Duffy

Jennifer Workman, AIA, GFF Architects

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