School of Architecture
Research-Based Design Initiative
In late 2011, Portland State University faculty were awarded the largest NCARB Grant for the Integration of Practice and Education in the Academy to date in order to generate translational building science research in collaboration with firms in Portland, Oregon. This grant, along with the resources of the Green Building Research Laboratory (GBRL), transformed traditional lecture-based building science and technology courses into a series of on-going, graduate level seminars that revolve around two primary activities: (1) students conduct building science research of relevance to a project currently under design in a firm and (2) students are embedded in project teams where they attend all interdisciplinary meetings for the course of a term to witness and document interdisciplinary collaboration.
In this unique way, students became contributing members of a design team and building science experts on issues relevant to current practice. For the architecture firms involved, working with universities allows practicing architects the ability to utilize a deeper level of research expertise in the design process and access resources not typically available in practice. One of the most exciting outcomes of this collaboration have been the semi-annual research symposiums where students present their work to representatives from all of the participating firms, creating a dialog around pressing building science issues with students, faculty and practitioners.