Following is the preliminary conference schedule, which is subject to change. Please check back for the most up-to-date information. This year’s AIA/ACSA Intersections Research Conference will be held virtually on October 6 & 7, 2022.
Obtain Continuing Education Credits (CES) / Learning Units (LU), including Health, Safety and Welfare (HSW). Registered conference attendees will be able to submit sessions attended for Continuing Education Credits (CES). Register for the conference today to gain access to all the AIA/CES credit sessions.
Opening Remarks: Dan Hart, AIA President
Moderator: Stephen Mueller, Texas Tech University
Amale Andraos, Columbia University
Amale Andraos FRAIC co-founded WORKac in 2003 with Dan Wood. She is a Principal of the firm and also a Professor and Dean Emerita at Columbia University where she currently serves as an Advisor to the President on the University’s Climate Initiatives and the Climate School. Andraos is recognized as an architecture thought leader and lectures widely. Her publications include The Arab City: Architecture and Representation, a critical engagement of con-temporary architecture and urbanism in the Middle East, We’ll Get There When We Cross That Bridge, an overview of the firm’s first fifteen years of practice, and 49 Cities, a re-reading of 49 visionary urban plans through an ecological lens.
Andraos is currently Chair of the Aga Khan Award and President of the Phi Contemporain International Competition. She has served on the selection committee for the Walton Family Foundation’s Northwest Arkansas Design Excellence program and is currently serving on the board of the Architectural League of New York, and the Advisory Council for the New Museum’s incubator space New Inc, in New York. She is a Fellow of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (FRAIC). Andraos was born in Beirut, Lebanon.
12:30 – 14:00 EDT 9:30 – 11:00 PDT
Research Session 1.5 HSW Credit
Equitable Futures: Research Session I
Rural Resilience in Appalachia
Brent Sturlaugson, Morgan State University
Hannah Dewhirst, Jeff Fugate & Rebekah Radtke, University of Kentucky
In recent years, resilience discourse in architecture has privileged large urban centers, often overlooking the many rural communities that increasingly experience the effects of climate change. At the same time, rural landscapes have received significant attention among the design professions. However, rural resilience remains largely unexamined. In this paper, we propose a framework for rural resilience in Appalachia that leverages land-based resources in non-exploitative ways through a network of design interventions. The paper documents a multiyear effort among an interdisciplinary team, consisting of students and faculty working alongside community leaders. Appalachia is home to an abundance of ecological and social life that, despite much adversity, continues to thrive. Recent changes to climatological systems and physical landscapes, however, have placed enormous stress on these habitats and communities. In eastern Kentucky, for example, stormwater runoff from abandoned surface mines contributes to the inundation of many towns, often forcing communities to combat these extraordinary floods with their own limited resources. At the same time, the disappearance of coal jobs puts increasing pressure on already strained local economies. While these ecological and social challenges pose significant threats, they also present opportunities for designing a more resilient future. According to a recent report, nearly 50,000 jobs could be created in the process of rehabilitating the nearly 700,000 acres of abandoned mine lands. Furthermore, these reclamation efforts “could have significant positive economic impacts, and contribute to carbon sequestration and climate change resilience.” At the federal level, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act recognizes this potential by significantly expanding funding for the repair of landscapes disrupted by mining, yet while the law provides more than $11 billion to fund these efforts, the total cost of repair exceeds $26 billion. In Appalachia alone, the estimate tops $9 billion. Drawing on these projections, this paper proposes a framework for rural resilience in Appalachia that establishes functional and experiential connections between abandoned mines and town centers. Rather than focusing solely on sites where the impacts of climate change are experienced, the framework also addresses the sites where many of these impacts are produced. The paper concludes with a series of student design proposals that apply the rural resilience framework in a specific Appalachian context.
Tools for Community Engagement in Designing Learning Environments for Students with Visual Impairments
Nilou Vakil, University of Kansas
We have developed graphic cards to be used as tools for facilitating better engagement and participation in programming and design workshops. A series of research exercises, literature reviews and case study investigations, led to the development of double-sided cards that could be used to better facilitate communication between the owner and stakeholders of an educational facility and the design team. The goal is to produce cards that both visually and verbally represent design strategies and associated outcomes to be documented and clearly articulated in a de-coded and jargon-free language that allows both the educational expert, learners and the design professional to participate meaningfully in a design process. The cards act as a tool for translating user needs from the citizen expert point of view while also simplifying the concepts of spatial relationships and configurations used by trained design professionals. Learning environments are designed where “ocularcentrism”1 has been privileged over experiencing the world through all our senses. The tools we designed shift the attention to non-oculacentic design strategies where those with visual impairments and blindness would thrive. These tools intended to be utilized for designing educational spaces for those with sight, hearing, and mobility impairments, however all educational spaces can benefit from these design strategies. Build on the precedent of Universal Design for Leaning2, they provide a common language for educators and architects to engage in the design or renovation of their schools more effectively. The cards have been designed with three major categories: 1- Spatial Quality 2- Function 3- Systems. Each card provides a place for a description and content of the design strategy, a diagrammatic visual description and on the back of the card a place for a real-life scenario picture of the content described on the the other side. There are wild card options allowing additional design strategies specific to the institution to recognize its unique needs. The designers are then able to effectively document and eventually translate the conversations spurred by the engagement of the community into architectural design configurations. This process of engagement through a common language leverages the expertise of educators, and the experience of the users and recognizes that those affected by an environment have the right to its determination. Participatory design empowers the user to be active shapers of the world around us. It is intended that the cards could be packaged, reproduced, altered, and added to, as various facilities are designed and renovated. They offer a potent tool for the programming and conceptual design phase when project scope and goals are established. The extensive engagement process with educational experts and users that draws out design strategies specific to user groups with sight, hearing, and mobility impairments far surpasses the professional standard of care that could be expected by any one design firm providing design services for any particular commission for any one particular fee. We have put these cards to test in local State School for the Blind and Visually impaired and have documented the importance of community engagements in participatory design.
Trans-ecological Imaginations in San Francisco’s Tenderloin
Stathis Yeros & Chandra Laborde, University of California, Berkeley
Much of the violence, social, and racial marginalization associated with downtown urban neighborhoods in the last forty years, exacerbated post-Covid, can be traced back to histories of targeted dispossession masked as urban redevelopment during those decades. This paper examines the dynamics of dispossession, disinvestment, and displacement in the context of the Tenderloin, an under-resourced downtown area in San Francisco. It focuses on the intersection of Turk and Taylor Streets in the Tenderloin as the site of a speculative design proposal aiming to reverse the erasure of Tenderloin’s activist past and the cultures of the queer and trans people who consider it home. The intersection was the site of a queer grassroots uprising against police brutality, the Compton’s Cafeteria Riot of 1966. The riot at Compton’s was spearheaded by street youth and gender-nonconforming people and occurred three years before the Stonewall Riot in New York which typically marks the beginning of the modern LGBTQ rights movement. As such, its symbolism extends far beyond the Tenderloin. Today, the three-story building that housed Compton’s Cafeteria at street level and a residential hotel above is operated as a halfway house by GEO Group, a for-profit prison company that also operated broadly criticized children detention spaces on the US-Mexico border. At a time when advances in LGBTQ rights during the last three decades are increasingly facing political and policy obstacles nationwide, Compton’s legacy and the building’s current use demonstrate American society’s enduring perception of specific bodies, especially those of queer, transgender, and non-binary people of color, as urban interlopers. Moreover, these bodies don’t fit mainstream representations of queerness as a predominantly white, middle-class, consumerist culture. In this context, a new California law that bans private prison contracts and phases out those facilities by 2028, creates an opening: community organizations are currently mobilizing to reimagine the Turk & Taylor building as a hub for transgender cultural presence in the Tenderloin. This paper will analyze the symbolism, strategies for advocacy, and spatial tactics of these mobilizations as the outcome of activist imaginations. These imaginations activate histories of exclusion to point toward resilient futures. The analysis mobilizes the notion of trans-ecological imaginations, which builds on contemporary queer and trans critique to bridge spatial theory and transformative practices, opening up the possibility of alternative futures. Trans-ecological imaginations question dominant understandings of resilience centering humans as exceptional species, hierarchizing life according to colonial, racial, and gendered forms of violence that perpetuate precarious life. These imaginations emanate from the search for a relational, embodied ethics that is attuned to histories of difference in all its forms, especially histories that challenge binaries such as female/male, natural/artificial, homo/hetero. Analyzing the debates about the future of the Turk & Taylor building as trans-ecological imaginations, this paper attempts to conjure new realities in service of equitable futures.
Decolonizing Design with Indigenous Land-Based Paradigms and Praxis
Honoure Black & Shawn Bailey, University of Manitoba
Key Words: Indigenous Knowledge, Design, Settler, Reciprocity, Reconciliation, Community, Land, Collaboration. How can we decolonize design practices and create a reciprocal praxis for both Indigenous and Non-Indigenous practitioners, students and scholars? By focusing on a return to land-based knowledge and reconciliation between Indigenous and settler communities, Métis Architect [Author Name 1] and Settler Landscape Architecture scholar [Author Name 2] have developed a new methodological approach to design for their students and community at the [University Name Redacted]. By creating Five Decolonizing Design Paradigms for Kahnowiilyaa (Everyone) [Author Name 1] and [Author Name 2] have embraced the Ojibway concept of Mino-Bimaadiziwin, which means the good life for all nations people. This promotes land as pedagogy, Indigenous knowledge, and process-based experiences though exploration, contemplation, and reflection. Driven bytheir passion for reciprocity, [Author Name 1] and [Author Name 1] have grounded their work in the theoretical concept of Asters and Goldenrod by Robin Wall Kimmer, which illustrates the dance of cross-pollination between both plants, as it should be understood as a powerful way of being together in this world. Kimmer states: “After all, there aren’t two worlds [one Indigenous and one settler], there is just one good green Earth”. (Kimmer, 2013, pg. 47) It is this decolonial framework that brought [Author Name 1] and [Author Name 2] together on their collaborative teaching path to create relationalism between their disciplines. In this paper their Five Decolonizing Design Paradigms for Kahnowiilyaa (Everyone): Danakamigad: it takes place, happens in a certain place; Andotan: listen for it and wait to hear it; Bawaajigan: a dream, a vision; Meshkwad: in turn, in exchange; and Naagotoon: make it show, reveal it, are expounded in detail. Through the Indigenous method of storywork,[Author Name 1] and [Author Name 2] self-locate while (re)telling their experiences working through each paradigm with their students. The paradigms were first introduced through an experimental case study in their Indigenous Design Technology class. Students were asked to respond to the issue of Indigenous homelessness while working with the street family community in Kenora, Ontario. Indigenous homelessness is expressed as a state of being which lacks relationships in all forms, preventing one from culturally, spiritually, emotionally, or physically reconnect with their Indigeneity. The students were asked to find ways to approach this issue, and to strengthen the community by using each of the design paradigms. This became both a dialogical and transformative approach illuminating the wisdom of Indigenous world-views through anti-oppressive work. [Author Name 1] and [Author Name 2] believe that this is a new way forward for everyone in the design disciplines as we all work towards reconciliation.
12:30 – 14:00 EDT 9:30 – 11:00 PDT
Research Session 1.5 HSW Credit
Equitable Futures: Research Session II
Moderator: Ignacio Galán, Barnard College
Post-Border Futures: Unmaking Detention Architectures
Mark Romei, Monash University
Building on both the knowledges of communities engaged in anti-detention activism and of the spatial practices and disciplines of architecture, this paper proposes that new forms of speculative spatial practices can be utilised to resist and deconstruct carceral border policies, while also being an active tool in producing new futures. With increasing levels of migration caused by climate change, economic instability, and escalating global conflicts, the overwhelming reactions of the 21st century have been to increase both border militarization and the carceral practices of migration detention. These can be understand as spatial practices utalizing the representations of space in order to limit human movement and retain the structural global inequality put in place by colonial extraction and labour divisions, while simultaneously upholding ideologies of hegemonic whiteness. Responding to this context, this paper proposes that new methodologies emerging out of architectural thinking and practice can provide fertile ground to challenge the spatial production of the border, and think beyond systems of detention, finding new forms of resilience for global communities. To examine this, the architectural form of the Park Hotel, which was used as an adhoc refugee detention centre from December 2020 to April 2022, will form a key focus of investigation and speculation. Examining the social, political and legal frameworks which allow for a hotel to be transformed into a space of immigration imprisonment, this paper will speculate on possible subversion to these frameworks which can unmake the spatial forms of the border within this site. What forms of reuse and remembrance can inform a practice of unmaking the spaces of border carcerality and begin to construct new of equitable futures? As Harsha Walia, an author and activist involved in the No One Is Illegal movement writes, a preconfigurative praxis based on the knowledges of Indigenous traditions, and systems of commons, care and stewardship can inform concrete alternatives to current practices of power and control.1 These knowledge systems present tangible worlds from which new futures can arise from. Here, the need to unmake detention networks connects to larger challenges of living in a post-climate change world, where new forms of collective resilience will both need to be imagined and enacted.
OPEN PARK: Expanding Inclusivity in Public Spaces
Douglas Pardue, University of Georgia
Evolving ideas about plurality and openness are challenging public spaces to integrate increasingly diverse and conflicting phenomena [1-4]. This study explores shared and conflicting values in three southern urban public parks from the perspectives of ecological, historical, and public space management. With diversifying contexts, specific and exclusive programs, and selective connectivity, the parks pose challenges to accommodate increased access and use alongside preservation and conservation. Student teams explored increased resiliency of and between the parks along three axes: 1) as a systemic assemblage that unites culture and ecology, by mapping relationships and feedbacks across scales; 2) as a site-system assemblage that discerns and blurs boundaries between park and context, by examining controls, connectivity, and access; and 3) as an open site assemblage that fosters diversity and difference, by identifying informal, infrequent, and novel uses and users [5-7]. Supporting methods included survey, parks and systems analyses, empathic role-playing, and evaluative metrics. The study found key conflicts and overlaps between managing perspectives, systemic barriers to inclusive access and input, and the potential of park as indeterminate space to negotiate differences and expand reach. Recommendations included shared program building, manifold strategies for expanded access and affordability, inclusion of novel uses; crowd-based adaptive management, and blurring of park and adjacent land uses.
Re-Claiming Equitable Space Amidst Identity Crisis’
Ashlie Boelkins, University of Louisiana – Lafayette
“We cannot be afraid of the truth.” – Mitch Landrieu. There is a complexity to every neighborhood that makes it a unique condition in a city. Cities govern routine through boundaries, both the physical and illusive, that people interact with daily. Systemic issues create particular narratives that are difficult to unpack – issues where even the designer has moments that require him / her / they to address their own identity and bias in the process. To understand systemic issues, one must decipher the larger contexts and series of chronological events that have perpetuated throughout history. Understanding what “was” in relationship to what “is” is crucial to movement forward in order to inspire change. This paper entry addresses the foci of two design studios dedicated to unpacking under-represented populations through inclusive analyses and design strategies. Acknowledgment of histories is the first step in recovering the narrative – a new narrative that provokes inspiration and conducive change for communities. The socio-cultural fabric of communities is dependent on the connections and relationships of people in and to place. These phenomena have far greater value in historically disadvantaged neighborhoods. For these communities, high accessibility to all spaces in a neighborhood, beyond the functional needs, serves to reinforce underlying communal bonds and establish new ones. The greater the percentage of permeability in a community the stronger, healthier, and “just” the fabric is. Students were asked to consider the role of architects within these frameworks and develop strategies that transform the narrative of a place – a pause in the unapologetic landscape of city continuum. Both sites are geographically connected by the Mississippi River and culturally connected by identity crisis’ from decades of civil unrest. The studios explored the cities of Minneapolis, MN – the hometown of Mr. George Floyd (and more specifically, the site of the 2020 burned 3rd police precinct) – and New Orleans, LA – the culture-rich city to remove its first of four historical landmarks, the statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. Égalité Circle was aimed at capturing the spirit of equality that inspired the French and Haitian revolutions, both of which influenced New Orleans, the cities own civil rights movement and throughout the U.S. This statue was removed on May 19, 2017 in the middle of the day where people lined Lee Circle in celebration and protest. Both cities have experienced peaks of protest in current events, both violent and peaceful, and now, must heal and allow its citizens to reclaim space in an immeasurable time of change. The studios probed possibilities that intended to raise the level of debate on the future of these cities through the lens of a particular site, question the power of architecture, and the voices that are given space. The research offers new methods to address multi-scalar and multi-layered inequities that yield proposals which expose environmental, economic, and societal issues through action – programmatic and climatic. These exposures extend new prospects for holistic narratives, and in turn, more equitable built environments.
Branding4Resilience. Co-design as a tool to enhance and transform inner territories through architecture.
Maddalena Ferretti, Università Politecnica delle Marche, Italy
Barbara Lino, Università di Trento
Sara Favargiotti, Università di Palermo
Diana Rolando, Politecnico di Torino
Inner territories are a central issue that is being discussed all over Europe. More than 60% of the European population live in peripheral contexts outside of main urban conurbations (Eurostat 2013). Yet, the contexts addressed by the Italian National Strategy on Inner Areas (covering approximately the 60 per cent of Italy and hosting nearly 13.540 million people) are often lacking successful regional policies and systemic territorial approaches to achieve effective transformations. In order to tackle with such fragile areas, a new development path has to be defined through the engagement of communities and the involvement of local actors. This contribution aims to present and discuss the results of a research project of relevant national interest in Italy, Branding4Resilience (B4R), that investigates fragile territories around the Italian peninsula. B4R, also recently exhibited at the Venice Biennale of Architecture 2021, explores and compares the 4 areas through an interdisciplinary perspective, operatively intervening on selected inner territories in Marche Region, Trento Province, Piedmont, and Sicily. A new role of these peripheral contexts in relation to growing metropolitan areas is investigated through explorative and design approaches involving communities. Branding is intended here as an engine to start processes of re-appropriation and re-settling in less-favoured areas. Enhancing small villages through minimal tourist infrastructures is thus only a starting point of a larger transformation path that aims at resilient communities and new open habitats. B4R provides expertise for co-designing actions and co-visioning scenarios, promoting a new use of heritage and local resources. The research units operate in the Italian contexts on four different themes: built heritage, co-creative communities, thermal water, natural environment. Expected impacts regard social innovation, implementation of expertise, set up of networks, (re)activation of local economies, (re)settlement processes. In the first year, B4R explored the territories to identify potentials and risks and with a focus on spatial interactions. Qualitative and quantitative tools were used. A second operative phase has been the co-design with the four communities, with the goal to propose useful transformations of small infrastructures in the selected villages. A third phase, the last year of the project, is the development of co-visioning processes in collaboration with local actors. The focus of this contribution is the co-design phase, that identified branding operative actions looking at paradigmatic cases in the four regions and expanding the lessons learnt to the entire focus area. The external and expert approach of the co-design workshops helped envisioning design solutions and systemic approaches that in the future will be helpful to define tailored visions and strategic scenarios and guidelines in cooperation with public institutions.
12:30 – 14:00 EDT 9:30 – 11:00 PDT
Special Session 1.5 HSW Credit
Equitable Futures: Special Session
Moderator: Neeraj Bhatia, California College of the Arts (CCA)
Bess Williamson, School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Erin Reilly-Sanders, Schooley Caldwell Architects
Aimee Moore, The Ohio State University
Johnna Keller, Parsons
Elisandra Garcia-Gonzalez, University of Oregon
This panel will explore what equity means through the lens of accessible and universal design. Panelists will highlight the barriers to disabled students in architectural education, accessibility as critical to sustainability and resilience and diversity and equity-focused practices in critiques. Spatial equity and inclusivity will be highlighted and evaluated from the viewpoint of the academy as well as in practice.
14:30 – 15:30 EDT 11:30 – 12:30 PDT
Plenary 1 HSW Credit
Healthy Futures: Plenary
Moderator: Joanna Lombard, University of Miami
Julie Zook, Texas Tech University
Mardelle Shepley, The Cornell University Institute for Healthy Futures
Lesa Lorusso, Gresham Smith
This plenary will present the latest research on designing for heath, both within healthcare environments and in a wider urban setting. Healthcare morphologies and research on green space will be explored as well as research discoveries occurring in practice.
16:00 – 17:30 EDT 13:00 – 14:30 PDT
Research Session 1.5 HSW Credit
Healthy Futures: Research Session I
Improving Healthcare Resilience Through an Equity Focused Framework Tiffany Broyles Yost, Gregory Coni & Angela Mazzi, GBBN Architects
Resilience is an equity issue. It is directly linked to the resources one has to cope with environmental stressors. These resources occur at multiple scales with social, physical, and economic components. Resilience can be considered at an individual human scale, at the scale of a building, or municipal infrastructure. Because resilience issues are also health issues, we have focused our initial work on studying the healthcare industry in the United States. This industry is currently experiencing a paradigm shift from providing episodic care for treatment of disease to a holistic focus on maintaining health. We will share our research on factors that contribute to resilience and a framework we developed to measure effectiveness of applying these factors at each scale. This framework and the methodology for applying it helps architects and our clients make better decisions about design. We believe this multifactor approach centers equity in developing resilient approaches to energy, air quality, and water use. At the macro scale, climate change has wrought havoc on infrastructure. This impacts us all, but vulnerable populations bear the brunt of the health burden. Within the United States, adverse weather events linked to climate change such as flooding, heat waves, extreme cold and violent storms often occur in areas with poor air, water, and soil quality exacerbating challenges. Health facilities are also under new stresses. Weather events impact aging structures, challenging their ability operate in an emergency. Structural integrity, access to power and indoor air quality are among the life safety issues that may arise. As we build new hospitals, it is important to consider these impacts and potential future impacts on what we design. As we renovate existing structures, we need to consider how to build resilience within the existing systems so that future problems don’t occur. The impacts of the pandemic have magnified the need to consider individual resilience. Stress undermines short-term ability to function and make decisions. Chronic stress has been shown to create inflammation in the body. This inflammation contributes to physical and mental disease. Personal resilience is tied to the ability to return to homeostasis after experiencing an adverse event. Our research in salutogenic (health generating) design shows environmental resources can help activate the parasympathetic nervous system and turn off the stress response. Additionally, there are beneficial effects even with temporary exposure to a salutogenic space. Our framework will demonstrate how each of the resilience factors operate at all three scales. We will show the research supporting each factor and how its strength can be measured. Through this metric, we aim to make resilience a more visible and quantifiable concept. As we apply the framework, we are also collecting longitudinal data that helps pinpoint causalities and trends in the data. Looking at social determinants to health in conjunction with the exposome (environmental factors) at all three scales, we can begin to think more comprehensively about resilience. We can create an equitable built world that contributes to everyone’s well-being.
Building Resiliency Through Small Scale Restorative Spaces Katie Stranix, University of Virginia
The past two years have exacerbated and expanded an already pervasive mental health crisis, one that requires our built environment to adjust to the changing needs of its occupants. Increased feelings of anxiety and stress are occurring across the US population, but certain age groups are proving to be more vulnerable than others. In the year prior to the pandemic, 1 in 3 adolescents in the US reported experiencing persistent feelings of isolation and anxiety, a 40% increase since 2009. Schools around the country recognize their role in assisting with this crisis and have increased their mental health services and staff. Although beneficial, these services require spatial complements to increase their effectiveness and reach. Large scale renovations or entirely new constructions are often needed but require years of planning and substantial budgets to implement. How can we immediately begin to spatially address this crisis? Small scale interventions can be quickly designed and implemented with minimal disruptions to school systems, structures, and budgets. Acting together as a supportive network, these spaces can provide students, staff and faculty with accessible, restorative spaces that prioritize and support mental health. Operating at a scale between a piece of furniture and a room, STELLA, a Space for Emotive Listening, Learning and Awareness, is a 3’-0”x7’-0” enclosure developed for a main academic building on the grounds of a public university. STELLA is a prototype that explores a new scale of restorative space, one that is moveable, reconfigurable and not defined by the bounds of an enclosed room. It creates an implied space through its arched enclosure, its incorporation of sound absorptive materials and deployment of lighting sequences designed to slow and regulate breathing. It is a space that is open to students, faculty and staff, offering a place of respite to disconnect and recharge for short periods of time throughout the day STELLA is an evolving prototype, conceived as one node within a larger network of supportive spaces. It is equipped with wheels, a variety of cushion types, and removable panels that allow for modifications to its location, seating compositions and programmed lighting and sound modes post-construction. The design and fabrication phases were completed over the summer months of 2021 by a team of three designers, working within a budget of $5,000. In just the few months that STELLA has been in operation, we have received positive feedback from the students, staff and faculty who occupy the building daily. Analysis in a small sample of student users capturing metrics of wellbeing and perceived psychological restoration has shown statistically significant positive change to stress and mood from just five minutes within the space. By providing schools and other shared spaces of our built environment with this type of micro restorative space, we hope to build resiliency through small scale, accessible and restorative interventions with the goal of maintaining and improving individual and community health and wellbeing.
Dwelling on Loneliness: Structural Drivers of Social Resiliency, Belonging and Well Being Jerry Hacker, Carleton University
In response to a cross country listening tour, Dr. Vivek Murthy, the 19th Surgeon General of the United States posited “the most important question [today] is not who am I, but who am I in relation to others?”1 This proposition is rooted in a troubling global trend: the 21st century is the loneliest century on record.2 And although people are migrating to cities at unprecedented rates, proximity does not appear to be a substitution for meaningful interaction and a shared sense of belonging. Instead, people are unwittingly amid a socially based pandemic: One of chronic loneliness with prevalence rates exceeding diabetes or smoking.3 Available research, largely situated within the social sciences, indicates this weakened social participation significantly impacts our short term and long term physical and mental health. Advances are underway regarding attitudinal, relational, and cultural drivers of connection, but the impact of early, conceptual design decisions on sociability remains marginalized. Despite entrenched beliefs that physical space affects behaviour and well-being, architects still tend to rely on a combination of experience, informed intuition, and anecdotal post-occupancy evaluation to gain insight about the impact design has on social interaction. To address this conundrum, this pedagogical research unites academia, practice, and policy through a graduate seminar course to evaluate and measure the effect architecture can have on human connectivity and social interaction. Inspired by curator Hashim Sarkis’ 2021 Architecture Biennale question How Will We Live Together, there are two themes guiding the research: 1) Under implicit and explicit social contracts, individuals are oft willing to concede certain personal freedoms if the maintenance of social order or other freedoms are protected.4 But what about our collective spatial contracts? How much should individuals, groups and cities be willing to negotiate individualistic, personal spatial freedoms, in exchange for a more publicly robust, interconnected, and meaningful way of living?; and, 2) What are the measurable repercussions of spatial propositions and structural drivers of connection (the physical environment and infrastructure) in shaping and promoting (or perhaps exacerbating) human interaction, belonging, and participation? These structural drivers of connection fall squarely within the architect’s area of expertise but remain under explored and underrepresented as pro-active and preventative health strategies based in design. To advance these ideas, the research uses human simulation software (FLUID) to assess how architecturally driven changes, employed on three common residential typologies, might enhance social interaction. Through the creation of testable hypotheses, and emergent design proposals, the impact of spatial propositions are quantifiably simulated. To begin, baseline typological conditions are established and following specific architectural interventions, new design scenarios are developed. The results present a comparative working methodology whereby architects can evaluate design options from the perspective of social connectivity and belonging, and thereby provide enhanced design rationales to proactively build resilient communities and combat the next pandemic: loneliness.
Agile Dwelling Units for an Aging Population Julia Lindgren, University of Texas at Arlington
Widya Ramadhani, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
By 2030, one in five Americans will be 65 years or older1, outnumbering children for the first time in US history. As part of the aging process, many older adults require some level of specialized care to address the physical and psychosocial changes they are experiencing ranging from advanced chronic disease to declining physical and cognitive capacities, to an increased sense of loneliness or isolation. Research shows that the holistic well-being of older adults is prolonged when people maintain their autonomy and connection to community. Similarly, the majority of older adults indicate a preference to age in place at their own residence or in a home of their choosing2. For many people however, one’s ability to remain independent is often interrupted by the increasing need for assistance over time. Low-income individuals on a fixed income are especially challenged, as adapting one’s existing home to accommodate specialized care or greater accessibility is financially out of reach. This research explores ways in which an integrated health-centered design approach can promote more just, equitable, and responsive housing options for older adults through the development of accessory dwelling units (ADUs) that promote aging in place. Accessory dwelling units (ADUs) or small, independent residential structures, have grown in popularity over the last few decades as sources of secondary income, residences for aging relatives, and primary homes for those seeking a minimalist lifestyle. High development fees, restrictive zoning regulations, and unclear approval processes have made ADUs challenging to build at scale with the average ADU in the United States exceeding two hundred thousand dollars. Despite current costs, ADUs offer a unique opportunity to flexibly adapt one’s existing property to changing needs and therefore should be explored as a typology to support aging in place. Through a cross-disciplinary coalition of scholars and practitioners, we applied outcomes-based approach to identify specific population-level needs for older individuals, indicators to optimize long-term health outcomes, and associated design strategies for developing a contextually appropriate and personalized housing for older adults. Collaborative activities across fields: architecture, health technology, human factors, and housing policy, addressed design and development of a new ADU concept that we called as an Agile Dwelling Units (AgDU), an agile, flexible, and adaptable micro dwelling unit that can accommodate individuals throughout different stages of life. Financial strategies inform four AgDU prototypes designed to take advantage of property ownership and new alternative funding sources. Designs explore modular, panelized, and site built construction with integrated features to support specific health challenges (i.e. visual impairments, memory loss, declining mobility, etc). Active and passive digital technologies are included to provide smart health support over time. Prototypes were developed through a study of four distinct single-family neighborhoods with diverse lot patterns, a range of owner and renter-occupied units, a high percentage of older adults, and a mixture of income levels. The outcome of this work is an open-source design framework for aging in place and a prototype development model for AgDU’s that can be replicated across multiple geographies.
16:00 – 17:30 EDT 13:00 – 14:30 PDT
Research Session 1.5 HSW Credit
Healthy Futures: Research Session II
The “Unsiloing” : Design Theory + Praxis Jennifer Smith, Auburn University
While design education and practice are increasingly specialized, even hyperspecialized, synchronous with technological advancements and robust building systems, contemporary wicked problems of climate change, social inequities, and land use development practices require additional designers who work between disciplines to develop emergent fields of study. Interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary design are critical in undergraduate education and professional practice as they promote diverse typological responses, rather than advocating for physical and nonphysical artifacts nested within traditional disciplinary boundaries. This integrated approach to design responds to complexity through the development of new theoretical frameworks and diversity of perspectives informing the design process. While this approach manifests in professional practice at firms like Heatherwick Studio, Weiss/Manfredi, James Corner Field Operations, and Bjarke Ingels Group, to name a few, it has yet to inform undergraduate education. Since the Bauhaus, examples have emerged of early education intentionally “un-siloing” design fields and integrating traditional disciplines. Elusive, however, are present design pedagogies conceptualizing that future specialization is optional. Many programs initially organize design studios generally, and later require students to select a specific design field such as urban design, landscape architecture, architecture, industrial design, graphic design, and so on. While this form of design education is critical, it should not be the sole framework as it limits future architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) professionals to collaboratively problem solve for appropriate solutions. This model compels team members to advocate for their disciplinary and contractual scope of work, which may not produce the most appropriate solution for end-users and environmental conditions. In an AIA report researchers found that collaborative, integrated project delivery (IPD) methods promote sustainable results and allow for increasingly aggressive goals as team members are incentivized to increase overall project success. Germane to contemporary design practice focused on collaborative responses to real world complexities, an interdisciplinary undergraduate design degree that does not suppose students later specify an area of study is requisite. This paper explores interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary design education and practice through interrogating existing design pedagogies, exploring a series of university case studies, interviews with design practitioners, and investigation of a specific university’s undergraduate program where integrated design methods are being explored, tested, and refined. Contemporary design work requires specialization; however, in the wake of hyperspecialization, design pedagogy should additionally promote problem solvers between siloed industries and those working to develop emergent theoretical frameworks. This interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary educational shift more acutely aligns with the demands of design practice aimed at highly collaborative processes and divergent typological responses to stubborn problems
Bridging the Gaps between Public Health and Architecture: A Research Agenda for Architectural Epidemiology Adele Houghton, Biositu, LLC
Buildings are critical to both sides of the climate crisis. They are both major contributors to global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and the primary place of refuge for occupants when climate-fueled disasters strike. Recent research into the public health effects of climate change emphasizes the importance of taking a co-benefits approach to interventions precisely because of the interrelated nature of the causes and consequences of climate change. What is needed is a systematic method for translating research on the health effects of climate change into actionable design strategies that are tailored to the environmental exposures and population health needs of a specific building project. The conceptual model for a new, transdisciplinary subfield called architectural epidemiology sees building design and facility operations as mediators between the built environment determinants of health and population health outcomes (both positive and negative). While the public health literature is accumulating an increasingly robust body of evidence on the ways in which the built environment calibrates exposure to extreme heat, flooding, natural disasters, air pollution, and vector-borne diseases, research on which design and operations strategies are most protective in the face of these events is sparse. This paper will use the architectural epidemiology conceptual model to map out how current public health and architectural research complement each other. It will also identify research gaps in both fields and propose a transdisciplinary research agenda.
Title Play- Architecture of Playrooms for Children with Autism Neda Norouzi, The University of Texas at San Antonio
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is defined by the National Institute of Mental health as a developmental disorder that affects communication and behavior. Prevalence of ASD is currently 1 in 44 and the Center for Disease Control states that this has increased significantly over the past 35 years. Autism affects people differently and while there is no cure for it, there are different therapeutic interventions to help lessen the disruptive behavior and teach children self-help skills for greater independence. One of these interventions is through play. Play, as the singular central activity of childhood, offers children different opportunities to explore time, spaces, things, animals, and other people. The built environment plays a significant role in the performances of children with ASD. While many researchers have written about specific needs of individuals with ASD, others have focused on the importance of play. However, there is not enough information on the design playrooms for children with ASD. A systematic literature review was conducted to explore the sensory issues of children with ASD on one hand and the elements of play areas that support the development of children’s skills on the other hand. Finding these elements in combination with the addressing sensory issues of children with ASD will provide some knowledge for play area design criteria. Play areas designed based on these criteria will fulfill children’s needs and empower them by developing their skills. Studies show that play activities will lead to sensory enhanced interaction, which improve the adaptive responses to sensory experiences in children with ASD. Furthermore, research emphasizes that playing and related interactions provide pleasant sensory experiences that help desensitization of the children with ASD. According to literature and previous studies, some elements in play areas have considerable influence on children. For instance, studies found that transparency is beneficial for both children, to feel close to their family, and parents to control their children and their safety. Also, hidden places are another element that profit children. These spaces allow children to improve concentration and ability to perceive safety. Through juxtaposing the needs of children with ASD with specific design elements of a playroom, this study presents a design solution for creating a therapeutic playroom that responds to the specific needs of children with ASD. In this regard, this study presents a design solution of a versatile and modifiable playroom for children with ASD. This flexibility of light, color, wall and floor height allows the environment to change based on the needs of the child during specific play. Consequently, these flexible playrooms offer more practical places for learning and development for children especially children with ASD.
A Primary Investigation into Roadway Pollution: Making a Toolkit for Design Remediation Allison Harvey, OJB Landscape Architecture
In the wake of postwar highway expansion in the United States, many communities were marginalized and isolated by roadway construction. The health and social consequences of disinvestment in landscapes and neighborhoods adjacent to highways is an emerging area of focus by scientists and designers alike. This primary research study, initiated by a landscape architect, examines deposition and accumulation of traffic-related air pollutants in landscapes along the I-95 corridor with the goal of finding novel ways to ameliorate their impacts. This year-long study, Greenscapes to Brownscapes: A Study on Impacts to Contaminant Levels in Landscapes Adjacent to Highways, was grant-funded by the Landscape Architecture Foundation. It included a multi-industry advisory board of academic, agency, and environmental scientists. The Environmental Protection Agency considers prolonged exposure within 200-300 meters of the road to be a concern. The negative health outcomes linked to Traffic Related Air Pollution (TRAP) are numerous and growing in number. Strong causal links exist between TRAP and cardiac mortality, cardiac morbidity, asthma, and decreased lung function (1). Additionally, there is mounting evidence linking these pollutants to a suite of other outcomes including stroke, COPD, cancer, birth defects, low birth weight, delayed childhood cognitive development, autism, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease (2). Nearly 4.2 million deaths worldwide are related to exposure to outdoor air pollution (3). In the United States, 84% of counties exhibit a racial disparity, where black and Hispanics are over-represented in living within 500 meters of highways (4). This pilot study research, completed in March 2022, included field measurement data from twelve sites along the eastern section of I-95 within the limits of the City of Philadelphia. Field testing consisted of soil and vegetation swabbing of heavy metals and PAH’s that are considered harmful to human health. Air monitoring – PM10 and PM2.5 – utilized Purple Air and Airnote monitors mounted adjacent to plots. Testing occurred on a bi-monthly basis. The results of this research are intended to inform how design of landscapes adjacent to highways can be improved to promote more healthful interactions. This session will present methodologies, the findings from this pilot study, along with recommendations for further multi-agency and multigroup analysis. As a critical topic that bridges across multiple disciplines and knowledge bases, this study is the first step in understanding the health and community impacts of barrier highways and new ways of thinking to address their far-reaching impacts. Thousands of miles of highways built in the postwar urban network are nearing the end of their useful life, requiring substantial reinvestment, and in some cases, wholesale repair and replacement. With this infrastructure renewal, cities and towns can learn how to mitigate the barrier effects of these road systems, and ways to improve livability with alternative design options.
16:00 – 17:30 EDT 13:00 – 14:30 PDT
Research Session 1.5 HSW Credit
Healthy Futures: Special Session
Moderator: Andrew Dannenberg, University of Washington
Lisa Platt, University of Florida
Chris Hellstern, MillerHull
Jordan Luther, Carnegie Mellon University (AIAS CRIT Scholar)
This session will delves into tools and techniques in healthcare design to improve outcomes and plan for resilience. Using AI to evaluate and discover scenarios for preventative design in healthcare spaces will be uncovered as well as material health in healthcare settings. Using nature to increase patient outcomes will also be explored, including ongoing research with human subjects in a healthcare setting.
Founded in 1912 by 10 charter members, ACSA is an international association of architecture schools preparing future architects, designers, and change agents. Our membership includes all of the accredited professional degree programs in the United States and Canada, as well as international schools and 2- and 4-year programs. Together ACSA schools represent some 7,000 faculty educating more than 40,000 students.
Stay in Touch
Enter your name and email below, and we’ll send you the latest ACSA news and events.