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UMass Architecture Research Collaborative


Aksamija to Speak at RAIC Taking Action Panel (news cover)

On October 5 (World Architecture Day 2020), Associate Professor Ajla Aksamija will participate in Taking Action: A Conversation on Climate Action and Architecture in Canada, a virtual panel organized by the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC).

Associate Professor Ajla Aksamija was recently interviewed for the National Public Radio (NPR) program "The Pulse."

Congratulations to Leers Weinzapfel Associates, which has been recognized with a 2020 COTE® Top Ten Award for their design of the John W. Olver Design Building.

Associate Professor Ajla Aksamija is co-hosting workshop this summer titled: "Imaging Future Innovative Facades".

Associate Professor Ajla Aksamija will be a keynote speaker for the International Academic Conference on Architecture and Design 2020 (IACAD 2020) on June 4 and 5, 2020. The conference is based in Singapore, but this year it is organized as an online event.

The Department of Architecture partnered this semester with the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations through the Diplomacy Lab, which enables collaboration between universities and the State Department, and exploration of real-world challenges. Led by Associate Professor Ajla Aksamija, students enrolled in Graduate Design IV studio worked on the design of a net-zero energy U.S. Consulate Building, located in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The building program and site were based on the actual location and program, which included 270,000 GSF (25,000 GSM) of programmed spaces for the consulate building and auxiliary program elements.

This summer, for the very first time, we will be offering a six-week online course to both current students and professionals titled, Sustainable and High-Performance Facades.

Eight students from the Department of Architecture and the Building & Construction Technology program are collaborating with Kent Hicks of Kent Hicks Construction to design and build a net-zero energy micro-house.

Associate Professor Ajla Aksamija is featured in the most recent UMass Magazine in an article titled, "Fruitful Facade." Ajla and her research partner/ husband, Zlatan Aksamija (Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering) have worked together to identify a new way to use thermoelectric semiconductors to convert interior/exterior temperature differences into electric energy that can be utilized to manage the heating and cooling demands of the building. 

Assist. Professor Pari Riahi's paper, "Holding Ground" has been published in Volume 10 of Int|AR journal. Interventions Adaptive Reuse is an annual publication by the Department of Interior Architecture at the Rhode Island School of Design.  Pari's article addresses the often ambiguous transitional spaces surrounding social housing in suburban Paris, France.

This October, Assist. Professor Pari Riahi will be presenting part of her research on the suburbs of Paris at the urbanHIST Conference: Interpreting 20th Century European Urbanism in Stockholm, Sweden.  Her paper titled, "de l'îlot à la ...?" will expand on the consequences of different experimentations with the urban forms and public grounds of social housing projects by analyzing two large scale projects by the architects Emille Aillaud and Renée Gailhoustet.

In August, Associate Professor Ajla Aksamija gave an invited presentation titled "Innovations in Architecture: Role of Science and Technology in Contemporary Architectural Design" at the ROBOKIDS STEM Academy in Banjaluka, Bosnia and Herzegovina. The presentation focused on new materials, building technologies, building science in architectural design and how to integrate research in architectural profession.

An interdisciplinary team of scientists and students at the University of Massachusetts Amherst is working to design and build more sustainable building façade systems – so-called smart façades. Led by Ajla Aksamija, associate professor of architecture, and Zlatan Aksamija, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, the researchers created and tested two smart façade prototypes incorporating thermoelectric modules, which house semiconductors capable of heating, cooling and generating electricity

Associate Professor Ray Mann's Spring 2019 Graduate Studio 2 partnered with the Kestrel Land Trust to brainstorm possible renovations strategies for their newly-acquired property on Bay Road in south Amherst.  Known as the Epstein House, the sound, but rambling former residence is in need of a substantial makeover to become the new headquarters for the dynamic conservation non-profit.

In April, Associate Professor Ajla Aksamija presented at the UMass Data Science Research Symposium 2019.  Her talk, "VR and AR in Architectural Profession and Education", focused on how these emerging digital technologies can be used to benefit the architectural design process and improve communication between the design team, clients, consultants and builders.

An ongoing collaboration between Associate Professor of Architecture Ajla Aksamija and Zlatan Aksamija, Assistant Professor in the College of Engineering is resulting in some exciting research. They recently published an invited article, "Experimental Study of Operating Conditions and Integration of Thermoelectric Materials in Facade Systems" in the special issue of the Frontiers in Energy Research Journal.

Associate Professors Caryn Brause and Joseph Krupczynski have announced a new phase of work in their creative placemaking project: El Corazón / The Heart of Holyoke. A series of activities will begin with an opening event on March 22 for a MassDevelopment-supported crowdfunding campaign. El Corazón / The Heart of Holyoke aims to develop spaces and places that that are reflective of the communities surrounding Holyoke’s Main Street and promote economic opportunity.

Associate Professor Ajla Aksamija was recently invited to lecture at the University of Akron Biomimicry Innovation Research Center (BRIC), an interdisciplinary research center focusing on innovations inspired by nature. The BRIC is unique in bringing biology, business, engineering, and design together in a focused PhD training platform, in collaboration with industrial partners.

The end of the semester ended in a crushing defeat for the students in Assistant Visting Professor Philip Tidwell’s Wood in Architecture seminar.  The students designed and manufactured a wooden joint (a small tripod) using standard profiles of Douglas fir. The aim was to produce a unique joint that made effective use of timber and its strength in varying directions.

Over the summer Associate Professor Ajla Aksamija presented three publications which are part of the same research project involving developing a framework for integrating parametric design methods with building performance analysis procedures, and testing it using BIM-based, non-BIM, parametric design, and building simulation tools.

Assistant Professor Caryn Brause recently published an invited chapter titled, "Beyond the Visible: Skillsets for Future Interior Architecture Practice” in The Interior Architecture Theory Reader (edited by Gregory Marinic and published by Routledge, 2017).

This April, Associate Professor Ajla Aksamija published, "Thermal, Energy and Daylight Analysis of Different Types of Double Skin Facades in Various Climates" in the Journal of Facade Design and Engineering and presented, "Experimental Study on Integration of Thermoelectric Materials in Exterior Walls for Heating and Cooling in High-Performance Buildings" at the Building Enclosure Science and Technology (BEST) 5 Conference in Philadelphia, organized by the National Institute of Building Sciences. Aksamija also shared her paper titled, "Integrating Innovations in Architecture" as part of the AIA Chris Kelley Leadership Program in Miami, which works to prepare emerging professionals for leadership roles in architecture and, "Facade Research and Education" as part of the Facade Forum at Jefferson University in Philadelphia.

Associate Professor Ajla Aksamija was a recent guest on "Lab Talk with Laura," a radio program on UMass' WMUA 91.1.  She discussed her professional research relating to integration of innovations in new building materials, sustainable design, and resiliency, into architectural design. She also talked about the relationship between building science and architectural design, and how architecture is very much a STEM discipline (but also requiring creativity and design thinking).

Architecture2030's recent publication "Shaping the Next Generation of Architects," recognizes Associate Professor Ajla Aksamija's Graduate Design IV course, “Resilience Research & Education Center” as one of the nation's cutting-edge sustainable design courses.

In fall of 2017 Professor Sigrid Miller Pollin's graduate Design Studio V embarked on a study of the historic Clark Hall on the UMass Amherst campus. These projects were designed by a small group of graduate students in Architecture as well as by a graduate student from our Historic Preservation program.

Associate Professor Ajla Aksamija will present at the Facade World Congress in Los Angeles on March 12th. Her paper is titled, "Thermoelectric Materials in Exterior Walls: Experimental Study on Using Smart Facades for Heating and Cooling in High-Performance Buildings". The work is the result of a collaborative research project between the Architecture Department and Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Faculty in the Department of Architecture share recently published research.

In the Wall Street Journal's December article, "The Best Architecture of 2017: Buildings of Quiet Ambition" architecture critic Julie Iovine highlights four outstanding buildings, all notable for their innovation in the creative and sustainable use of materials. The John W. Olver Design Building at UMass Amherst, designed by Leers Weinzapfel Architects, is included among them.

Assistant Professor Carey Clouse has published a paper in the October issue of Journal of Architectural Education (JAE), a biannual peer-reviewed publication of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA) titled, “The Himalayan Ice Stupa: Ladakh's Climate-adaptive Water Cache”.

Congratulations to Associate Professor Ajla Aksamija who received a richly deserved 2017 Green Giants Award from United States Green Building Council (USGBC) MA, West Branch. Ajla received the award on December 5, 2017 in the Education category in recognition of her exemplary efforts to bring stellar green building projects to fruition.

In November Assistant Professor Pari Riahi, whose research addresses, "the propagation of digital media and its effect on architectural theory and practice," presented her paper titled "Affective Indices", in The Tools of the Architect Conference in Delft, The Netherlands. 

Assistant Professor Caryn Brause's book, The Designer's Field Guide to Collaboration (Routledge 2017), received First Prize in the 2017 Building Technology Educator's Society (BTES) Book Award.

In September Associate Professor Ajla Aksamija presented a two day training session in Shanghai as part of the China Zero Net Carbon Professional Training Program, focusing on high-performance building envelope design.

Shockoe Bottom in Richmond, VA was the second largest slave trading center in the U.S. How to preserve this history has been the subject of work by Professors Max Page and Joseph Krupczynski, who have developed a design for a nine-acre memorial park that, "would provide areas for contemplation, healing, and reflection while fully honoring the people and events of this essential but often ignored part of Richmond’s heritage."

This May and June Assistant Professor Ajla Aksamija traveled to conferences in Spain and Canada to present papers. She delivered "Double-Skin Facades and Daylight Simulations: Comparative Study of Facade Typologies and Effects on Natural Light in Different Climates" (which outlines results of a research study that investigated daylight performance of double-skin facades in various climate types) at the international Symposium on Simulation for Architecture and Urban Design (SimAUD) 2017 in Toronto.

A new book by Assistant Professor Ajla Aksamija, “Integrating Innovation in Architecture: Design, Methods and Technology for Progressive Practice is Research" is now available.

UMass Amherst recently became one of the first academic partners to join the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS) Building Information Research Database (BRIK).

Congratulations to the UMass Architecture + Design Graduate Team for their first place win in the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association (NESEA) Net Zero Energy Design Competition. 

Department of Architecture's Tiny House (news cover)

In October, our student work was featured in the New York Post as one of the "5 Coolest Tiny Homes in America."

2015 Green Giant Award (news cover)

UMass Amherst Department of Architecture Professor, Kathleen Lugosch, received the runner-up award in the education category for her integration of sustainable design strategies in each of her studio projects and for inspiring students to bring enthusiasm for sustainable building into the workforce.

Western Massachusetts AIA Citation Award (news cover)

Congratulations to Professors Caryn Brause and Joseph Krupczynski for receiving a Citation Award for their project Holyoke Arrivals.

Skyscrapers made of wood (news cover)

Anyone who looks up while walking Washington’s streets can reckon what the building material of the future is. Most new structures feature glass walls, which have turned downtown into a giant peep show. Stone and concrete facades are being stripped and replaced with even more of the tempered, transparent material.