October 30, 2009
  AIA Announces 2009 Upjohn Research Initiative Award Winners
Four projects selected for grants

Summary: The jury for the Upjohn Research Initiative, a joint program of the College of Fellows and the Board Knowledge Committee to support knowledge sharing between practitioners and academicians, has announced the four projects selected to receive grants for 2009. They are:

Sustainability Index: Designing a System of Performance Indicators to Measure and Manage Urban Developments
The research will design and develop a sustainability index to measure and evaluate sustainable urban development using a transparent system of performance indicators. It will explore issues such as how sustainable development is defined, how it can be measured, and how an index could change the way we design cities.
Principal investigators: Bimal Mendis, assistant dean, director of undergraduate studies, Yale School of Architecture, and Joyce Hsiang, critic and lecturer, Yale School of Architecture and Yale College.

Energy Efficiency Benchmarks for Housing
Although several benchmark rating systems have been established in recent years to aid in achieving energy-efficient housing, the goal of designing and building net zero energy housing has been viewed as cost prohibitive and the methods of achieving this goal are generally unknown. This research will study the following four rating systems for their capacity to achieve net zero energy housing and the associated costs: EPA Energy Star Qualified Homes, ICC 700-2008 National Green Building Standard, USGBC LEED for Homes 2008, and the Passive Home Planning Package 2007.
Principal investigators: Joerg Ruegemer, assistant director, Integrated Technology in Architecture Center (I TAC), University of Utah, and Ryan E. Smith, director, I TAC, University of Utah.

REIs: Renewable Energy Infrastructures
The research team will apply design-thinking skills to a problem that involves energy production, energy transmission, and urban living. REIs will generate renewable energy megawatts on an industrial scale through the simultaneous harnessing of wind, solar, and geothermal resources in an integrated, freestanding facility in an urban environment. The REI is conceived as a new building typology, not a retrofit of an existing building. The greatest impact of the REI research will be the formation of a cross-disciplinary, design-led team that delivers a plausible, cost-effective option for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from public power districts.
Principal investigator: Chris Ford, 2008–2010 Steward Professor in Sustainable Design, College of Architecture, University of Nebraska.

Responsive Field: An Active Environmental Control System
Responsive Field is an ongoing research endeavor that investigates the potential for emerging material technology to offer a responsive climate control surface that can mediate and negotiate the zone between architecture and the environment. Shape memory alloys (SMAs), a category of metals that change shape according to temperature, offer the possibility of efficient, fluid movement without the mechanized motion of earlier technologies. Operating at a molecular level, this motion parallels that of plants and lower-level organisms that are considered responsive but not conscious. Larger than the scale of nanotechnology, this research is a translation of existing, visible technologies that offer profound implications for the way we conceive of the built environment.
Principal investigators: Rob Ley, principal, Urbana; design faculty, SCI-Arc, and Joshua G. Stein, principal, Radical Craft and associate professor, Woodbury University.

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2009 Upjohn Research Initiative jury
Daniel Williams, FAIA, Chair
Principal, Daniel Williams Architect
Stephen R. Hagan, FAIA
Project Knowledge Center, GSA Design & Construction
Amy Yurko-Nelson, AIA
Founder, BrainSpaces
Michel Mounayer
Associate Dean of Architecture, Ball State University
Dennis Hall, FAIA
Principal, Hall Architects, Inc.
Edward J. Kodet, FAIA
President, Kodet Architectural Group, Ltd
Pamela M. Touschner, FAIA
Principal, WWCOT
Thomas Howorth, FAIA
Principal ,Howorth & Associates
Kevin L. Harris, FAIA
Principal, Kevin Harris Architect, LLC