AIA 2007 BoKnoCo Research Summit
March 23-24, 2007, Seattle, Washington
Key Outcomes & Long-Range Goals

This spring the American Institute of Architects convened a group of national leaders from education and practice to share views on architectural research. Hosted by Dean Daniel S. Friedman, PhD, FAIA, and the College of Architecture and Urban Planning at the University of Washington, the two day event was productive. During this summit the group investigated the culture of research and drivers of change. The aim was to identify emerging research agendas in architecture and elevate the importance of research in the profession. Attendees joined in discussions and assessed new research methodologies, new standards and criteria for research, and new research priorities appropriate to twenty-first century challenges.

The event was highly interactive. Two keynote presentations and a panel on current and future research trends provided a framework for small-team projects that explored research issues and opportunities around selected topics and domains of inquiry, including leadership, practice, building performance, and design.

Key Outcomes:

  1. Discussed and assessed new research methodologies.

    The main point is that research needs to follow one of two models;
    • dynamic research model that takes into account existing technology and understanding in three categories of research; pure basic research, use-inspired basic research, pure applied research and development
    • translational research model uses the same three categories but procedures are tied into use inspired applied research that takes informed feedback into account to determine limitations and framing new questions

  2. Investigated new standards and criteria for research.

    The points to take into account for new standards and criteria are:
    • Process drives the profession
    • Use has to drive the programs
    • Teach that research methodology parallels design methodology
    • Use latest research examples to establish fundamental concepts
    • Entrepreneurial spirit is essential
    • Synergy must occur between critical disciplines
    • The ability to ask the right questions

  3. Established research priorities appropriate to twenty-first century challenges.

    Priorities need to be framed within one of six main agenda areas:

    • Social
    • Technological
    • Environmental
    • Cultural
    • Organizational
    • Design

    These agendas must take into account four domains of knowledge:

    • Leadership
    • Practice
    • Design
    • Building Performance

    The top priorities coming out of the summit focus on (not in order of importance):

    • sustainability (e.g. global demand for resources, climate change mitigation, carbon neutral buildings, regenerative / disassembly buildings)
    • limitations on water availability for buildings
    • urbanization (i.e. impacts of aging infrastructure, optimizing conditions for human development)
    • demographic measures for public health and well being
    • energy consumption and better metrics for building performance, (e.g. day lighting versus artificial light).
    • ergonomics for users of particular facilities (e.g. movement patterns, next generation flexible facilities)
    • improvements to defining the functional requirements of facilities
    • relationship of buildings to community identity, heritage, and the broader ecological function (i.e. urban form and wellness)
    • integrated practice and collaboration models

Long-Range Goals:

  • define and develop standard research criteria, techniques, and vocabulary
  • increase university research capacity and funding opportunities
  • integrate research and "evidence-based design" in education and practice
  • evaluate outcomes of currently funded architectural research
  • establish official recognition by the National Research Council
  • establish a unified research database
  • promote linkages between research and practice
  • encourage research initiatives at all AIA component levels

  Attendee roster >