Research Approach

School of Architecture faculty advance disciplinary expertise in pursuit of effective global engagement with complex challenges of our designed environment. Faculty study how to design equitable communities and fair access to resources, how to achieve sustainable management of materials and energy, and how the design of buildings, landscapes, and cities change social and political dynamics. For this work, our faculty use diverse modes of investigation.


Many faculty lead award-winning design research practices that advance knowledge of the built environment by bringing diverse knowledge centers, stakeholders, and environmental contexts together through design projects. These faculty have produced internationally recognized buildings, installations, infrastructure, and city and regional plans and policies.

Our faculty have innovated research practices by combining archival research, interview techniques, material studies, and spatial analysis to investigate how complex socio-economic, political, and climatic forces shape what we build, and how what we build shapes these forces. Such research is consistently published around the world in books, journals, conference proceedings, and lectures, through the curation of international exhibitions and conferences, or by editing journals of architecture and design.

We also build cross-disciplinary bridges by fostering intellectual partnerships in public policy, marine sciences, civil engineering, environmental and health sciences, security, business, economics, real estate, and beyond.

Our Work

School of Architecture faculty are prolific contributors to conferences and national and international lecture series on the built environment. Additionally, our faculty curate a themed lecture series each semester and other events that bring design experts to campus to present their work.

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Our faculty have led diverse and awarded design projects in the built environment, ranging from city master plans—like the Boston 2030 Plan—to infrastructure designs like port facilities, highway viaducts, and flood management landscapes. Faculty have designed buildings ranging in scale from cultural centers and high-rise towers to houses and commercial renovations. Other projects include interior design, material experiments, installations, and exhibition designs. Faculty directly engage students with this work on co-op, as hired employees, on site visits, or as classroom case studies built on first-hand project familiarity.
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The School of Architecture’s diverse research and creative practices lead to equally diverse publications. Our faculty frequently publish books, chapters, and essays in both academic and professional journals. Many have founded journals, participate on national editorial boards for major journals, curate design exhibitions, and serve as book, journal, and essay reviewers for national publications and conferences. Faculty often engage students as research assistants to support investigations that lead to such publications, or teach about research methods and formatting for publications in seminar courses.
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School of Architecture faculty are engaged in deep research on subjects like architectural technology, science and construction systems, and the building industry to understand how these facets of buildings can advance the sustainability of the built environment. Our diverse faculty of architectural and landscape historians study how cultures and societies both make and are made by the design of the built environment, which advances our understanding of how we are shaping our culture today and into the future. Professors engage both undergraduate and graduate research assistant students in research, and the student work often becomes the launching point for the school’s design studios.
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Hilary Poriss

Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, Faculty and Research


Katherine Calzada 

Assistant Dean for Research Development


Tammi Westgate

Senior Grants Administrator


Mary Hughes

Administrative Officer