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Earlier this month, the university held its annual Research, Innovation and Scholarship Expo. Known as RISE, the event brings together both faculty and student research at one event. Held in the Cabot Cage, there are dozens of presenter who have been nominated and vetted to be part of the expo. Student from the School of Architecture have always been well-poised for this event. Their time in studio, at critiques and in developing large scale architectural projects have helped them develop the skill set for independent research and innovating thinking.

Our students have been consistently successful at RISE and this year proved fruitful for participants from the school. Senior Sarah Solomon presented her housing project, “Housing the Boston Homeless.” For this she was the recipient of both the RISE Excellence in Scholarship Award and the Undergraduate Humanities and Arts Award.

Graduate Architecture students Joseph di Bella and Oana Pavunev presented their project, “Re-thinking Structure,” for which they received the Graduate Humanities and Arts Award.

Congratulations to Sarah, Joseph and Oana! Read about their projects below.

Sarah Solomon, Housing the Boston Homeless


Approximately 564,708 homeless people sleep on the streets each night. Approximately 75% of the homeless individuals have a mental or physical disability that has prevented them from keeping a job and ultimately resulted in the loss of their home. Shelters are at maximum capacity and communities require a solution that will help transition these people into permanent housing. In order to reduce the homeless population, a social housing model needs to be created that acts as a rehabilitation center for mentally or physically disabled homeless individuals. The goal of the social housing is to provide the residents with a stable living environment as well as the skills and resources necessary to address their problems. It would provide an eight month to two year stay, small studio units for each person, and access to many public and building amenities. Once stable housing is achieved, individuals are better prepared to address their mental illnesses and substance related disorders. These individuals will then gain the skills necessary to re enter society as productive members, and ultimately be able to afford their own permanent housing. The investment in a semi permanent housing solution for the homeless individuals of Boston will help better the community. It would decrease the number of people living on the streets, transition them into permanent housing, and put them in a position to contribute back to society through the workforce.

Joseph di Bella + Oana PavunevRe-thinking Structure


Thermodynamics and adaptability in design have become challenging topics in today’s architectural practice. Over time, many buildings fail to adapt to new program types which decreases their resiliency and life-span. Our proposal aims to solve the design challenges at hand through an innovative exoskeleton structure paired with a strategic massing framework. The innovative exoskeleton creates the shell for an extremely adaptable interior.

Firstly, the uniquely shaped diagrid structure takes on a passive role. This innovative exoskeleton enhances thermal comfort through complete shading in the summer months while allowing for full heat gain during winter months. Secondly, the adaptability challenge is addressed by using the concrete exoskeleton to maximize interior flexibility. In order to maximize adaptability, the massing responds to a framework of “soft” and “hard” program, which impels the level of mechanical systems used. The “soft” and “hard” program is further divided into sizes of small, medium and large, in order to easily fit various future program types

Read more at the RISE Blog