The Center for Design Research (CDR) presented an exhibition at this year’s Architecture Exchange East, the AIA Virginia Regional Convention in Richmond. 

The goal of the CDR, a joint collaboration between the School of Architecture and the School of Design formally founded in 2011, is to exploit the untapped territories of opportunity that lie between disciplines and, in so doing, redefine the role of design education through research and expanded engagement with society. 

The work presented at the convention focused on the Center’s goal to make digital design and fabrication elements of the curriculum visible and accessible to students and faculty. The exhibition includes snapshots of a twenty year history of selected projects. Starting in 2002, with the first Solar Decathlon sponsored by the U.S. Dept. of Energy, visitors can trace the development of applied research through the 2005 competition, LumenHAIUS as the winner of the first international competition in Madrid, Spain, and most recently, FutureHAUS, awarded first place in the Dubai competition, and invited for a return visit as the only representative from the United States at the World Exposition. 

Other projects included the Portable Laboratory on Uncommon Ground (PLUG), a prefabricated, demountable research outpost in Tanzania; vignettes from eight exhibitions at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF) in New York; and the most bizarre project – the design and collaborative building of a house for the TV show Extreme Makeover/Home Edition. The house construction was executed over six days and the resultant show became a special two hour broadcast seen by 20 million viewers.

Faculty and students of both Schools were well represented at the convention. Macia Feuerstein, Jody La Coe, and Paola Zellner Bassett presented their latest book, Expanding Field of Architecture: Women in Practice Across the Globe. Nathan King, with student assistants, Shokoufeh Bozorgmehrian, Sara Saghafi Moghaddam, Ruba Radeef and Mitra Bagheri, conducted a robotic fabrication workshop. Kevin Sullivan, President of Payette and adjunct faculty and Robert Dunay presented the CDR/Payette Open Lab as part of a panel discussion on expanded professional practice. Michael Rehrig and Matthew Tomicek helped produce and set up the exhibition.