Human Factors College of Design

FACULTY

 

Renee Cheng, FAIA

Professor, School of Architecture
Director, Master of Science in Architecture, Research Practices
University of Minnesota, 151J Rapson Hall
Email: rcheng@umn.edu
Phone: 612-625-1885

Expertise:

  • Emerging technologies (BIM, Digital Fabrication, Lean Processes) and their effect on the practice of architecture
  • Application of Virtual Reality in architectural design processes and user feedback
  • Integrated Project Delivery and related collaborative methods

Biography

Her research involves documenting case studies of buildings that integrate design with emerging technologies. Her current work in Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) is published by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and new research on collaborative projects by the General Services Administration (GSA) has just begun. Previously, she tracked case studies focusing on how innovative technology drives change in both design and construction processes.

"While I direct the program and have some involvement with all of the projects, I appreciate the chance to serve as faculty advisor on projects that relate to my research interests. The opportunity to work directly with firm leaders and students provides me perspective that is often quite different than an academic point of view.

I've been advisor on one of the longest running research projects which has been fortunate to have three different students over the course of five semesters. The work will significantly advance the industry's understanding of project delivery and team dynamics. Most research takes a snapshot of a project team, our research is more like a "live lab" tracking about two dozen projects with bi-weekly surveys and interviews to understand the teams' shifting dynamics.

A lot of attention has been paid to the fact that, for qualified students, the program leads to licensure upon graduation. However, I believe the most remarkable parts of the program are the shift to a research culture and the chance for the students to demonstrate leadership. Along the way, the students reach licensure."

 

Andrea Johnson, AIA, LEED


Lecturer, School of Architecture
Associate Director, MS-Research Practices
Email: andreajj@umn.edu
Phone: 320-333-8588

 

Expertise:

  • Architecture, Poetics, Arts
  • Innovative Practice
  • Building Enclosure
  • Urbanism

Biography

Andrea Johnson is an architect and educator, whose work focuses on relationships of text and visual arts with spatial practices.  She earned her MArch from Columbia University and B.A. from Stanford University in Urban Studies and Poetry. At the University of Minnesota, Andrea teaches in the undergraduate and graduate architecture programs, directs the Digital Assistant and Architecture as Catalyst programs, and advises research projects and mentors students toward gaining licensure within the Masters of Science in Research Practices program.  Her own research currently includes documenting artist studios, connections between architecture and poetry, and writing as design pedagogy. 

"The Research Practices program is unique in that it puts the reins in students’ hands to drive innovation in practice through research, while enabling them to quickly cover ground in understanding the fuller picture of the profession.  As a faculty advisor, I have had the opportunity to leverage my experience in large-scale practice to guide research that interrogates the status quo and proposes new approaches and methods for how we work in the building industry.  By providing ongoing mentorship for students to successfully complete their IDP and ARE exams, I have been keenly aware of how getting a head start on licensure has bolstered graduates to emerge as young leaders in their firms. Through my involvement in the program, my own research and teaching have also been strengthened, most importantly by improving methods of inquiry that connect multiple kinds of knowledge and expertise in a dynamic and positive process."

 

Jim Lutz, AIA

Lecturer, Co-Director MS Sustainable Design Program
Email: lutzx120@umn.edu
Phone: 612-626-2482

Expertise:

  • Sustainable Design strategies for single and multi-family residential projects
  • Building technology
  • Adaptive re-use and sustainability

Biography

Jim Lutz is a registered architect and Lecturer in the School of Architecture where he teaches classes in building technology and sustainability.  He holds a Master of Architecture degree from Syracuse University and a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture from the University of California, Berkeley.  He served as a faculty advisor for the University of Minnesota’s entry in the 2009 Solar Decathlon and has led a graduate studio in Haiti, working with Architecture for Humanity.  He has also taught at the University of Memphis where he was a faculty advisor for TERRA, an award-winning LEED-Platinum sustainable design demonstration house. Prior to that, he practiced architecture in California for twenty years, fifteen of which were with a firm he co-founded, designing residential, commercial, and institutional projects.

"Participating in the MSRP program has given me the opportunity to work with both students and professionals on a variety of emerging issues within the field of architecture.  I believe that the research  that has been produced will contribute to advancing the discipline in substantive ways.

My work with MSRP students and firms has dealt with aspects of public interest design, energy, and resilience, each of which relate to my expertise in sustainability, building technology, and social impact architecture.  It has been gratifying to see much of the research meaningfully find it's way into active projects within the participating firms.  Working alongside dozens of innovators within the AEC community has sharpened my view of the topics that I believe will shape the trajectory of the profession in this century.

The MSRP program has provided a significant opportunity to develop an ongoing dialog with some of the most progressive AEC firms in the region.  These partnerships provide students and faculty members alike an opportunity to collaborate with professionals in exploring issues on the leading edge of design.

The MSRP post-professional degree in the School of Architecture at the University of Minnesota is one of the very few programs in the country that provides a means for students to gain firsthand experience in conducting research that will substantively contribute to shaping the future of the built environment.  This innovative partnership between academia and the profession relies on emerging professionals as the critical link between the two realms, a unique structure that ultimately benefits all of the participants."

 

John Comazzi

Associate Professor of Architecture
Adjunct Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture

Director of the Bachelor of Science in Architecture Program
E-mail: jcomazzi@umn.edu
Phone: 612-626-0501

Expertise:

  • Architecture Photography
  • Design Pedagogy and Representation
  • New forms of Critical Urbanism
  • Active Learning Environments

Biography

John Comazzi is an Associate Professor of Architecture in the College of Design at the University of Minnesota. He received a B.S. in Architecture from the University of Virginia and both a M.Arch and M.S. in Architecture History and Theory from the University of Michigan. He taught at the University of Michigan as a Lecturer in Architecture (1999-2006) before joining the University of Minnesota as an Assistant Professor in Fall 2006. He has worked for architecture and planning firms in both the Washington D.C. area and Ann Arbor, Michigan and is a founding partner of W+C design, established in 2002. His focus areas of research and writing consist of new forms of contested urbanism, the practice of architecture photography, design-build as a model for design education and the relationships between early childhood education, and the design of active learning environments.

"The MSRP has offered me the unique opportunity to advance my research and design interests in the area of active learning environments for PK-12 education. By collaborating with professional practitioners and school districts who are designing and implementing innovative classroom designs, I have been able to engage more directly with experimental projects that have immediate consequences for my research and scholarship.

Through the MSRP program, I was able to apply prior research assessing the relationship between active learning environments and design-based curricula in an elementary school that was shifting from traditional models of instruction to a more active, collaborative model. This shift required new spaces and furniture to meet the needs of students and teachers alike, and our team of graduate architecture students helped the school and their architects analyze the patterns of use taking place in their recently renovated "learning studios." As a result, the teachers were able to reflect critically on their uses and programming of the new, more flexible learning studios, and the administration had concrete scenarios to help communicate the effectiveness of the redesigned spaces with parents and the district school board. It was clear from this project (conducted over 3 semesters) that the MSRP program has helped to bridge barriers that are all too common between academia, professional practice, and community partners.

This unique, collaborative model has opened up new avenues for learning, teaching, and practicing design and is demonstrating the importance of applied research to advancing the discipline of architecture."

 

Richard GRAVES

Director and Associate Professor
Center for Sustainable Building Research
E-mail:rmgraves@umn.edu
Phone: 612.626.8783

Expertise:

  • Resilient Design
  • Whole Building Systems
  • Resilient Communities

"MSRP is a great opportunity to advise graduate students in the exploration and research of a project that intersects with the interests of local practitioners.

I worked with Jacob Cherry and Mortenson Construction to advise a project that considered emerging risks in Performance Based contracts. At CSBR, we are researching the advantages on performance based contracts for our work with state funded projects in Minnesota. The work with MSRP allowed me to have a student do a literature review on an aspect of performance contracts and to consider the opinions of a large construction company.

MSRP bridges the gap between academic research in Architecture and practice by exposing students to the work and interests of firms and companies working in the built environment and by integrating companies into the education and research of students at the university."

 

Kathleen A. Harder, phD

Director of Center for Design in Health
Director of Graduate Studies, Human Factors Program
E-mail: harde015@umn.edu
Phone: 612-626-0026

Expertise:

  • Healthcare Systems and Processes
  • Human Factors in Design
  • Design Research Methods

Biography

Kathleen Harder's general research interests involve investigating how various systems (environmental contexts) can be designed to enhance human performance. She is the principal investigator or co-principal investigator of a number of current and recent studies focusing on the design of safer transportation environments. Issues explored in her research include reducing crashes at controlled rural intersections, human factors issues in head-up display design, driver acceptance of delays at ramp meters, the value of travel-time information to drivers, psychological and roadway correlates of aggressive driving, the effects of sleep deprivation and alcohol consumption on driving performance, and the effects of roadway features such as rumble strips, centerline treatments, and traffic calming measures.

Harder was educated in Sweden, at Stockholm University, where she obtained an M.Sc. in Experimental Psychology, and in the USA at Dartmouth, where she obtained a Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology.

"My involvement as a faculty advisor in the MSRP program offers the opportunity to interact with students and architectural firms on research questions of particular pragmatic interest to us as a team. It is a meaningful experience to “shepard” students in hands-on-learning of various research methods in situ and it is rewarding to witness their development as they become more comfortable and conversant in data collection methods that are very new to them.  It is equally rewarding to collaborate with team members from architecture firms who are at the front lines of designing spaces that our research could impact. 

I was invited to participate because my research experience and content expertise are a good fit with the interests of a couple of architecture firms that participate in the consortium. Our weekly meetings help to foster teamwork and productive collaboration as we formulate and tackle the research together.  I expect that our collaboration will yield findings that will benefit the field.

The MSRP program offers a rich opportunity for aspiring architects to work as interns at architecture firms while they simultaneously benefit from faculty mentorship. The program is particularly important in that it gives architecture students a more informed understanding of the complexity of research and appreciation for the valuable role that research can and should play in informing practice."

 

Marc Swackhamer

Associate Professor and Head of School

Principal, HouMinn Practice- www.houminn.com
Email: swack004@umn.edu
Phone: 612-626-0105

Expertise:

  • Biomimetics in Architecture
  • Experimental fabrication technologies
  • Responsive + light weight construction systems
  • Digital production methods

Biography

Marc Swackhamer is an Associate Professor of Architecture at the University of Minnesota. He graduated with a B.Arch from the University of Cincinnati in 1995 and received a M.Arch from Rice University in 1997. In his ongoing research, Professor Swackhamer examines the relationship between performance and ornament as specifically developed through digital production and fabrication techniques. He and partner, Blair Satterfield, established the interdisciplinary design collaborative, HouMinn Practice in 1998.

"My involvement in the MSRP program began a number of years earlier, with a materials and fabrication-focused research project of my own. Soon after I began teaching at the University of Minnesota, in 2004, I was asked to develop an acoustic remediation project for a room in the Rapson Hall that suffered from harsh echo. This project, which involved a new approach to digitally cutting industrial felt and marrying it to CNC-routed homosote underlayments, catalyzed my interest in architectural acoustics. Through this project, I developed a partnership with a local acoustician, and a passion for understanding how unique material strategies can address difficult sound-oriented problems.

Years later, in 2012, I, along with Professor John Comazzi, was asked to address a number of functional issues in the front office of Rapson Hall, as a way to update the space and highlight faculty research for the school's centennial celebration. One of these issues was, again, acoustics. Since the industrial felt project mentioned above, my interests had expanded to include vacuum-formed plastics and the potential for organically-shaped surfaces to perform acoustically. The project we developed for the front office, called VarVac Wall, was a big success. It went on to win an Architect Magazine R+D Award, a Core77 design award, and was accepted for presentation at a number of conferences."

 

Blaine E. Brownell, AIA, LEED-AP

Associate Professor and Director, Master of Architecture Program
Email: brownell@umn.edu

Phone: 612-626-1040

Expertise:

  • Energy modeling and its application to design
  • Emerging materials
  • Sustainable Infrastructure
  • Contemporary Japanese Architecture

Biography

Brownell is considered one of the preeminent scholars of advanced materials for architecture and design, having authored the Transmaterial series with Princeton Architectural Press (2006-2010) He earned a B.A. in Architecture with a Certificate in East Asian Studies at Princeton University in 1992, and a Master in Architecture from Rice University in 1998 and is a registered architect. He worked with Yung-Ho Chang, Mark Wamble, and NBBJ before establishing the design/ research practice Transstudio, which focuses on disruptive material applications and emergent environmental building strategies.

 

Future Faculty Collaborators


Lee Anderson

Associate Professor
Email: landerso@umn.edu

Phone: 612-624-5201

Expertise:

  • Computer and Design Process
  • Cinema and Video for Design Conception and Presentation
  • Sustainable Infrastructure
  • Virtual Reality

Biography

With an undergraduate degree from Sophia University in Tokyo, and a M.Arch from the University of Minnesota, Lee Anderson has been developing architectural software for architectural design. His most recent program, Upfront ®, is available for the Macintosh and Windows. Professor Anderson teaches a series of courses on Computer Aided Design, as well as design studios incorporating computer techniques.

 

Arthur Chen, Ph.D.

Associate Professor
Email: chenx121@umn.edu

Phone: 612-626-8158

Expertise:

  • Architecture thinking, making, drawing
  • Urbanism, especially waterfronts and ports
  • UNESCO and World Heritage and Preservation issues

Biography

Arthur Chen obtained his Ph.D. degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology, M.Arch from North Carolina State University, and B.Arch. from Tamkang University in Taiwan. He has taught courses and design studios in the field of representation and theory. He currently directs the Center for World Heritage Studies and works as an advisor to the World Heritage Centre of UNESCO to undertake the university partnership projects of heritage conservation internationally.

 

William F. Conway, FAIA

Professor
Email: wfconway@umn.edu

Phone: 612-624-7800

Expertise:

  • Issues of public and private space
  • Professional practice
  • New forms of Critical Urbanism
  • Relationship of legislation and politics to design

Biography

Bill Conway received his B.A. in Architecture from North Dakota State University and M.Arch from Yale University and is a registered architect. The recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship and the Winchester Traveling Fellowship, he was also a visiting artist in 1989 at the American Academy in Rome, where his research focused on the role of ideology in the development of the Italian city of E.U.R. Before coming to head Minnesota's Department of Architecture in 1999, he served as associate professor of architecture at Iowa State University, teaching design studios and seminars in urban design theory and coordinating the graduate programs in architecture. His research exploring the definition and construction of an American public realm has been widely published and exhibited. He is principal in Conway + Schulte Architects and brings to his architectural practice a wide range of related experience. In 1988 and 1989 he worked for Cesar Pelli & Associates and has previous experience in architectural offices in Fargo, Boston, and Rome. From 1977 to 1982 Conway supervised residential, commercial, and light industrial building as a partner in a construction company.

Greg Donofrio, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Director of Heritage Conservation and Preservation
Email: donofrio@umn.edu
Phone: 612-626-1107

Expertise:

  • Preservation planning and economics, with special emphasis in tax credit analysis
  • Preservation regulations such as Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, as well as local preservation ordinances and design guidelines
  • History and theory of the preservation movement in the United States
  • Food systems planning

Biography

Professor Donofrio received his M.A. and Ph.D. in historic preservation planning from the Department of City and Regional Planning at Cornell University. Professional and community engagement activities of Professor Donofrio include service on the board of directors and Real Estate Committee of the statewide, nonprofit, preservation-advocacy organization, the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota. He is also a member of the Building Revitalization Task Force of The Soap Factory, a contemporary art production and exhibition space owned and operated by a non-profit organization that he is helping to pursue state and federal historic rehabilitation tax credits to support the substantial rehabilitation of its National-Register-listed building.

Gail Dubrow

Professor
Email: dubrow@umn.edu
Phone: 612-624-2800

Biography

Gail Dubrow is Professor of Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Public Affairs and Planning and History at the University of Minnesota. She taught for 16 years at the University of Washington (Seattle) and came to University of Minnesota in 2005 to serve as Vice Provost and Dean of the Graduate School, as position she resigned in June 2009 to return to the teaching faculty. Dubrow is a social historian of the built environment and cultural landscape who is active in the preservation of places significant in the history of women, ethnic communities of color, and other underrepresented groups. Her work has received support from the American Institute of Architects/American Architectural Foundation, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Park Service, and the Woodrow Wilson Foundation, among others. She is the author of two award-winning books, Sento at Sixth and Main, with Donna Graves and Restoring Women's History Through Historic Preservation, edited with Jennifer Goodman. Dubrow's interests also extend to the fields of Public History, Public Art, and Placemaking.

Thomas Fisher, Assoc. AIA

Professor and Dean of the College
Email: tfisher@umn.edu
Phone: 612-624-1013

Expertise:

  • Architecture, design and ethics
  • Design theory and criticism
  • Design thinking and practice
  • Public interest design

Biography

Thomas Fisher has degrees in architecture from Cornell and in intellectual history from Case Western Reserve. He has taught courses in theory, criticism, and ethics; is a frequent contributor to architecture and design publications; and has published seven books over the last dozen years on architecture, ethics, and practice.

Mary Guzowski

Professor
Email: guzow001@umn.edu
Phone: 612-624-9017

Expertise:

  • Daylighting
  • Solar Design
  • Sustainable Design

Biography

Mary Guzowski teaches and conducts research related to daylighting, environmental technology, and sustainable design. Mary has a Master of Architecture degree from the University of Washington in Seattle and a Bachelor of Arts in Fine Arts from Kalamazoo College in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Her research publications include the books Towards Zero Energy Architecture: New Solar Design (Laurence King) and Daylighting for Sustainable Design (McGraw Hill); web-based design resources including the Zero+ Campus Design Project, Carbon Neutral Design Project, Minnesota Sustainable Design Guide, the Minnesota Green Housing Design Guide, and the Initiative for Renewable Energy in Architecture; and over forty articles. During the past decade she has received over 1.5 million dollars in funded research related to ecological design education and practice. Recent research has focused on aesthetic and ecological innovations in solar architecture and carbon-neutral design. She is currently a co-principal investigator for the Zero+ Campus Design Project (with Lance Neckar, Loren Abraham, Barry Lehrman, et al.). The Zero+ Project is a design collaboration with the UMN Campus Planning to develop design resources to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, energy, and water consumption while fostering design excellence on campus.

Cynthia Jara

Associate Professor
Email: cjara@umn.edu

Phone: 612-624-2315

Expertise:

  • Design Theory: Historic Reference

Biography

Cynthia Jara was educated at Carleton College, where she received a B.A. in History, and at Columbia University with both a M.A. in Curriculum and Teaching and a M.Arch. She was a licensed architect in New York State and has served on the Board of Directors of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA). Her scholarly work focuses on the relationship between principles of theory and the design process. A program that she wrote for first year design was selected for inclusion in Architectural Course Outlines and Reading Lists 3 (North Carolina State University, 1993). Her published scholarly work includes "Adolf Loos's Raumplan Theory" (Journal of Architectural Education 48:3, 185-201). She has also written about the American architect Grosvenor Atterbury (1869-1956) and the design of Forest Hills Gardens in Queens, New York. Professor Jara teaches in the area of design and design theory.

 

Andrzej Piotrowski

Professor
Email: piotr001@umn.edu
Phone: 612-624-8036

Expertise:

  • Epistemology of Design
  • Interdisciplinary Studies of Historical Architecture
  • Postmodern Urbanism
  • Digital Technology and Epistemology of Architecture

Biography

Andrzej Piotrowski was educated and is registered as an architect at the Department of Architecture, Politechnika Warszawska, Warszawa, Poland. His scholarship focuses on epistemology of design with emphasis on theoretical, historical, and educational aspects of representation in architecture. His work has been published, exhibited, and presented at various international and national conferences.

Julia W. Robinson, AIA


Professor
Email: robin003@umn.edu
Phone: 612-624-5733

Expertise:

  • The relation between architectural research and the discipline of architecture
  • Contemporary Dutch architecture

Biography

Julia Williams Robinson, a registered architect, has written journal articles, chapters and reports that cover a wide-ranging subject matter including architectural theory, design methods, sociocultural factors, and architectural pedagogy. She is presently working on a new book, What’s So Special about Dutch Housing and Urbanism, that she began as a Metropolitan Design Center Fellow in 2006-7. The book reflects her study of contemporary Dutch architecture since 1999, including seminars, semester-long studios in the Netherlands, and especially the M-Term trips she organized for students and professionals in 2007 and 2008.The book describes and analyzes innovations in contemporary housing and urban design in the Netherlands, exploring the reasons for its quality, and the potential and limitations for implementation in the United States.

 

Ozayr Saloojee

Associate Professor of Architecture
Affiliate Faculty, Religious Studies
Email: saloojee@umn.edu
Phone: 612-625-0690

Expertise:

  • Design pedagogy
  • Representation
  • Tradition and modernity in Islamic Architecture
  • Questions of identity and belonging in contested cultural and political landscapes

Biography

Born and raised in Johannesburg, South Africa, Ozayr completed his B.Arch and Post Professional M.Arch (Theory and Culture) at Carleton University’s School of Architecture in Ottawa. While teaching as an adjunct in Canada, he served as an associate with GHDG, an interdisciplinary design studio that focused on issues of political, cultural and religious expression in architectural, design-build and writing projects. He joined the School of Architecture at the University of Minnesota in 2005 and teaches in both the graduate and undergraduate programs, and also directs the Istanbul Study Abroad Program at the College of Design. His current research investigates issues of space and identity in politically, religiously and culturally contested landscapes in South Africa and Turkey.

 

Katherine Solomonson, Ph.D.

Associate Professor
Email: solom003@umn.edu
Phone: 612-624-5565

Expertise:

  • History of American and European architecture, ca. 1700-present
  • History of suburbia
  • New forms of Critical Urbanism
  • American housing

Biography

Katherine Solomonson teaches architectural and urban history in the Department of Architecture, and also holds positions in the Departments of American Studies, Art History, and Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature. Her teaching and scholarship address issues concerning the complex roles built environments (and the processes involved in shaping them) play in the production of values, identities, and social relations. Her recent book, The Chicago Tribune Tower Competition: Skyscraper Design and Cultural Change in the 1920s (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2001), examines the ways in which the competition and resulting building became engaged in the growth of consumer culture and the production of national identity.

 

 

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Consortium for Research Practices
Rapson Hall - Room 145
89 Church Street
Minneapolis, MN 55455
Main Reception Desk: 612-624-7866
fax: 612-624-5743
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