UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Corey Gracie-Griffin, associate dean for research at Penn State Altoona, associate professor of architecture, graduate faculty in architecture and an affiliated faculty member within the Stuckeman School’s Hamer Center for Community Design, was recently honored by the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA) with a 2021 Architectural Education Award.
Gracie-Griffin’s course on building science and technology, which he created in 2012 as a faculty member at Portland State University, earned an American Institute for Architects (AIA)/ACSA Practice + Leadership Award.
Originally a lecture- and case-study-based seminar, Gracie-Griffin’s course evolved into a practice-relevant, term-length research experience that is offered to master’s level students at Portland State in collaboration with local architecture firms.
“Building Science Research Topics” revolves around two activities: (1) architecture and engineering students conducting building science research of relevance to a project in a local architecture firm; and (2) students are embedded in project teams where they attend all interdisciplinary meetings for the course to witness and document interdisciplinary collaboration.
“In this unique way, master of architecture students become contributing members of a design team and building science experts on issues relevant to current practice,” explained Gracie-Griffin. “It is a win-win for the students and practitioners. Many of the students have gone on to work in our partnering architecture firms where they continued their research and are now sustainability leaders.”
In addition to giving graduate students the experience of working as part of a professional design team, the course also allows architects in the firms the ability to utilize a deeper level of research expertise in the design process and access resources not typically available in practice.
Gracie-Griffin joined Penn State in September 2018; however, Building Science Research Topics continues to be taught at Portland State. Research generated by the course has been published in professional and academic journals and the methodology and collaborations developed in the course have become the crux of the School of Architecture’s Research-based Design Initiative (RBDI), which continues today.
“Corey’s expertise, at the intersection of structural systems and sustainability in architecture with broader emphasis on housing and post occupancy evaluation, is a significant contribution to Penn State and our work in the Hamer Center for Community Design,” said Lisa Iulo, associate professor of architecture and director of the Hamer Center. “His award-winning course provides a valuable model for engaging students in research, interacting on real-world issues with industry partners and professionals.”
The annual ACSA awards honor architectural educators for exemplary work in areas such as building design, community collaborations, scholarship and service. The award-winning professors “inspire and challenge students, contribute to the profession’s knowledge base and extend their work beyond the borders of academia into practice and the public sector.”
More information about this year’s winners can be found on the ACSA website.