Applied Research Consortium

March 8, 2022

Call for ARC Fellow nominations, 2022-2023

The CBE Applied Research Consortium (ARC) seeks 3-4 nominations from CBE faculty and department chairs for the 2022-2023 cohort of ARC Fellows. ARC Fellows conduct a paid internship of 15 hrs/wk at an ARC member firm. They also receive a stipend of $3600/quarter, health insurance, and NRD waiver.

The program seeks an excellent and diverse cohort of Fellows who meet the following criteria:

  • Enrolled in a master or PhD-level program at CBE
  • Curious, motivated, resourceful, organized, and capacity for leadership
  • Top 20% of their peers for the criteria above as judged by faculty
  • Expressed or demonstrated interest in applied research
  • Ability to communicate verbally and in writing at a professional level
  • Since ARC graduates are more likely to become leaders in their fields, ARC prioritizes recruitment of students who identify as a member of groups currently underrepresented in their fields

ARC member firms have provided the following project proposals for academic year 2022-2023. Faculty are invited to nominate students whose research interests align with at least one of the following proposed projects.

To nominate a student, please submit this form. Questions can be directed to ARC Program Manager Teri Thomson Randall,

DLR Group LogoRestorative Justice in the Justice Sphere

DLR Group is an integrated design firm delivering architecture, engineering, interiors, planning, and building optimization for new construction, renovation, and adaptive reuse. Our promise is to elevate the human experience through design. This promise inspires sustainable design for a diverse group of public and private sector clients; local communities; and our planet. DLR Group is 100% employee-owned and fully supports the initiatives and goals of the 2030 Challenge and is an initial signatory to the China Accord and the AIA 2030 Commitment – just a few of our pledges to people and the planet.

Our Justice and Civic practice has a guiding ethos centered on restorative justice. Our project types include a variety of facilities in the justice sphere, including police stations, rehabilitation facilities, courthouses, facilities of incarceration, and other specialized facilities. In each one, we seek to be valued advisors to our clients not only in terms of planning and design, but also by offering insights and evidence-based practices. Our goal in doing so is to improve outcomes at the individual and community levels – to help clients make decisions that can steer their organization or community closer to a holistic restorative justice model. However, this work can be challenging in a variety of ways: metrics of success for restorative justice continue to be elusive and non-standard around the United States; dealing with improving existing facilities while also seeking to start building different facility types for the future is a difficult balance for both clients and designers; there may be barriers to adoption or data bias at each step of this process, from prevention to diversion to re-entry. Each community we work with is starting from a different point in the conversion, and we don’t want to leave anyone behind.

We are seeking ARC Fellows who share our passion for a more just and healing world, who are also ready to tackle some of the barriers to this process. Students will be invited to learn from mentors in our Justice and Civic sector, as well as our core R&D team, and then co-create a project that best meets their own interests and goals. This may be participating in deepening our review of measures for success, to highlight gaps and propose new models – or it may mean joining an active J+C project to contribute through the design team and propose data gathering or POE metrics. Within our framework of restorative justice, and our firmwide values, we invite students who want to shape a project on this topic together.

Performance Modified Wood from Trees Native to the Pacific Northwest for Exterior Construction

Landscape Architects have limited choices for sustainable wood products in the Pacific Northwest region. Trees native to the Pacific Northwest region are not well suited to exterior use due to poor weathering properties and/or they are soft and wear rapidly.

Wood product options for exterior use in the region to date have included using local wood species and replacing or maintaining them, importing tropical hardwoods, chemically treating softwoods to increase resistance to rot and insect damage, and, more recently, a new generation of treatments including thermal modification and furfurylation has been used on wood species grown outside of the region.

The absence of locally produced options in this market presents an opportunity to utilize existing, commercially viable technologies with a history of performance in combination with wood from trees native to the Pacific Northwest and part of the existing forest industry to produce wood products with an extended useful life in exterior applications and improving the local ecology through restorative forest practices.

To meet the opportunity and to evaluate the economic viability this class of treated wood products from Pacific Northwest forests, we propose the following:

  •   To select four tree species, two soft woods – Pseudotsuga menziesii and Tsuga heterophylla; and two hard woods –Alnus rubra and Acer macrophyllum to be treated studied
  •   To develop a consistent, repeatable process for treating each of the wood species using furfurylation and thermal modification
  •   To Test the treated wood products for physical properties, including moisture content, density, fire rating per ASTM E84-20, janka hardness per ASTM E143, stiffness per ASTM D5456, rot and decay resistance, and other tests as may be determined through the course of the study
  •   To prepare a high-level market analysis for these wood products in construction and other industries
  •   To examine current forest best management practices for the opportunity to expand on total ecological benefit with a special emphasis on improving salmon habitat and conditions for native pollinators

The UW-ARC is well positioned to bring together the unique and disparate expertise from UW Environmental and Forest Sciences, UW Materials Science and Engineering, and the UW Foster School of Business to develop, test, and evaluate the ecologic and economic viability of these products for this region and beyond.

The anticipated outcome of this study will be a written report including the wood products developed, the test methods and outcomes, the market analysis, and the evaluation of forest management BMPs.


(Three proposals)

Carbon Capture Enclosure

Removing carbon from the atmosphere is an essential component in our collective societal effort to minimize global temperature rise.  

 Over time, carbon dioxide binds to naturally occurring minerals in the air and water, permanently turning into stone and serving as a critical carbon sink.  Direct air carbon capture technology combines the advantages of engineering and science with natural processes to expedite this process.  

Carbon capture facilities are a critical component of the deployment of such technology at the scale required to achieve desired social and environmental benefits.  We are proposing research focused on the exploration of the materiality and form for the enclosure of a carbon capture facility utilizing primarily passive processes. The research could potentially consist of studying material and form properties that could:

  1. Maximize air flow
  2. Direct air flow
  3. Protect from water ingress
  4. Control turbulence
  5. Increase humidity
  6. Withstand contextual and environmental variability
  7. Withstand and leverage significant force/wind
  8. Be primarily renewable
  9. Be abundant and/or readily available
  10. Be exponentially scalable
  11. Have inherent structural integrity and flexibility
  12. Have inherent biophilic characteristics

We would want to limit the research to focusing on materiality, form and airflow so as to avoid any potential IP conflict with our industry partner, who would advise and participate in the research in a manner to be determined at a future date.  The research would happen in parallel to ongoing conceptual design and prototype exploration, both informing current research with the potential to impact future iterations of facility and technology deployment.

Conceptual Design Dashboard

In the early stages of design, conceptual digital models often lack the ability to easily visualize and access meaningful model information. Useful data such as room organization, FAR, program analysis and areas are calculated or designed following the development of massing schemes and real-time modeling decisions may be made primarily based upon the intuition(s) of a designer or design team. This proposal aims to create a real-time computational framework or set of tools to visualize design data based on changing variables in a digital model, such as decreasing or increasing square footage, changing spatial configurations, redefining program allocations or adjacencies and environmental parameters.  Developing these tools will enable a more holistic approach in which real-time modeling and design decisions are data-driven, informed and iterative.

  • How do these tools integrate with and improve the design process and elevate the human or intuitive component(s) of design?
  •  How can we integrate an unlimited set of data properties to a conceptual geometry so that as we adjust a building model, we are provided instant feedback on the effect of crucial planning decisions?
  • What is the most important data to display and how can we organize the display to best improve workflow?
  • How do we facilitate interoperability between various design software, such as Rhino, Grasshopper, Revit, and Rhino.Inside.Revit, so all potential users are able to make use of the tools? 
  • How can we manage the tools so they are accessible to designers of varying familiarity toward computational design and flexible for adaptation and customization?

Community Investment and Capacity Building for Climate-Induced Relocation

(Matching this project in 2022-2023 is lower priority)

Within this century, tens of millions of people in the US are going to be displaced by climate change. ‘Managed retreat’ is the movement of populations and infrastructure away from hazard zones (US 2018 National Climate Assessment). Top down approaches to relocation are fraught with power imbalances and institutional barriers that perpetuate existing inequity. In contrast, equitable approaches to climate-induced relocation consider present hazard and past harm together to address the agency, reparations, and healing owed to those living with the greatest social, emotional, physical, and economic risk. The complexity of this issue in regard to policy, funding, time required, and the need to consider the full life cycle of where and how people are landing once they retreat necessitates a shift in design practice to a long term, relationship-driven, capacity-building model. While best positioned to build a unified vision and advocate for community needs, collectives of community based organizations are typically missing the power and resources to fully participate in the ecology of partners that directly influence the built environment. Longitudinal practice – or the upstream, long-term relationship building with communities – is about normalizing pre-project and between project work with communities.

  • How might longitudinal practice create the systemic conditions to elevate community collectives as the well-resourced leaders of climate adaptation and relocation processes? 
  • What could that practice look like?  How does that transform the role of the designer?
  • What are the structures, relationships and mechanisms necessary for processes of managed retreat to center community care, agency and wealth building?