Center for Sustainable Building Research Joins National Resilience Initiative

March 10, 2016

The American Institute of Architects Foundation, along with the American Institute of Architects and the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture, announced that they have selected our Center for Sustainable Building Research as the upper Midwest hub of the National Resilience Initiative (NRI) network.

Established in 2013 as a Clinton Global Initiative commitment, the NRI network consists of six university-based design centers—located at the University of Minnesota, California Polytechnic State University, Hampton University, Mississippi State, The University of Arkansas, and the New Jersey Institute of Technology—geared toward helping local communities become better prepared to bounce forward from the impacts of natural disasters and climate change.

This collaborative hub includes the School of Architecture and Department of Landscape Architecture (principal investigators: Richard GravesOzayr SaloojeeVince deBritto, and James Wheeler) in partnership with the Center for Changing Landscapes, the Institute on the Environment, the Resilient Communities Project in the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs, and the Minneapolis based offices of HGA Architects and Engineers and Perkins+Will. It will be housed in the Center for Sustainable Building Research (CSBR) in the College of Design.

CSBR director Richard Graves explained that “as the state’s public education and research institution, the University of Minnesota serves to generate and preserve knowledge, understanding, and creativity to benefit the public. It seeks to apply expertise to respond to changing environments and solve community problems. Transforming communities in a dynamic and changing world to be resilient and sustainable is the critical problem and challenge for the next 20 years.”

The team’s initiatives will draw from extensive experience with community engaged design. Examples of past projects include the award winning, Bush Foundation-funded Design Duluth Studio, and the Design for Community Resilience program at the CSBR that works with communities across Minnesota to co-create designs for multi-scalar community projects; as well as initiatives and projects lead by HGA Architects and Engineers and Perkins+Will that focus on resiliency, sustainability, and community engagement.

“We are excited to propose not just a single design studio but a community of educators, researchers, and professionals working towards the goals of resilience in our region—something that uniquely positions us to have cross-sectional dialogue, discussion, and active engagement and implementation—through all scales resilience—from disaster preparedness to social equity,” added James Wheeler.

Supported by funding from the Minnesota Legislature, the Minnesota Futures Pilot Project is working with the communities of Grand Meadow, Wabasha, and Spring Grove to help position each one for a 21st-century future.

On June 8, 2020, the College of Design named Jennifer Yoos, FAIA, as the new head of the School of Architecture. Her career in architecture is driven by a lifelong love for art, buildings, and design in general as well as childhood summers spent with her artist aunt in Chicago. In our interview, Yoos shares her visions for the school, the new semester, and the future of the profession.