This special issue of Perkins+Will Research Journal is dedicated to the Architectural Research Centers Consortium (ARCC) 2015 Conference, with the theme “Future of Architectural Research”. The conference was organized by Dr. Ajla Aksamija (Perkins+Will/University of Massachusetts Amherst), Dr. John Haymaker (Perkins+Will), and Dr. Abbas Aminmansour (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign). It was held in Chicago, April 6-9, 2015. This was the first time that design practice and academic institutions were collaborating and organizing a conference dedicated to architectural research. The intention was to bring together researchers, design practitioners, faculty members, policy makers, educators, and students to discuss the latest achievements in architectural research and to bridge the gap between academic and practice-led research efforts.
Technological advancements, environmental considerations and concerns, complexity and requirements of today’s design practices as well as challenging economic factors are some of the impending motives for bridging the gap between practice-led and academic research. Today, research is more important than ever and is becoming an integral component in the design practices. The conference addressed these aspects and intended to help define the future direction of architectural research.
The conference included more than 120 papers and presentations from researchers and design practitioners. The topics covered advanced materials and building technologies; environmental, energy, and building performance factors; computational design; social and behavioral research; building types and design methods; research in practice; and research and education in academia.
This issue of the journal includes several selected articles that focus on diverse topics, such as collaboration between practice and an academic institution in researching curtain walls, use of parametric tools for architectural programming, data-driven urban modeling, effects of urban microclimates on buildings’ energy consumption, and the development of a database for comparison of building materials data.
The intention of the conference was to increase visibility of current architectural research, practice-led and from the academy, and begin to form collaborative alliances that will result in wider implementation of research results, improved design practices and outcomes, increased funding opportunities for architectural research, and significant impacts on the society and built environment.