Press Room

Stefan Al and Andrew Saunders Awarded URF Grants

Penn’s Office of the Vice Provost for Research has awarded Stefan Al, Associate Professor of Urban Design in the Department of City and Regional Planning, and Andrew Saunders, Associate Professor of Architecture, competitive grants from the University Research Foundation (URF).

Stefan Al will analyze existing high-density urban blocks in order to propose urban design guidelines to shape rapidly developing Asian cities in a sustainable way.  His proposal, Sustainable Urban Form: A Comparative Analysis of Asian High-Density Blocks, looks at how a deeper understanding of urban form can contribute to creating sustainable cities by informing new master plans and building regulations. Working with one undergraduate and one graduate research assistant, Professor Al will spend twelve months collecting data, building environmental simulation models, and developing case studies—all of which will explore high-density urban form that promotes a high quality life, equitable public realm, and optimal environmental performance.

Andrew Saunders’ proposal, Baroque Topologies:  Digital Analysis of the Latent Topological Structure of Baroque Architecture, explores how emerging technology—including high-resolution 3D digital scanning and printing—provide unprecedented access to Baroque architecture’s formal complexities, intricate detail, and deep topological structure.  Professor Saunders will complete field research in Rome and Turin, Italy documenting the most significant Baroque works, and ultimately publish a digital archive of his analysis, including high-resolution 3D scans and parametric models. This archive will be an extremely valuable worldwide resource for advancing contemporary teaching and research of the Italian Baroque, since no such digital archive currently exists.

The URF offers limited support on a competitive basis for investigative research projects and scholarly conferences. It provides up to $50,000 in project support to junior faculty undertaking pilot projects to launch their investigative careers and established faculty developing preliminary data on novel or pioneering ideas to support extramural applications.