(Project description coming soon...)


Bio Quotidian is a collection of additively-manufactured everyday objects made with ubiquotous, simple, and equitable biomaterial blends able to outperform current synthetic composites, biodegrade without trace, and approach a new era of non-toxic products to all segments of society.

Credits: DumoLab Research, Weitzman School of Design, University of Pennsylvania.

Principal Investigators: Laia Mogas-Soldevila
Project Team: Isabelle Lee, Abby Weinstein


With the construction industry being one of the leading contributors to annual carbon dioxide emissions and waste production, the utilization of sustainable materials is critical for the future of the built environment. Therefore, this research explores using sand as primary support by combining structural and material optimization methods. The main objective of this research was to go beyond a compression-only material and invent a new composition of material using natural sources with both compression and tensile capacity.

postcard advertising the exhibition featuring modern architecture

In the Spring 2022 Semester, 14 graduate students in historic preservation and architecture at the Weitzman School of Design addressed the thorny issues surrounding the conservation of modern built heritage.

Already number TEN, Pressing Matters X is a special issue reflecting a year of reflection and change, after several waves of the pandemic, Black Lives Matter protests and newly developed hybrid teaching methods. It follows last year’s Pressing Matters 9 that was completely rethought with the aim to present an Open-Source publication that shares the Department of Architecture’s concept of design-research, an integral approach of critical thinking, rigorous research, and design, representing a deep understanding of the complex layers of architecture.

Title page of the report.

The goal of historic preservation is frequently framed as “managing change” of historic buildings and places. With increasing regularity, the notion of how the historic preservation field “manages change” of its own practices, assumptions, institutions, and policies has been raised. What kinds of change do preservationists have in mind? What gaps exist between current practices and the exigencies of the moment (or the future)?

Pressing Matters 9

Looking back, this was a special and difficult year, a year in which we taught half of the spring semester online due to COVID-19, and we were challenged to change the way we think, operate, and communicate. It was also a year in which we learned valuable lessons and often got closer to each other.

Simulating the architecture of different cellular materials in nature using PGS technique; the force and form diagrams of a strut-based cellular (a,b), a polyhedron cellular (e,f), and a shellular (i,j) unit-cell designed by PGS. The 3D aggregation of the force diagrams (c,g,k) results in different kinds of triply periodic cellular materials (d,h,l).

Assistant Professor of Architecture Masoud Akbarzadeh was the principal investigator of research published in the journal, Advanced Functional Materials with an impact factor of 18.81.

cover of St Thomas Resilience Plan report

The crystal-clear waters that surround Saint Thomas characterize its beauty, history, and the locals’ connection to the land; however, a changing climate resulting in sea level rise, increased storm activity, drought and saltwater intrusion are threats to the island’s assets and economic activity. St. Thomas’ location within “hurricane alley” triggers a precarious cycle of storm damage and recovery.

cover of Poplar Point studio book

Urban resilience is the capacity of individuals, communities, institutions, businesses, and systems within a city to survive, adapt, and thrive no matter what kinds of chronic stresses and acute shocks they experience. For this Fall 2021 University of Pennsylvania studio course, thirteen Master of City Planning students, with the guidance of adjunct faculty Nando Micale and Danielle Lake, sought to rethink systems that create resiliency as they envisioned a future for Poplar Point in Washington, DC.

cover of Future of the City report

This  report  was  produced  in  the  Fall  2021  “Future  of  the  City”  Studio  group  that  was  comprised of Master of City Planning Students at the Weitzman School of Design of the University of Pennsylvania. 

Ali Rahim, professor of architecture and director of the MSD-AAD program, and Hina Jamelle, senior lecturer in architecture and director of urban housing, take on the theme of Impact in the September 2020 issue of Architectural Design (Volume 90, Issue 5).