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Practice-Based Research: Andrea Love AIA


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Andrea Love AIA
principal and director of Building Science, Payette

Panel discussion
10:15 am - 11:45 am EDT
Ownership + Risk

How do you define practice-based research?
I define practice-based research as the targeted endeavors undertaken to better understand reoccurring questions that come up on projects, but that we don’t have time or resources within a project timeline to delve into. Our research projects take these questions and allow us to dig into gaps of industry knowledge to better advance practice’s knowledge and designs. As a practice-based research, as opposed to academic research, we have found that the sweet spot of where we best fit into the research landscape is in applied research projects.

What is the biggest barrier to practice-based research?
The biggest barrier is time. Because research at Payette leverages staff whom also have project and other obligations, the biggest challenge we face, particularly over the last few years when everyone has been very busy, is being able to carving time to work on research projects.

What is the value of practice-based research?
Practice-based research allows us to advance firm and industry knowledge. Practice based research enabling us to design better buildings. It enables us to answer questions that come up in design, but that we do not have time to in the traditional design timeline to answer. By doing practice-based research we can better understand these issues and benefit designs going forward.

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As a Building Scientist, Andrea’s interests are in pushing the performance and minimizing the environmental impact of her projects. She also enjoys building the firm’s knowledge and intuition about sustainability through research endeavors and project explorations.

At Payette, Andrea works across projects to bring rigor to the performance of projects. She integrates performance modeling tools into Payette’s design process at the very beginning to inform and push designs. Additionally, she leads a number of internal research projects, and was the Principal Investigator on the 2012 AIA Upjohn Research Initiative-funded “Thermal Performance of Facades,” a research project focused on thermal bridging. She also leads the firm’s efforts on the AIA 2030 Commitment, tracking and benchmarking the performance of projects across the firm.

Andrea received a Master of Science in Architecture Studies in Building Technology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she was the recipient of the Tucker-Voss Award and focused her thesis on the thermal performance of facades. She is also a Lecturer at MIT in the Department of Architecture’s Building Technology group where she teaches a class on building envelope performance. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for the USGBC Massachusetts Chapter, as well as the national USGBC Chapter Steering Committee and Education Steering Committee, and is a member of the COTE Advisory Group to the Board.