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Practice-Based Research: Colin Booth

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Colin Booth
strategic director, Placetailor

Panel discussion
4:00 pm - 5:30 pm EDT
Finance + Operations

How do you define practice-based research?
For the AEC industry, practice-based research means an effort to solve a problem identified in real life projects, with the explicit goal of utilizing these invaluable experiments that we call "projects" to systematically drive progress in the built environment, and further the efficacy of designers. Practice-based research is the formalization of our best, broadest intentions, and our vehicle for impactful, global solutions.

What is the biggest barrier to practice-based research?
Our biggest barrier is the traditional business model of architecture as solely a service industry. If the financial incentives lay squarely in solving only the specific challenges of the project, there is little incentive to drive the sort of progress across the industry that we really need. There are plenty of examples outside our industry for capturing the true value of design, and leveraging IP to drive innovation.

What is the value of practice-based research?
The greatest intrinsic value of practice-based research is that it promotes the sort of systems-thinking and holistic problem-solving that is required to address the planet's toughest challenges. The world needs design right now to shift from 'solutions for the sake of a project', to 'projects for the sake of proving global solutions'. When architects find the space to step back from projects, and look at the built environment as a whole, the project solutions improve, and our work reorients toward those solutions that solve multiple problems - that are good for both the project and the planet.

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Colin Booth is the Strategic Director of Placetailor, a Boston-based design-build-develop cooperative focused exclusively on Passive House and Zero Emissions workforce housing. With 20 years in design, Colin's expertise is in the integrated design process and integrated delivery models necessary for the rapid adoption of more sustainable solutions.