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Labs + Centers

BE is home to more than a dozen interdisciplinary labs and centers focused on finding innovative solutions to complex problems. Explore below to learn more about the innovative work we are doing and the products that come from our collaborations.

Carbon Leadership Forum

Carbon Leadership Forum

The Carbon Leadership Forum (CLF) is an industry-academic collaborative research effort. CLF is working to link the rigor of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) based carbon accounting to industry best practices in order to enable quantifiable reduction to the environmental impact of the built environment. Its research is focused on developing the data, analysis, and standards needed to accurately predict, report, and reduce the carbon impact of building materials and products. Recent projects include: developing North American standards to report LCA results of concrete (Product Category Rules); testing whole building LCA and the LEED green building rating system; and integrating seismic and environmental performance metrics for high performance buildings.

Center for Asian Urbanism

Center for Asian Urbanism

The Center for Asian Urbanism was established to promote and undertake interdisciplinary and collaborative research of urban conditions and processes in Asia and the “Global Pacific” – i.e. the relevancies of cities and city-regions in Asia to each other, to the Pacific Northwest of the U.S., and to the world at large. Specifically, the Center integrates research and action-oriented activities in the field to develop new knowledge and inform policy, decision-making, and professional development. It provides a platform locally and internationally for critical discussion of urban issues in Asia and beyond.

Center for Education and Research in Construction (CERC)

Center for Education and Research in Construction (CERC)

The Center for Education and Research in Construction (CERC) is a locus of research, scholarship and discovery in the UW’s Department of Construction Management and allied disciplines of architecture, engineering and real estate. Focused on the people and practices of a dynamic, innovative construction industry, CERC develops new concepts and innovative solutions as well as improves methodologies for design, construction and operations. With labs focused on Safety and Health, Project Delivery and Management, Virtual Design and Construction, Infrastructure Development, and Sustainable Built Environments, the CERC faculty are not only experts and researchers in a wide array of topics, but also lead the field in translating that expertise into excellent construction education practices and pedagogy to train tomorrow’s construction professionals.

Design Machine Group

Design Machine Group

Design Machine Group (DMG) is a collaborative research studio aimed at exploring, fostering, and developing ideas that will shape the future of design and information technology. The lab serves as the primary home of students in the MS in Architecture Program in Design Computing.

Green Futures Research and Design Lab

Green Futures Research and Design Lab

Green Futures Lab is dedicated to supporting interdisciplinary research and design that advances our understanding of, visions for, and design of a vital and ecologically sustainable public realm. Its goal is to develop green infrastructure solutions within a local and global context. Working with the University of Washington, local communities, and international partners, the lab provides planning, design, and education for healthy, equitably accessible, and regenerative urban and ecological systems.

Howard S. Wright Neighborhood Design/Build Studio

Howard S. Wright Neighborhood Design/Build Studio
The Howard S. Wright Neighborhood Design/Build Studio is an award-winning studio offered by the Department of Architecture at the University of Washington where students design and build small community projects for Seattle-area nonprofit groups. Architecture graduates and undergraduates in their final year gain experience with clients, public agencies, material and assembly details, and hands-on construction while working to benefit people in the greater community. The studio receives funding from the Dept. of Neighborhoods, local business community, and the Howard S. Wright Endowment fund.

Informal Urban Communities Initiatives (IUCI)

Informal Urban Communities Initiatives (IUCI)
The IUCI is a design activism, research and education program based in Peru and expanding to Nepal this coming year. It focuses on the design, implementation and assessment of community-driven interventions in the built environment and places particular emphasis on the integrated, interdisciplinary design of distributed infrastructure and public space. The IUCI aims to improve human and environmental health and well-being, to build the capacity of designers and other professionals to work effectively with marginalized urban communities and to gather evidence that informs best practices in these contexts.

Institute for Hazards Mitigation Planning and Research

Institute for Hazards Mitigation Planning and Research

The Institute for Hazards Mitigation Planning and Research is dedicated to integrating hazards mitigation principles into a wide range of crisis, disaster, and risk management opportunities. Its mission is to build a resource center that will enhance risk reduction and resilience activities through research and analysis of hazards, policies related to mitigation, and outreach to the community. The Institute provides expertise in disaster preparedness, response, and recovery with a special emphasis on mitigation and planning in the promotion of community sustainability. It is interdisciplinary in focus and structure, and the capabilities of the Institute are enhanced by its close relationship with other academic and research organizations. This incorporates collaboration with several other disciplines within the University of Washington.

Integrated Design Lab

Integrated Design Lab

The Integrated Design Lab (IDL) carries out research to advance knowledge and policies that support the healthiest and highest performing buildings and cities. Its performance research includes energy efficiency, daylighting, electric lighting, occupant energy use behavior, human health and productivity in buildings, and advanced building management systems. The IDL transfers findings of its research through guidance and technical assistance to leading building industry partners. As consultants to project teams across North America, the IDL provides guidance through its advanced modeling and monitoring capabilities in building energy use, integrated lighting, daylighting, heating, ventilating, and air conditioning systems. These advanced design and engineering skills are transferred to its building industry partners through the delivery of radically more sustainable buildings and communities.

Landscape Architecture Design/Build

Landscape Architecture Design/Build
The program, developed in 1995 by Professor Daniel Winterbottom is offered to undergraduate and graduate students in landscape architecture and related fields. Our design/build studio format accomplishes two goals. First, it provides an alternative design process, in which thinking and making are integrated as interrelated components. Second, the resulting project provides an amenity for a community in need. Through our program we seek to develop skills in four main areas: the relationship between thinking and making, collaboration, communication skills and a returning of a benefit to the community. This process is collaborative; building becomes a social as well as a physical art. Students become a team, bringing ideas to fruition, cooperatively in the shared act of building.

Northwest Center for Livable Communities

Northwest Center for Livable Communities

The mission of the Northwest Center is to enhance the livability of communities in the Pacific Northwest through applied research and outreach in the areas of land use planning, policy, and design; healthy communities; food security; and public participation and democracy. It is a research and policy center focused on issues of environmental and economic sustainability, quality of life, and responsible governance–using Washington state as a model. The Center operates from the belief that the university should, in cooperation with state agencies, local governments, and community leaders, seek to improve existing social and environmental conditions through research and innovative policy development. It advocates development strategies that focus on:
• smart and efficient land use
• strong communities
• high-wage, low waste jobs and economic development
• public participation and accountability in government

Runstad Center for Real Estate Studies

Runstad Center for Real Estate Studies

The Runstad Center for Real Estate Studies at the University of Washington offers a rigorous interdisciplinary real estate education that engages the industry, explores its theories and history, and conducts research to discover and advance practical solutions to challenges facing the built environment. The Runstad Center is preparing tomorrow’s real estate leaders today by offering students an education that values quality and sustainability.

SHARE Lab

SHARE Lab

SHARE Lab (Safety and Health Advancement through Research and Education Laboratory) embarks on innovative research that promotes the wellbeing of construction taskforce and/or reduces occupational injuries and illnesses for the construction industry. Example research projects completed at the lab include: sensor based physiological status monitoring on construction workers, video gaming development for the training and education of construction safety, information communication technology for field safety inspection, machine-learning based solutions for retrieving and classifying safety resources, and Total Worker Health.

Storefront Studio

Storefront Studio
Beginning as a graduate design studio, operating out of a vacant storefront on a beleaguered shopping street near campus, the studio has gone on to do work on the ‘forgotten’ American Main Streets of small communities throughout King County including; White Center, Auburn, Renton, and Skyway. Kent and Des Moines are scheduled for the following year. Before the first Storefront closed, the second community was offering funding. There is now a waiting list. An examination of the success of this architecture studio focuses on the confluence of three related innovations; digital tools, studio location, and sustained duration.

Urban Ecology Research Lab

Urban Ecology Research Lab

The Urban Ecology Research Laboratory (UERL) is an interdisciplinary team of UW researchers and Ph.D. students studying cities as urban ecosystems. The lab studies urban landscapes as hybrid phenomena that emerge from the interactions between human and ecological processes, and the interactions between urban development and ecosystem dynamics. Specific areas of research include: complexity and resilience in coupled natural and human systems, urban landscape patterns and ecosystem function, urban ecosystem management, modeling land cover change, adaptation, and scenario planning. The UERL assists planners, decision makers and non-governmental organizations in making informed decisions about urban development in a rapidly changing environment.

Urban Form Lab

Urban Form Lab

The Urban Form Lab (UFL) aims to affect policy and to support approaches to the design and planning of more livable environments, with a specialty in geospatial analyses of the built environment using multiple micro-scale data in Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Current research includes the development of novel GIS routines for performing spatial inventories and analyses of the built environment, and of spatially explicit sampling techniques. Projects address such topics as land monitoring, neighborhood and street design, active transportation, non-motorized transportation safety, physical activity, and access to food environments.

Urban Infrastructure Lab

Urban Infrastructure Lab

The Urban Infrastructure Lab (UIL) brings together students and faculty across numerous disciplines with a shared interest in the planning, governance, finance, design, development, economics, and environmental effects of infrastructure. The interests of the UIL span the systems critical to economic and social well-being, such as energy, water, health, transportation, education, and communications. Across these sectors, UIL studies integrate empirical and applied methods of research to discover the means to obtain long-run objectives, such as decarbonization, resilience, and information security through decisions made today.