Imagine Grants Fund Faculty Research Around the World

From Swahili public squares to trend forecasting to culturally-inclusive historic preservation, our faculty are conducting design research to enhance their teaching and advance their fields. This spring, sixteen College of Design faculty received grants from the University’s Imagine Fund, which supports innovative research and scholarship in the arts, humanities, and design. Read on for project descriptions.

Greg Donofrio Image.jpg

Market Values: The History and Preservation of Food Distribution

Greg Donofrio (Architecture) will continue production on his first book, Market Values, expected later this year through the University of Minnesota Press. Market Values will contribute new knowledge about urban renewal, food systems planning, and historic preservation; and explore how government-sponsored urban renewal dramatically reconfigured the geography of the food system. These projects led to major food- related social and economic disparities – such as food deserts – that planners and public health experts are now seeking to mitigate or reverse.


Study Swahili Public Squares

Arthur Chen (Architecture) will hire a graduate assistant to work on the info-tech, database, and graphics, and tabulate information for his research on Swahili public squares. Chen’s project is investigating the typology and morphology of public squares in order to define an archetypal understanding of everyday life of public squares and identify physical attributes for public space design. The project focuses three East African World Heritage Cities in Mozambique, Zanzibar, and Lamu.

Design and Social Equity

Kristine Miller (Landscape Architecture) will develop a book manuscript draft on environmental design and equity. Design has the power to represent ideas, imagine futures, and transform systems and places. Asking whether a particular design is equitable means asking who benefits and who does not. Miller’s book will highlight the points in design decisions where practitioners can shift a project’s direction and focus to create more equitable outcomes.

Ozayr Saloojee Image 3.jpgExperience Design Through Retail Environment

Hyunjoo Im (Retail Merchandising)

Communicating Fashion, Trend Research, and Forecasting

Marilyn DeLong (Apparel Design) will write the undergraduate textbook Communicating Fashion, Trend Research and Forecasting and develop a hybrid online / offline course with Dr. Gozde Goncu Berk (University of Istanbul) and Dr. Kelly Gage (Saint Catherine University). The book will examine how trends emerge and diffuse in the fashion industry at the global level, featuring case studies and interviews by scholars and professionals from countries such as China, India, Turkey, and Brazil.

Archival and Field Research on the Architecture of Rudolf Schwartz

Ozayr Saloojee (Architecture) will complete the final phase of a
book manuscript on Eliel Saarinen’s Christ Church Lutheran, which is
considered one of the most formative church buildings of the 20th
century. Saloojee will travel to Aachen and Düren, Germany to photograph
and draw churches designed by Rudolph Schwartz, one of Saarinen’s
strongest influences, in order to situate Saarinen’s Christ Church
Lutheran as part of a broader arc of religious and sacred architecture.
He’ll also conduct research in the archives at RWTH Aachen University.

A Wood Engraving Print Series and Book Project

James Boyd Brent (Graphic Design)


The Art of Daylighting Design: Masters of Light Case Study Research 

Mary Guzowski (Architecture) will conduct research for a new book, The Art of Daylighting Design: Masters of Light, which will explore how daylighting creates meaningful architectural experiences while promoting sustainable design. Guzowski will use case study interviews, narratives, photography, and design diagrams to demonstrate how contemporary “Master Architects” use natural light to achieve poetic and experiential design intentions while meeting the highest energy and programmatic standards.


L’Aqua Alta: A Photography Exhibition Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the 1966 Florence Flood

John Comazzi (Architecture) will develop a photography exhibition commemorating the 50th anniversary of the 1966 flood in Florence, Italy as documented by Balthazar Korab – one the most prolific and celebrated architecture photographers of the twentieth century.

Mapping Joy and Pain: A New Chapter

Rebecca Krinkle (Landscape Architecture) will expand her 2010 temporary public art-design project, “Unseen/Seen: The Mapping of Joy and Pain.” The original project gave the public an opportunity to map where in the Twin Cities they had experienced joy and pain. In collaboration with the University’s Borchert Map Library, Krinkle will hire a research assistant to move the project online, creating a poetic interface to engage a broader audience to add to the map.

Preserving America’s Diverse Cultural Resources

(Architecture) will continue research for her book Preserving
Cultural Diversity in America, which will identify policies and
practices that foster culturally inclusive approaches to historic
preservation based on her experience leading local, state, and national
efforts. Dubrow will conduct interviews with established and emerging
leaders and travel to selected historic properties for archival
research, field documentation, and to assess the current status of
preservation action.


Regenerative Design: Learning from Malmo and Hammerby

Richard Graves (CSBR) will visit Malmo and Hammerby, Sweden, two of the most sustainable community designs created in the last 20 years, to investigate and document design models that foster engagement and generate excitement around regenerative development. His research will explore how technologies be designed not only to perform, but to inspire; and how great design can empower people to transform their communities.

Seeing the World through Design: The Journeys of Professor Gertrude Esteros

Becky Yust (Housing Studies) will document how the world travels of Dr. Gertrude Esteros influenced her academic career long before current initiatives to internationalize curriculum. As head of the Department of Design from 1949 to 1980, Esteros traveled throughout the world to experience human environments, then used her experiences to enhance her courses and understand the backgrounds of her international graduate students. Yust will conduct interviews with Esteros and curate her travel slides to create a visual document to distribute to her former colleagues and students and the design community.


Dutch Complex Housing Exhibit

Julia Robinson (Architecture) will hire a research assistant to develop an exhibit of her research on Dutch complex housing, to take place in Fall 2016. The exhibit will draw from interviews with architects and developers, documentation of the housing in photographs, and architectural and analytical drawings to explain the principles that Dutch architects and urban designers apply to complex housing.


Sustainable Material Futures in Architecture 

Blaine Brownell (Architecture) will attend Expo Milan 2015, an annual showcase of new building technologies from around the world. This year’s expo will focus on food and nutrition, featuring technologies based on renewable agricultural resources. Brownell will further his research on this topic for a future book.

Research Practices: Understanding the Role of Research in Designing and Building Architecture 

Renee Cheng (Architecture) will interview key people in eight architectural and construction firms known for their strong research cultures, to inform her teaching and advance her expertise on research in practice. Future work would include interviews with firms based in EU and Asia; resulting articles, presentations, and a possible book proposal.