Inside Rensselaer
* School of Architecture Launches Center for Architecture Science and Ecology
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(l-r) NYC Councilman Jim Gennaro, CASE Director Anna Dyson, NYSERDA’s Peter Douglas ’78, President Shirley Ann Jackson, SOM Technical Partner Carl Galioto, Acting Dean of Architecture Mark Mistur, and Vice President for Institute Advancement Robert Schlesinger celebrated the CASE launch.
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School of Architecture Launches Center for Architecture Science and Ecology School of Architecture Launches Center for Architecture Science and Ecology
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One research area that CASE is focusing on is “Next Generation High-Efficiency Solar Power Systems for Building Envelopes.” The Integrated Concentrating (IC) Solar Facade System is a building integrated photovoltaic system that takes a dramatically different approach than existing building integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) or concentrating PV technologies to provide electrical power, thermal energy, enhanced daylighting and reduced solar gain.
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School of Architecture Launches Center for Architecture Science and Ecology
On Nov. 14, Rensselaer’s School of Architecture and renowned architecture firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill officially launched the Center for Architecture Science and Ecology (CASE). The launch event took place on the 52nd floor of Seven World Trade Center, designed by SOM, the first building in North America designed under the LEED Core and Shell criteria.

Headquartered at SOM’s offices on Wall Street in lower Manhattan, CASE is an innovative collaboration that engages scientists, engineers, and architects from the professional and academic worlds toward a common goal of redefining how we build sustainable cities and environments.

Rensselaer’s School of Architecture has framed its advanced degree program in Built Ecologies, focused on the development of new building strategies with an emphasis on energy-efficiency and sustainability, around the CASE. Approximately 15 master’s and doctoral degree candidates share residency between the Rensselaer campus and the CASE offices, working alongside building professionals and postdoctoral researchers as they develop projects and thesis topics tied to specific building challenges.

“Tackling the global challenges of sustainability and energy security requires a commitment to innovation, to inquiry, and to cross-disciplinary collaboration,” said President Jackson. “Through the development of innovative systems and materials that will shift building performance toward sustainable and energy self-sufficient models, researchers at the Center for Architecture Science and Ecology will demonstrate to the world the power that lies at the nexus of art, design, science, and technology. Two leaders with long histories of innovation in their fields — Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill — will work together to create ecologically sustainable design through cutting-edge technological experimentation and architectural work.”

CASE researchers already are developing innovative solutions to environmental challenges, including a new way to harness wind power atop aerodynamically shaped buildings, which could yield 150 percent greater efficiency than existing wind power systems; a new solar technology for windows that tracks the position of the sun and converts its light and diverted heat into storable energy that can be used for heating, cooling, and lighting buildings; and an architectural method to aid in the conservation of potable and non-potable water in hot and arid regions where rainfall is scarce. The launch included a gallery exhibition of innovative sustainable building systems research at CASE.

“The most meaningful performative design innovations will be achieved by collaboration between the leaders in academic research and transdisciplinary professional practice,” said SOM Technical Partner Carl Galioto. “Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and SOM have come together to create the environment which will advance building science to the forefront of creative endeavors.”
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Inside Rensselaer
Volume 2, Number 20, December 5, 2008
©2008 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
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