EskewDumezRipple Research Fellowship 2020-21

Context EskewDumezRipple is a design firm with deep roots in its home city of New Orleans, but practicing nationally and internationally. Winner of the AIA Firm Award, their built work has been honored by over 100 local, regional, national, and international awards for design excellence and environmental performance. We invest heavily in our community and in research.

Program Overview The EDR Research Fellowship program allows talented individuals—typically recent graduates of design professional educational programs—to explore fundamental questions around the development of better buildings and cities while embedded in a firm committed to excellence in design and performance.  Each year, EDR Research Fellows are challenged to focus on a particular area of inquiry, unconstrained by day-to-day project deliverables, but with the opportunity to interact with and affect the course of ongoing work. They also share what they have learned with the firm and with the profession nationally through publications and conferences.

Previous years have focused on topics of 

  • Building performance
  • Resilience 
  • Community engagement 
  • Health in the built environment
  • Performative landscapes as urban spaces
  • Building envelopes
  • The impact of visual and auditory perception on architecture
  • Paths to carbon neutrality in building construction & operation

2020-21 Theme Wood: Past and Future. Wood is the only commonly used building material made by the Sun. Since trees use sunshine to draw carbon dioxide from the air—converting it into sugar and structure—the act of building with wood can be an act of carbon sequestration, and support architecture’s response to the climate crisis. 

Beyond advantages in sequestering carbon, wood is aesthetically beautiful. There are few things more striking in architectural design than large swathes of wood left unadorned—“nature’s fingerprint” embedded. 

However, not all wood is created equal: harvesting wood from poorly managed forests can result in huge net emissions from mishandled waste and soil loss. 

This Fellowship will be a deep dive on what makes for “good wood” vs “bad wood,” how architects can use wood in new ways (including mass timber assemblies such as CLT, NLT, and DLT), practical responses to the common challenges faced by wood (termites! water! fire! differential expansion!), and a look ahead to next generation biologically-based low-carbon alternatives to conventional concrete and insulation.