Graduate and undergraduate studios and seminars partner with community and government organizations to address complex environmental problems, providing innovative design solutions and moving partner projects toward reality. Some of our recent partners include:
Rockford Housing Authority, Rockford, Illinois
Friends of the Parks, Chicago, Illinois
Student Sustainable Farm, University of Illinois, Champaign, Illinois
STeP UP, São Tomé and Príncipe, West Africa
Friends of the Observatory, University of Illinois Observatory, Urbana, Illinois
Olivette Park Neighborhood Association, East St. Louis, Illinois
Orpheum Children’s Science Museum, Champaign, Illinois
Action Research Illinois is the outreach program of the College of Fine and Applied Arts. It enables students and faculty to work on real-world projects addressing the immediate and long-term needs of community partners. Using a three-course sequence, with service learning and action research at its core, students address social justice, human and environmental sustainability, and development in underserved communities.
FAA291 – Civic Engagement Seminar is a one-credit course designed to introduce students to community development practices using a participatory approach.
FAA391 – Action Research Seminar is a three-credit course applying action research methods with partner organizations in the local communities.
FAA491 – Community Based Arts Project Management is a three or four-credit course introducing student to strategies and skill sets necessary to lead and manage a successful community-based project in the arts, design or planning.
The Solar Decathlon is a prestigious biennial competition sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy that challenges twenty teams of college and university students selected from around the world to design and build energy efficient, fully solar powered homes. The Decathlon gets its name from the 10 specific areas of competition: architecture, market viability, engineering, lighting design, communications, comfort zone, hot water, appliances, home entertainment, and net metering.The team that finishes the week of competition with the most points wins. Visit the DOE's Contests and Scoring page for more details on each category.
The United States has hosted 5 competitions since the inaugural competition in 2002. The University of Illinois has been selected as one of the twenty teams, and has developed an entry four times since 2007. The Illinois Department of Architecture students and faculty have played a major role in a collaborative effort with other University departments to design, develop, construct, and compete.
Not only has the University of Illinois, and The Illinois School of Architecture competed, but have frequently ranked at the top of the competition, having been awarded the first place US overall team in 2007.
Currently, students from The Illinois School of Architecture is participating and competing in the competition hosted by China's National Energy Administration and the U.S. Department of Energy.
In 2007, the Spanish and U.S. governments signed a memorandum of understanding to create Solar Decathlon Europe, a complementary competition to the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon. Spain hosted the first two of these competitions in 2010 and 2012. In 2011, China expands the international roots of Solar Decathlon to Asia by signing the Solar Decathlon China (SD China) Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with U.S. Department of Energy and will host its first competition during the summer of 2013. The competition is hosted by China’s National Energy Administration and the U.S. Department of Energy, and is organized by Peking University. The first Solar Decathlon China has entries from all areas of the world including Australia, Belgium, Egypt, England, Iran, Israel, Malaysia, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and the United States.
In August of 2013, each team will transport their home to Datong, China where it will be judged on its performance in 10 categories: architecture, market appeal, engineering, communications, solar application, comfort zone, hot water, appliances, home entertainment, and energy balance. Open to the public, the event will attract hundreds thousands visitors as well as international media attention. Datong has sited the competition at the center of a world-class city compound of iconic cultural buildings and parks.
The University of Illinois is a land grant institution with a history of conducting research that is grounded in real world challenges and situations. The Building Research Council (BRC) is the research unit of the School of Architecture at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign campus. Its mission is to help improve the quality of housing and the built environment in the United States, through research, public service, education, and publications. For more than 50 years, the BRC has maintained programs designed to help all participants in the building industry who are interested in improving building design, energy efficiency, and the construction of high performance buildings. This includes, but is not limited to, small business owners, farmers, architects, engineers, contractors, builders, manufacturers, and housing consumers. Over the years, BRC researchers have conducted numerous site visits, provided on-site technical assistance, and trainings along with a Congressional Study and Housing Energy Cost and Usage Study in Indian Country.
Currently the BRC, in partnership with State of Illinois Energy Office, is engaged in an applied research demonstration addressing energy innovation for small and medium-sized Public Housing Authorities (PHA) with multi-family units though a grant from HUD’s Office of Multifamily Housing Programs. This demonstration represents an innovative public-private partnership model introducing tools that can be used in the PHA energy efficient retrofit market and be replicated across all multifamily buildings not only in Illinois, but throughout the nation.