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Perkins+Will Partners to Win Latrobe Prize from AIA College of Fellows

Woodbury University’s Arid Lands Institute Leads Drylands Resilience Initiative

Perkins+Will, an interdisciplinary, research-based architecture and design firm and a global leader in sustainable design, is proud to be part of the winning research team for the 2015 Latrobe Prize, awarded biennially by the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Architects (AIA). The prize includes a research grant of $100,000 given over a two-year period and is intended to broaden the perspective and scope of architecture and to encourage cross-disciplinary research.

The collaborative research effort, led by the Arid Lands Institute (ALI) of Woodbury University in Burbank, Calif., centers on the development and testing of a proprietary digital design tool known as “Hazel” that aims to enable arid communities to design and build the infrastructure needed to capture, retain and distribute stormwater runoff. The engineering firm Arup and the City of Los Angeles are also members of the study team. Perkins+Will will have a lead role in the testing phase for “Hazel,” with both in-house trials and structured workshops for design teams working on demonstration sites, primarily from the Los Angeles office. The firm will also collect feedback and offer suggestions for enhancing the tool’s interface, performance, and outputs for the broader marketplace.

Perkins+Will’s collaboration with ALI was an outgrowth of an annual firmwide competition. Conceived by the Los Angeles office of Perkins+Will in the fall of 2014, the competition had 40 teams develop design concepts for a new water resource center for ALI. "Obviously, water is always at the top of our minds for projects in Los Angeles, even before the current drought began further decimating the region’s water resources,” says Leigh Christy, AIA, LEED, AP, Associate Principal for Perkins+Will in Los Angeles and one of the firm’s two principal investigators on the Latrobe Prize project. “The implications of the research to be funded by the Latrobe Prize are global in reach. These resources will be invaluable in helping to make ‘Hazel’ into a robust tool that will eventually allow all architects and designers to help clients and communities better manage their precious water resources.”

The project also continues the firm’s tradition of engaging in research that elevates the state of practice. “Perkins+Will is proud to partner with Arid Lands Institute, Arup, and the City of Los Angeles,” says Perkins+Will Director of Research John Haymaker, Ph.D., AIA, LEED AP, the second principal investigator from the firm. “We believe that multidisciplinary collaborations between academia and industry are the most strategic way to meet some of the daunting challenges faced by the design profession. The tools and methods developed in this project will provide an important focus on water that complements and integrates with ongoing research Perkins+Will is conducting in energy, healthy materials, human performance and healing, building technologies, design processes, resiliency, and regenerative design.”

About Perkins+Will’s Research Program
Perkins+Will is dedicated to innovation and the advancement of design through original research and collaboration. The firm believes that it can improve the performance of our buildings and the health of our environment by taking a more in-depth look at the issues facing the design profession. The firm’s research group is led by Director of Research John Haymaker and includes a fellowship program and partnerships with academic and research institutions. In November of 2011, Perkins+Will launched a new nonprofit organization, AREA Research, for the purpose of advancing design through dedicated research. The formation of this organization represents a commitment to continued long-term research efforts by Perkins+Will.