M. Bechthold delivered a keynote at the 2014 Bergamo, Italy, Science Festival, speaking about the relationship between science and design. He will be giving his next keynote at the IconARCH conference in Konya, Turkey, in November.
The following is an excerpt from the article published in the IconARCH proceedings:
Research in Architecture?
Individuals without connections to the building industry are often surprised to hear that research indeed exists in our field. What one could possibly be working on is equally unclear to outsiders, much in contrast to fields such as engineering or medicine where research is widely assumed to be fundamental to progress. There is more understanding of building related research in the University setting, where colleagues from other disciplines expect those affiliated with departments of architecture, landscape architecture or urban design and planning to be scholarly engaged.
At Harvard University I am engaged with a broad range of research projects and topics, most of which are connected through their pursuit of material systems and innovation. Conducted in the context of the Material Processes and Systems (MaPS) group, and often collaborating with Prof. Sayegh’s Responsive Environments and Artifacts (REAL) group, our work is different from yet related to material science, refers to industrial process engineering as much as to chemistry and building physics. It operates on dramatically different scales, from the nano-scale to the scale of the city, with outcomes that range from prototypes and pilot project to patents and papers. Most importantly, however, the work has led to the development of methods that accelerate the rate of innovation and our quest for novelty, ultimately geared towards advancing the built environment to a more sustainable future. This article puts forward several aspects of this work in a provocative, polemical manner as food for thought, not as a literal recipe for success.
Please refer to the full paper for further reading.