The School of Architecture’s Integrated Design Research Lab (IDRL) has received two National Science Foundation Innovation Corps (I-Corps) grants to further research in microalgae facades and adaptable solar windows. Each project will receive $50,000 and specialized team training to develop the commercial potential of the technology.
The National Science Foundation (NSF) created the I-Corps grants to help faculty and students "extend their focus beyond the university laboratory and accelerate the economic and societal benefits of NSF-funded, basic-research projects that are ready to move toward commercialization." Both IDRL projects aim to enable conventional building enclosures to produce on-site renewable energy and to reduce building energy consumption.
The team behind the microalgae façade project includes Associate Professor of Architecture Kyoung Hee Kim, director of the IDRL (principal investigator); Chengde Wu, research associate and lecturer in architecture; and Fan Lu, CEO of the Algaen Corporation. The adaptable solar window team includes Assistant Professor of Architecture Catty Dan Zhang (principal investigator), Ph.D. candidate Ok-Kyun Im, and David Crabtree, Corporate, Commercial, and Civic Practice and Design Leader for Perkins + Will - NC.
Both teams have been named to the Summer 2019 I-Corp cohort in New York City and will participate in a seven-week curriculum, July 9-August 23. Subsequent to the training, the teams will seek additional research grants to support 1:1 prototyping and experimentation in accordance with industry standards.
The IDRL microalgae façade project was recently featured in The Architects Newspaper. Learn more here.