Faculty and students of the Notre Dame School of Architecture strive to engage in impactful research that addresses the critical challenges of our time and has a positive effect in shaping the built and natural environment, creating a better future.

Using inquiry methods including archeology, historical and theoretical scholarship, digital documentation and reconstruction, evidence-based research, professional practice-based research, and the design process itself, Notre Dame Architecture researchers are combining time-tested techniques with new technologies to arrive at meaningful solutions. Because they engage real world problems, design studio courses are an important extension of this endeavor and can act as a living lab to test new ideas.

Research priorities for the School include Urbanism & HousingTechnology & Visualization, Health and Sustainable Built Environment, History & Theory, and Sacred Architecture

Urbanism & Housing

Cayaya Guatemala by Richard Economakis and Studio Urbana

The design of beautiful, durable, resilient towns and cities empowers communities to thrive and meet the challenges presented by rising costs, climate change, and disaster relief.

Notre Dame Architecture faculty are using their skills as researchers and designers to create towns and cities that nurture all inhabitants and prepare them to confront the critical issues of our time.  

The challenges ahead are real and daunting: rising construction costs continue to push housing out of reach for many Americans; climate change has already begun to affect coastal communities; urban centers are unprepared for rapid population growth; and natural disasters and humanitarian crises have displaced millions.

But through the practice of traditional architecture and urbanism, our faculty are shaping the built environment for a better future.  Designing in conversation with stakeholder needs, architectural and urban cultures, and durable materials, the focus is on sustainability, functionality, walkability, and beauty.

Featured Research:

  • New Town of Cayalá, Guatemala - Richard Economakis
  • A Masterplan for 21st-Century Havana, Cuba - Julio Cesar Perez-Hernandez
  • Urban Regeneration of the ZEN District, Palermo, Sicily - Ettore Mazzola

Health & The Sustainable Built Environment

Sonoma Wildfire Cottages by Marianne Cusato

Architects and designers have a responsibility to shape sustainable spaces that promote human and environmental wellbeing.

The future wellbeing of humankind and the planet we inhabit is inextricably tied.  

The accelerating effects of climate change require us to build better.  By measuring, modeling, and analyzing building life cycles, energy demands, thermal properties, and durability, Notre Dame Architecture faculty actively seek to improve sustainability and resilience of the built environment. 

While humans shape the built environment through design, development, and behavior, the built environment in turn has powerful effects on our health and wellbeing.  By studying the complex human factors that both shape and are shaped by the built environment, we can work towards a healthier future for all.

Featured Research:

  • Sustainable Performance of Guttu Building Typology of Southern India - John Onyango
  • Fire-Resistant Urbanism in Mati, Attica, Greece - Michael Lykoudis
  • Rising Sea Levels and Density: A Waterfront Urban Project in Mumbai, India - Krupali Uplekar Krusche
  • The City of the Future: Climate Change and the Great Lakes Region - Douglas Duany
  • Temporary Housing in a Permanent Building: The Early Modern Roman Hospital - David Mayernik 
  • Sustainable, Short-Term Housing for Refugees in the Mediterranean - Richard Economakis 
  • Emergency Housing in Florida Keys and Sonoma County, CA - Marianne Cusato

Technology & Visualization 



Digitization of Parthenon frieze

By investigating technologies of the past and applying innovative tools to today’s big questions, we harness the power of old and new knowledge.

Our faculty investigate and apply technologies old and new to answer big questions.  

Some faculty look to the archeological record and historic texts to recover the construction techniques used to create the world’s most enduring buildings.  Others use laser scanning and point cloud visualization to document and preserve existing heritage sites.  Yet others apply advanced digital graphics and modeling to visualize lost ancient monuments that will never again be seen by humans.

Featured Research:

  • Interpreting Rope Channels: Lifting, Setting and the Birth of Greek Monumental Architecture - Alessandro Pierattini
  • Experiments in Tile Vaulting: a Low-Cost, High-Resilience Solution for the Future - Paolo Vitti
  • Cities in Text: Rome - Selena Anders and Jennifer Parker
  • Woodwork and 3D Model-Making - Robert Brandt 


History & Theory

Domes of Rome skyline

With studies ranging from the origins of the Doric Order to the Gothic Revival to 21st-century design, Notre Dame Architecture faculty are making new discoveries, critically assessing existing modes of thought, and bringing into focus the patterns and differences that order our world. Scholarly engagement with architectural history and theory empowers us to be informed, analytical, critically-minded practitioners and citizens.

Featured Research:

  • The Future of the Past: A Conservation Ethic for Architecture, Urbanism, and Historic Preservation - Steven Semes
  • A New Analysis of the Design and Visual Experience of the Erechtheion on the Athenian Acropolis - Robin Rhodes
  • The Imperfect City: On Architectural Judgment and Architects and Mimetic Rivalry - Samir Younés
  • Rediscovering the Classical City: Architecture, Urban Design, and Restoration in Rome 1750-1871 - Selena Anders

Sacred Architecture

St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City

Whether conducting studies to analyze the evolution of Hindu temple forms or designing contemporary Catholic churches in America, the work of our faculty celebrates the rich human practices of belief and worship.  For many faculty, faith is broadly imbued in their approach to architectural and urban design for the common good. Notre Dame’s strong faith tradition makes its School of Architecture particularly well suited to the study and design of sacred spaces.By designing places of worship and creating urban spaces that support human flourishing, we enrich the spiritual wellbeing of our communities.

Featured research:

  • After Burnham: The Notre Dame Plan of 2109 - Philip Bess
  • Contemporary Catholic Church Design - Duncan Stroik
  • New Catholic Church for Val d'Europe - Johnathan Weatherill
  • Rediscovering the Hindu Temple: The Sacred Architecture and Urbanism of India and Digital Documentation of the Taj Mahal, Roman Forum and Vatican Belvedere Courtyard - Krupali Uplekar Krusche
  • The Architecture of Roman Temples - John Stamper