Research Labs

In addition to individual faculty research endeavors, the School is home to several research labs. 

BUILD+PERFORM@ND: Building Performance Laboratory

Buildings are the dominant source of energy consumption and environmental emissions, therefore understanding, forecasting and visualizing the end-use energy consumption is important in curbing greenhouse gas emissions. Residential buildings account for approximately 21% of total U.S. energy consumption and housing unit efficiency is a key determinant of home energy use. However, critical knowledge gaps remain surrounding standard energy efficiency practices across the States in the US and globally.  Opportunities exist for reduction in the energy and environmental impacts to both new and existing buildings through energy efficiency, durability of the envelope that will also provide comfortable and healthy indoor environments for the occupants.

Overview: BUILD+PERFORM@ND Research Group uses evidence to promote the design and construction of Sustainable Traditional Buildings that have Zero to Low impacts on the environment. It meets these aspiration by:

  • Engaging in evidence based research that develops and uses innovative building technologies and techniques leading to high performance and low carbon buildings
  • Integrating architecture program by engaging students with Building Energy issues focused on Sustainability
  • Providing coursework that enables students to develop fundamental knowledge and skills needed to work as a design professional focused on sustainability.

Mission Statement: BUILD+PERFORM@ND Lab contributes to the design and constructing of sustainable long lasting and comfortable buildings through coursework and research on traditional architecture.

Tools & Resources: We use the following tools to explore the nexus of energy and building:





Architecture Challenge 2030:

AIA Guide for Integrating Energy Modeling in design Process:

Associated Courses:

ARCH53413–Sustainability & Energy Modeling of Traditional Architecture

ARCH40621– Sustainable Performance in Heritage Architecture

ARCH41121– Architectural Design Studio VI [Non-Western Tradition Studio]


Daedalus Lab for Graphic Visualization

The primary focus of the Daedalus Lab for Graphic Visualization is the analysis and reconstruction of architectural heritage currently in ruins or no longer existing. The graphic language used by the lab embraces and combines both traditional drafting techniques and digital media. Final results are presented in a variety of media such as watercolor, graphite, custom textured 3D models, 3D printing, laser cutting and engraving, video based presentations. One or multiple graphic outputs are selected case by case according to the aims of each individual research project.

Research projects and reconstructions are open to multicultural architectural heritage spanning from ancient Egypt to the Baroque. Projects’ selection depends by the amount and quality of information gathered/available.

Projects currently in development:


Start date

Estimated completion

Guarino Guarini’s unbuilt ecclesiastic designs



The Acropolis in Eleusis: a digital reconstruction

Spring 2019

Spring 2022

Reconstruction of the Parthenon’s North Frieze

Fall 2018

Fall 2020

Watercolor rendition of the Sainte Chappelle’s West Rose Window

Fall 2019

Fall 2020


Completed projects:

The North American Architectural Project. Echo and Vanguard

 (Chapter VI of the Doctoral Dissertation: Evolution of graphic representation in the professional exercise of the architecture projectThe drawing in the craft of architect, image versus sketch

by Fco Xabier Goñi Castañón, Visiting Scholar from the University of Navarra – Spain (Fall 2019 – Doctoral Research Project)


An analysis of the Church of Santa Maria della Provvidenza in Lisbon by Guarino Guarini

by Mary Rzepczynski (Summer 2019 – Student Research Project)


The Acropolis in Eleusis: a digital reconstruction. Part I: The Great Propylaea

by Alex Athenson, Andrea Avelar, BriAna Davidson, John Calvert, Katarzyna Baczynska, MaryGrace Lewis, Metaya Tilahun, Michael DeMaagd Rodriguez, Nastasia Buckley, Samuel Fisher, William Marsh

(Spring 2019 – Elective course: Digital Drafting and 3D Modeling)


Geometry of Faith: a stereotomic reconstruction of Sainte-Anne-la-Royale in Paris by Guarino Guarini

by Giuseppe Mazzone (Fall 2014 – Doctoral Research)


Project I: The Acropolis in Eleusis: a digital reconstruction

Project description:

The project focuses on the reconstruct of the four main buildings on the Acropolis in Eleusis:

         1. The Great Propylaea…….. (Spring 2019)

         2. The Temple of Artemis….. (Spring 2020)

         3. The Lesser Propylaea……. (Spring 2021)

         4. The Telesterion…………... (Spring 2022)

The main reference for the reconstructions are the surveys published in the Unedited Antiquities of Attica (Society of Dilettanti. London, 1817). These graphic information have been critically approached correcting eventual mismatching information between views. The construction promoted by the research is approached “stone by stone” taking in consideration both the architectural and structural layout for each building. Each component in the buildings has been individually modeled. Custom made textures have been realized by hand in watercolor, digitized and applied directly on the three-dimensional models to avoid repetitions while providing a hand-crafted quality to the final models.

The project is an application for a Spring Elective course (Digital Drafting and 3D Modeling) offered in during Spring semesters at the University of Notre Dame. The course is open to both undergraduate students (4th and 5th year) and graduate students. The applications in the course combine  traditional drawings and watercolors with digital modeling, texturing, and animations. At the end of the semester students present their work in a video presentation.    

         Additional structures on the site will be approached after the completion of the Telesterion in Spring 2022.


Selected images/videos:

The audio track in each video has been here disabled in observance of copyright requirements.

         Eleusis 01.mp4 (Ionic Capitals)

         Eleusis 02.mp4 (3D Model of the Propylaea)

         Eleusis 03.png (Ionic Capitals)

         Eleusis 04.png (Handmade Texturing for the Antefissae)

         Eleusis 05.png (3D modeling – Stage 01)

         Eleusis 06.png (3D modeling – Stage 02)

         Eleusis 07.png (3D modeling – Stage 03)

         Eleusis 08.png (Rendered view 01 – Propylaea North side)

         Eleusis 09.png (Rendered view 02 – Indoor view of the Ionic East Porch)

         Eleusis 10.png (Rendered view 03 – Indoor view of the Ionic East Porch)

         Eleusis 11.png (Geometric Analysis of the Doric East Porch)


Project II: Reconstruction of the Parthenon’s North Frieze

Project description:

The graphic reconstruction of the Parthenon’s North Frieze is used as exercise for shades and shadows in graphite for the Freshmen curse: Graphics I – Drawing.

In a span of three weeks, students receive a portion of the frieze to rendered with graphite powder on mylar (a semi-transparent drafting film). The exercise works at the opposite of traditional sketching: students apply a layer of graphite powder on their media and proceed to erase the portions in light with a stick eraser

The reference for the reconstruction is combines several sources of the frieze (pictures of actual fragments, drawings of lost pieces, and suggested reconstructions) offering a uniform and consistent graphic output. Current hypothesis on the missing portions of the frieze are approached case by case and subjected to eventual alterations when necessary

The project has been planned in three phases, two of which have been already completed:

         Phase I: The Cavalcade (Fall 2018 – realized by a team of 75 students for a total of 77 panels);

         Phase II: The Chariot Race (Fall 2019 – realized by a team of 45 students);

         Phase III: The Procession (upcoming Fall 2020)

Selected images/videos:

         Parthenon 01.mp4 (Overview of Phase I)


Project III: Watercolor Rendition of the Sainte Chappelle’s West Rose Window

Project description:

This project is part of the content Freshmen student work on during their Graphics I: Drawing course. Started in Fall 2019, the project will be completed in the upcoming Fall 2020. Each panel composing the Rose Window has been drawn in pencil first, then digitized and printed on watercolor paper. Each student received one or two panels (depending from their size) and a picture of their stained glass panel as reference for colors and hues.

The final watercolors have been digitized and scanned on wet media drafting film. When dry, the panels were applied on a laser cut wooden frame resembling the original reference for the project while  offering a chance for a back lighting similarly to stain glass windows.

Selected images:

         Panel 05.png (Some of the twenty-four Elders with the bull of St Luke and the eagle of St John             by Karalina Kulis)

         Panel 31.png (The sounding of the first trumpet; hail and fire descend on Earth by Isabella                   Botello)

         Panel 32.png (The second trumpet; a burning mountain descends into the sea by Alexandra                  Indacochea)

         Panel 40.png (Some of the two hundred million warriors destroying a third of humanity by Elise          Maletta)

         Panel 48.png (The dragon with seven heads and ten horns drags a third part of the stars from              the sky by Beau Martinez)

         Panel 72.png (The great earthquake and hailstones as heavy as coins by Madeline Hartman)

         Panel 77.png (The seven-headed beast and the two-horned beast being cast into the Hell by                 Sara Nelson)

         Panel 79.png (The New Jerusalem by David DeBacker)

Digital Historical Architectural Research and Material Analysis Lab (D.H.A.R.M.A.)

Digital Historical Architectural Research and Material Analysis (D.H.A.R.M.A) is a research team founded in 2007 based at the University of Notre Dame School of Architecture. The team, under the direction of Prof. Krupali Krusche, works on documenting historic monuments and buildings around the world with the use of a Leica 3D laser scanner, a high-speed, long-range scanner ideal for projects that are difficult to document by traditional methods. The scanner provides researchers with the most field-efficient means of data collection. Recently the team has also used 3D scanning to determine and monitor seismic effects on historic buildings and reconstruction processes of buildings with historical value.

In partnership with CyArk, a non-profit organization that collects the most accurate 3D models of cultural heritage sites, stores them and provides them freely to the world, the University plans to further use the scanner to document endangered historic buildings such as those on UNESCO’s world heritage list or the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. Few of these sites have been documented in much detail. Notre Dame currently joins only a handful of universities in the U.S. with such technology, including Columbia, Stanford and the University of California at Berkeley. The scanner is also used as part of the School’s Preservation and Restoration Concentration. In summer 2008, the D.H.A.R.M.A. team spent four weeks in India documenting some of the country's historic monuments including the Taj Mahal.

In July of 2010, a team of School of Architecture faculty and students traveled to the Roman Forum—the center of political, religious, commercial, and judicial life in ancient Rome—to measure, document, and draw large areas of the historic site. The team used conventional and innovative methods, including a Leica 3-D laser scanner, for measuring and understanding this World Heritage Site.


Furniture Design Lab


GreenScale Lab

Today, prevailing discourse on “green” building practices centers on a presumed corollary between sustainability and advanced building technologies. As a result, research and discussions about achieving sustainability and greener building methods has generally focused on the capabilities of modern technology to generate “sustainable” design solutions. And yet, currently there exists no universally accepted method or tool capable of holistically measuring the broader impact of these advanced technologies on the built and natural environments. What are the true costs – the consequences, even – of these novel and often experimental building materials and methods of assembly? And how might they be measured in order to expand our ability to make informed design and material decisions, leading ultimately to the creation of truly sustainable buildings?

Launched in Fall 2009, the GSRP is examining these questions through quantitative analysis of construction methods, materials, and principles of design through a series of original case studies focused on measuring, evaluating, and comparing purportedly “green” materials and methods of assembly alongside their traditional predecessors. One goal of the GSRP is to generate specific, objective, quantifiable data capable of describing and comparing the broader implications of materials and methods used in the design and construction of buildings. The team is also developing a digital tool to carry out this quantifiable analysis dynamically throughout the entire design process, from concept to construction. This tool will give practitioners and students alike a greater awareness of the environmental impact of their buildings and encourage them to truly integrate sustainable principles into their designs. Finally, the Green Scale method is applied through the evaluation of new facilities, building materials, methods and technologies in studio and through interdepartmental collaboration on research projects such as the Green Cloud.

The research team, led by Prof. Aimee P.C. Buccellato, is composed of faculty, staff, and students from the School of Architecture, the College of Engineering, and the Center for Research and Computing at the University of Notre Dame.


Healthy Places ND: Architecture, Health, and Sustainability Research Group

Until recently, “green building” efforts primarily focused on reducing energy use and carbon footprint. Human health, however, is also an important component of environmental, economic, and social sustainability. Physical, mental, and social health, as well as sustainability are affected by the design of the physical environment at multiple scales: from rooms and buildings, to communities and cities. Urban planners, architects, and policy makers, however, face a paucity of evidence and evidence-based design guidelines addressing health and sustainability.

School of Architecture Professor Kim Rollings and her interdisciplinary Architecture, Health, and Sustainability research group at Notre Dame (AHS-ND) are documenting effects of the physical environment on physical health, mental health, and health behaviors. Working within a social-ecological framework, AHS-ND systematically examines how various attributes of built and natural environments (e.g., floor plan arrangement, ceiling height, window size, building condition, street connectivity, land use mix, density, proximity to green space) interact to affect health outcomes such as dietary intake, physical activity, stress, anxiety, and depression, especially among vulnerable populations (low-income, children, aging, mentally and physically impaired). This work adds authority to professional design and planning practice, and has implications for policy.

Additionally, AHS-ND develops evidence-based environmental assessment tools for architects, researchers, and other practitioners to quantify attributes of the physical environment related to health outcomes and evaluate different architectural and urban design approaches. Results of this work contribute to the development of evidence-based design guidelines and recommendations with the goal of establishing healthy, socially responsible, and sustainable buildings and cities.


Historic Preservation Lab


Historic Urban Environments Lab (HUE-ND)

The Historic Urban Environments Lab (HUE/ND) at Notre Dame is an interdisciplinary team of architects, computer scientists, librarians, programmers, anthropologists and GIS specialists whose goal is to create new tools linking traditional library resources with new technologies. Building off of previous digital projects created by the Architecture Library, the Seaside Research Portal, SPQR-ND, and Building South Bend the team is currently working on several web sites and applications to better study the built environment virtually by linking historic content and traditional library resources with geo-location and digital technologies. 

HUE/ND is led by Professor Selena Anders and Jennifer Parker, Architecture Librarian, and supported by multiple students from the School of Architecture. 

Current Digital Projects:

Cities in Text: Rome 

Seaside Research Portal

SPQR-ND iPad – Available in the App Store

SPQR-ND iPhone - Available in the App Store

Building South Bend: Past, Present, & Future 

Downtown SB - Available in the App Store


Future Projects:

Latinx Murals in the Pilsen Neighborhood of Chicago