Trace paper, thick black markers, wood models and coffee are indispensable in the genesis of an idea. However, many elements we experience in the built environment can’t be seen. Whether energy, microbes, chemicals, or sound, the unseen has a profound impact on our own health, experience and energy use in the built environment. It’s time we design for it. We have the unique toolsets to visualize, understand, simulate and shape it. These include: microbial DNA sequencing, metagenomics, gas chromatography, mass spectroscopy, climate chamber, wind tunnel, virtual reality and acoustic equipment.


The Climate Chamber

  Where others see a walk-in pickle refrigerator, we see an opportunity to create a unique experimental tool- our Climate Chamber.  In 2010, Energy Studies and Buildings Laboratory‘s Jason Stenson discovered the old freezer in a barn, and after four years of ideas, renovation, and maneuvering, it debuted for research in the University of Oregon’s White […]

The Lightbox

  How do you simulate the effect of daylight on indoor house dust in a controlled laboratory setting?  By building homes for the dust, of course. In a recent pilot project, we created “lightboxes” to look at the effect of natural light on bacterial communities in dust, separate from the microbial influences of human occupants or […]

The Wind Tunnel

  Wind tunnels are commonly used model the interaction between objects and local air currents during the design phase, and we use them to improve the design of building structures to reduce building stress, remove “dead spots”, and otherwise improve the flow of air around or into buildings.  High definition cameras allow us to visualize […]

Virtual Reality

  Virtual Reality is a powerful tool for investigating a person’s perception, comfort, and feelings towards a space or environment – allowing for empirical data to be collected while products and buildings are still in the design phase.  In addition to rendering new computer-assisted designs, existing spaces can be photographed at high resolution to create […]

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