The DESIGN+BUILD Lab at UNLV’s School of Architecture establishes a rigorous, hands-on environment for students and faculty to engage in situated learning and design research through projects with tangible (often full-scale) outcomes. We include making and building as integral and inseparable parts within a larger design continuum that is iteratively informed by prototyping. Rather than compromising our design preconceptions, material behavior and production constraints are infused into our design thinking from the beginning as generative design logics. By being subjected to the challenges of constructing their designs, students learn to fully consider every design decision made, every line drawn on paper, and how building professionals do their jobs, thus making them better designers. As educators and researchers, we operate nimbly between old, timeless ways of making as well as new, contemporary tools and materials while investigating the following topics:

  • Pre-fabrication and efficiencies in construction
  • The poetics of building and materials / PRAXIS / using theory to inform practice
  • R+D of novel material, fabrication, and construction systems in collaboration with industry
  • How automated and digital tools can augment the work of the craftsperson, or open up new innovations in scale, precision, and complexity which would otherwise be impossible or impractical with traditional tools and labor
  • Geometry, materials, and performance
  • Creation of new products and systems, generation and commercialization of intellectual property, design thinking combined with entrepreneurship
  • Craft as a practice-based framework to understand the process of design and construction
  • Engaging students in challenging, project-based learning as an essential mode of design education











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