Built Ecologies

Researchers at Rio Mesa are developing sustainable building systems for environmentally sensitive rural sites. This interdisciplinary program includes architecture, engineering, behavioral sciences, biology and building industry specialists who are researching and developing solutions for future facilities, such as Green Infrastructure Systems (energy efficiency, water harvesting, reuse & treatment), Low Impact Building Systems (e.g., temporary foundations, prefab structures, etc.), Biomimicry (e.g., translational research from natural to synthetic systems) and Environmental Behavior & Psychology (e.g., human-nature dialetcts, resource conservation, social functions of environmental regulation).

Current Projects

Offsite Construction: modular and panelized building for Rio Mesa
Ryan E. Smith & Jeff Cramer. Dept. of Architecture, University of Utah (summary PDF)

Interlocking cross laminated timber construction (ICLT) for rural architecture
Ryan E. Smith & Jeff Cramer. Dept. of Architecture, University of Utah (summary PDF)
* See video of Ryan Smith discussing ICLT construction in new Rio Mesa bath/shower facility.

Material Reuse: reappropriating the Rio Mesa barn
Jessica Gilmore, Josh Weber. Dept. of Architecture, University of Utah (final report PDF)

Biomimicry: graduate architecture, engineering & biology course
Ryan E. Smith & Donald Feener, Architecture & Biology, University of Utah (summary PDF)