University of Minnesota and Cuningham Group Collaborate

Cuningham Group Masters of Science in Research Practice

University of Minnesota and Cuningham Group Collaborate

Dustin Schipper joined Cuningham Group in January of 2016 to kick off his research for the University of Minnesota's Master of Science in Architecture - Research Practices, which integrates a structured path to architectural licensure with research in practice.

Dustin is the second student from the University of Minnesota's program to partner with Cuningham Group through the Consortium for Research Practices. In 2014, Dan Deveau researched "Free Range Learning in Elementary Education (F.R.E.E.)" under Margaret Parsons (Cuningham Group), John Pfluger (Cuningham Group), John Comazzi (UMN), and Renee Cheng (UMN). His research assessed the impact of specific design elements on the effectiveness of teaching and learning. The team was interested in how the design elements of a series of renovated classrooms supported North Park Elementary School’s goals of fostering 21st-century skills for communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity.

This week, Dustin will present his research findings at the Architecture of Complexity Conference. His research titled, "The Capture and Synthesis of Qualitative Information in Architectural Programming" aims to investigate the relatively unexplored potential that software offers for harnessing qualitative information throughout the design process. Researching under Cuningham Group's Chief Knowledge Offer, Adam Wilbrecht and Assistant Professor (UMN), Andrea Johnson, Dustin divided his study into two parts: (1) a review and primary investigation of the historical and current processes of programming with the objective of understanding the role qualitative information plays in the process; (2) a review of the findings in the context of emerging database options and currently available qualitative metrics to inform the proposition of a “living data” workflow strategy for integrating programming information into the full architectural lifecycle. The impetus for this work revolved around this question:

“How are the qualitative characteristics of a building designated and tracked throughout the lifecycle of a design, and how could the rigor of this process be increased?”


The full report of Dustin's research will be published later this year and available to read. For now, here is a sneak preview of some of the data that he collected and analyzed: