College spotlights faculty research at fifteenth annual symposium

Toby Israel

Toby Israel

[Watch keynote address] (

The Texas A&M College of Architecture’s 15 th annual faculty research symposium, “ [Natural, Built, Virtual] ( ,” took place Oct. 21 in the Langford Architecture Center.

The daylong event showcased the college faculty’s recent research on issues relevant to the natural, built and virtual environments in a series of fast-paced presentations abbreviated from talks they have previously delivered at scholarly gatherings around the world. The 2013 symposium included invited or refereed presentations and papers from the 2012-13 academic year.

"The individual sessions comprising the symposium display a wide range of scholarship with respect to people and place," said Louis G. Tassinary, executive associate dean for the College of Architecture. "Fundamentally, the sessions reflect themes that have emerged in the work of the faculty and research staff over the past year."

Approximately 50 presentations divided into diverse categories were delivered in several concurrent sessions throughout the day. The presentations were grouped in broad categories including sustainability, resilience, heritage, management, and pedagogy.

Toby Israel, a pioneer in the emerging field of design psychology, presented the symposium's [keynote address] ( , “Using Design Psychology to Create Ideal Places.".

In design psychology, said Israel, identifying elements of a home with highly positive associations for its residents, such as color, shape and texture, helps her utilize these elements to create ideal home redesigns.

“We all have an environmental autobiography, our own very personal past history of place,” she said. “We rework that past history of place, replicate it, reject it or do some combination of the two in creating our own home.”

She is professor of architecture at the University of Lincoln in the United Kingdom, visual arts coordinator of the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, and heads a consulting firm, working with designers and clients throughout the world.

The college’s annual symposium was established to underscore the influence of research on teaching and practice. It also serves as a catalyst for research-informed teaching in the College of Architecture's degree programs. And, because many of the presentations were originally delivered at scholarly venues abroad, the event also showcases the global influence of research conducted by college faculty.

posted September 23, 2013