What’s Surf – Students Working with Faculty

The SURF grant, Support for Undergraduate Research Fellows, is a University grant awarded to student researchers to participate on faculty research projects. Faculty in the Department of Architecture have been very successful in obtaining SURF grants.

This program is designed to foster faculty-student research collaborations, and, as such, the UWM Office of Undergraduate Research (OUR) is particularly eager to fund work through which students have the opportunity to engage in thoughtful and progressively sophisticated work central to the overall research program of the principal investigator. SURF awards are part of larger efforts to foster a culture of faculty-undergraduate research collaboration at UWM.


Phase III Design Research

Congratulations to Phase III Design Research summer SURF grant recipients Jessica Van Dyck and Luis Ylizaliturri Fernandez, McNair Scholar Isabella Cosentino and returning graduate research peers Patrick Finucane and Steven Rasmussen!
Our team, led by Assistant Professor Trudy Watt, works to improve health and social inclusion through design research, prototyping and community engagement.

Our primary goal is to help facilitate equitable person-centered care in the lived environment where architecture plays a major role in everyone’s well-being. Look out for our annual open house this August!

Department of Interiority: On the agency of bodies in architecture

Over the summer 2021 term, SURF grant recipients Franziska Burkard, Brett Dominguez, and Jacob Rohan are working with SARUP Advancing Contemporary Theories Fellow Lindsey Krug (@lindseyok) on the on-going research project titled “Department of Interiority: On the agency of bodies in architecture.” The primary focus of the research is to discover, articulate, illustrate, and contemplate the multifarious relationships between architecture (built form) and its human inhabitants (bodies), specifically by looking at mismatches between exterior expression and interior freedoms afforded to inhabitants. The objective of this project will be to unpack the structural ways the built environment has historically contributed to the solidification of inequities amongst bodies – be it by gender, able-bodiedness, race, sexuality, class, citizenship status, or culture. More optimistically, the research will seek out narratives and test methods for bodies to push back.

While we will study architectural projects and drawings for these relationships, the research must cast a wider net, accessing source material beyond the architectural artifact, including legal cases, design manuals, tax law, and pop culture imagery.

Through a series of experimental and collaborative research and design exercises, we will begin to unpack this relationship between the built environment and bodies. We will question the high value placed on sole authorship (“hero architecture”/”starchitecture”) over collaboration, questioning the perceived ‘objectivity’ of de facto or legal documents like building/zoning code through close reading and analysis, and questioning traditional architectural representation and drawing techniques.

The research is part of on-going collaborative work between SARUP fellows Lindsey Krug and Sarah Aziz