Recent decades have witnessed a notable expansion of architectural research activities, with respect to both subject and methodology. This expansion can be mostly credited to an increase in government and private funding of primarily academic research initiatives. More recently, however, a noticeable increase in research activities within the architectural profession makes it possible to argue that it is the profession itself that is now taking leadership in the development of contemporary research agendas. This growing significance of architectural research, in both academia and the profession, is ultimately a response to the diverse challenges facing the profession; most notably, the issue of environmental sustainability, but also including the rapid pace of technological change, the increased diversity of users, and the growing complexity of architectural projects. Engaging research is an essential factor in facing these challenges as well as taking full advantage of the opportunities they offer. For this research to be most effective, however, a greater perspective and a clearer definition of its role and the goals it can aspire to, in both academia and the profession, are needed; and most importantly, the question becomes, how do we foster a more integrated research culture between academia and the profession?
This year’s conference theme invites an exploration of existing and future trends in leadership in architectural research, the impact of these trends on research subjects and methodologies, and how this leadership can foster an integrated research culture. In this context, the conference will explore a variety of topics in which architectural research is used to enhance design quality, expand the knowledge base, and systematically analyze and address common challenges, while at the same time responding to regional and local influences. The conference will also explore the role that collaborative and interdisciplinary research can play in this regard, both between academia and the profession, as well as between different disciplines of the built environment and other professions.
In addition to plenary and parallel sessions in which conference participants will present their current research and innovations, the conference will include roundtable discussions in which participants will discuss the issues, exchange ideas, and formulate future directions for research. The conference will be held at the downtown campus of the University of Texas at San Antonio. The location of the campus in the city’s center will provide the conference with a unique cultural/historical context. San Antonio has a rich heritage of modern and historic architecture dating back to the Spanish Colonial period.