concept image for enviromental design lab

Environmental Design and Natural Materials lab

Director: Dr. Shermeen Yousif

The Environmental Design and Natural Materials Laboratory (EDNM) Lab is a recently established facility, directed by Dr. Shermeen Yousif, and housed at the School of Architecture at FAU. It is a state-of-the-art research lab equipped with two collaborative robotic arms and a suite of specialized equipment dedicated to pioneering biomaterials for architectural prototypes, achieved through the precision of robotic fabrication. The lab currently accommodates a number of graduate student researchers, among whom is our current PhD student, Celso Urroz, and it is receiving more students in the upcoming semester and academic year.

The EDNM Lab operates as an interdisciplinary research facility, emphasizing the application of advanced computational techniques, the strategic integration of machine learning methodologies, and the employment of performance-driven design tools to engage in the empirical exploration of natural materials and environmentally conscious design prototypes realized through robotic fabrication. This process involves experimentation with new materials, the development of design and modeling frameworks, the use of simulations tailored to performance-driven designs, and the application of robotic fabrication processes. Importantly, we adopt a data-driven prediction approach when utilizing machine learning technologies throughout design and material experimentation, testing, and evaluation, as well as in the sensing and monitoring of fabricated prototypes.

The work conducted within our laboratory is set apart from existing research on natural materials, as we aim to leverage these state-of-the-art methods and tools to design new materials that can meet the growing demand for reducing the carbon footprint of the built environment. This is particularly significant in South Florida, where climate adaptation is of high importance. Our mission is to equip future architects with the ability to conceive not only sustainable architecture but also to cultivate a profound knowledge of materials, thereby facilitating the realization of the next generation of ecologically conscious buildings.