About AoC
Downstream Effects in Progress

Tool Day Participants
Austin, TX 2003


October 29, 2004
"I had not indicated that I would desire to borrow any tools for the spring 05 semester. This was mainly due to my inexperience with the case study process. However, after participating in the workshop, I have some great ideas for case studies with my ECS course in the spring. Is there any chance I could apply for 2 toolkits for this?"
Bob Crowell, University of Virginia

September 22, 2004

"I was a volunteer at the AOC held at ASU, and it was an awesome learning experience."
Thulasi Narayan, Arizona State University

July 26, 2004

One event will change a person; it takes a generation to change an institution.
-Peter Marks, Kent State University

April 17, 2004
81 students, 20 groups, four buildings studied, the first class & four presentations today all by second year architecture, interior design & forest products majors. Ably assisted by a fine group of TAs. I will, of course, be sending more info, but wanted to pass along thanks to you and your AoC team on behalf of my TA's & myself.
-Diane Armpriest, University of Idaho

March 10, 2004
I am just getting ready to use the AoC material in my classes in the spring quarter starting March 22. I have the box and will play with all the gadgets during spring break! Obviously, I don't have experiences to report yet. But I do have some news-- SCAD president, Paula Wallace invited me, four architeture students, and the Dean to a business luncheon. One of the students, Paul McKeever, participated in AoC last summer at Oberlin. We got to brag about the workshop and the toolkit to the President and the Dean. Ee are now in the spot light!
-Emad M. Afifi, Savannah College of Art and Design

February 29, 2004
My Agents of Change experience helped me conceptually integrate the case study process and design process. The greater investment is in the latter for the curriculum at the University of Virginia. Therefore, taking a scientific type approach over those three days in studying the Phoenix Central Library informed my perspective of the efficacy of built environments and of the potential of scientific-method in both informing and learning from design.
-Phoebe Richbourg, University of Virginia

The Agents of Change conference in Phoenix this January was an informative and rewarding experience. It allowed me to translate the impressions I had of the Phoenix Public Library, based mostly on photographs, into an understanding of its spatial qualities and the way energy flows through the building. It helped substantiate my belief that on site, hands-on architectural analysis should be an integral part of architectural education and should compliment more the abstract analysis of plan, section and diagram. . . , working with a team, rooming with people from other institutions and group discussions involving everyone at the conference allowed me to establish connections with people who have interests similar to mine. Universities can be insular places. The more we branch out and communicate with one another, the more progress we will make in transforming the environmental ethics of architecture.
-Ben Spencer, University of Virginia

February 23, 2004
An email from Lizette Fife, TA at University of Idaho: "By the way, one of my students said he loved the case studies compared to the other labwork. I really think using the tools and case study methodology is bringing this to life for many people."

January 13, 2004
Following a presentation about Clackamas High School to a class at the University of Oregon, BOORA principal Heinz Rudolf says that closing the loop is critical to design. "We need more designers to come into practice and help us to validate the successes and failures of design.

January 7-10, 2004
In evaluating how the skills learned in the Phoenix workshop would improve their teaching, participants said:

By emphasizing concise methodologies for developing and carrying through the process of testing and hypothesis, the clarity of the program will reinforce my own abilities to support or debunk the formerly assumed.

The case study methodology and toolkit will improve my teaching by allowing me to expose my students to passive design strategies in concrete rather than abstract terms alone.

I think the case study method for teaching will be useful in really driving home a concept or idea in order for students to apply the knowledge in their own work.

Through the creative process of developing methodologies and working through unexpected results and occurrences, I feel that I will be able to guide students through initial frustrations commonly associated with research and studies. Working with a broad range of people and universities allowed new insight as to directions to take in the future.

The process of developing a methodology to studying a case study was very beneficial to experience. I expect that a better approach to teaching this process will result from the workshop.

I can see what kind of guidance is needed to make something like this work (e.g., guidelines on hypothesis formulation). Resources and examples provided will help to startup the process.

And as far as Passing the Baton is concerned:
Seeing how a successful workshop was run here will help me implement them on my own.

July 7, 2003
"Tool Day was one of the most informative, not to mention fun, activities in which I participated all week." Jessica Boehland, Associate Editor, Environmental Building News

June 4, 2003
And a third success story excerpted from e-mail from David Crutchfield, TA at the University of Texas at Austin and Portland training alumnus: "As a Teaching Assistant for Michael Garrison's Environmental Controls class this spring, Brad Pease [another Portland training alumnus] and I trained a class of almost 80 architecture students on using the toolkit, worked through the hypothesis process with them, and reviewed all the resulting reports. The students were most enthusiastic about investigating the environments of 'real buildings.' I believe many of them were mentally 'switched-on' during the class due to the workshop. …"

May 29, 2003
Another success story excerpted from e-mail from Marshall Dunlap, North Carolina State University TA and Portland training alumnus: "I have really enjoyed having the toolkit and using it in our case study project. Our case study involved 16 students (about a third of the class) and went very well. We plan to involve the whole class next spring semester, but this time we offered the case study project as an option in lieu of a 'timeline/retrospective' project that is currently a standard item on the course syllabus.
"For the first part of the project, we had a tool day/introduction at my house, and then the students broke into four groups of four people each and had several weeks to organize and conduct a specific case study of some aspect of my house's performance. After reviewing this stage, we moved on to do case studies of the three buildings that make up our School of Design. Again, they worked in four groups of four.
"Overall, it went very well-it was as much a learning experience for me as a case study project leader as it was for them as students. … Anyway, it has been so awesome to have the tool kit and it is painful to send it back. Fatih [Rifki] and I intend to lobby the powers that be to finance our own permanent kit, but in the meantime I will be suffering from a deep sense of emptiness. I used the Hobos™ and the infrared thermometer constantly, as much unrelated to Fatih's class as connected with it. I used them for projects for other classes and also day-to-day just to better understand the intricacies of my own house. …"

April 28, 2003
The web site has proven to be a good student recruiting tool. Excerpted from a prospective student's email to University of Idaho faculty (and AoC advisory committee member and trainer) Bruce Haglund: "I looked at the Prichard Gallery Vital Signs case study on your web site. It helped me understand the UI curriculum and the case study procedure. I find the course very interesting and look forward to working in this stream of sustainable architecture. I also saw the web site http://aoc.uoregon.edu & I would feel privileged if I get the opportunity to work under such an experienced person like you."

April 25, 2003
The training as effective tool for teachers. E-mail excerpt from Yelena Chenchik, a first-year teacher at South Ural State University in Chelyabinsk (and AoC alumna): "The students are enjoying the class so far. I even heard somebody saying that this is the first class that is really interesting and gives them useful info-and these are 5th-year students! I have about 16 out of 20 showing up every time (it's an elective with Pass/Fail grading) and about half asking questions on the topic. Given the still more lecture-like nature of the class, I think it is good. I can only imagine how much more fun it will be in a couple of years when I will have all the readers ready, the Vital Signs tools, the software, the hardware...."

April 24, 2003
Excerpted from e-mail from Dorothy Gerring, Portland AoC training alumna and Penn College faculty: "Thought you'd like to see this excerpt from an e-mail from Paul Zeigler, director of engineering and technology for the Governor's Green Government Council (GGGC), who attended the Green Building Fair here at Penn College (http://www.pct.edu/green_building) and was very happy with his experience.
"…the students participating in your study [two of whom were trainees in Portland] helped with the organization of the Fair and had to display their case studies of the new campus building and their research for their final paper.
'I was absolutely blown away by the presentation boards that I saw … featuring green building projects and studies and research projects actually done by the students. These boards were deeply into some very technical and complex issues-things like daylighting design, acoustics design, alternative materials, mold and mildew, and indoor air quality. O
ne of the students who attended both of my trainings came up to me afterwards and was so proud of the fact that she and others had actually demonstrated the use of some of the principles that I presented in my training-this was mind boggling that students were so sharp and so on top of current state of the art technology and building comfort and health and air quality issues. The NCRO, the Staff, and students of the College are to be commended; not me. It was a pleasure and an honor.'"

April 20, 2003
And reached the profession as well. As reported by Bruce Haglund, AoC advisory committee member and trainer: "Yesterday Andy Jarvis (Arup Bristol Tool Day host and trainee) dropped by to pick up a Kestrel to use to show a client (who wants to build a gallery in Bristol) the thermal realities of the gallery spaces at the Tate Modern. I'm waiting to hear how it went ... but am nonetheless impressed that he considers building feedback to be an important part of the practice. … Moreover, the Tool Day report is now fully linked to the R&D page on the Arup Intranet, so unwary Arups can stumble into the trap and come away converted."

March 14, 2003
International scope through the Arup Tool Days. E-mail from Kevin McCartney, Director of Architectural Research, School of Architecture, University of Portsmouth (UK): "The Bristol Tool Day was very worthwhile. I was happy to be reminded of the importance of linking conclusions to a presentation with the initial hypothesis and enthused by the demonstration of how much is possible in a day. Walter (Kevin's grad student and fellow trainee), too, was very enthusiastic. After weeks of talking about possible research projects with me, he had moved from hypothesis to method, to test, to presentation in a single day. And suddenly he was brimming with ideas for his thesis."

December 12, 2003
In the mean time we finished the course "Technology 1", based on the case study methodology using the toolkit. It was great, the students had fun
and learned a lot about the relation between environment an building. We are now buying a second toolkit, and some other tools. Can you give me a hint for a good and affordable pyranometer?
-Juan Reiser

December 12, 2003
Nice study. If you don't mind, when we get our architects hired (in the next week or two) to do the building project, I would like to refer them to your URL. It will help me re-emphasize a very important need for this building. Fortunately, our project is to be a very "green" project. Thanks also for the acknowledgements. I appreciated that as well. Hope both of you get a high mark on your study. You can tell your professor that it will be noted by the design architects as an issue to be dealt with in the new building design.
-Bob Petit, Administrator
University of Oregon Health Center

  The activities of this project are developed under a grant from the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE), U.S. Department of Education. However these contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.