Lawrence Blough is Professor with Tenure at the Pratt Institute School of Architecture and Principal of GRAFTWORKS Design Research. In addition to being head of the core design sequence, he teaches advanced seminars on the theory of architectural program and contemporary collective typologies. He has also held teaching appointments at Washington University in St Louis, Tulane and Catholic University. Recipient of multiple awards for design research, Blough in collaboration with Simone Giostra has recently been funded by The Institute of Design and Construction Foundation to investigate the relationship between building form and energy to shape mid-rise housing typologies.  Blough’s other grants include The Structurist Fellowship, The New York State Council on the Arts Independent Projects Award and the Pratt Innovation Fund. His work has been widely published both in the US and abroad including in the book Matter, PLAT Journal, Space Magazine and The New York Times among others. 


For more than ten years, New York City has promoted energy efficiency policies that will radically reshape the education of architects toward energy performance in buildings and the reduction of emissions (GHG). Our series of undergraduate studios investigates the relationship between the building form and energy, using form-finding algorithms based on solar radiation to shape mid-rise housing typologies for NYC. Currently funded by the Institute of Design and Construction Foundation, Pratt and Polimi have been exploring the important environmental design opportunities that exist within building envelopes responsible for most of the GHGs and power consumption.  


Solar potential (or capture) as a design tool has been investigated beginning with Ralph Knowles’s “solar envelope” concept from 1974. Using rudimentary computers, Knowles was able to produce strangely beautiful building forms driven by performance.  Knowles’ solar-driven vessels were the harbingers of a new design aesthetic based on ecological inputs and necessity that is the departure point for our research.