Architecture Professor Jesús Vassallo Receives the Shepley Bulfinch Award

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Jesús Vassallo

BOSTON – Shepley Bulfinch, a national architecture firm, announced today that Jesús Vassallo, Gus Wortham Assistant Professor of Architecture at Rice School of Architecture, received the Shepley Bulfinch Award during an awards ceremony at the Rice School of Architecture.

The award grants funding to a faculty member — or team of faculty members — to conduct research that investigates materials or sustainability. Vassallo was selected for the award for his project “Tall Timber.”

“Jesús’ project on “Tall Timber” is an exciting research focus as the need for carbon reduction / embedded carbon awareness becomes more and more pressing,” said Carole Wedge, FAIA, LEED AP, CEO of Shepley Bulfinch. “Our firm has a long-standing commitment to sustainable design and we are proud to support the next generation of designers as they look to solve complex problems and to better the world through design and construction.”

“Anticipating the disruptive potential of mass timber construction systems for collective housing, and capitalizing on what architects do best, which is to innovate in the application of a new technology as opposed to its basic science, this research project will focus on producing a catalog of new applications of mass timber construction systems for mid-rise housing projects,” said Vassallo. “In order to attain this goal, the project will work by rehearsing different degrees of prefabrication and by focusing on the range of scales between the construction detail and the repetitive structural system.”

The research will yield a publication in the manner of a white paper illustrating the results of the project, as well as the models and prototypes produced in the process.

“We are very grateful to Shepley Bulfinch for its generous support of faculty research at Rice Architecture. The award to this year’s recipient, professor Vassallo, will allow him to continue his critical investigation on heavy timber construction as an alternative to the much higher carbon-emitting steel or concrete structural systems and which promises far greater economic and sustainable benefits,” said John J. Casbarian, FAIA, interim dean and Harry K & Albert K. Smith Professor of Architecture, Rice School of Architecture.