DEA faculty are involved in a number of departmental research programs. Their common characteristic is that they act as an umbrella framework for a variety of research projects carried out over time. In many cases, graduate students' theses are done under the auspices of these research programs.
The built environment made interactive and adaptive by embedded computation has great promise to support and augment the lives of people. Led by Keith Evan Green, the Architectural Robotics Lab at Cornell University focuses on the design and evaluation of, specifically, robotic built environments. First established in 2005 by Green with Ian Walker at Clemson University, the Architectural Robotics Lab recognizes the physical, built environment, from furniture to the metropolis, as a next frontier at the interface of design, computation, and human behavior. The lab is home to human-centered, trans-disciplinary research teams sufficiently complex in composition to address problems and opportunities in an increasingly digital society. Efforts are focused on five primary applications: healthcare, learning and creativity, working life, disaster relief, and mass urbanization. In designing for these human applications, the lab dedicates itself to understanding populations sometimes overlooked by designers: children, elders, and individuals suffering from illness, disabilities and the challenges of dis/relocation. More broadly, the lab strives to realize “cyber-human-physical ecosystems” that cultivate interactions across people and their surroundings that define places of social, cultural and psychological significance.
The Intypes (Interior Archetypes) Research and Teaching Project, initiated in 1997 at Cornell, creates a typology of contemporary interior design practices that are derived from reiterative historical designs that span time and style and cross cultural boundaries. The project produces a new knowledge base from practice-led research by creating the first typology of contemporary design practices that are derived from historical sequences. The research identifies design traits that have not been named, generates a design-specific vocabulary and publishes a digital database of interior architectural photographs. The research is developed by the principal investigators, graduate students and associated educators from three colleges at Cornell. The Intypes Project produces a new knowledge base for the creative dimension of design. The project also offers an innovative approach to further design criticism and design sustainability. It is the first project of its kind to assemble contemporary design theory in a digital database using interior architecture photographs.
Cornell University's Department of Design & Environmental Analysis offers a Human Factors and Ergonomics Program that focuses on ways to improve comfort, performance, and health through the ergonomic design of products and environments. Recent research has focused on the issues of the design of hand-operated products, such as computer input devices and multi-touch surfaces, universal design and accessibility, and the role of the ambient physical environment on human well-being. Emphasis is given to Human Factors and Ergonomics measures of humans, including anthropometrics, biomechanics, performance, productivity satisfaction, comfort and health. Human environment processes of interest include psycho physiological stress, psychological distress, learning and motivation, interpersonal relationships, mastery and control, emotional affect--including preference and satisfaction--and human development over the lifespan. Research is conducted in diverse settings including office and factory workplaces, schools, homes, health care facilities and natural environments. Both individual and team projects are conducted.
Design-User Experience-Technology (DUET) lab is devoted to the empirical and interdisciplinary study of emerging technology and design variables affecting the way people feel, think, and act in designed environments. Research areas of emphasis include but not limited to virtual reality simulation for design and visual communication, human-computer interaction and design computing
Ecotecture design is grounded on natural dynamics, healthy materials, biological principles, human ergonomics, cultural respect, and compassionate understanding for the planet and all living creatures. This is a new research program intended to push the boundaries of thinking on what constitutes sustainable or "green" design.
Since its inception in 1989 the Cornell University International Workplace Studies Program (IWSP) has systematically explored how innovative workplace strategies and the ecology of new ways of working can enhance the triple bottom line: health and productivity, economic viability, and environmental sustainability. Today, the IWSP focuses its research on innovative workplace strategies in three separate but related areas: the Corporate Workplace, Healing Environments, and Sustainable Planning & Design. An overarching focus is the relationship between how the built environment is planned, designed, managed and used and outcomes that range from aspects of human work performance such as health, safety, teamwork, collaboration and comfort and satisfaction to environmental performance ranging from energy costs to flexibility and adaptability of the facility over time.