The intersections of architecture, structural engineering and green buildings
Portland State University
April 17-18, 2014

Proceedings available here


The symposium

Out of 52 initial submissions, 23 full papers were selected by the scientific committee to be presented at the Sustainable Structures Symposium held at Portland, Oregon on April 17 and 18, 2014 and included in the proceedings. The wide range of topics represented highlights the need for continued research into sustainability and structural systems to improve practice. These topics include life cycle analysis of structural systems, resiliency, deconstruction, multi-performance structures, integrated building systems, innovative wood structures, and recent examples of sustainable structural systems in practice. The most unique aspect of this symposium is that it brought together an equal number of practitioners and academics from the disciplines architecture and engineering to focus exclusively on issues of sustainability and structural systems.

Why this topic?

Building envelopes, mechanical systems and daylighting are the traditional emphasis of green building practice and scholarship. The role of structural systems and materials in the overall performance of a building has been largely neglected. In contemporary practice, architects and engineers choose a structural system very early during the design process depending on constraints such as building codes, cost, required spans, construction schedule and site constraints. Very little consideration is typically given to other ways the structure could contribute to improving sustainable outcomes. This is in spite of the fact that the structure of a typical office building contributes roughly one-quarter of the initial embodied energy and is, at the very least, the armature for all other building systems. Like all other aspects of a building, the structural system needs to be understood in terms of wide range of sustainability issues: embodied energy, operational energy, longevity and reuse. This symposium will explore the greater role structure should have in the design, impact and operation of green buildings.

On a personal note

My deepest thanks goes out to the scientific committee, the authors and speakers that contributed to the success of the symposium. I would like to thank Erin Moore, Kate Simonen and Mark Donofrio for their early support as founding members of the scientific committee. We were particularly fortunate to have both architect Michael Green and engineer Eric Karsh as keynote speakers presenting their groundbreaking work together. I would also like to thank members of the SEI Sustainability Committee for their participation in and promotion of this event. Finally, I would like to thank Julia Mollner for her assistance in organizing the symposium.

- Corey Griffin, Symposium Chair


The full symposium proceedings can be downloaded by clicking on the icon above.
Note: The file size is nearly 30MB, so it may take a little while to download depending on your connection speed.

Please cite as:
Griffin, C.T. & Mollner, J. (Eds.). (2014). Sustainable Structures: The Intersections of Structural Systems and Green Buildings, the proceedings of the 5th Annual School of Architecture Symposium. Portland (OR): Portland State University. ISBN: 9780971890312


Corey Griffin

Associate Professor, Architecture
Symposium Chair

The scientific committee consisted of established and emerging faculty and practitioners in the fields of structural engineering and architecture with expertise in issues relating to sustainability.

Architecture Faculty
Mark Donofrio, Assistant Professor, Department of Architecture, University of Oregon
Brad Guy, Assistant Professor, School of Architecture and Planning, The Catholic University of America
Kathryn Rogers Merlino, Associate Professor, Department of Architecture, University of Washington
Erin Moore, Associate Professor, Department of Architecture, University of Oregon
Kathrina Simonen, Associate Professor, Department of Architecture, University of Washington
Ryan Smith, Associate Professor, School of Architecture, University of Utah

Engineering Faculty
Peter Dusicka, Associate Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Portland State University
Jamie Goggins, Senior Lecturer, Civil Engineering, National University of Ireland, Galway
Liv Haselbach, Associate Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Washington State University
Jason Ideker, Associate Professor, School of Civil and Construction Engineering, Oregon State University
John Ochsendorf, Professor, Departments of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Architecture, MIT
Tonatiuh Rodriguez-Nikl, Associate Professor, Department of Civil Engineering, Cal State Los Angeles

Engineering Practitioners
Matthew Comber, Degenkolb Engineers, San Francisco
Lindsey Maclise, Forell/Elsesser Engineers, San Francisco
Mark Webster, Simpson Gumpertz & Heger, Boston
Frances Yang, Arup, San Francisco

Architecture Practitioners
Christina Cho, Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, San Francisco
Carolyn Forsyth, Ankrom Moisan Architects, Portland
Mike Manzi, BOORA Architects, Portland
Nicholas Papaefthimiou, ZGF Architects, Portland
Wolfgang Werner, Thornton Tomasetti, New York


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