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The Built Environment

Architecture, engineering and construction affect us as individuals, as communities, as nations and as a world. Whatever the scale, the built environment needs to be economically, environmentally and socially sustainable. We seek to enable this by developing knowledge, tools and materials that enhance "triple bottom line" sustainability at all stages of a project's life. 

Our academic and research programs include Structural Engineering and Geomechanics , Architectural Design, Construction Engineering and Management, Design-Construction Integration and Sustainable Design and Construction.

Cradle-to-Cradle Design

Our built environment will be sustainable only when its social and environmental context is given rigorous attention at all stages of a project’s life from planning, design and construction to operation, demolition and reuse.

We can no longer allow short-term economic savings to override the potential social unrest of introducing new infrastructure with higher long-term fees. We can no longer believe that considering the environment means being mindful of the natural habitat being displaced by a project and yet ignore resource use, emissions and landfill volume resulting from every project decision. We must improve our fragmented understanding of the interactions between the built environment and its natural, social and economic contexts.


Through partnerships with industry, utilities, non-profits and governmental agencies, our research insights and the technologies we devise are frequently applied in practice.

Current projects include work on new structural methods that are reshaping building codes in earthquake-prone areas; software tools for managing massive construction projects; novel zero-energy water treatment systems for developing nations; and a new generation of rapidly recyclable building materials that are made from reused waste.

Consulting Professor
Consulting Professor
Consulting Professor
Jordan Brandt
Consulting Associate Professor
Wednesday, November 19, 2014

With almost all of our graduate programs ranked in the top five nationally, Stanford seems to have an incredible repertoire of graduate curricula. However, one program is glaringly missing: a graduate school for architectural design. While many elite schools like Harvard and Yale have had graduate programs in architectural design for over 50 years, it’s crazy to think that we never had such a program.

We once did. At some point in the 1970s, when we realized that our program was not competing with other programs in the country, Stanford shut it down.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Stanford engineers have built and tested an earthquake-resistant house that stayed staunchly upright even as it shook at three times the intensity of the destructive 1989 Loma Prieta temblor 25 years ago.

The engineers outfitted their scaled-down, boxy two-story house with sliding "isolators" so it skated along the trembling ground instead of collapsing. They also including extra-strength walls, to create a home that might replace the need for residential earthquake insurance, said project leader Gregory Deierlein, Stanford's John A. Blume Professor in the School of Engineering.

Anne Kiremidjian, professor of civil and environmental engineering, has studied dozens of earthquakes since coming to Stanford in 1972.
Thursday, October 16, 2014

Civil engineering Professor Anne Kiremidjian was idling at a traffic light near the Stanford campus at 5:04 p.m. on Oct. 17, 1989, when she felt a sudden jolt and thought her car had been rear-ended.

"I looked up but there was nothing behind me in the mirror," she recalled on the 25th anniversary of the Loma Prieta earthquake. "Then I noticed the traffic light swaying overhead and the cars in front of me moving up and down like a wave."

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Electrical grids are balky beasts, and nobody knows that better than Stanford Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering Ram Rajagopal. He grew up in Brazil, where no one took electricity for granted. Brownouts were an unavoidable – and sweltering – fact of life.


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