Franca Trubiano

Building Theories: Architecture and an Ethics of Technology

Franca Trubiano is Associate Professor and Associate Chair (Architecture) at the University of Pennsylvania. She is a Registered Architect with l'Ordre des Architectes du Quebec and an International Associate of the AIA. She conducts funded research in the areas of Advanced Energy Retrofits and Building Information Modeling. She teaches in construction technology, materials, theories of building, integrated design, architectural ecologies, and high performance buildings.

Franca is President of the Building Technology Educators Society (BTES) -, where she was Treasurer/Secretary since 2011. She is also a founding member of the Editorial Board of the Journal - TAD ( Technology, Architecture and Design) and since 2014 has been a Member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Architectural Education.   

Her edited book Design and Construction of High Performance Homes: Building Envelopes, Renewable Energies and Integrated Practice (Routledge Press 2012), features 18 essays of which 6 were authored by her. In 2014, it was translated into Korean, by the Korean Research Institute of Environmental Architecture and launched as part of their 10th year anniversary. Franca has also published essays on the subject of high performance design in edited books Architecture and Energy (eds. Braham and Willis, Routledge Press, 2013) and Architecture and Uncertainty (ed. Benjamin Flowers, Ashgate Press, 2014). She is presently completing a manuscript for Routledge on building technology and architectural theory. Building Theories, Integrating Matter, Energy, Data, and Labor for a new Ethics of Architecture (Routledge), proposes an alternative definition of architectural theory; one that valorizes the as yet untapped potential of ‘thinking through building’.                 

Franca is a Principal Investigator and inaugural member of the Consortium for Energy Building Energy Innovation (CBEI) – formerly the Energy Efficient Building Hub, a US Department of Energy sponsored project. Her three year funded research is focused on the development of Integrated Design Roadmaps of use by all members of the AEC industry in pursuit of Advanced Energy Retrofits. Franca also conducts funded research on Building Information Modeling (BIM), developing both Facility Management processes for maximum applicability of BIM authoring models, as well as helping the National Masonry Institute develop BIM based protocols of value to the industry.  Since 2014, Franca has also been an expert reviewer for the MIT-KUWAIT Signature Project on Sustainability where she will continue in this role until 2016.

At Penn DESIGN Franca was awarded Penn Design's, G. Holmes Perkins Award for Distinguished Teaching in 2014. In the Architecture Program she teaches High Performance – Responsive Building design studios in the graduate and post-professional Masters of Environmental Building Design Program, as well as Construction Technology seminars focused on Matter + Energy. In her Construction Technology core course she has introduced Building Information Modeling for architects by authoring a two-volume BIM Handbook for use by beginners.

Previously, in 2003-2004, Franca was the first McMahan Visiting Associate Professor at Clemson University and, from 2004-2009, Assistant Professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology. While at Georgia Tech, she was co-recipient of a DOE/NREL Solar Decathlon Grant to design, build and operate a zero-energy house on the Mall in Washington in October 2007. As lead architecture faculty and construction project manager for Icarus Redux, she collaborated with hundreds of students, faculty and industry partners in garnering 6th position overall, 4th place in the Architecture Competition, and 3rd place in Drawings and Specifications. The fully integrated building project also won the BP Green Award for its inventive use of new materials and technologies.

In 2009, student work from her studio ECO-SKINS: The Design and Construction of Low Energy High Performance Building Envelopes was awarded a COTE - Committee on the Environment (AIA) Award. And in 2005, her paper 'Material Matters: Seeking Collaborations between the building industry and innovative architectural practices The Cases of Thomas Herzog and Ove Arup' was awarded the ARCC - Architectural Research Center Consortium, Best Conference Paper Award. Her work has also been published in DETAIL, Journal of Architectural Education, SCAPES, Chora, as well as the Encyclopedia of Twentieth Century Architecture. And she has been the recipient of a number of research grants, including a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Grant (Canada) and a Fonds aux Chercheurs et Aide â la Recherche (Quebec),as well as the co-recipient of a Graham Foundation Grant.

Franca Trubiano

University of Pennsylvania