Assistant Professor or Associate Professor without Tenure (both tenure track)
The Department of Architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, seeks candidates to fill two tenure-track faculty positions (Assistant Professor or Associate Professor without Tenure) focused on sustainability, resilience, and equity within the built environment in the context of the climate crisis. The two positions are complementary, envisioned as a strategic cluster hire to focus research, design, and pedagogical efforts on forms of architectural response to this critical, multi-disciplinary topic. They will be positioned in the Building Technology and Architecture + Urbanism areas of the department as outlined below. The expected hiring date is July 1, 2024, or on a mutually agreed date thereafter.
The two faculty positions are intended to contend with the climate crisis, and its bearing on the discipline of architecture. The environmental impact of buildings is severe: they cause nearly 40% of global greenhouse gas emissions through their construction and operation, along with substantial resource depletion, waste production, and destruction of ecosystems. These impacts are expected to increase as cities grow to meet mounting construction needs. The climate crisis also impacts the built environment and frontline communities acutely and unjustly, with hazards of extreme heat, flooding, and increasingly frequent natural disasters. A spectrum of methods and expertise, including innovative technologies, climate-responsive design methods, community engagement, design for climate justice, and interdisciplinary collaboration are needed to face these challenges equitably and substantively. Successful candidates in this search will contextualize their work within this framing and make fundamental scholarly contributions while engaging across disciplinary cultures.
We recognize that candidates operating in this area will likely have a focus towards Building Technology or Design, while still working across these interrelated realms. As such, we imagine multiple scenarios for a successful hire across multiple positions; the two most likely are described here in detail.
A Building Technology Focused Hire The Building Technology (BT) group is focused on technological and science-based approaches to the design, construction, and operation of buildings, with the shared goals of improving performance, efficiency of resource use, occupant wellbeing, and equity in the built environment. Faculty each direct their own research groups and collaborate on projects, teaching, and outreach. Research methodologies in BT include numerical and analytical simulation, physical experimentation, algorithmic development, historical assessment, community engagement and partnership, and policy outreach. Topics of current BT work include structures, materials, building physics, operational and embodied energy use, and urban-scale performance. Faculty duties would include teaching courses in building technology and related topics, potentially including design, at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Successful candidates with this area as a focus are likely to complement and expand the existing areas of research with inventive, high-impact research and teaching. Candidates who advance new directions in operational performance, comfort, or wellbeing in buildings, cities, and communities are especially encouraged to apply.
A Design Focused Position The Design faculty in the department (known internally as the Architecture + Urbanism group) is centered on the production and teaching of architecture, urbanism, and design at a range of scales and contexts. A successful candidate with this area as a focus would have the ability to advance teaching and research in innovative design inquiry that engages climate change, environmental justice, and sustainability. Interest and capacity to work and teach within a rigorous research environment that is addressing contemporary critical, practical, and social issues within the field will be desirable. Faculty duties would include teaching graduate and undergraduate courses in design at the architectural and/or urban scale, as well as related topics, potentially including building teachnology. A particular area of focus would be the intersection of design and building technology as taught through studios, workshops and/or seminars, across undergraduate and graduate programs. Candidates who show a strong promise of creative achievement towards a more equitable and sustainable future within their design work, research, professional practice, community engagement, or a combination thereof are particularly welcome.
While these scenarios outline the scope of the search between the space of building technology and design, we are interested most of all in applicants who combine and collide these realms of inquiry in unexpected and instrumental ways. Thus, candidates interested in any relevant intersection and overlap should apply, without being concerned about a specific area of focus within the department; ultimately, the two hires will be complementary, but also overlapping.
Teaching commitments will include classroom teaching, student advising and mentorship, with a particular focus on graduate and undergraduate studios (for candidates with appropriate background) and seminars, and/or supervision of graduate research and thesis work (including doctoral research) for candidates with relevant background in building performance and research. All successful candidates will be expected to engage and contribute across these activities in some way. Candidates should demonstrate evidence of commitment to their work at the highest scholarly level. This evidence may include works of research, scholarship, and design; they may include peer-reviewed papers in journals and conference proceedings, sole-authored books, exhibitions in culturally influential venues, impactful software modules, built prototypes, community engagement projects, or professional work.
In keeping with MIT's culture of faculty self-governance and the Department's expectations of its faculty, candidates are expected to participate in the intellectual life and administrative functioning of the Department, and to contribute to the Department's research and pedagogical agendas. Candidates should enjoy collaborating with colleagues, be articulate communicators, and be dedicated to helping steer and support the rich, diverse culture of the Department. In pursuing research, teaching or practice, candidates should also be an effective representative of the Department to the external world.
Interested applicants should submit:
- A statement of interest outlining their interests and qualifications for the position, including major professional, research, pedagogical goals and achievements (maximum three pages)
- Statement on diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging, including past and current contributions and vision and future plans in these areas. Discuss approaches to fostering an inclusive environment including but not limited to teaching, mentoring, community outreach, and affirming diverse viewpoints (one page).
- A curriculum vitae
- Names and affiliations of at least three current references with contact information (candidates will be alerted before references are contacted)
- A maximum 36-page, letter-sized portfolio of design, research, or scholarly work. The portfolio can include documentation of design projects, peer-reviewed published papers (or excerpts), other relevant scholarly writing, and/or documentation of work output.
Apply here: apply.interfolio.com/136680
Urban Risk Lab Researcher
The Urban Risk Lab develops methods, prototypes, and technologies to embed risk reduction and preparedness into the design of cities and regions to increase the resilience of local communities. (See listing on MIT website.)
Over the next year, the candidate will work as an integral part of a multidisciplinary team working on one of MIT’s Climate Grand Challenge flagship projects, and collaborate with climate scientists, engineers, architects, urban designers, and policy experts to
- Research, develop and deploy web-based platforms to bridge the gap between climate-induced forecasting of disaster impacts and community-level preparedness.
- Design, develop and evaluate web-based decision support systems that provide actionable information and convey uncertainty of extreme events to policymakers, emergency responders, and communities during climate-induced disasters.
- Analyze real-time crowdsourced disaster mapping techniques and contribute to ongoing development of web-platforms to enhance disaster response and coordination.
Principal Duties and Responsibilities (Essential Functions**):
Stakeholder engagement, user interface design, hazard research and leading the web-development of situational support platforms will be the primary responsibility of the candidate. Candidates should be willing to perform diverse tasks from ideation, design, development, and deployment for the projects. After the project has concluded the candidate will be asked to analyze the results and write journal papers with other members of the lab. The candidate will also work on other projects in the lab where appropriate. Flexibility in the schedule and willingness to travel within and outside the US would be preferred. The position's duration is 1 year, with the possibility of further extension.
Project 1: MIT Climate Grand Challenge: Preparing for a New World of Weather and Climate Extremes
Global warming is intensifying extreme weather events globally. This MIT flagship project is a research initiative focused on studying and understanding extreme weather and climate events, such as severe storms, heatwaves, and floods. This project aims to improve our knowledge of these extreme events, their impacts on communities, and how they relate to climate change. By doing so, it seeks to develop practical tools and solutions to help communities better plan for and adapt to these increasingly frequent and severe weather phenomena.
As a part of this project, the Urban Risk Lab is engaged in developing Climate-Impact Preparedness and Adaptation Toolkits. These respond to three distinct use cases – risk communication, preparedness and planning, and adaptation guides. The Risk Communication Module transforms climate science and flooding model data into an interactive online platform, offering a multi-scalar perspective and empowering stakeholders with actionable knowledge. It prioritizes and motivates action by defining "consequence thresholds" triggered by specific disaster scenarios. The Preparedness Module assists local emergency managers in planning for near-term extreme events. It fosters collaboration between local officials and communities to develop adaptive plans and facilitate effective communication with the public. The Adaptation Module will guide processes such as participatory mapping and workshops to focus on in-situ adaptation. It addresses difficult conversations regarding resettlement and high-ground densification, helping real estate developers align projects with climate adaptation requirements while addressing the concerns of long-term profitability. These interactive Toolkits will need to consider locally specific design typologies and offer clear pathways for professionals, contractors, and property owners to transform their cities into resilient, habitable spaces. The toolkit will also need to access new data and provide guidance for accessing public and private funding sources for projects. The Climate Adaptation and Preparedness Toolkit will prove to be a vital resource designed to promote climate resilience, foster collaboration, and drive positive change within communities.
The multidisciplinary nature of this project underscores the candidate's vital role in collaborating closely with a diverse team of experts, including climate scientists, engineers, architects, urban designers, and policy specialists. The candidate's ability to bridge these disciplines and synthesize their insights is crucial in driving the project's success and fostering innovation in disaster resilience solutions. The candidate's primary responsibilities are:
Research, Development, and Deployment of Web-Based Climate-Impact Preparedness and Adaptation toolkit: The candidate will take a prominent role in researching, developing, and deploying innovative web-based platforms for collective resilience. These platforms will serve the crucial purpose of bridging the gap between climate-induced forecasting of disaster impacts and community-level preparedness. The responsibilities for this project are:
- Investigating the latest advancements in web mapping technologies and disaster forecasting methodologies to identify gaps and potential breakthrough areas for collective resilience.
- Coordinating with climate scientists and engineers to incorporate the research outputs from downscaling of climate extremes into the preparedness toolkits being co-developed with city partners.
- Innovate scalable and rapidly deployable digital tools to empower communities to proactively respond to impacts of climate extremes, impending disasters.
- Collaborate closely with stakeholders to define requirements and user needs for effective decision support interfaces.
- Ensure these applications provide actionable information to policymakers, emergency responders, and communities during climate-induced disasters. Focus on conveying the uncertainty associated with extreme events to facilitate informed decision-making.
- Designing, analyzing, and testing user-friendly, intuitive web interfaces for citizen-facing web-platforms to convey the uncertainty of extreme events and their impacts in an easy-to-understand manner without compromising the scientific clarity.
- Ensuring scalability and reliability of the platforms to meet the needs of diverse communities.
- Present research findings and innovative solutions at conferences and seminars to contribute to the academic and professional discourse on disaster resilience, HCI, urban planning and disaster informatics.
- Publish research papers in peer-reviewed journals to disseminate insights and promote the adoption of effective disaster resilience strategies and technologies.
Project 2: Real-Time Crowdsourced Disaster Mapping:
Urban Risk Lab has developed and deployed a range of real-time crowdsourced disaster mapping tools. By leveraging social media these tools allow residents to share information about flooding, disaster damage, and other time-critical aspects in real time on a map interface. We are also researching ways to augment AI to this collective intelligence and help emergency managers optimize crisis response.
The candidate's duties will extend to investigating and analyzing real-time crowdsourced disaster mapping techniques to enhance disaster response. Specific responsibilities will include:
- Identifying and assessing the effectiveness of new data sources, including social media, sensor networks, and citizen reports.
- Contribute to ongoing development of flood-detection and disaster impact classification algorithms and processes.
- Collaborating with stakeholders and other team members to extract actionable insights from crowdsourced information and develop new methods to collect crowdsourced information for everyday and crisis scenarios.
- Developing interactive decision support interfaces to generate common operating picture from crowdsourced data, other available geo-spatial sources, and weather datasets.
- Conducting rigorous usability testing and user feedback integration to improve system functionality.
- The ability to contribute to the development of AI models for automated flood and damage detection is desirable.
Candidate will be working with a diverse, collaborative team of full-time researchers and students on humanitarian research projects with real-world applications. They will work to achieve targeted deliverable applications on time bound projects, with the direction provided by the Director of the Urban Risk Lab.
There will also be opportunities to direct exploratory research work of graduate and undergraduate students and certain tasks by other full-time researchers where the design researcher needs to take a leadership role.
Qualifications & Skills:
MINIMUM REQUIRED EDUCATION AND EXPERIENCE:
- B.S in Computer science with a strong software development background.
- Expertise in full-stack web application development and deployment, including modern frameworks and version control systems.
- Keen interest in conducting impactful research in urban sciences, disaster resilience, web-based mapping, and related fields.
- Strong analytical and problem-solving skills,
- Exceptional communication skills, self-motivated and the ability to work effectively within a multidisciplinary team.
- A passion for research and innovation in climate-change, community-led disaster resilience and preparedness.
PREFERRED EDUCATION AND EXPERIENCE:
- Master's or equivalent advanced degree in a relevant field (e.g., Computer Science) with web development experience or B.S in Computer science with a strong software development background.
- 5+ years of hands-on development experience with 2+ years of DevOps experience
- Experience with version control systems and team software development (preferably Git).
- Working knowledge of front-end frameworks.
- Past experience with API frameworks
- Experience with ORM frameworks
- Manage database migrations for multitenant architecture
- Experience with containerized deployment using CD/CI services and cloud computing architecture
- GIS skills either using PostgresSQL, GIS software or Python GDAL.
*Employment is contingent upon the completion of a satisfactory background check.
** To comply with regulations by the American with Disabilities Act (ADA), the principal duties in position descriptions must be essential to the job. To identify essential functions, focus on the purpose and result of the duties rather than the way they are performed. The following definition applies: a job function is essential if removal of that function would fundamentally change the job.
The Department of Architecture is committed to supporting innovative visions for the future of architecture, with Fellowships playing a central role in this mission. Our fellowships are specifically designed to nurture emerging research agendas in architecture by providing support to individuals at key moments in their creative and academic trajectory. The department is seeking at least one and potentially two fellows to commence in September 2024.
Fellows will join the faculty on a one-year appointment, with the possibility of extension to three years following a review in the spring of their first year. These fellowships include a salary ranging from $65,000 to $80,000 per year, based on experience, a research fund of $8,000 to kickstart the applicant's research project. As a research-focused institution, MIT offers a range of internal competitive grants to support faculty research; our fellows are eligible for this support and have historically received internal funding for travel, exhibits, and research.
Fellows will be granted dedicated time and space to advance their proposed projects and are invited to share their results with the broader community through means such as exhibitions, publications, symposia, and/or public lectures.
In addition to their research activities, fellows will actively engage with students by teaching a course-load, balanced between fulfilling core program requirements and aligning with the fellow's research interests. These teaching opportunities may involve instructing in the MArch program at Core and/or Option studios, as well as undergraduate design studios. Courses may encompass studios, seminars, workshops, and lecture courses. Furthermore, applicants are expected to participate in limited service activities and contribute to the broader cultural life of the Department.
Candidates should have completed a MArch degree or equivalent.
Statement - please provide a statement outlining your vision for the future of architecture, your strategies for advancing this vision, your plans for sharing it with the community, and your reasons for selecting MIT as the ideal place to nurture and develop this project.
CV - a current curriculum vitae
Portfolio - a portfolio of work (not to exceed 20 pages)
Apply here: https://apply.interfolio.com/137263