MIT Architecture and Architectural Record present “Sustainability in Practice”

Upcoming summit spotlights impactful research on the climate crisis

MIT Architecture faculty Christoph Reinhart, Caitlin Mueller, and Sheila Kennedy will lead sessions in Sustainability in Practice, a summit organized with Architectural Record at MIT on June 20, 2023. The summit will showcase cutting-edge research and built projects employing advanced software, mass timber, circular construction, and upcycling.

“Our climate crisis demands many essential shifts in building and construction,” says professor and architecture department head Nicholas de Monchaux. “As the home of the first professional architecture program in North America, and the home of pathbreaking research in building design for the last century, MIT must provide leadership in transforming how we work and build. 

Bringing further focus to ongoing departmental efforts in addressing the climate crisis is a recent gift from Alan G. Spoon ’73, chair of the Department of Architecture Visiting Committee, and his wife, architect Terri Spoon. This new endowment establishes the Terri and Alan Spoon Professor of Architecture and Climate—the second full professorship in the department since 1978—and the Spoon Climate Studio for Research, Teaching & Impact.

The Spoon gift is intended to strengthen Department-wide efforts to develop new models of teaching, learning, research, and impact, with the urgency that this crisis demands. The gift also aligns with MIT’s renewed mission to tackle the climate crisis; “the greatest scientific and societal challenge of this or any age,” as laid out by MIT’s new President, Sally Kornbluth, in her inaugural speech this May. 

Christoph Reinhart, professor and director of the Building Technology Program and the Sustainable Design Lab, has been named the inaugural Terri and Alan Spoon Professor of Architecture and Climate. The professorship will support his work to accelerate the transition of the building sector toward carbon neutrality by 2050 through both architectural education and practice. 

Caitlin Mueller ’07, PhD ’14, SM ’14, associate professor of building technology, and Sheila Kennedy, professor of architecture, were chosen as co-leaders of the inaugural Spoon Climate Studio and will lead a series of workshops and studies beginning in 2024 that will offer a critical cultural inquiry into the modern development of standardized building construction materials. The Spoon Climate Studio will be a continuously cycling, three-year program of teaching focused on architecture and climate with the support of student research and teaching assistants.

Learn more about the summit and ongoing climate-related teaching and research at