Close-up of concrete arch positioned on its side, supported by a metal frame.
Collection of 20 blue-colored log cabin drawings and photos; part of a student thesis study.

Architecture Research Cluster

The Material Matters (MM) research cluster provides students with opportunities to delve into the interaction of materials and processes. With research ranging from material properties exploration to applied process-based design, this cluster encompasses a wide range of creative interests that find common ground in the power of material – the generator and substance of design.

Research in the MM cluster is supported by a collection of faculty members whose work focuses on craft traditions, industrial production, tooling and skills transmission, bricolage and the material imagination, material memory, design-build, and the reuse and restoration of buildings. Student and faculty engagement with Penn State’s considerable materials/making resources in architecture, fine arts, and engineering is a hallmark of this cluster. MM – as a community of scholars, architects, and designers who fabricate, build, unbuild, and innovate – stimulates new knowledge through shared experience in an environment of creative innovation, hands-on exploration, and critical making.


Core Faculty

Mehrdad Hadighi

  • Stuckeman Professor in Advanced Studies
  • Professor of Architecture

Frank Jacobus

  • Department Head and Professor of Architecture
  • Stuckeman Chair of Integrative Design

James Kalsbeek

  • Associate Professor of Architecture

DK Osseo-Asare

  • Associate Professor of Architecture and Engineering Design

Marcus Shaffer

  • Associate Professor of Architecture

Benay Gursoy Toykoç

  • Assistant Professor of Architecture
Computer wireframe graphic showing orbital pattern definition of fufuzela (skeleton-skin) multi-speciation, by DK Osseo-Asare & Yasmine Abbas.

Faculty Research

A group of images of rammed earth fabrication process and tooling, plus finished design architectural renderings.

Student Work + Publications