Skip To Main Content
Penn State College of Arts and Architecture
Penn State College of Arts and Architecture
Select where to search:


Community design, research + education

The Hamer Center for Community Design serves as a laboratory for community partnerships that integrate socio-economic and environmental conscious resolution to design and planning problems. It is an incubator for exploring ideas, a classroom, and a real-world link; viewing the activities of teaching, research and service as interrelated in investigating issues of community design and planning.


Mission

The Mission of the Hamer Center for Community Design is to encourage building community through building knowledge. It fulfills its mission through engagement in three inter-related activities: Teaching, Research and Service.


Values

The Hamer Center serves as a laboratory for community partnerships that integrate socio-economic and environmental conscious resolution to design and planning problems. It is an incubator for exploring ideas, a classroom, and a real-world link; viewing the activities of teaching, research and service as interrelated in investigating issues of community design and planning.

The Hamer Center seeks to empower communities by providing information for responsible development through research and analysis of specific issues and by providing planning and pre-design services.

The Hamer Center serves as a clearinghouse for research, projects, and case summaries related to community design and planning. The Hamer Center compiles research and community design/planning documentations for dissemination, summarizes documents relating to topics or themes and relates the material back to community issues in the Commonwealth and its unique regional conditions.



Goals

Community outreach and empowerment.

Public education and dissemination of research related to community design and planning.

Focus on issues related to disadvantaged communities and communities in need.

Provide community service through studio programs, research programs, grant writing, and/or special projects. Each service studio or project must have an academic component that can be linked to a research question or teaching pedagogical question.

To operate as a teaching and learning center where students and faculty are in place to explore new methodologies and required to expand project scopes to include an academic pursuit. The Center is not in direct competition with professional offices; however, clients should see the Center as a resource that helps to explore and define design/planning problems.

To serve as a hub for the Stuckeman School community, and beyond – working on community design/planning research and education.


Project Map

This story map provides a chronological and geographic portfolio of Hamer Center work beginning in 1996: Story Map


A hand pointing to a cluster of buildings on a map of a flood-prone area

A model of a landscape with a river flowing through it.

Labs + Outreach

Energy Efficient Housing Research Group

The Energy Efficient Housing Research Group (EEHR) is concerned with the study, design, and implementation of Responsible Housing. An outreach arm of the Hamer Center, the EEHR is comprised of a multidisciplinary team of faculty, graduate, and undergraduate students from across the University dedicated to the investigation of responsible housing in order to inform better housing and more resource-conscious living.

EEHR site

Initiative for Resilient Communities

The Penn State Initiative for Resilient Communities (PSIRC) provides an environment of shared discovery where people can come together to address local resilience challenges of small, riverine communities vulnerable to flood risk. Working with local stakeholders and decision makers, PSIRC provides a way to leverage the resources of Penn State to help make an impact for local communities.

PSIRC site

Research and Energy Efficiency Lab

The Research and Energy Efficiency Lab (RE2 Lab) is dedicated to research on energy use and environmental impacts of built environments.

RE2 Lab site

Study Abroad: Tanzania

Tanzania’s Udzungwa Mountains National Park represents the front line of conservation for some of the most important biodiversity remaining in the Eastern Arc. This geographic setting provides an opportunity for students to observe and assess several critical dimensions of environmental sustainability.

Study Abroad: Tanzania


Studio Partnerships

The Hamer Center endeavors to support our faculty and students serving communities through research and design studio exploration. This is a list of some of our more recent studio collaborations.

GD 304: Practical Communications — Spring 2021

Graphic design students were tasked with designing and developing a signage and wayfinding package that creates a sense of entry with major gateways into downtown Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania.

Selinsgrove booklet (PDF)

ARCH 431: Architectural Design V — Spring 2020

Architecture students were asked to design a new garden and community center for Sankofa Village Community Garden, a non-profit organization based in the Homewood neighborhood of Pittsburgh.

Sankofa Village booklet (PDF)

ARCH 431: Architectural Design V — Fall 2019

Architecture students were tasked with exploring the design of the Pottstown (Pennsylvania) Children’s Discovery Center. The underlying research question was: How can architecture contribute to child development?

Pottstown booklet (PDF)

Students sit around a table with a landscape map in front of them.

People

Faculty, staff, students, as well as external researchers and industry professionals all contribute to the vital exchange of ideas and solutions in the Hamer Center.

The Core Faculty Researchers come from the Stuckeman School’s Departments of Architecture, Graphic Design, and Landscape Architecture.



Core Faculty Researchers


Rahman Azari

Rahman Azari

Associate Professor of Architecture +
Director of the RE2 Lab | Profile


Lisa Iulo

Lisa Iulo

Associate Professor of Architecture +
Director of the Hamer Center for Community Design | Profile



Affiliate Researchers


Peter Aeschbacher

Peter Aeschbacher

Associate Professor of Architecture and Landscape Architecture | Profile


Leann Andrews

Leann Andrews

Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture + Stuckeman Career Development Assistant Professor in Design | Profile


Mallika Bose

Mallika Bose

Professor of Landscape Architecture + Associate Dean for Research, Creative Activity, and Graduate Studies | Profile


Andy Cole

Andy Cole

Professor of Landscape Architecture and Ecology | Profile


Corey Gracie Griffin

Corey Gracie Griffin

Associate Dean of Research + Associate Professor of Architecture, Penn State Altoona | Profile


David Goldberg

David Goldberg

Associate Clinical Professor of Landscape Architecture + Director of Penn State Geodesign | Profile


Stephen Mainzer

Stephen Mainzer

Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture | Profile


Paul Daniel Marriott

Paul Daniel Marriott

Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture | Profile


Ute Poerschke

Ute Poerschke

Professor of Architecture | Profile


Alec Spangler

Alec Spangler

Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture | Profile


Taylor Shipton

Taylor Shipton

Assistant Teaching Professor of Graphic Design | Profile


Alexandra Staub

Alexandra Staub

Professor of Architecture | Profile


Hong Wu

Hong Wu

Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture | Profile


Community members meet with Hamer Center researchers over proposed plans for Selinsgrove, PA.
Close up of an architectural model showing differing land levels with houses atop of them.
Tanzania landscape with water in foreground and mountains in the distance
Close-up of Penn State Landscape Architecture student showing a camera to a group of smiling Tanzanian children

Curriculum Collaborators


Larry Gorenflo

Larry Gorenflo

Professor of Landscape Architecture, Geography, and African Studies | Profile


Ryan Russell

Ryan Russell

Associate Professor of Graphic Design | Profile


Administrative & Financial Support

  • Barbara Cutler
  • Katrina Kasper
  • Karen McNeal

Graduate Student Researchers

  • Meysam Akbari Paydar
  • Cayla Erisman
  • Lacey Goldberg
  • Farzad Hashemi
  • M. Naveen Kumar
  • Jie Li
  • Epiphany Loux
  • Kristine Luther
  • Sina Memarian
  • Tasneem Tariq
  • Tanzim Rachana
  • Nastaran Tebyanian
  • Jingshi Zhang

News from A&A

Stuckeman School researcher leads study of building emissions in cities

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Rahman Azari, associate professor of architecture in the Stuckeman School, is leading an interdisciplinary team of Penn State researchers that is studying the emissions associated with


Read More

Interdisciplinary Penn State team places second in coastal design competition

An interdisciplinary team of Penn State landscape architecture and civil engineering students was awarded second place in the biennial Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation.
Read More

Architecture professor co-edits book on building science, technology research

A new book co-edited by Rahman Azari, associate professor of architecture, offers a variety of perspectives and first-hand experiences from scholars and experts in building science
Read More