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Research & Innovation

What does research mean in art, architecture, and design?

What we see affects everything that we are. Art, architecture, and design research and creative practice manifests in explorations that are formal, material, speculative, scholarly, applied, investigative, and experimental. It results in partnerships, in fashion design lines, in books and essays, in exhibitions and interventions, in entrepreneurial ventures, in patented technologies, in buildings, cityscapes, and landscapes. Sam Fox School faculty, staff, and students advance new ways of making sense of the world.


Penina Acayo Laker, Malaria Symptom Cards.

How does the Sam Fox School research impact communities?

Art, architecture, and design has an immediate and lasting impact on communities—politically, structurally, economically, and personally. We are deeply committed to collaborating with partners in the St. Louis community and beyond on research that has a positive impact around the globe.

Learn about our recent initiatives through our Office for Socially Engaged Practice.



  • Pulitzer Arts Foundation
  • University City Public Art Series
  • The Alberti Program
  • Lambert Arts & Culture Initiative
  • CityStudioSTL
  • Barnes-Jewish Hospital
  • NIH Community Engagement Alliance (CEAL)

Left: Sung Ho Kim, Silver Tower, 2020. Conceptual residential/commercial design for Novack Construction + Development.

How does the Sam Fox School research intersect with other disciplines?

At times, the nature of art, architecture, and design is to address common ideas from an uncommon vantage point. To approach a topic with radically different questions. To spark inquisitiveness from a viewer, a participant. To provoke more engaged participation. Some explorations arrive at an application, a solution. Others arrive at better questions for our time. Our research embraces diverse ideas from other fields and invents new pathways for cross-disciplinary engagement.

  • Race + Ethnicity
  • Sustainability + Environmental Resiliency
  • Grief
  • Capitalism + Colonialism
  • Design Futures
  • Architectural History
  • Gender
  • Visual Culture
  • Medicine
  • Climate Change
  • Public Health
  • Urban Infrastructure + Ecologies
  • Collective Memory
  • Women, Sexuality, + Gender
  • The Nature of the Body
  • Social Justice
  • Economies of Urban Decay
  • Materiality
  • Urban Segregation
  • Time
  • The History of Illustration
  • Autonomous + Technological Futures
  • American Culture
  • Historic Preservation
  • Film & Media
  • The Cosmos
  • Entrepreneurship + Innovation

Research Spotlights


Select Faculty Exhibitions and Permanent Collections

  • The Whitney Biennial
  • MoMA
  • PS1
  • Crystal Bridges Museum
  • Museum of Contemporary Photography
  • Philadelphia Museum of Art
  • Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
  • The New Museum
  • Venice Biennale

Image: Amy Hauft, “Period Room.” Photo: Aaron Eigler.

Notable Faculty Grants and Fellowships

MacDowell Fellowship / New York Foundation for the Arts Grant / Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant / National Endowment for the Arts Grant / Louis Comfort Tiffany Award / Yaddo Residency / UCLA Design Media Arts Center Residency / Civitella Ranieri Foundation Fellowship / Pew Fellowship / Howard Foundation Fellowship

Faculty Publications

Architecture Monographs

Louis I. Kahn, Robert McCarter

On and By Frank Lloyd Wright, Robert McCarter

Lina Bo Bardi: Drawings, Zeuler Lima

Art & Design Theory

Taking Possession: The Politics of Memory in a St. Louis Town House, Heidi Kolk

The Black Experience in Design, co-authored and edited by Penina Acayo Laker

Stick Figures: Drawing as Human Practice, D.B. Dowd

Architectural Theory

Infrastructural Optimism, Linda Samuels

Designing the Modern City: Urbanism Since 1850, Eric Mumford

Modern Architecture and the Lifeworld: Essays in Honor of Kenneth Frampton, Robert McCarter

Rebuilding the American City, Patty Heyda and Mason White

Segregation by Design: Conversations and Calls for Action in St. Louis Catalina Freixas + Mark Abbott

Children’s Books

Shooting at the Stars, John Hendrix

Drawing is Magic, John Hendrix

John Brown and His Fight for Freedom, John Hendrix

More Than Fluff, Madeline Valentine

Graphic Novels, Graphic Nonfiction, Comics & Zines

The Faithful Spy: Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the Plot to Kill Hitler, John Hendrix

The Bystander Anthology, co-edited by Shreyas R Krishnan

Spartan Holiday, D.B. Dowd

Amazing Facts & Beyond (with Leon Beyond), Dan Zettwoch + Kevin Huizenga

About the Sam Fox School Office of Research & Innovation

We work with faculty and students to define projects, seek funding, and identify partnerships. We also partner with external organizations on research initiatives. Our mission is to generate new knowledge, encourage entrepreneurship, and promote interdisciplinary collaborations in architecture, design, and visual arts at Washington University in St. Louis.

Partner with Us
If you are interested in sponsoring a specific research initiative, project, course, or other creative activity, please contact Chad Henry, director of the Office of Research & Innovation to discuss. We welcome the opportunity to collaborate with individuals, corporations, and organizational sponsors.