For a research agenda that spans numerous disciplines, and leadership in an inaugural Texas A&M College of Architecture charrette that included students from all four of its departments, Zofia Rybkowski, associate professor of construction science, earned the 2018 J. Thomas Regan Interdisciplinary Prize.
Established by the College of Architecture’s Dean’s Advisory Council to honor Regan, former dean of the college and champion of built environment interdisciplinary education, the prize is awarded annually to a faculty member selected by a faculty committee from a pool of nominees. Regan died in 2015.
Rybkowski’s research takes place alongside colleagues from an array of disciplines.
She’s leading a group of researchers from four university departments who are developing and testing environmentally responsible printing materials and methods in a two-year study funded by a $500,000 X-Grant from the Texas A&M President’s Excellence Fund.
In a 2015-2018 project, she led a group of researchers in architecture, visualization, materials science and engineering, and computer science in a National Science Foundation-funded study. She and her colleagues tested the performance of “smart” materials that alter their form in response to changes in air pressure or temperature while embedded in traditional and prototype materials used for building exteriors, or skins.
Her research interests also include all aspects of lean construction, a method to design and build structures that emphasizes procedures to maximize value and minimize waste.
She also played a leading role in a major new College of Architecture initiative, the inaugural Harold L. Adams Interdisciplinary Charrette for Undergraduates, wherestudents from the college’s four departments spent a weekend creating designs and construction schedules for amenities in a Langford Architecture Center outdoor space.
“Her insistence to include participants from all the college’s departments at all levels of the event, including student organizers, consultants and jurors, ensured the event was truly collaborative and interdisciplinary,” said Patrick Suermann, head of the Department of Construction Science, in a Regan Prize nomination letter.
Rybkowski holds the Harold Adams Interdisciplinary Professorship in Construction Science. She earned a Ph.D. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of California-Berkely in 2009, a Master of Science in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Cal-Berkeley in 2005, a Master of Philosophy in Civil Engineering from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology in 2004, a Master of Architecture from the Harvard Graduate School of Design in 1991, a Master of Science in Biology from Brown University in 1987, and a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Stanford University in 1985.