Design is a powerful tool to create change; however, it is important we strive to understand, through research, how the design of built environments impacts humans in our everyday lives. BWBR’s formal research program began in 2007, growing out of our vision to serve as a knowledge resource for our clients and to commit ourselves to developing a deeper understanding of the impacts that design has on occupants, organizations, and our communities.
By applying a level of rigor and relying on evidence-based design, our team creates opportunities for adding value and innovation. BWBR’s commitment to a knowledge-driven design culture creates a more engaged practice and inspires our team (and our clients) to exceed expectations.
BWBR’s Research Practice Includes:
- Primary research projects
- Pre- and post-occupancy evaluations and studies
- Occupant satisfaction surveys
- Focus groups and interviews
- Behavioral observations
- Data collection, analysis, and visualization
- Review and evaluation of relevant research journals
- Creation of research publications, website summaries, white papers, and industry articles
- Member of University of Minnesota School of Architecture Research Consortium, hosting UMN MSRP students for one- or two-semester research projects
- Evidence-based Design Accreditation and Certification (EDAC) professionals
BWBR’s library of free, open-access original white papers allow us to share our expertise, inform future projects, and help advance the profession.
BWBR’s original research summaries share the practical results of our project-driven studies, outlining the methodology, findings, and impact.
Supporting Scientific Inquiry through Informed Lab Design
Findings from a pre-occupancy study conducted to inform the design of the University of Minnesota Microbiology Research Facility.
Healing Learning Environment Supports Student Self-Regulation
A case study at one of the first Minnesota education centers (Karner Blue Education Center) designed specifically for K-8 students with autism, emotional and behavioral disorders, and cognitive disabilities. This study investigates the ways in which design and architecture can influence the ability of students
to self-regulate and/or de-escalate in a healing learning environment.
Active Learning Environments Support STEM Education
A post-occupancy study of North Dakota State University’s A. Glenn Hill Center for STEM Education builds awareness of how physical environments influence 21st century learning goals and encourages new explorations into active learning experiences in undergraduate classroom designs.
Does Space Matter in Mental Health Treatment?
An exploratory study for a child/adolescent mental health inpatient unit in the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital examined design elements and spaces as contributing influences to behavior and wellbeing for patients, staff, and families.
Principal and Design Researcher
Championing a design research and knowledge management program, Stefnee lends passion for problem solving in design research, organizational learning, and operational improvement. As an EDAC accredited professional Stefnee leads a program focused on identifying, capturing, and sharing knowledge to enhance client service and staff development. She has co-authored peer-reviewed studies examining the impact evidence-based design has on occupant outcomes. Stefnee’s work has been published in Health Environments Research and Design Journal and has spoken as industry conferences and events. She has also served as an adjunct instructor and frequent guest lecturer at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities as well as a guest presenter at other universities.