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Dr. Carmela Cucuzzella, PhD

Professor, Design and Computation Arts
Concordia University Research Chair in Integrated Design And Sustainability for the Built Environment (IDEAS-BE)
Founding Co-Director, Next Generation Cities Institute

Dr. Carmela Cucuzzella, PhD

Dr. Carmela Cucuzzella, is a Professor in theDesign and Computation Arts department and is holder of the Concordia University Research Chair in Integrated Design and Sustainability for the Built Environment ( She is founding co-director of the Next Generation Cities Institute. She is a also member of theinter-university and interdisciplinary team of the Laboratory for the Studyof Potential Architecture (LEAP).

Her most recent books: (1) AnalyzingEco-architecture Beyond Performance offers an overview of the state of thefield and constitutes a critical introduction to the study of environmentalismin architecture. Contrary to the technological and performative biases of mosteco-design studies, the book helps to understand how meaningis embedded in all types of eco-architecture.  (2) Sustainable Architecture betweenMeasurement and Meaning takes the reader on a journey that distances itself from the mainstreamapproaches for sustainable architecture.

Her research work is framed within the broad domain of design studies where she investigates questions of sustainable design for urban living. Her varied background and expertise in environmental and social life cycle analysis, in green building rating systems, and in design and architecture, allows her to adopt a framework revolving around design’s interrelated dimensions of the cognitive-instrumental, the moral-practical and the aesthetic-expressive forms of conception and discourse.

She has two main areas of research. In her CoLLaboratoire research , she seeks to understand how the collaborative design and implementation of interactive art-architecture in public urban spaces can contribute to a critique, deeper understanding and/or embodiment of sustainable urban,professional, community, and even human practices in the long term. ​ In her second area of research, her interests lie predominantly in responsible design practices with a particular interest in understanding the challenges of accommodating sustainability diagnostic or rating tools such as Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) alongside the creative conceptual exploration that takes place during the design process. She addresses the limits of current sustainability assessment tools as a means to gain a complex understanding of social, cultural and environmental repercussions of design practice.


  • PhD (Environmental Design), Université de Montréal
  • MAppSc (Design and Complexity), Université de Montréal
  • BFA (Design Arts), Concordia University
  • BCompSc (Systems Architecture), Concordia University

Research interests

sustainable design, design thinking, urban sustainability, public space design, integrated design, environmental evaluation,  judgment, eco-art, eco-design, eco-architecture, eco-didacticism, precautionary principle, complexity theories, systems modelling, systems design

Areas of expertise

Environmental and social Life Cycle Analysis, LEED

Research activities

1. Collaboratoire

This project links together academics, students, community, and business leaders to address sustainability challenges together. It therefore serves as a medium for transdisciplinary scientific research requiring citizen-engagement while also creating a measurable impact with regards to sustainable living.

2. Environmentalism as Re-presentation

Through the lens of  symbolic forms, this research aims to understand the way in which environmental strategies influence the imaginary and design of public architecture.

3. Public Space Design and Analogical Thinking

This pedagogical research project explores ways in which underutilized public spaces can be rethought as spaces for vitality, encounters, urban revitalization and sustainability. Design explorations are done through analogical thinking. The potential for a large variety of explorations remains at the core of this methodology.

4. Eco-didacticism in the Public Realm

This research focuses on eco- art, design, and architecture in the public realm that aims to convey eco-messages as means to raise awareness or mobilize action regarding sustainability behaviours
The project inventorizes such works across Canada and examines their potential for conveying such eco-messages in the public domain

5. Collaboratoire for Activing Multi-Modal Mobility (CAMMM)

This partnership project works with the municipality and not for profit organization to develop design challenges that facilitate community and student exchanges on key questions about public space design and multi-modal mobility

Teaching activities


Special Topic in the Built Environment


History and Theory of Design for Sustainability


Nature Inspired Environments


History and Theory of Design


Collaborative Research Methods


Critical Thinking for Innovation


Research Proposal Writing

Participation activities

Loyola Solar Shelter Design Competition

This competition was open to young designers and was anonymously judgedby respecting the principle of anonymity, part of a series of activities conductedby the CoLLaboratoire organization based in Montreal. The main objective ofCoLLaboratoire is the elaboration of a series of artistic installations focused onexperimentation, as much creative as pedagogical, along Sherbrooke Street inMontreal. The projects selected and realized aim to consider the role of publicart and design in increasing awareness of, and engagement in, issues aroundclimate change at the local level.

More Than Waiting for the Bus International Design Competition

The competition asked to reflect on the reinvigoration of public spaces around four bus stops situated on Sherbrooke Street East in Montreal. This competition was open to students and graduates of less than 5 years in the fields of architecture, design, landscape and urban design.
This ideas competition sought both:
(a) Designs that are environmentally engaging; and
(b) A series of principles that could be adopted for future implementation in collaboration with the City of Montreal, the STM and private landowners.

The chosen slogan, “MORE THAN WAITING FOR THE BUS” invites designers to reflect on contemporary approaches that can help invigorate these spaces in interactive, poetic, critical and meaningful ways: from solely utilitarian to more multi-purposed spaces surrounding bus stops.

Reimagining the Experience of Public Transport

How can design accelerate the transition from the end of the pandemic to a new experience of public transportation?

This design competition is part of a joint research initiative. The Concordia University Chair of Integrated Design, Ecology, and Sustainability for the Built Environment and the Canada Research Chair in Architecture, Competitions, Mediations of Excellence at Université de Montréal are working together to mobilize the creativity of young designers of the built environment in order to stimulate debate on the renewed experiences of public transportation for increased urban resiliency.

This 2021 edition is done in collaboration CRE-Montreal and ARTM. The Conseil régional de l’environnement de Montréal (CRE-Montreal) promotes sustainable development for the City of Montreal. The Autorité régionale de transport métropolitain (ARTM) is the transportation authority, which plans, funds, and promotes public transit and paratransit services for the Montréal metropolitan area.

This ideas competition seeks to gather:

  1. narratives of renewed experience of public transportation;
  2. design idea(s) for encouraging the use of public transportation;
  3. series of design principles for implementing a renewed experience of public transportation.

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