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Dr. Carmela Cucuzzella, PhD

Associate Professor, Design and Computation Arts
Concordia University Research Chair in Integrated Design, Ecology, And Sustainability (IDEAS) for the Built Environment

Dr. Carmela Cucuzzella, PhD
Office: S-EV 6755 
Engineering, Computer Science and Visual Arts Integrated Complex,
1515 St. Catherine W.
Phone: (514) 848-2424 ext. 4690
Website(s): Concordia University Research Chair IDEAS-BE

Dr. Carmela Cucuzzella, is an Associate Professor in theDesign and Computation Arts department and is holder of the ConcordiaUniversity Research Chair in Integrated Design, Ecology and Sustainability forthe Built Environment( Herresearch work is framed within the broad domain of design studies where sheinvestigates questions of sustainable design for urban living. Her variedbackground and expertise in environmental and social life cycle analysis, ingreen building rating systems, and in design and architecture, allows her toadopt a framework revolving around design’s interrelated dimensions of thecognitive-instrumental, the moral-practical and the aesthetic-expressive formsof conception and discourse.

She has two main areas of research. In her CoLLaboratoireresearch , she seeks to understand how the collaborative design andimplementation of interactive art-architecture in public urban spaces can contributeto 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.

Prior to joining Concordia University, she was employed by Bell Northern Research (later Nortel Networks) for eleven years where she designed and developed software for the telecommunications industry. During her PhD studies, Carmela served as Research Project Manager for the Laboratoire d'étude d'architecture potentielle at UdeM. She has presented over twenty communications and published in books and international journals on environmental, social and cultural issues related to assessment and judgment for design projects, in the context of sustainability. She  has taught at both, Université de Montréal and Université de Québec a Montréal (UQAM).


  • 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

Design for sustainability, design thinking, urban sustainability, environmental evaluation and judgment, precautionary principle, dichotomy between prevention and precaution for design for sustainability, complexity, 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.

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

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.

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