About these Proceedings
About the 2019 Conference Theme: Integration and Innovation
Following on the alliterative themes of recent BTES conferences, we have selected Integration and Innovation as the theme for the 2019 gathering. Innovation can begin with conjecture, with a searching for more effective solutions, or with an application to currently unknown or unarticulated needs. Innovation scholarship examines the personal intellectual habits that support new ideas, such as openness and exploratory behavior, as well as the circumstances behind the places in which creativity flourishes, such as support for cross-disciplinary fertilization and access to resources. The 2019 BTES conference will explore the role of technology education and curriculum in cultivating these intellectual habits in our students (and ourselves) and in creating the organizational spaces in which the future of practice will be shaped. Sessions will seek exemplary proposals of research and pedagogical applications that explore innovative practices and integrative thinking in the academy and profession.
These intertwined themes of innovation and integration are deeply embodied in the host site, the award-winning John W. Olver Design Building at the University of Massachusetts. Named one of the Best Buildings of 2017 by the Wall Street Journal, the 87,000 square foot building counted a number of superlatives at its opening, among them, the most technologically advanced cross-laminated timber building in the country. However, while we are delighted by these accolades and the building’s warm appeal, it is the organizational potential that the site embodies that makes it a fitting site for the 2019 BTES Conference.
Housing the university’s architecture, building and construction technology, landscape architecture, and regional planning programs, the collective effort to realize the Design Building was launched to “represent the thoughtful integration of human creativity and ecological sensitivity that is the foundation of our professions.”
The Design Building is a fitting backdrop for the sharing of BTES members’ own innovative research and pedagogies. The structure is a testament to faculty ingenuity, political acumen, and creative collaboration: some of the building technologies employed, such as the layered composite floor system of concrete, timber, and steel mesh, were researched and developed by faculty right on campus. Moving from invention to application involved garnering the political support of a former congressman and the MA State Legislature, who ultimately activated the shift from the status quo steel frame to a demonstration project for new and innovative wood construction technologies through an Environmental Bond Bill. To deploy these innovations spatially, the architects and engineers collaborated closely with code officials to shape new codes while creating a building that is now a primary teaching tool for our students—from its exposed glulam and cross-laminated timber (CLT) frame, to its visible mechanicals and interdisciplinary teaching spaces.