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NBBJ Launches Partnership Program with Leading Researchers

Molecular Biologist John Medina Named 2014 Fellow / Exploring Intersection of Neuroscience and Built Environment

SEATTLE – June 19, 2014 – NBBJ, a global architecture and design firm, announced today the launch of a new fellowship program that will integrate external research experts with the firm’s design practice, beginning in 2014 with developmental molecular biologist John Medina.

NBBJ’s fellows will be selected to partner with the firm on its professional development curricula and on collaborative project work in order to further the firm’s capability in applying relevant, emerging research in the fields of social science, neuroscience, materials science and other fields to the design of buildings and cities. Future fellows may include visiting senior practice leaders in other design professions, civic leaders, professors, post-doctoral researchers and doctoral researchers.

John Medina has devoted his research career to understanding how the human brain reacts to and organizes information. He is an affiliate Professor of Bioengineering at the University of Washington School of Medicine and author of the New York Times bestseller Brain Rules. He will engage with NBBJ’s design and leadership teams over the next year to explore the impact of brain science and its applications for how we design and experience environments. The program is led by NBBJ Partner Richard Dallam and the 2014 effort will focus on the healthcare and corporate building sectors.

When announcing the fellowship program, NBBJ Managing Partner Steve McConnell described what the company sees as extraordinary opportunities to improve the impact of design for people and communities — such as a greater ability to harness research and data for interdisciplinary collaboration, improving the science of design, organizational performance and enhancing the human experience.

“R&D is fundamental to our firm, so that we can continue offering clients the most responsive and resilient designs possible,” Richard Dallam said. “By drawing on the expertise of external fellows like John, and plugging him into our project teams, we’ll be able to explore new areas of research that will change the way we think about our work and the spaces we create.”

“The intersection between the cognitive neurosciences and the built environment is one of the most fascinating and untapped areas of research,” John Medina said. “For years, NBBJ has been at the forefront of innovative healthcare design and corporate office environments. Disruptive creativity is a part of their corporate DNA. This fellowship is only the latest example of their willingness to push that envelope. Architects don’t often have long conversations with brain scientists — yet that’s exactly what we’re doing! We have an exciting opportunity this year to merge our expertise to create real impact in these arenas.”