This year’s Fellowship was unique in that it featured not one but two UO MARCH students, Josh Garhofer and Willy Benjamin. Josh and Willy each spent the summer working on research projects and gained hands-on experience working with current PIVOT project teams.
Willy’s project, “Biogenic Materials: Opportunities and Obstacles for Carbon Sequestration in the Building Envelope,” explored the viability of wood fiber, straw, and hemp as alternative options for insulation and wall systems. These biogenic materials have the ability to sequester carbon and reduce the embodied energy of the built environment, which accounts for at least 40% of global annual carbon emissions.
Driven by the climate crisis, Willy set out to explore barriers and opportunities for the implementation of these proven, yet alternative building materials. Willy investigated the materials by interviewing leading professionals all across North America including architects, builders, developers, and policy advocates. Additionally, he studied spaces currently using wood fiber, straw, and hemp as building materials and evaluated a current PIVOT project using computer modeling of biogenic materials to determine the carbon sequestration possibilities.
Willy found that there are great opportunities for products such as Hempcrete, Straw-SIPS, and wood-fiber insulation, concluding that these options are viable substitutes for their more common counterparts. Implementation may mean thicker walls, deeper windows, shorter spans, and deeper eaves, but Willy is hopeful that these building materials will become common place. He plans to continue his research while implementing biogenic materials into his own work.
To see Willy’s project, click here.
Josh’s project, “Passive Aggressive House,” took him on a journey all around Eugene and Springfield examining the feasibility of manufactured housing for creating sustainable, affordable, and socially viable housing developments. After receiving a call to action from his HOA protesting plans to develop a mobile home park near his neighborhood, Josh was inspired to study a diverse range of issues concerning mobile home parks and manufactured housing with attention to the influence of their stigma on neighborhoods.
Josh started his project by digging into the different ownership models, policies, and types of manufactured homes. He then visited manufactured housing communities around Eugene and Springfield hoping to better understand the people and the design of these neighborhoods. Josh was amazed by the culture of the places he visited, and concluded that community building is one of the greatest strengths of this housing type.
Overall, Josh’s project worked to dispelled myths around manufactured housing communities, highlighting the importance of site locations with access to transit and amenities, and identified beneficial design patterns and strategies. He found that manufactured housing can truly be affordable housing, but Resident-Owned Cooperatives (ROCs) and non-profits must be the most common ownership models.
To see Josh’s project, click here.
The PIVOT Fellowship is a means of fostering original thought about issues outside the daily routine or obvious future trajectory of our firm’s thought process. PIVOT selects fellows based on the nature of their project proposal and other factors. It is a paid position and the term runs from June until September.
The PIVOT Fellowship is open to BARCH, BIARCH, MARCH, and MIARCH students for the summer preceding their final year of study at the University of Oregon. Students are selected following an application process that includes review of the candidates’ proposals for a project of their choice to be executed over the summer of the fellowship.
For more information or to apply for the position, click here.