PJ Dick Innovation Fund Project Grant: Farm to Prototype

Project 2024
Jeremy Ficca, Associate Professor
rendering of a gray building with a wooden roof structure

Farm to Prototype: Constructing Biogenic Robustness through Hempcrete Prototypes
Jeremy Ficca, Associate Professor, Carnegie Mellon Architecture

This proposal seeks support for the construction and testing of a series of full-scale hempcrete architectural assemblies. It seeks to apply and test ongoing research into carbon sequestering and biogenic methods of construction through a series of prototypical architectural conditions. Particular emphasis will be directed to monolithic, lower-tech methods of construction that utilize the unique affordances of hemp-lime material composites. The prototypes will be instrumental in testing methods of site-formed and prefabricated unitized hempcrete elements to develop a language of construction that addresses the unique hybridity of hempcrete construction that bridges stereotomic and tectonic methodologies.

Image: Incremental House. Credit: Jeremy Ficca

About the Project Lead

Associate Professor, MAAD Track Chair & dFAB Lab Director

  • Project grants support projects that address the school’s three pedagogical challenges: climate change, social justice and artificial intelligence. The grants support the diverse work of Carnegie Mellon Architecture’s faculty in creative practice, professional practice, artistic practice, funded research, participatory design, design build, curation, scholarship, critical and digital humanities, and more. The intention of the PJ Dick Project Grants Program is to provide support for a variety of projects including faculty seed funds to start a project with the aim of getting external support, to continue work on a project that may not have the option for sponsored research, and to support organizing symposia and conferences at the school.

  • The Faculty Grants Program will award a total of $400,000 over four years and is open to all full time faculty at the school. The 2024 proposals were evaluated by a committee comprised of school head Omar Khan; associate heads Joshua Bard, Mary-Lou Arscott and Kai Gutschow; Erica Cochran Hameen, Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion; Theodossis Issaias, Special Faculty; Jenn Joy Wilson, Assistant Dean for Research Development and Sponsored Projects; and Aaron Martin, Associate Director, Institutional Partnerships, College of Fine Arts.

    The Faculty Grants Program, established in 2023 by PJ Dick Trumbull Lindy Group, supports faculty research and teaching innovations that address the school’s three pedagogical challenges: climate change, social justice and artificial intelligence. The proposals were assessed on their impact in furthering a faculty member’s research and teaching, their contribution to interrogating the school’s challenges, and their viability to garner further research support, make an impact on the discipline and expand the pedagogy of the school.