Trickle-Up Research: Inquiry and Curiosity in Design Practice - 1.25 PDH (LA CES/HSW)

Recorded On: 10/28/2023

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As more design firms establish internal research groups, some have eschewed top-down research agendas, investing instead in organizational infrastructure that supports the bottom-up emergence of research priorities. Hear from three firms with well-established research infrastructure about programs that encourage staff engagement, collaboration, and leadership while supporting disciplinary transformation.

Learning objectives:

  • Learn how staff-driven research is encouraged, supported, funded, and integrated into projects at three leading design firms.
  • Learn how trickle-up research programs can be flexibly adapted and scaled to firms with a range of sizes, disciplines, operating budgets, portfolios, and practice types.
  • Learn how formal research programs can foster collaboration and innovation in design practice, while also supporting retention and recruitment.
  • Understand how staff-driven research is selected and funded at a variety of firms and discover a range of practice-based research examples, methods, findings, and outcomes.

Allyson Mendenhall, FASLA, LEED Green Associate

Director of Professional Practice


Allyson Mendenhall is Director of Professional Practice at Sasaki. She leads practice-based research and thought leadership initiatives, and the development of standards, best practices, and training in support of design and operational excellence. Allyson is recognized for bridging design practice and academia through research partnerships and publications. She serves on the Harvard GSD Dean’s Leadership Council and is Immediate Past President of the Harvard Alumni Association. A recipient of the 2020 Denver Business Journal Outstanding Women in Business Award, she sits on the University of Colorado Denver College of Architecture and Planning Advisory Board.

Anya Domlesky, ASLA

Director of Research

SWA Group

Anya Domlesky is an urban designer and landscape architect currently the Director of Research at SWA Group. She runs XL Lab, the firm’s innovation lab undertaking practice-based research. The lab explores near future conditions in the built environment, performs analyses of design performance, experiments with new technologies to create tools for the field, and does topical investigations that address emerging complexities and unprecedented challenges. As a designer, she has worked largely on issues around urbanization, coasts, and water. She holds an MLA from the Harvard Graduate School of Design and an M.Arch II from McGill University.

Rebecca Popowsky, RLA, SITES AP

Research Associate


Rebecca Popowsky is a landscape architect and Research Associate at OLIN, where she leads the firm’s research and development group, OLIN Labs. Her project-near and grant-funded research includes waste-based material design and practice-based research models. Rebecca has contributed to a wide-range of design, planning, and construction projects. Her portfolio includes Canal Park in Washington, DC, Dilworth Park in Philadelphia, and collaboration with the Army Corps of Engineers to restore the FEMA floodplain at the Potomac Park Levee on the National Mall. Rebecca teaches core and advanced design studios, research and professional practice courses at the University of Pennsylvania.


Video: Trickle-Up Research: Inquiry and Curiosity in Design Practice - 1.25 PDH (LA CES/HSW)
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Open to view video.
10 Questions  |  Unlimited attempts  |  8/10 points to pass
10 Questions  |  Unlimited attempts  |  8/10 points to pass Successful completion of this quiz is required to earn PDH for this webinar.
1.25 PDH credits  |  Certificate available
1.25 PDH credits  |  Certificate available
8 Questions
Session Guide
Open to download resource.
Open to download resource.