Golisano Institute for Sustainability
Nana-Yaw Andoh is an Assistant Professor in the Architecture Department at the Golisano Institute for Sustainability. His research interests center around how architecture and urbanism can be used as vehicles to improve quality of life by focusing on appropriate design initiatives to address urban population growth and social inequities.
Buildings account for approximately 40% of total energy consumption worldwide which leads to about 48% of greenhouse gas emissions from the building sector alone. In addition, approximately two-thirds of the global population is expected to reside in urban areas by the year 2050, and there is mounting pressure to establish healthy and livable urban environments that meet the needs of increasingly populous communities and to mitigate the effects of climate change. To tackle this issue, Professor Andoh has taken the approach that “the most sustainable building is one that already exists”, and teaches a design studio course which emphasizes the adaptive reuse of existing buildings. Recent work from the Adaptive Reuse design studio includes the transformation of an old Rochester Brewery building into a community center and grocery center to combat a food desert, adapting the former Spaghetti Warehouse building into transitional housing for previously homeless residents, and a former church house in Elmira into a homeless shelter and workforce training center.
A critical component of Professor Andoh’s work with his students is to bring about tangible results and positive change. Projects from the Adaptive Reuse class are in various stages of implementation which is a rare feat in academia. By engaging with local community agencies and advocates, some of the projects are under contract, others are in funding stages, while others are close to initial construction. The work in the Adaptive Reuse design studio has been presented at the national Congress for New Urbanism conference, and won the New York State American Association of Architects student design awards.
Professor Andoh’s research has a strong emphasis on social sustainability and equity which has resulted in multiple media appearances and round-table panels to discuss the effects of the built environment on vulnerable populations. He contributes his knowledge by being an active board member of the Community Design Center of Rochester, the Landmark Society of Western New York, and the Historic Preservation Board for the Village of Pittsford, and was recently invited to join the Community Advisory Committee being formed by the city of Rochester to evaluate plans for the northern section of the Inner Loop Transformation Project. Future research will continue to focus on the inevitability of population growth and urbanization, and how we can continue to have gentrification without the ill effects of displacement.
RIT Golisano Institute for Sustainability