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Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

Dennis Shelden Named New Director of the Center for Architecture Science and Ecology

Dennis Shelden

February 11, 2020

Dennis Shelden Named New Director of the Center for Architecture Science and Ecology

Longtime building industry leader joins research center co-located in New York City and Troy

TROY, N.Y. — Architect, entrepreneur, and author Dennis Shelden has been named the new director of the Center for Architecture Science and Ecology (CASE) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute — and he is joining the boundary-pushing organization at a critical moment for the future of the human-made environment.

“There are tremendous changes happening in the built environment and building industries driven by disruptive technologies, globalization, and environmental impacts,” Shelden said. “CASE is particularly positioned to be a leader in advancing the built environment because of its relationship to all of the tremendous talent at Rensselaer, and I am excited by the prospect of turning built environment challenges into opportunities.”

With locations in both Brooklyn’s Industry City and the Rensselaer main campus in Troy, CASE was founded in 2007 as a research center within the Rensselaer School of Architecture that enables leaders in architecture, science, and business to collaborate on innovation and implementation of next-generation sustainable built environments.

“Having a location in New York City means we are in the global epicenter of innovation in the built environment,” Shelden said. “I think CASE can be one of the most dynamic centers for innovation in the built environment on the planet. It can become this crucible of education, research, and industry engagement, where we bring together faculty, students, and building professionals to solve the challenges we face around the increasing footprint of humanity.”

Shelden spent 17 years as an associate of legendary architect Frank Gehry. In 1997, he joined the firm Gehry Partners, where he was responsible for the management and strategic direction of the firm’s computing program including software and process development.

In 2002, he co-founded the spinoff company Gehry Technologies, serving as chief technology officer on the development of several software products and project executive on numerous groundbreaking building projects until the firm’s acquisition by Trimble in 2014.

“In terms of moving Rensselaer forward as a global leader in next-generation buildings and smart cities, the appointment of Dennis Shelden as the new director of CASE represents a significant strategic opportunity for the entire Institute,” said Evan Douglis, the dean of the School of Architecture. “He has a stellar profile as a leading educator and technologist in the profession of architecture. He approaches complex problems with a visionary stance, and over many years has consistently arrived at highly creative and radically innovative solutions that have contributed to advancing the built environment. We are thrilled to have Dennis Shelden join the School of Architecture at Rensselaer.”

Shelden joins Rensselaer from Georgia Tech, where he was an associate professor of architecture, director of the Digital Building Laboratory, and director of the School of Architecture’s doctoral program. Shelden was also previously an associate professor of practice in MIT’s Design and Computation program, and he held teaching positions at the University of California, Los Angeles and the Southern California Institute of Architecture.

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About Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Founded in 1824, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is America’s first technological research university. Rensselaer encompasses five schools, 32 research centers, more than 145 academic programs, and a dynamic community made up of more than 7,900 students and more than 100,000 living alumni. Rensselaer faculty and alumni include more than 145 National Academy members, six members of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, six National Medal of Technology winners, five National Medal of Science winners, and a Nobel Prize winner in Physics. With nearly 200 years of experience advancing scientific and technological knowledge, Rensselaer remains focused on addressing global challenges with a spirit of ingenuity and collaboration.