“At Perkins&Will, research is part of our DNA. We’re creators and curators of intelligence.” Reads the company’s website. “Our research improves lives, enhances places, and contributes to the common good,” they add. 

By constantly asking more questions—by pushing every boundary to expand knowledge—they stay on the cutting edge. Whether it’s understanding how built environments function and affect the human experience, innovating and discovering the newest energy efficiency strategies, or identifying the most innovative and healthy construction materials and building technologies, Perkins and Will Research aim to design smarter, resilient, robust, and more competent built environments—for the people. 

Perkins and Will have created several research mechanisms to foster, support, and communicate their research methodologies and ideologies. In this article, we take you through ‘Design for school safety — an overview of crime prevention through environmental design’- a research journal by Perkins&Will.

Perkins & Will Research Journal

The Perkins&Will Innovation Innovator program fosters an invigorating culture of encouraging ideas and innovations by supporting small, focused research projects proposed by staff members through micro-grants of funds and time. The research labs collaborate with academic institutions and other experts in the field to conceive their original research and keep them at the forefront of architectural inquiry including process, mobility, community, human experience, construction technology, building material performance, energy systems, water supply, and resilience. 

The Perkins and Will Research Journal is a twice-a-year, peer-reviewed publication dedicated to documenting, presenting, and communicating practice-related research studies associated with structures and their environments. AREA Research is a nonprofit 501c3 that brings together architecture and design professionals, academics, researchers, and grant givers to support innovative research proposals aimed at improving the built environment experience, and by extension, the quality of life of its inhabitants. This website aggregates several articles, ideas, projects, and other contributions of these research mechanisms. 

By navigating the menu on the left of the website, you’ll see how the intelligence Perkins and Will is cultivating sees that people are receiving the most informed, meaningful, customized architectural solutions possible.  Perkins&Will hope to inspire you to call on them as a trusted source of knowledge, and to join them on their research journey.

So go ahead—and say hello. Ask them your questions. Share your ideas and proposals. It is through dialogue, we can innovate real-life architectural and design solutions that will ensure better structures, places, cities, and systems in 2016 and beyond. You can contact them directly through the interface on the website, or contact the individual lab and mechanism leaders from each page on their website. 

Children, educators, and community members protest gun violence at the Colorado State Capitol on, February. 21, 2018.

Aaron Ontiveroz—Denver Post/Getty Images

Design for School Safety 

We have all been deeply impacted by the killings reported in schools. Whether it’s the single-shooter tragedies that have gripped our emotions or the bullying that happens every day, these incidents collectively compound our sense of unease. 

Given the ongoing climate of fear surrounding a rising number of gun violence and brutality in K-12 schools, safety and security for school facilities have come to the forefront as an urgent and important topic of concern for architects and designers. Unfortunately, very little scientific research exists to recommend architectural approaches and structural design that measurably help mitigate school violence. 

This article Design for school safety, seeks to provide a brief overview of crime prevention through environmental design and approaches to design for safety and security, the authors recall Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED) as the current forerunner among available strategies. The article takes a look at the current research studies on CPTED and highlights research gaps needing exploration. 

Crime Prevention through Environmental Design

The authors summarize the limited number of available research studies and data on Crime Prevention through Environmental Design in educational environments, highlighting the seminal findings of a recent survey that studied the relationship between CPTED school facility designs and perceived safety and security among nine hundred students in three middle schools and four high schools. The investigation was conducted in the American Southwest. 

Current research suggests that CPTED may provide children in school environments both objective safety, as well as a perceived sense of security. The discussion also elucidates the urgent need for consideration of children’s perceptions of school building designs, as they relate to their sense of safety and overall mental health and psychological wellbeing. 

The paucity of empirical studies on this topic points out that much more research is needed. With the right school security measures, operational protocol, and specialized architecture, we can retain the joy of school education that should be at the center of every school, while providing strong protection against elements that seek to harm our most precious commodity.


Sowmya is an architectural journalist and writer. In this column, Sowmya takes you through stories on eco-architecture, biophilic design, and green buildings from across the globe.