Ipek Kaynar Rohloff

Five College Mellon Fellow
Visiting Assistant Professor of Art and Art History

Urban and architectural morphology, urbanism with public interest, industrial cities, ecological urbanism, spatial analysis methods, architectural design of museums and cultural institutions

Dr. Rohloff is an architect and researcher who considers human experience as central to architectural and urban design. Her academic work concentrates on interactions between people and the environment, and investigates the ways in which physical environments influence patterns of human behavior. Her research utilizes a framework that theorizes intrinsic relationship between the built environment and socio-cultural structures (such as those observed in the use of streets for social exchange, or organizational network formed in workplaces). Dr. Rohloff examines urban environments architecturally and in relation to human behavior patterns by utilizing graph-based and digitally-produced representations of spatial relations. Her research findings inform designers, planners, and policy makers whose work aims to achieve socially and environmentally responsible economic development.

Dr. Rohloff’s current project focuses on the urban form of industrial cities and examines the ways in which it creates restrictions of and opportunities for economic revitalization despite localized industrial decline. She focuses on New England mill towns to examine the extent to which urban form shaped around industrial infrastructure can be adapted to new economic conditions formed by service and IT technology business. She compares, for example, the mill towns of Lowell, Holyoke and Maynard with respect to their local visions that motivate their planning, urban form characteristics and revitalization strategies.

Prof. Rohloff’s research grew out of her dissertation, Museum Gallery Layouts and Their Interactions with Exhibition Narratives and Space Use Patterns.  This work analyzes art museums characterized by rich arrays of visibility through atria and space openings. The dissertation examines how those design characteristics influence people’s behavior and exhibition narratives. The thesis finds that the ways in which visual information unfolds in space makes an impact on people’s movement and exhibition viewing patterns while foregrounding certain parts of the narratives.

Dr. Rohloff is currently focusing on the integration of green infrastructures with urban form for sustainable development in cities. This work assesses urban/metropolitan environments for qualities promoting sustainability through not only compact urban form and but also its support for biodiversity.

Dr. Rohloff teaches courses on urbanism and architectural design, with an emphasis on studios. Her seminars expose students to the increasing need of design professionals to work collaboratively with scientists and policy makers. Assignments are based on teamwork so students develop their understandings of key issues by studying real cases within a group effort while delivering specific project proposals individually. In her seminars, Dr. Rohloff introduces fundamental concepts through discussion questions on seminal texts and relevant architectural examples to invigorate students’ critical thinking. In design studios, Dr. Rohloff employs experiential learning with a focus on representation techniques to equip students with skills to understand the language of built environment as a first step towards fostering problem solving skills in design. In introductory studios, representation/diagramming exercises are to help students advance their creativity through establishing cohesive compositional rules with abstract forms that interpret pre-defined concepts. In vertical studios, Dr. Rohloff encourages students to use concepts from different disciplines such as literature, science and visual arts, and allow students to individualize their proposals conceptually.

Dr. Rohloff is also a consultant with UCL Space Syntax Ltd group in London, UK. She previously taught design studios and seminars at the Wentworth Institute of Technology, the Boston Architectural College, and Lawrence Technological University.