Labs, Centers and Initiatives

Our College is host of labs, centers and initiatives supporting our research capacities areas of urban systems, health and wellbeing, digital culture, creative entrepreneurship and sustainable living. Centers are originated at the intersection of schools and individual schools as well as labs focused on thematic applications and making capabilities.

Centers & Collaboratives

Center on DAAP Research & Innovation

The center for DAAP Research and Innovation is a HUB for faculty, students, and industry partners to do research and innovation in the capacity areas of health and wellbeing, creative entrepreneurship, urban systems, digital culture, and sustainable living.

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Simpson Center for Urban Futures

The Simpson Center for Urban Futures is housed on the third floor of the University of Cincinnati’s 1819 Innovation Hub. It provides work, research, and seminar space for faculty and students. The center also maintains a permanent archive of Orville Simpson’s work, accessible to researchers and the public. In 2011, Orville Simpson II made a generous commitment to endow a Center for Urban Futures at the University of Cincinnati. It was developed and organized by Provost Designee, Professor and Dean Emeritus, Robert Probst.

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Fashion Technology Center

The Fashion Technology Center (FTC) supports students and faculty in the design, experimentation, and innovation of textile and apparel products by providing training, access, and experience using advanced, industry-standard and state of the art tools for apparel and textile design technology, research, and prototyping. The FTC is leveraging training and experience using advanced fashion technology, tools, and equipment to prepare our students for the fashion industry’s fast-paced, ever-changing, technology-driven future. The Evelyn Burgoyne Textiles Innovation Lab, Natalie Altieri Apparel Production Lab, and Wearable Futures Lab are all housed within the FTC.

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Live Well Collaborative

The Live Well Collaborative is dedicated to conducting leading-edge user research which is translated into desired solutions that meet the complexities of living well across the lifespan. Merging an unparalleled academia and industry model with our vetted design process, we co-create uniquely designed solutions for all users.

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Center for the Electronic Reconstruction of Historical & Archaeological Sites

The Mission of CERHAS is to unite research, education and public awareness through innovative and accessible high-quality multi-media presentations, and to connect the importance of our heritage to our modern conditions in meaningful ways.

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Placemaking Initiative

Public spaces are vital components of the physical design as well as the social fabric of any urban area. Public spaces are the platforms where public activities takes place. Since the beginning of the history of cities these spaces have been used for meetings, leisure, protests, and gatherings. There is a vital connection between art and urban planning. For planners, placemaking is, more than ever, beginning to involve the use of public art to revitalize cities. For artists, understanding the public realm is essential to the creation of effective and meaningful public art.

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DAAPcares Initiative

DAAPcares honors and supports the work of DAAP students, faculty, staff, and alumni to improve the quality of life around the world. From local to global, individual to multidisciplinary, and academic to professional - we connect scholarship to solutions. These accomplishments are celebrated annually in a showcase of innovative projects and research that represent our mission to achieve sustainable outcomes with environmental, economic, and cultural equity.

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Sustainable Fashion Initiative (SFI)

Started in 2018 by Liz Ricketts, the Sustainable Fashion Initiative is an organization working to make the schools fashion program zero-waste, as well as advocating for sustainable fashion practices across campus and the Cincinnati area. SFI is a student-centered coalition of advocates, designers, consumers, tinkerers, strategists, environmentalists and citizens working together on a multi-pronged mission.

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Sustainable Industrial Design Initiative (SIDI)

The Sustainable Industrial Design Initiative is a student-centered effort to instill the values of circular design and implement circular strategies in the Industrial Design program at DAAP. We seek to educate and inspire designers to change the way they think about Industrial Design as a connected part of the world and society.

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Communication in the Urban Environment (CUE)

The Communication in the Urban Environment (CUE) initiative at the University of Cincinnati is engaged in two fundamental dimensions of communication — understanding the city as a place of social interaction and sharing, and designing of systems, structures and artifacts for effective communication for all. At CUE, we believe that good communication in the urban environment — for communities and individuals — is enabling and empowering: it is the agency for expression that creates identity.

Thematic Labs

Architectural Robotics Lab

The Architectural Robotics Lab at the University of Cincinnati DAAP is equipped with one KUKA six axis robotic arm with a 20 kg payload. Currently we use four end effectors: one extruder for fine prints, a custom extruder for larger prints, one gripper, and one router. Most of the current research in the lab addresses 3d printing with soft rigid materials, materials research, and creative coding.

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You may follow us on Instagram at #sincyrobotics.

Environmental Planning and Design Innovation Collaborative Lab

The Environmental Planning & Design Innovation Collaborative (EPIC Co-Lab) integrates design, planning, and technology to offer an innovative method for understanding and shaping the urban landscape. The lab uses an interdisciplinary approach to facilitate collaboration with diverse stakeholders, including communities, industries, municipalities, and researchers.

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Experiential Design Lab (XDL)

Implementing the ‘research through design’ methodology, an interdisciplinary team comprising School of Design faculty and students along with regional transit authorities, city office, urban designers, planners, and manufacturers focuses on the convergence of citywide transit infrastructures, particularly bus stops, with public spaces. The objective is to prioritize accessible wayfinding design systems, establish clear visual hierarchies for complex information, and integrate technology to streamline communication in urban environments while enhancing user experiences and fostering community connections. At XDL, we believe in community-first, we believe in collaboration and we design communicative systems.

In contemporary urban environments, urban signage and wayfinding serve as crucial elements for navigation, info. accessibility, and enhancing the overall urban experience for residents & commuters. However, challenges arise due to diverse interdisciplinary factors that designers must navigate to meet the needs of users effectively. To address these challenges, the University of Cincinnati’s College of Design, Arch., Art, and Planning (DAAP) entered an inter-governmental agreement with the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority (SORTA) to provide comprehensive design, research, and urban planning services over the next three years (2023-2025) in Cincinnati.

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Experimental Packaging Lab (EPL)

As we continue to make moves toward being recognized as a Design school with a prominent user-centered, design-driven packaging focus, the mission of proactively improving the future outlook of sustainably responsible consumption is at the core of the Experimental Packaging Lab (EPL) efforts.

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eXtended Reality Lab (XR-Lab)

eXtended Reality Lab (XR-Lab) explores how people engage with simulated scenarios through Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, and Mixed Reality and promotes communication and collaboration through XR for education, health, safety, and professional training in both academic and industry settings.

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Future Mobility Design (FMD) Lab

The Future Mobility Design (FMD) Lab at the Ullman School of Design of the College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning at the University of Cincinnati, is a glimpse into the next iteration of vehicle design studios. The space is composed by a collaborative workspace that enables multidisciplinary work, an advanced visualization lab for traditional 2D development future concepts, and a space that mixes virtual reality development with physical prototyping.

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Geo Information Systems and Spatial Analysis Lab

The Joint Center for Geographic Information Systems and Spatial Analysis (GISSA) consists of faculty from the Department of Geography and School of Planning, in collaboration with faculty from other academic units, such as Architecture, Business School, Biology, Computer Science, Environmental Engineering, Environmental Health, Institute of Policy Research, College of Medicine, College of Business Administration, and College of Education.

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Natalie Altieri Apparel Production Lab

The Fashion Technology Center consists of three different laboratories. The Apparel Production Lab (APL) includes specialized industrial sewing equipment for apparel and soft goods design and making. All three labs provide tools used to create the world-renowned research and projects coming out of the Fashion and Design programs at DAAP.

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NFT Media Lab

Jointly housed between the college of DAAP and the Kautz-Uible Cryptoeconomics Lab, the NFT Media Lab focuses on the history, function, and creation of artworks that exists within the framework of myriad online systems and networks that comprise the online NFT media space. Our aim is to spearhead NFT initiatives at the University of Cincinnati with a special focus in the production of visual media, online experiences, and educational initiatives while addressing issues of intellectual property, creative rights, new creative business models, and materiality -- new materials in the practices of design, architecture, art, and planning.

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NODES (Neighborhoods Of Designed Engagement Systems) at St. Lawrence Square is a collaboration between the Cincinnati & Hamilton County Public Library, Price Hill Will, and DAAP that expands the library’s digital resources beyond the walls of its branches and into the communities who need it most. NODES consists of a digital platform and a wi-fi connected urban living room that supports digital public library resources, activating public spaces and bridging the digital divide. 

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Textile Innovation Lab

The Fashion Technology Center consists of three different laboratories. The Textile Innovation Lab provides resources for advanced digital textile design and materials development. All three labs provide tools used to create the world-renowned research and projects coming out of the Fashion and Design programs at DAAP.

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Wearable Futures Lab

The Fashion Technology Center consists of three different laboratories. The Wearable Futures Lab includes advanced wearable technology prototyping tools, electronic workstations for coding and soldering, computer workstations equipped with advanced software for digital illustration, patternmaking, 3D virtual modeling, pattern digitization and plotting/cutting. All three labs provide tools used to create the world-renowned research and projects coming out of the Fashion and Design programs at DAAP.

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Making Labs

Build Lab

The DBL is a college wide facility equipped with almost everything you need to develop and produce your project out of wood, metal, and other various materials.  The DBL takes great pride in fostering a culture that provides a safe, comfortable, and inclusive educational environment for all DAAP enrolled students and faculty.  The DBL welcomes your visit in addition to hearing and seeing your project come to fruition.

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Photo Lab

The DAAP Photo Lab provides several services to assist in printing, photographing, and documenting work. The DAAP Photo Lab also servers an inventory of photography, video, and sound equipment available to rent. 

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Rapid Prototyping Center

The RPC is home to numerous state-of-the-art 3-D printing, laser cutting and Computer Numerical Controlled milling machines. The Rapid Prototyping Center provides creative services for faculty and students who need to build models in support of the design and research efforts. Faculty and students partner with center staff during the model development process then schedule the use of the rapid prototyping machinery that includes providing the final CAD model.

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Computer IT Lab

The Computer Lab is located in 4425 Aronoff is a state-of-the-art facility with high end workstations and various peripherals such as scanners, plotters and digital video editing suites. The computer lab is a place where university researchers have access to sophisticated graphics equipment and high levels of technical support for computer visualization, advanced computer graphics and virtual reality. To augment the use of laptops in classrooms, the large computer graphics instructional studio provides hands-on instruction labs for individual classes.

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Print Making Lab

The DAAP Printmaking Lab provides space and access for screenprinting, relief, intaglio, and lithography. Each area is adequately equipped with the necessary presses, inks, and materials including vacuum tables for screenprinting, three etching presses, and three lithography presses. The lab also provides a darkroom for photo printmaking processes with two exposure units for screenprinting, a washout room for screen reclamation, and an acid room for a variety of etching processes. The DAAP Printmaking Lab has a full stone library of over 80 stones in various sizes as well as over 40 screens for screenprinting that students may check out and use.

Ceramics Lab

The DAAP Ceramics Lab provides access to a wide array of equipment, tools, and materials required for the creation and research of ceramic works. Within the Ceramics Lab, students have access to several dedicated facilities including a plaster lab, glaze lab, raw materials/mixing lab, and electric, gas, and raku kilns. The studio equipment includes pottery wheels, a slab roller, clay extruder, wedging table, clay mixers, slip tank, pug mill, tile press, masonry saw, drying cabinet, spray booth, assorted hand tools, mixing implements, and communal workspace and ware carts.

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For inquiries about Labs, Centers, & Initiatives, please contact

Headshot of Anton C Harfmann

Anton C Harfmann

Professor and Director of Architectural Engineering and Director of DAAP Facilities and Technology


Headshot of Claudia Beatriz Rebola

Claudia Beatriz Rebola

Associate Dean for Research, Associate Professor