The Billington Lab

Building for Wellbeing

Buildings | Nature | People


Our group studies the impact of building design, materials, and symbols on human wellbeing. We currently focus on two areas of research. We are exploring how buildings can include both physical and digital adaptations to improve wellbeing outcomes including stress, physical activity, creativity, sense of belonging, and pro-environmental behavior through new methods of bringing nature and the experience of nature into buildings. We are interested in how building management systems can be extended beyond providing energy savings, thermal comfort, and security to support and maintain a broader set of human wellbeing outcomes while preserving occupant privacy. We also study the impact of built features, including historic structures and sustainable design, on community wellbeing as well as approaches to design that support the equitable development of affordable and permanent supportive housing.

Our group also has a long history of expertise in the design and evaluation of sustainable, durable construction materials and their application to structures and construction. Materials we have studied include damage-tolerant, high-performance fiber-reinforced cementitious composite materials and bio-based fiber-reinforced polymeric composites and insulating foams that have a closed loop life-cycle.

Recent News

Feb 14, 2022 Our paper titled "Use of Crowdsourced Online Surveys to Study the Impact of Architectural and Design Choices on Wellbeing," was just published in Frontiers in Sustainable Cities.

Feb. 6, 2022 Congratulations to Lab Alum Dr. Yi Shao who recently accepted a position as Assistant Professor at McGill University!

Dec. 10, 2021 Congratulations to Ethan Chiu for completing his MS degree in the SEG program!

Dec. 3, 2021 Basma Altaf and Eva Bianchi presented their research at the Environments by Design: Health, Wellbeing and Place Conference hosted by AMPS (Architecture_Media_Politics_Society). The titles of their presentations were: "Covid-19, Time Perceptions and Well-Being" (Basma) and "Indoor spaces and well-being: Investigating the role of design interventions using online studies." (Eva and Basma, presented by Eva).

Oct. 6, 2021 Sarah Billington was named the UPS Foundation Professor of Civil Engineering in Urban and Regional Planning in the School of Engineering.

Sept. 1, 2021 Sarah Billington officially started her position as Chair of the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering.

June 25, 2021 Sarah Billington was quoted in a Stanford News article discussing the Ethics Review Board process as a part of applying for an HAI Seed Grant last fall for the Lab's collaborative work on Hybrid Physical + Digital Spaces.

June 25, 2021 Sarah Billington gave an invited talk at the 2021 Bio Environmental Polymer Society Annual Meeting titled "Natural and Waste Fillers in Biodegradable Polymeric Composites and Foams." The meeting was co-organized by Lab alums Prof. Cecily Ryan (Montana State University) and Prof. Srikanth Pilla (Clemson University). At the meeting, Prof. Ryan and fellow Lab alum Prof. Wil Srubar (U. Colorado-Boulder) shared the BEPS Outstanding Young Scientist Award. Congratulations Cecily and Wil!

June 13, 2021 Congratulations to Brandon Byers for completing his MS degree in the SDC program!

June 9, 2021 Congratulations to Dr. Wenhao Chen for his successful PhD defense titled "Three-dimensional Bed-moving Mass-conserved Cut-cell Method to Simulate Scour Formation"! (Principal Advisor: Prof. Oliver Fringer)

May 19, 2021 Congratulations to Basma Altaf for successfully passing Part II of the PhD General Qualifying Exam!

May 12, 2021 Congratulations to Paula Garza for successfully defending her Senior Honor's Thesis in the Graduate School of Education!

April 28, 2021 Sarah Billington was quoted in a Stanford News article discussing why climate change resilience and equity are central to the proposed American Jobs Plan.

April 8, 2021 Sarah Billington presented a talk at the AEI Virtual Conference (organized by Lab Alum Prof. Wil Srubar!) in the Light & Health Panel titled: "Impact of Biophilic Design Features on Building Occupant Wellbeing"

April 7, 2021 Sarah Billington was invited to participate in a panel at the University of Minnesota-Duluth on Sustainability and Engineering in the Context of Global Challenges.

April 6, 2021 Congratulations to Belle Douglas for successfully passing Part II of the PhD General Qualifying Exam!

Older News

Jan 15, 2021 The HPDS team received funding from HAI for their project "Intelligent Hybrid Physical-Digital Spaces: Advancing the Science, Design, and Operation of Built Environments through AI-Driven Sensing and Adaptation."

Nov 20, 2020 Congratulations to Dunia Karzai for completing her MS degree in the SDC program!

Fall 2020 Congratulations to Belle Douglas and Basma Altaf for each successfully passing Part I of the PhD General Qualifying Exam!

July 22, 2020 Sarah Billington received a 2020-2021 Impact Lab Design Fellowship to explore how design can increase the acceptance of permanent supportive and affordable housing.

July 14, 2020 Sarah Billington and Belle Douglas received funding from Stanford's UPS Endowment Fund for a joint project with Deland Chan (Urban Studies, Human Cities Initiative) titled: "The Impact of Participant Input and Built Features on Community Wellbeing."

June 4, 2020 Congratulations to Dr. Yi Shao for his successful PhD defense on "Improving Ductility and Design Methods for Reinforced HPFRCC Flexural Members."

June 1, 2020 Our HPDS project team with collaborators James Landay (CS), Jen King (HAI), and Pablo Paredes (SOM) received a 2020-2021 CIFE Seed Research grant titled: Hybrid Physical-Digital Spaces: Transforming the Design, Operation, and Experience of Built Environments to Promote Health and Wellbeing.