Shadi Nazarian is an associate professor in the Deparment of Architecture. She has established a glass and ceramics research laboratory that explores glass science and technology and experiments with materials such as glass, molten glass, ceramics, porous glass-ceramics, silica sand, and cement, and waste materials such as recycled glass and fly ash. She investigates the interface between these materials through techniques of molding, sintering, casting, laminating, and kiln forming as well as additive manufacturing.
In fall of 2017, Nazarian co-led an interdisciplinary Penn State team to earn second place and a $150,000 prize in NASA’s 3D-Printed Habitat Challenge, a centennial challenge competition established to develop the technology necessary to create shelters to support the human exploration of Mars. Nazarian's earlier research with a team of materials scientists, which resulted in development of innovative and graded material interfaces, would enable the design of seamless shelters and impermeable bonds between glass and geopolymer concrete to protect individuals and the climate inside the habitat.
Nazarian received the Raymond A. Bowers Grant in 2015, an Incentives and Innovations Grant in 2014, the H. Campbell and Eleanor R. Stuckeman Collaborative Design Research Endowment Grant (a research Incentive grant) in 2013, and a Stuckeman Center for Design Computing grant in 2012. Nazarian has established cross-disciplinary teams of experts with interest and commitment to educational and research dimensions of various aspects of her explorations.
Prior to her arrival at Penn State, she taught architectural design and graduate seminars for 17 years at the State University at Buffalo, and four years at Cornell University. She has lectured and taught various workshops, as well as published and exhibited her works internationally. Her work was often materialized through constructs exploring the intersection of architecture, art, and emergent materials, particularly those providing alternative readings of architectural surface and space. She has authored many articles about this body of interdisciplinary work, including Future of Permanence: Re-learning from Las Vegas, and ’Hyperprism’, A Tectonic Landscape of Sound. She is the recipient of many awards including New York Foundation for the Arts Award and NYFA fellowship; as well as New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA), Individual Artist Award, in support of projects “Introversions” and "Thresholds: The Arcades Project."
Nazarian holds a post-professional Master of Architecture and a minor in Theory of Architecture from Cornell University’s College of Architecture, Art, and Planning, where she began her interest in interdisciplinary studies and the ways in which architecture can inform and be informed by other disciplines. Nazarian also holds a professional B.A. as well as a Bachelor of Environmental Design from University of Minnesota, School of Architecture, College of Design. Her professional portfolio includes works at Pei Cobb Freed and Partners in New York City; Thomas Associates in Ithaca, New York; and Studio for Architecture in Buffalo, New York.