BAC Alumnus Maps Sustainability Across Boston

Jamie Farrell, BDS ’14, utilizes design studies degree project in professional career

Jamie Farrell

One evening, while crossing the Harvard Bridge over the Charles River, everything clicked for Jamie Farrell. While gazing at the Boston skyline, Jamie had the idea: What if Boston's skyline actually represented the height of each building's individual energy use intensity (EUI) as opposed to its physical height? Would the Hancock Tower still be the tallest building you would see? Would this have an impact on energy use throughout the entire city?

Jamie, a recent graduate of the Bachelor of Design Studies, Sustainable Design program, took this idea and evolved it into his final degree project, Datascapes. The project used design technology and data analytics to visualize energy use intensity (in essence, energy used by a building divided by its square footage).

"This was an exciting exercise in 'civic hacking,' as it was based on the Boston energy reporting discloser ordinance BERDO. In other words, this is about taking available data, correlating new relationships, and then reimagining the manner in which view and utilize this information," said Jamie. "This approach has the potential for far reaching effects, especially in the areas of asset management and urban planning."

Jamie's design and data management acumen did not go unnoticed and led to his current role within the Design Technology group at Symmes Maini & McKee Associates (SMMA). Part of his responsibilities at the firm is to find ways in which designers can utilize data to influence the process of inquiry and eventual decisions made on projects.

Jamie graduated from the BAC in 2014 and plans to continue perfecting his monitoring and analysis tool this Fall at MIT's School of Architecture and Planning. His future sights are in distributing his expertise to help design and optimize urban environments.

"For me, this is a great opportunity to spread enthusiasm for creative thinking, problem solving, and how to learn the skills need to create and innovate," said Jamie.

To follow more of Jamie Farrell's work, visit his website: