Nicholas Rajkovich, PhD, AIA

Assistant Professor - Department of Architecture
rajkovic@buffalo.edu - 316 Hayes Hall - (716) 829-6910

Assistant Professor - Department of Architecture

Nicholas B. Rajkovich, Assistant Professor at the University at Buffalo, investigates the intersection of energy efficiency, renewable energy, and adaptation to climate change. By studying how the built environment adapts to extreme weather and climate change, Rajkovich works to solve problems that may plague cities of the future.

As a professor and mentor, Rajkovich puts an emphasis on one-to-one critiques and consultations with his students. Rajkovich also enjoys the challenges presented by a large class and finding ways to engage various learning styles, often involving his students in research on climate-resilient strategies for application by architects, engineers, planners, and policy makers.

Before joining the University at Buffalo, Rajkovich worked for a gas and electric company in California, PG&E. There, he was brought on to teach classes on energy efficiency and renewable energy. Disillusionment with his employer's efforts to reduce its own greenhouse gas emissions led Rajkovich back to school to focus on policy work. Rajkovich would go on to earn his PhD in urban and regional planning from the University of Michigan. He was also chair of the San Francisco American Institute of Architects (AIA) Committee on the Environment.

Prior to PG&E, Nicholas taught several courses on lighting, acoustics, and building systems in the Department of Architecture at Cornell University. He also worked as an associate at Einhorn Yaffee Prescott in Albany, NY, where he helped architects and engineers reduce the overall environmental impact of buildings under contract to the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and the U.S. Department of State. He holds a Master of Architecture from the University of Oregon and a Bachelor of Architecture from Cornell University.

We need to prepare communities to bounce back, or even bounce forward, so that they're in better shape to adapt to climate change.

 - Nicholas Rajkovich on climate resilience

Recent news

4/18/19

April 16 - May 16 (please not the rescheduled dates/times)

Join the School of Architecture and Planning's Resilient Buildings Lab for a series of webinars focused on the impacts of climate change on New York State’s building sector. Up to six AIA LU/HSW available. 

2/27/19

This spring, 74 students in junior studio are thinking about how climate change is impacting the world today while they examine the laufmaschine, a precursor to the bike from the early 19th century.

10/15/18

A five-year effort involving the work of more than 400 students, UB's nationally award-winning GRoW Home is open on the South Campus as a clean-energy resource center for the university and surrounding community. 

10/4/18

Venice experience includes two weeks of intensive site visits and hands on investigations in urbanism throughout Italy's city of canals. The program concludes with a workshop at the U.S. Pavilion of the Venice Architecture Biennale.

Courses

6/26/18

In the first half of this course, we will develop our own surveying tools in the shop to investigate a portion of the abandoned Bethlehem Steel site Lackawanna, New York. Tools developed in the class will incorporate traditional remote sensing and surveying equipment (for position), digital and analog monitors (for phenomena), and will be recorded on a paper template.

6/26/18
Overview on interrelationship of the physical environment and buildings, specifically examining site design, solar design and environmental technologies, as they relate to energy-conscious design, environmental building systems design and sustainability. More specifically, will develop an ability to respond to site characteristics including urban context, developmental patterning, zoning, soils, topography, ecology, climate, and building orientation.
6/26/18
In the first half of this course, we will develop our own surveying tools in the shop to investigate a portion of Silo City in Buffalo, New York. Tools developed in the class will incorporate traditional remote sensing and surveying equipment (for position), digital and analog monitors (for phenomena), and will be recorded on a digital or paper template. In the second half of the course, students will learn to integrate and interpret these data using traditional software tools like GIS. The final project for the class will support the designs of the EP GRG studio; co-registration with the EP GRG studio is required.
6/26/18
Overview on interrelationship of the physical environment and buildings, specifically examining site design and environmental technologies, as they relate to environmental building systems design. More specifically, will develop an ability to respond to site characteristics including urban context, developmental patterning, zoning, soils, topography, ecology, climate, and building orientation. Students will also be introduced to the environmental technologies of lighting and acoustics including criteria relating to concepts and analysis in support of building systems design. Includes lectures, labs, field work, readings, exams, and projects. 
6/26/18
This class will design a Prototype 100-year Passive House using green materials with low embodied energy. Investigations will build on the model of the Butterfly House, one of five Affordable House Prototypes--ranging in size from 250-to-1,226 square feet--developed in the past three semesters of Sun_Food_Water.

Education

  • PhD Urban and Regional Planning, University of Michigan
  • Master of Architecture, University of Oregon
  • Bachelor of Architecture, Cornell University

Selected activities, honors and awards

  • U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon Competition, Irvine, California, 2015. (Martha Bohm, P.I.)
        - 2nd Place overall (941.191/1000 points possible)
        - 1st Place in the Comfort Zone, Commuting, and Energy Balance contests

Public Service

  • American Institute of Architects, 2000—Present
  • American Society of Heating Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers, 1997 – 2008; 2014—Present
            - University at Buffalo Student Branch Advisor, 2015—Present
  • United States Green Building Council, 2002—Present
  • Society of Building Science Educators (SBSE), 2000—Present

Research

Climate change, according to Rajkovich, is a “tremendously difficult thing that our field is going to deal with."

The challenge is not limited to new construction, but the hundreds of thousands of buildings with outdated, inefficient systems. Buildings account for one-third of the world's greenhouse gas emissions. "I would like to see our profession prosper, but they will have to step up. This is something that we should be leading and have a strong hand in."

A fire following Hurricane Sandy in 2012 caused extensive damage in Breezy Point, New York.

A fire following Hurricane Sandy in 2012 caused extensive damage in Breezy Point, New York.

Featured Work

1/28/19

Zoé Hamstead, Nicholas Rajkovich and collaborators from ASU and Temple University examine different ways in which extreme heat and cold impact U.S. cities.

1/28/19
In collaboration with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), this series of reports lead by Nicholas Rajkovich help New York’s policymakers, architects, builders, building owners and managers, and residents understand the impacts climate change has on the State’s building sector.