Save the date for LTU Research Day April 19; Design expert Plowright to present Presidential Colloquium

SOUTHFIELD—Philip Plowright, department chair and professor in the Department of Design in Lawrence Technological University’s College of Architecture and Design, will present the Presidential Colloquium at LTU’s 12th annual Research Day Friday, April 19.

Each year, an LTU faculty member is selected to present the colloquium, based on the depth and excellence of their research work. Plowright’s research has centered around cognitive processes in design, especially as applied to design methods, teaching and learning.

“Dr. Plowright has made major contributions to the field of architectural research and education, research advances that made him a natural choice to present this year’s Presidential Colloquium,” said LTU Vice President for Research Nabil Grace, who is also dean of the LTU College of Engineering.

Philip Plowright. Lawrence Technological University photo.

Plowright is an architect and design theorist whose research is focused on cognitive semantics, social semiotics, conceptual processes, and methodology focused on the built environment. His most recent book is Urban Design Made by Humans (Routledge 2023) co-authored with Anirban Adhya, Ph.D., associate professor of architecture and urban design at Lawrence Tech. Earlier works include Making Architecture Through Being Human (Routledge 2020), Revealing Architectural Design: Methods, Frameworks & Tools (Routledge 2014) and chapters on theoretical issues of wilderness and sustainable design in Architecture and Sustainability: Critical Perspectives (ACCO 2015) and Sustainability and the City: Urban Poetics and Politics (Lexington Books 2017). His award-winning design work has been published in various academic proceedings, journals, and popular architectural magazines such as Boundaries: International Architectural Magazine (Italy), Architecture and Construction (Iran), Archnet-IJAR (USA), Bauwelt (Germany), and Arkinka, Revista de Arquitectura, Diseno y Construccion (Spain).

Plowright’s presentation is titled “Where You Stand Matters: Space as an Interdisciplinary Paradigm.” Moving from cognitive processes and the building blocks of human thinking, Plowright will present foundational research that links fundamental thinking structures to how humans make sense of their world, create meaning, and bring new things into the world. The exploration starts with how language and the built environment are intimately entwined, and then expands through an interdisciplinary discussion that will touch on cognitive linguistics, architecture, social geography, spatial semiotics, urban design, and computational design.

Plowright holds an undergraduate degree in studio art and art history from the University of Guelph, Canada; a Master of Architecture from the University of British Columbia, Canada; and a doctorate in cognitive linguistics from the Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha, Spain. He is a registered architect in Michigan and Editor-in-Chief of ENQ: The Journal of Architectural Research, published by the Architectural Research Centers Consortium, an international association of architectural research centers based in Washington, D.C.

Plowright joined the LTU faculty as an adjunct professor in 2000, became full-time faculty in 2005, and earned tenure in 2011. He has served on grant and peer review panels for the National Science Foundation, academic journals, and other universities’’ schools of architecture. He has numerous peer-reviewed academic publications, has made dozens of academic conference presentations, and is the winner of numerous awards from the American Institute of Architects Detroit and Michigan chapters. He has also been involved with the design of numerous private residences, schools, healthcare buildings, recording studios, and museums.

Research Day will also feature a keynote presentation from a pioneer in linking engineering and computing, University of Michigan Professor Emeritus A. Galip Ulsoy, and presentations of the latest research by more than 100 LTU students and faculty, along with selected high school and community college students. The public is invited to the afternoon research presentations in the LTU Buell Building Atrium (building 5 at

All Research Day events are free and open to the public, but registration is requested. To register, visit

LTU is also still actively seeking research projects to present at Research Day, as well as sponsors for the event. For more information, visit Sponsors of the event currently are the intellectual property law firm Ward Law Office, the Ann Arbor life sciences industry accelerator ArborHive, and the Southfield-based digital marketing agency Yellow Flag Productions.

Lawrence Technological University is one of only 13 private, technological, comprehensive doctoral universities in the United States. Located in Southfield, Mich., LTU was founded in 1932 and offers more than 100 programs through its Colleges of Architecture and Design, Arts and Sciences, Business and Information Technology, Engineering, and Health Sciences, as well as Specs@LTU as part of its growing Center for Professional Development. PayScale lists Lawrence Tech among the nation’s top 11 percent of universities for alumni salaries. Forbes and The Wall Street Journal rank LTU among the nation’s top 10 percent. U.S. News and World Report list it in the top tier of the best Midwest colleges. Students benefit from small class sizes and a real-world, hands-on, “theory and practice” education with an emphasis on leadership. Activities on Lawrence Tech’s 107-acre campus include more than 60 student organizations and NAIA varsity sports.

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