Dale Clifford

Position Professor
email dtcliffo@calpoly.edu




office hours

F23 Monday, Wednesday, Friday 12:00-1:00 pm or by appointment

web page

For more info on thesis: calpolythesis.weebly.com

For more info on biology inspired design: biologicarchitecture.com

Areas of Expertise

Responsive Architectural Technology


Clifford is a Professor in the Department of Architecture at the California Polytechnic State University where he teaches Thesis, Comprehensive Design Studios, and Design build coursework. At Cal Poly, Clifford focuses on three key areas: engaging students in research through funded grants and coursework, integration of coursework with professional practice, and collaborative work with other disciplines on campus. The vehicle for Clifford’s scholarship is prototyping and includes full-scale demonstration projects to field-test responsive building technologies based on regional building practices, biomimetics, and dynamic material properties. To support these research interests, he is a founding member of the UA Emerging Materials Technology Graduate Program, was named a Research Associate at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History and is a recipient of the ACSA Creative Achievement Award. His scholarship is supported by the AIA Upjohn Research Initiative, Cal Poly, and the National Science Foundation. Clifford has worked on grants and contracts to forward applications of collaborative design research with BuroHappold, IDEO, DARPA, DOE, and NASA.

Clifford has worked as a ships carpenter and is interested in the relationship of teaching/learning with both hand and mind.


Educational Credentials:

MSci of Architectural Studies in Building Technology, MIT, Cambridge, MA 
BArch, Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY 

Teaching Experience:

Professor, Architecture, Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, CA 2022-Present
Associate Professor, Architecture, Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, CA 2019-2022
Assistant Professor, Architecture, Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, CA   2014–2018
Assistant Professor, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA  2009–2014
Visiting Professor, Masters Studio, Lawrence Technological University, Southfield, MI  2012
Visiting Professor, Oslo School of Architecture and Design, Oslo, Norway  2006

Professional Experience:

Principal, Brooks/Clifford Design, LLC, Pittsburgh, PA and San Luis Obispo, CA  2009–Present
Materials Innovation Consultant (BCJ, NBBJ, Arquitectonica)  2013–2018
Principal, Binary Design, LLC, Tucson, AZ and Pittsburgh, PA   2004-2008


Registered Architect, State of Arizona #50871

Professional Memberships:

Bio_Logic Design Group
Arizona Research Institute for Solar Energy
Building Technology Educator’s Society


Selected Publications:

  • Aesthetcis and Perception: Dynamic Facade Design with Programmable Materials 
    D. Clifford, Chapter in "Advanced Materials in Smart Building Skins for Sustainability: Nano to Macroscale," forthcoming_ Springer-Nature. Editor Julian Wang (2022)
  • Biomimicry for Materials, Design and Habitats- Innovations and Applications in Materials, Design, and the Built Environment 
    Inclusion of work done on thermal management masonry systems. Elsevier (2021) 
  • Design, Prototyping, and Evaluation of a Concept for a Shape-Changing Smart Material Building Surface Tile 
    R. J. Zupan, D. T. Clifford, R. V. Beblo, and J. C. Brigham
    Smart Materials and Structures Journal (2020)
  • Emerging Concepts for Smart Structure in Adaptive Facades and their Optimal Design 
    R. J. Zupan, R. Arauz, D. T. Clifford, R. V. Beblo, and J. C. Brigham 
    International Congress of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics, Milan, Italy (2020) 
  • Adaptive Wood, Exhibit of work with Research Lab 3_Emerging Sustainable Architecture 
    Aarhus School of Architecture, Aarhus, DK Directed by D. Clifford and H. Merrild (2019) 
  • Computational Design Optimization of a Smart Material Shape Changing Building Skin 
    Zupan, R.J., Xu, J., Beblo, R.V., Clifford, D.T., Aggarwal, A., and Brigham, J.C. 
    Engineering Structures Journal, 201. Elsevier (2019)

Selected Research:

  • 2023 Principal Investigator, Human Creativity with Computational Intelligence for the Design of the Next Generation Responsive Architecture, National Science Foundation (pending)
  • 2017 AIA Upjohn Research Initiative Grant. CoPI with Prof. Kelle Brooks, Research in Adaptive Architecture
  • 2015-2019 Principle Investigator, Smart Material, Adaptive, and Reconfigurable Tiles “SMART Tiles” for Environmentally Responsive Building Surfaces, National Science Foundation. $464,264 

Selected Awards:

  • Recipient of the 2012 ACSA Creative Achievement Award
  • Recommendation by the Council for International Exchange of Scholars for a Fulbright Teaching Award in Thailand. US peer review acceptance.
  • Margaret B. Gruger Faculty Award, Innovation in Building Technology_ Glass Fiber Reinforced Composites, CMU School of Architecture  2012
  • Design, Art and Technology (DATA) Awards Finalist, Bio_Logic Research Group for the entry ‘Flow,’ Thermal storage building technologies using organic phase change materials  2012
  • American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) Engineering Excellence Grand Winner, Rose Neighborhood Bridge, with C. Trumble
  • Structural Engineer_ Structural Grace, Tucson, AZ  2010
  • National Renewable Energy Laboratory / Department of Energy (PI) Competition to research, design, build, and operate an energy-efficient solar-powered home on the National Mall in Washington DC. Solar Decathlon Project


Updated 11.16.2023

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