DBR offers a new model for design education and research.

Each project is a legacy of ideas. Our extensive roster of research + design build projects allows us to connect these ideas by exploring knowledge silos and help build capacity to improve the way we live with our community and with our planet. But we strive to be more than advocates of sustainable design – we are researchers, critical thinkers, mentors, builders, teachers, and learners. Through DBR, we are able to give back to our community and teach design and construction as an agent of social change.

DBR students have engaged in high-profile, meaningful projects locally and internationally. Each built DBR project has a social, cultural, and environmental impact, and is often built to be upcycled and provide legacy uses in our local community.

Each DBR project is taught with a common goal to:

•  Have a social or cultural benefit

•  Tell an environmental story

•  Demonstrate why design matters

•  Develop a culture of mentorship

•  Provide a hands-on experience in design + building

•  Provide a platform to broaden the story of design beyond institutional learning and industry experience to a wider audience.


Architect Michael Green, social entrepreneur Scott Hawthorn and leading wood engineer Eric Karsh, founded DBR to provide hands-on design and construction experience for students from grade 6 up to post-secondary students in design disciplines, recent grads and retired architects.

Course instruction is led by the Directors of DBR – Michael, Scott, and Eric, members of Michael Green Architecture, DBR alumni, and guest lectures from various industry experts and tradespeople. We will grow to include other architects interested in teaching and contributing to our community through design build insertions.

Our students to date have been from various undergraduate and graduate design programs. We intend to open our institute to kids from grade 6 and up through to practicing Intern Architects, practicing designers and architects and ultimately retired designers, builders and architects who we hope will help us mentor and teach a next generation of hands-on and socially-vested young designers.