We founded Design and Energy Laboratory ("dandelab") in 2011 as a venue to pursue our mutual interests in architectural research and design. In our practice, we are concerned about efficiency (budget, energy, resources) and we maintain this focus throughout our projects. In every home we design, we hope for that visceral reaction where our clients fall in love with their home and daily living is enhanced in ways that are hard to predict. We strive towards this in every project we take on.

Our work as practicing architects aligns with -- and reinforces -- our work in the academy. As professors of architecture at the University of Minnesota (and previously at North Dakota State University), we are engaged in research and teaching connected with energy efficiency, resiliency, and advanced techniques of architectural representation. Our students and graduates are our frequent creative and intellectual collaborators.

Please contact us with your questions. We look forward to hearing from you.

Malini Srivastava 

Malini Srivastava, AIA, DDes, is a licensed architect in the state of Minnesota, Assistant Professor in Resilient and Regenerative Design, and Director of the Masters of Science in Research Practices program in the College of Design. She completed her doctoral defense at Carnegie Mellon University (2020), titled, Purposeful Play. She is a 2018 recipient of the American Institute of Architects’ Young Architect Award and a 2014 recipient of the Archibald and Edyth Bush Fellowship. In 2017, Malini received the Outstanding Educator Award from the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences at NDSU.

 

Her work spans research, teaching, and practice in urban-scale pervasive play frameworks, high-performance architecture, responsive building skins and other interventions to address energy use in the built environment. To support her practice, she maintains certification as a Passive House Consultant.

 

She is the Project Lead of efargo, a University-City-Utility partnership aimed at reducing city-wide energy use. Under her direction, the partnership developed pervasive energy games as a fundamental intervention method to impact largescale energy use in buildings. The efargo project resulted in the City of Fargo winning the national Georgetown University Energy Prize in 2017.

 

Malini is the Co-Principal of the award-winning firm, Dandelab. Prior to that, she served as Senior Project Architect at Salmela Architect. Her formative years were spent at other Minnesota Practices such as MSR Design, VJAA, Snow Kreilich Architects and LEAD Inc. Her extensive involvement with projects has led to national and regional awards for design, preservation and efficiency, LEED certification, Passive House pre-certification and a Committee on the Environment National Top Ten Environmental building award.

Mike Christenson

Mike Christenson has published extensively in the areas of architectural representation, design technology, and the production and dissemination of architectural knowledge. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Association for Computer-Aided Design in Architecture (www.acadia.org), and he is the Associate Editor for Architectural Computing for the journal Architectural Science Review.

 

Christenson's professional work includes experience at Minneapolis-based Alliiance on teams in collaboration with Jean Nouvel on the design of the Guthrie Theater on the River and in collaboration with Cesar Pelli on the design of the Minneapolis Central Library.

 

Together with Malini Srivastava, he is a Principal Architect in the award-winning architectural firm, Dandelab. Christenson's ongoing research in representation, and his experience in the professional practice of architecture, continually inform his teaching in areas of design fundamentals, digital technologies, and comprehensive design.

Darin Duch

As a professional and teacher, with more than 25 years of experience in architecture, Darin Duch has worked on numerous large-scale award-winning projects. His architectural work during the last 20 years has focused on high-performance educational, commercial, and residential facilities in both national and international arenas.


Darin’s work in educational design facilities focuses on the link between how we learn and where we learn. Coined ‘the third teacher’ by Loris Malaguzzi, the physical environment plays an active role in the educational process. In his work, Darin examines the relationship between active, flexible, inspirational, and creative learning environments and the youth’s ability to learn and gain knowledge, insight, skills, and ultimately delight.


With an extensive background in Project Management, building methods and technologies, Darin has been most concerned with the art of building itself where building science and technology merge with the tectonic and sensory experience of the built form. He has managed to bring highly functional technical resolution to his projects that marry the latest technological advances with economy and ecology. He is an enthusiastic proponent of sustainable design in everyday smart practice with experience with Passive House design and LEED Certification.


Darin continues his teaching and research with architectural representation in digital technologies and fabrication at the College of Design, University of Minnesota.   

Martin Smith

Martin, currently in his 3rd year of the Masters in Architecture program at the University of Minnesota, first started his journey into the built environment as an Arizona State University grad student. At ASU he studied urban resilience to extreme weather events and was published in two journals for urban microclimate research while pursuing a Masters in Sustainability Solutions. He successfully turned his final capstone project at ASU, which focused on residential energy disaggregation tools, into a LEED Pilot Credit, which was published by the USGBC in May 2017. 

 

After finishing his studies at ASU, Martin worked for Verdical Group, a green building consulting firm in Los Angeles. The experience he gained as an Associate Project Manager for this small firm was invaluable; many hats were worn throughout a typical week, including those of LEED project manager, website and marketing guru, net-zero conference event planner, and more. Martin also attained LEED AP BD+C and Passive House Consultant accreditations while working at VG. 

 

Prior to working at dandelab, Martin interned with HGA's Sustainable Design Group during the summer of 2019. He is happy to bring what he learned from Grasshopper scripting and energy analysis studies to the table. 

Past Collaborators

Peter Atwood, Dan Badilla, Gabriela Baierle, Ingrid Fullerton, Noah Harvey, Ritah Kagezi, Nick Lippert, Leigh Anne Mehs, Tyler Pritchard, Liz Rae, and Troy Raisanen.

© 2020 by Design and Energy Laboratory LLC