Seven years after earning his architecture degree, alumnus Patrick Chopson said he is prepared to help the next generation of Kennesaw State University architecture students thrive in the world of data-driven design.
Recently, Chopson and his company, cove.tool, partnered with KSU’s College of Architecture and Construction Management to provide its software and expertise as part of a new studio course on precast concrete.
While studying architecture at KSU, Chopson said he became acutely aware of climate change and the role that architecture could play in helping to reduce emissions. Currently, residential and commercial buildings account for nearly 40% of carbon dioxide emissions, according to Architecture 2030, but he said placing an emphasis on energy modeling while designing a building can help reduce emissions by 40% to 60%.
After studying high performance building at the Georgia Institute of Technology, Chopson quickly learned that many professionals did not have the tools to run the necessary energy calculations on their own. In 2017, he launched cove.tool with business partner Sandeep Ahuja, a platform which allows architects to run building performance models automatically while also reducing construction costs. Backed by venture capital, the company has since grown to 14 employees and is used in over 22 different countries around the world.
Chopson credits Ed Akins, interim chair of the Department of Architecture, and Liz Martin-Malikian, thesis coordinator and associate professor of architecture, as being major influences on his studies and eventual career. It was through Akins that he was connected to his first professional job out of college, and Martin-Malikian was instrumental in fostering his outside-the-box approach to architecture. His undergraduate thesis, which centered around a Mars colony, continues to captivate successive cohorts of architecture students, many of whom attempt their own version of this interesting design problem.
While still a student, he recalls speaking to retired dean Rich Cole about the prospects of becoming a professor himself, at first balking at the suggestion that he could make an impact in the classroom. However, after spending time in industry, Chopson has since gone on to teach a studio course on sustainable design and architecture theory at KSU and design communication. Seeing the next crop of architects flourish, just as he did as a student, is part of the reward, he added.