Brent Bucknum, Founder and Principal of Hyphae Design Laboratory


Brent Bucknum, founder and principal of Hyphae Design Laboratory, is a consultant on the Southwestern Medical District (SWMD) project. He brings technological innovation, evidence-based research, state-of-the-art methodologies, and a great passion for bridging the gap between urban health and the built environments to the project.  

Brent’s early work focused on environmental justice in west Oakland. He was one of the founders for Adapt Oakland, a collaborative, community-based project that developed a green infrastructure plan with the explicit goal of creating a healthier, more sustainable urban environment. Since this time Brent has gone on to collaborate on a wide range of other cutting-edge projects, ranging from designing living roofs at the California Academy of Sciences to resurrecting housing complexes with eco-friendly irrigation systems in Big Sur and conducting clinical research on the link between cardiovascular health and exposure to trees in Louisville, KY. Check out some his work:

Brent says that the main thing he has learned over the past decade is that it is critical for environmental design to be based on solid, rigorous data, noting that historically the data that has been used by design and engineer teams was “archaic.”  For this reason, one of his original goals in creating the Hyphae Design Laboratory was to “bridge the gap between academic and applied research.” Brent refers to this as “research in practice” and it remains a central tenant to the work Hyphae does.  Elaborating on this point, Brent explains that even within the span of a single city block, great topographical and climatic diversity can exist.  For this reason, Hyphae uses state-of-the-art technology to collect and analyze accurate, real-world data, which includes using high resolution sensors and LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging).

Brent emphasizes that this is precisely why he is so excited about working with Texas Trees Foundation. He said “TTF is already committed to using evidence-based design on the SWMD project, noting that this approach is brand new to the industry.” Brent explains that although structural engineering software is available to simulate landscape, no landscape modeling exists. And that’s what TTF is committed to doing. We will collaborate with Hyphae to collect empirical data using state-of-the-art technology and innovate methodologies that will be used to model design scenarios that can be used to create a healthy and sustainable environment in the SWMD. This is true innovation!

TFF shares Brent’s excited about our collaboration. In merging evidence-based design with urban green space and health research, we will be engaging in a transformative process.

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