This article discusses a research/teaching collaboration between Perkins+Will and the University of Cincinnati and a unique design studio that was initiated as part of this collaboration. The studio investigated the relationships between performance-driven design, computational design techniques, integration of analysis tools with the design process and digital fabrication for a building facade retrofit. The studio project was an existing cold storage facility, which is being converted into a commercial office building. The objective of this collaboration was to integrate building performance simulations and modeling to drive design decisions, to use parametric design tools for exploration of building skin design and to investigate fabrication/prototyping methods for testing constructability and material choices. We discuss the design process as well as the results of this collaboration. We also conclude with final remarks regarding the best practices for collaborative research efforts between design practice and academic research institutions.