Masoud Akbarzadeh

Masoud Akbarzadeh

Philadelphia, PA, US



Masoud Akbarzadeh is a designer with a unique academic background and experience in architectural design, computation, and structural engineering. He is an Assistant Professor of Architecture in Structures and Advanced Technologies and the Director of the Polyhedral Structures Laboratory (PSL). He holds a PhD from the Institute of Technology in Architecture, ETH Zurich, where he was a Research Assistant in the Block Research Group. He holds two degrees from MIT: a Master of Science in Architecture Studies (Computation) and an MArch, the thesis for which earned him the renowned SOM award. He also has a degree in Earthquake Engineering and Dynamics of Structures from the Iran University of Science and Technology and a BS in Civil and Environmental Engineering. His main research topic is Three-Dimensional Graphical Statics, which is a novel geometric method of structural design in three dimensions. In 2020, he has received the National Science Foundation CAREER Award to extend the methods of 3D/Polyhedral Graphic Statics for Education, Design, and Optimization of High-Performance Structures. 



ETH Zürich, Zürich, CH, PhD, Architectural Technology

Jan 2012 - Feb 2016

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, MA, US, Masters, Design Computation

Sep 2010 - Jun 2012

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, MA, US, MArch, Architecture

Sep 2007 - Jun 2011

Iran University of Science and Technology (IUST), Tehran, IR, Masters, Structural Engineering

Sep 2004 - Jun 2007


National Science Foundation CAREER Award, Award

Assistant Professor of Architecture Masoud Akbarzadeh has received a Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) grant from the National Science Foundation. The grant will support the development of a robust computational framework for the use, development, and integration of geometry-based structural design methods in three dimensions.

The CAREER grant is the NSF’s most prestigious award for junior faculty members who exemplify the role of teacher-scholar through outstanding research, excellence in teaching, and the integration of education and research within the context of the mission of their organizations.

As director of the Polyhedral Structures Lab at the Weitzman School, Akbarzadeh is charting the unexplored realm of efficient spatial structural designs. Straddling design and engineering, his work is rooted in 2-D graphic statics (GS), powerful geometric techniques that have been used to determine the forms of many iconic bridges and long-span structures over the past 150 years. But he intends to build on that legacy by establishing the mathematical foundations of 3-D graphic statics. The project’s goals include the development of open-source software, a web-based, interactive educational platform and library, and activities through which students, designers, and practitioners can learn, share, explore, and design innovative, high-performance, lightweight spatial structural solutions.


SOM Travel Fellowship for Architecture, Design and Urban Design, Award

Masoud’s Masters Thesis has provided the first step to further study on his research topic, “Hydro Power Cities: Generative Form Potentials of River Hydrology and Urbanization“. Masoud’s research proposal is based on a cultural and technical moment of infrastructure transition that is taking place globally as water becomes increasingly more valuable. Modern hydropower megaprojects have caused widespread social, cultural and environmental damage. Masoud’s research will explore new relationships between traditional water-based infrastructure and emergent urban form along river way sites in China, Brazil and Africa. His work will focus on the creation of multiple smaller scale hydro power stations which support local environments and populations through the design of new forms of urbanism and energy extraction in a living river system.


Areas of Specialization