University of Pennsylvania

University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA


Masoud Akbarzadeh Receives National Science Foundation CAREER Award

By Weitzman
Jan 27, '20 4:20 PM EST
Masoud Akbarzadeh's PolyTool
Masoud Akbarzadeh's PolyTool

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.

Akbarzadeh 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.