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Design Computing - Penn State Architecture

Close-up of geometric spherical shape fabricated from laser-cut fibreboard.

Architecture Research Cluster

The Design Computing research cluster investigates computation as a subject of critical and creative inquiry in architecture. Exploring computational design as it relates to materials, representations, theories, and cultures of practice, the cluster systematically interrogates the technological imagination and production of today’s built environment. Faculty and students in the cluster study issues including architectural robotics, performance-driven design, generative design and fabrication methods, responsive artifacts and environments, wearable computing, experimental software development, and the history and theory of computational design media. Faculty members in the Design Computing Research Cluster are recognized scholars and practitioners of the field, and bring perspectives from both industry and academia into their research and courses.

The Stuckeman Center for Design Computing, located in 151 Stuckeman Family Building, provides space and computational facilties for researchers devoted to advance design research and learning in computational design.


Explore the faculty and students in this research cluster.

Core Faculty

  • José Duarte: mass customization; generative systems, shape grammars, parametric design; responsive environments; urban modeling; materials design and digital fabrication
  • Yasmine Abbas: atmosphere, neo-nomadism
  • Felecia Davis: development and use of computational textiles and materials, wearable computing, augmented intelligence and intelligent environments
  • Benay Gürsoy Toykoç: computational making, digital fabrication, shape grammars, basic design education, cognitive studies of design processes
  • Loukas Kalisperis: immersive environments; visualization; theory and practice of digital media
  • Darla Lindberg: functionalist theory; relationship of design and technology; sustainable design

Associated Faculty

  • Shadi Nazarian: architecture of glass – exploring recycled glass, ceramics, cement and their mutual interfaces; materials design and additive manufacturing
  • Laia Celma: sustainable architecture

Ph.D. Students

  • Negar Ashrafi
  • Özgüç Bertug Çapunaman
  • Ali Ghazvinian
  • Eric Mainzer
  • Farzaneh Oghazian
  • Vina Rahimian
  • Debora Verniz
  • Elena Vazquez

M.S. Students

  • Yumih (Connie) Chang
  • Berfin Evrin
  • Paniz Farrokhsiar
Grid of six images showing groups of students engaging with
Twisted wire figure with Carnival costume; part of a shape grammar architectural study


Theses in Design Computing

Interlocking Construction System of 3D Printed Clay Components, Kamrun Naher Tithi (2019)
Adviser: José Duarte | Committee: Shadi Nazarian, Benay Gürsoy Toykoç, Tom Lauerman (Visual Arts)

Residential High-Rise Building Facade Design: Generating Diversity, Fei Guo (2018)
Adviser: Shadi Nazarian | Committee: José Duarte, Ali Memari, Eduardo Castro e Costa

Masonry Screen Walls in Paragruay. Creating a Digital Framework for Optimizing Environmental Performance Through Shape Configuration, Elena Vazquez (2018)
Co-Advisers: José Duarte, Ute Poerschke | Committee: Denise Costanzo

Design Features in Communal Spaces: Impact on Quality and Satisfaction in Social Housing Projects, Angelica Rocio Rodriguez Ramirez (2017)
Adviser: José Duarte | Committee: Alexandra Staub, Mallika Bose

The Ephemeral Dream Space: (Re)Activating an Evocative Architecture Through Computational Devices and Bodily Interaction, Nasim Motalebi (2017)
Adviser: Marcus Shaffer | Committee: José Duarte, Andrew Hieronymi

Towards a Soft-Mold Based Hybrid Fiber Form Defining Approach, Xiao Han (2017)
Adviser: Felecia Davis | Committee: Loukas Kalisperis, Katsu Muramoto

Using Recycled Plastic Composites to Develop Earthquake Resilient Housing for the Region of Kutch, India, Dhaval Chheda (2016)
Adviser: Felecia Davis | Committee: Darla Lindberg, Shadi Nazarian

A Step Towards a Topology of Responsive Architecture: Actors, Interactions, Transformations, Seoug Oh (2014)
Advisor: Daniel Cardoso Llach | Committee: Donald Kunze, Peter Aeschbacher

Design of a Computer Controlled Sun-Tracking Façade Model, Mahzad Tashakori (2014)
Advisor: Ute Poerschke | Committee: Jeffrey Brownson, Loukas Kalisperis

Investigating the Energy Footprint of Conventional Facade Systems To Modern Multi-Layered Façade Systems, Neeraj Chatterji (2012)
Advisor: Ute Poerschke | Committee: Lisa D. Iulo, Loukas Kalisperis

An Investigation into a Visual Framework Integrating BIM-ESS workflow in the Early Design Phase, Rohan Haksar (2010)
Advisor: Ute Poerschke | Committee: Loukas Kalisperis, George Otto

An Investigation into the Methods to Facilitate Understanding of the Use of Energy Simulation Programs by Architects in the Early Design Stage, Suhas Bambardekar (2009)
Advisor: Ute Poerschke | Committee: Lisa D. Iulo, Loukas Kalisperis