James McDonagh

I’m a senior in the CEE department from Littleton, Massachusetts. Along with my major I’m working towards a certificate in architecture and engineering. I took classes with professor Adriaenssens in my sophomore year and started working for her in summer 2020. The focus of my work is preparation for online courses and the transition from in-person to virtual learning. Civil engineering is a field of study where physical intuition is extremely valuable- the challenge this year is to allow the learning of this intuition to take place at home. My work involves converting activities which normally would have taken place in labs into activities that can be undertaken with limited resources; converting everyday materials into tools for teaching about overarching principles such as equilibrium, stress and strain, and modes of failure. 

Beatriz Oliva

Pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering, I transferred to Princeton University as a part of the 2022 class. As a rising Junior, I started working with the Form Finding Lab on July 2020 together with professor Adriaenssens. The research/project consisted on designing an engaging, dynamic and interactive on-line setting for CEE205. I reflected upon my virtual instruction learning experience Spring 2020 and read published reports on what other students believed worked, or didn’t (COVID-19). We generated an asynchronous lecture space, intercalated engagement questions, formulated quizzes/exams to examine the students’ understanding, and developed lab kits to be distributed so that even in a remote setting, the critical visual learning component stayed alive. Some of those concepts involved axial loading, torsion, buckling, material properties, and stress and strain.

At Princeton, I have engaged as an Independent Undergraduate Research student in Havana, Cuba (October 2019). Besides professor Ruben Gallo, I studied the pre and post Cuban Revolution impact on Architecture in the island: my home country. Visited Tropicana, and used the information gathered to redact a cultural/social/structural analysis of the place. Along my personal interests, I also interned at Hábitat para la Humanidad Argentina in the investigation of Urban Voids: unused urban spaces whose reinsertion might alleviate the housing problem in Argentina by increasing affordable housing and playing a fundamental role in the evolution of strong and stable communities. I consider design choice, and the Architecture/Civil field to have an impactful effect on our society, which is why the CEE structural track allows me to bring creative ideas to cities with resources, but it also serves as an avenue to help communities lacking the capital/context to achieve a standard and well-deserved lifestyle through structural revolution.

The Latin language died, but its wisdom perfectly epitomizes my present credo: Each man is the architect of his own fortune.

Aaron Lichtblau

I am Aaron Lichtblau, from Princeton NJ. At the Form Finding Lab, I am using parametric modeling tools such as Rhino and Grasshopper to design sound barriers based off of David Huffman’s work in curved crease origami. Under the wise leadership of Jessica, and with the tireless efforts of Joe, I hope to improve the quality of life for the residents in East Trenton who are affected by the noise from a local highway. When I’m not in Equad, I enjoy hiking, biking, playing frisbee, or any other outdoor activity.

Joe Collins

My name is Joe and I am a Senior in the School of Architecture. I am also pursuing a certificate in Urban Studies. My passion lies in cities and all that they offer to us. However, as great as they may be, all cities have inherent problems that have festered through their years of development, and I aim to use my education to learn about and ideate modern ways to mitigate these problems. My work in the Form Finding Lab will be to study noise pollution and how it adversely affects certain socioeconomic communities in the NY/NJ Metro Area. I will be doing background literature reviews, ground research, and data collection as well as mapping my findings in GIS software. Through my research and mapping, I will help to identify the areas where we will implement and test our sound-absorbing technology in hopes to have a positive impact on the communities living there.

Katharine Schassler

I’m a soon-to-be junior in the CEE department interning in the Form Finding Lab. I started with this group in June 2019 and will be here for the summer, with support from the Princeton Environmental Institute. My interests in engineering research include thinking transformatively about ways in which scientists and engineers can challenge hierarchies of knowledge within our design and practice. Last summer I worked as a research intern in the Earth Dynamics Research Group at the Research School of Earth Sciences, ANU. I’m excited about the storm surge barrier project because coastal flooding needs solutions in the form of a dynamic design that is least inimical to the Hudson River ecosystem. My work will be building towards identifying a suitable location for the storm surge barriers and begins by compiling and mapping datasets specific to the region. I am also gaining qualitative understanding on how to propose a project such as ours, what factors to consider in a cost-benefit analysis, and what types of solutions have been proposed for the region.

Chase Lovgren

My name is Chase Lovgren and I am a rising Junior in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department. Last summer I worked as an intern at the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization in Germany. I began working in the Form-Finding Lab in May 2019 with support from the Princeton Environmental Institute on a project concerning storm surge barriers and resiliency in urban coastal areas. I find that challenges are best tackled by studying what came before them, which is why this project is of particular interest to me. I am personally invested in working on this project because I come from a coastal community that was heavily affected by Superstorm Sandy in 2012. I have seen firsthand the effects of natural catastrophes and why it is imperative that we think proactively about solutions. I will be working with Katherine, Joe, and Olek. I hope to specifically focus on learning how to propose solutions, and studying what types of proposals have been effective in the past.

Ajun Wit

I, as a high school intern, worked on Andrew Rock’s master’s thesis. In this project, we are working to develop an inflatable storm surge barrier that can be installed on a shoreline to protect structures along the shore from a hurricane’s (or some other majors storm) storm surge. My specific portion of the project was to develop an excel spreadsheet with equations relating different parameters from the structure. The parameters included the different forces exerted on the membrane (both internally and externally) and the structure’s ability to deal with these forces.

Emre Robe

My name is Emre Robe, and I’m a rising senior at the Washington International School in Washington, D.C. At Princeton, I’ve been working with Victor Charpentier on a planned exhibit at the Botanical Gardens which will demonstrate how a material can increase in strength without changing the amount used. Before working on the project, I learned the fundamentals of bending and stress mechanics which were key for the work I did. Using what I had learned, I calculated the force required to bend four different shapes of structural fiberglass – all having the same mass – and used a CAD program to design support structures which would allow to demonstrate the strength of each one.

Marcio Sartorelli

I am a fourth year undergraduate civil engineering student from the Polytechnic School of University of São Paulo (USP) in Brazil, and I am currently part of POLI-FAU double-formation program, which foresee a two year complementation in my engineering undergraduation at the Architecture and Urbanism College of USP as an architect student.  I have implemented the Natural Force Density form-finding method (NFDM) in Rhino/Grasshopper parametric design environment with my research advisor Prof. Ruy Pauletti in a undergraduate research program. I am now in Princeton University with Prof. Adriaenssens as a one month visitor student to generate physical models of shell structures I designed with NFDM, and implement other methods in Grasshopper. Also, I am working on genetic algorithms optimization allied with parametric design to seek efficient and sustainable appealing shells.

Jacob Essig

Jacob Essig is a high school student from Princeton, New Jersey, who is currently attending The Pennington School in Pennington, New Jersey, and will graduate in 2018. During the summer of 2016 he will be part of a team with undergraduate student Amber Lin and graduate student Tim Michiels, designing, building, and monitoring a rammed earth gazebo and test walls to be built in the Forbes College Garden.

Nyema Wesley

I am a sophomore undergraduate student of Princeton’s Civil and Environmental Engineering Department looking to further my studies in applications of architecture and structural engineering. For the summer of 2016, I am partaking in research under the supervision of Prof. Adriaenssens of the Form Finding Lab and the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment. In conjunction with the findings of graduate student Victor Charpentier, we are looking to design and create large-scale models of adaptive biomimetic façades. Our work analyzes the impacts of turgor pressure on rapid plant movement, and we hope to harness these mechanisms in order to construct these building “skins.” With the aid of CAD softwares such as Rhinoceros and Grasshopper, and the utilization of the vacuum-forming technique, this project aims to make new strides in contemporary form-finding architecture that maximize environmental integration and energy efficiency.

Amber Lin

Amber Lin ’19 is a Civil Engineering and Architecture major from Edison, NJ currently doing research in erosion protection for rammed earth construction in temperate climates. She will be part of a team designing, building, and monitoring a rammed earth gazebo and test walls to be built in the Forbes Garden this summer. As an inaugural PACE Center Bogle Fellow, she will also work on integrating service and sustainability education components to the research project by organizing service days for volunteers and creating signs in the garden for visitors to learn more about the garden, rammed earth, and sustainable practices in general.

Katie Kennedy

Katie is an undergraduate in Civil and Environmental Engineering, graduating in 2018. During the summer of 2016 she is investigating biomimetic facades, particularly dynamic amplification in the Stylidium, or trigger plant. By experimenting with forms similar to the Stylidium as well as geometries derived from action origami, she and the rest of the team hope to create an efficient system that moves under minimal forces or deformation. These findings could be applied to facades that open and close to make them more energy efficient, decreasing the staggering emissions from the building sector. The project also includes the designing of a sculpture for display at the United States Botanic Garden in Washington D.C.

Julia Wilcots

Julia is a junior undergraduate student in the Civil and Environmental Engineering department. Her academic interests lie in the intersection of architecture and engineering. Currently, Julia is exploring this intersection by conducting independent work with Professor Adriaenssens and visiting Professor Irmgard Lochner Aldinger. Their project utilizes topology optimization software to study structural applications of biomimicry, or how natural forms can be translated to the built environment.

Beginning with simplified structures, such as beams and cantilevers, they use this optimization software to identify where structural material is necessary under specific loading conditions. Structures and loading conditions are chosen based on the forms of plants and the forces they must resist. For example, a columnar cactus can be thought of, structurally, as a slender, cylindrical column. In its natural environment the cactus must resist wind loads from all directions. To replicate the cactus in the optimization software, Julia can construct a similarly-shaped solid cylinder and apply distributed “wind” loading from multiple directions. The result of the optimization will show where structural material is needed to resist the applied loading. From this result, the optimized structure can be compared with the natural form of the cactus.

By conducting these topological optimization experiments Julia and Professors Adriaenssens and Aldinger are able to compare structurally optimized forms to naturally optimized forms. Additionally, this work may lead to the architectural development of these forms as building-sized structures.

Pedro Raposo

Hello! I am Pedro Raposo and I am a “Research Experience for Undergraduates” student under the Mid-Infrared Technologies for Health and the Environment (MIRTHE) research program this summer 2014. I am currently working with Professor Adriaenssens and Dr. Rhode-Barbarigos along with other students in creating a cool comfortable space with no use of air conditioning whatsoever. We will achieve so by using different technologies and different cooling methods such as evaporative cooling methods; methods that contribute to environmental sustainability and efficiency of energy.

I started my undergraduate studies at the City University of New York as an Engineering Science. I will eventually start at Cornell University as a Civil Engineering student this fall 2014 in junior standard. I aim to obtain both, a Masters of Engineering and a Ph.D. in Structural Engineering right after obtaining my Bachelor’s degree and continue my journey towards my long-term career at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). During my undergraduate studies, I have worked on different STEM-related projects such as “Climate Simulation and Sea level Rise” where I have simulated the earth’s climate system in terms of Earth’s radiative budget and express the effects that changes in the climate have on sea level. In addition, I have determined which areas of New York City will be submerged due to possible sea level rise. Furthermore, I have worked in “Electrically Conductive Cement” in an effort to determine the self-sensing ability of concrete cement whose theory can be used to develop sensors for civil infrastructures and reduce the use of the already-existing embedded sensors which affect the strength of structures.

Demi Fang

I am a PU undergraduate student adapting the CEE 205: Mechanics of Solids undergraduate course to a new online platform, NovoEd. The platform will be used in a way that encourages students to engage and collaborate more actively while satisfying the course’s learning objectives— to develop structural design skills in addition to an understanding of solid mechanics. Our proposed use of NovoEd includes further utilization of online lectures as well as the creation of a collaborative design space in which students may share ideas.

Denisa Buzatu

I am a junior undergraduate in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, studying the Architecture and Engineering track – Structures focus.  My project in Prof. Adriaenssens Form-Finding Lab is part of the Peter B. Lewis Fund for Student Innovation in Energy and the Environment and investigates the impact of installing adaptive façade modules on the Friend Center for Engineering, in terms of the reduction in cooling and heating loads that can be achieved. Aided by the computer software Autodesk Ecotect and EFEN, we simulate the behavior of the building and determine optimal area for the windows and angle configuration for the shading modules for each month/day of the year. Depending on the chosen period and the tested characteristics of the system, the results shows potential savings between 14% and 43% of the energy consumption associated with cooling and heating loads.

Thomas Mbise