Rosemary Paulson

My name is Rosemary Paulson, and I am a senior in the class of 2023 pursuing a B.S.E in Civil and Environmental Engineering with a concentration in Architecture and Engineering, along with a certificate in Theater. I hail from the D.C. Metropolitan area, and am currently trying to find the best coffee in the District. On campus, I write for Princeton’s late night comedy show “All-Nighter” and perform with the Lewis Center for the Arts’ theater department!

This year, I am working with Professor Adriaenssens and the Form Finding Lab to explore the viability of large scale Kirigami Structures as a form of light control in outdoor spaces, through the manufacturing of kirigami canopies and solar modeling and testing. In the future, I hope to expand this work to the human scale to investigate materiality and design, and to improve as a craftsman, artist, and engineer.

Yousef Ebied

Hello, my name is Yousef Ebied. I am a senior in the Civil and Environmental Department, with a structural focus. I am also an RCA in Yeh College and the treasurer of the Princeton Arab Society. This year I joined the Form Finding Lab to work on my research with Professor Sigrid Adriaenssens. My senior research introduces augmented reality to the construction sector. More specifically, I will be using augmented reality head mounted displays in order to construct a vaulted masonry structure and analyze the efficiency and structural integrity of the building process and the structure, respectively. My research will take place in Professor Alexander Glaser’s Virtual Reality Lab where I can access the necessary technology for my research

George Dickinson

My name is George Dickinson and I am a senior in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department. I am from London, UK, and I some of my hobbies include playing the guitar, cycling, and sailing. I am also captain of the lightweight rowing team at Princeton for the 2022-2023 season which consumes most of my time outside of class. In civil engineering, my areas of interest include improving efficiency of construction and anything related to timber. For my thesis I will explore the stability of timber lamella structures during phases of construction to determine if this technique is viable at large scales. I will be applying this to a squinch structure which is inspired by traditional masonry vaulting techniques. I am excited to work with the Form Finding Lab to develop my skills in parametric modeling and finite element analysis and to see where this project takes me.

Krystal Delnoce

I am a current undergraduate senior in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department. I am also pursuing an intended certificate in Urban Studies. I have previously researched sustainable cementitious materials, specifically alkali-activated materials, as a replacement for ordinary Portland cement. Currently, my work in the Form Finding Lab is focused on developing rooftop hydroponic farms to resolve food insecurity and bring healthy foods to urban areas. I am interested in the intersection of engineering design, equity, and environment to adopt sustainable solutions.

Emily Colborne

My name is Emily Colborne and I am a member of the class of 2022 from North Carolina. In addition to my concentration in Civil and Environmental Engineering, I am pursuing a certificate in Architecture and Engineering. On campus I am heavily involved in Princeton Christian Fellowship and the Society of Women Engineers. For my senior thesis I am working with Prof. Sigrid Adriaenssens and a team to explore options for the restoration of Anton Tedesko’s thin shell concrete roof covering the Philadelphia Skating Club and Humane Society (PSCHS) ice rink. My project on the PSCHS structure will entail scientific, social, and symbolic analyses. For the scientific analysis, I plan to evaluate the importance of the tension cables under the rink and to discuss their pertinence to the structure (given that the shell also employs the use of buttresses). I hope to discover whether having both these components is redundant and plan to discuss the importance of restoring structures, specifically the PSCHS shell.

Ange Ndayishimiye

My name is Ange Ndayishimiye and I am a senior in the class of 2022, pursuing a B.S.E. in Civil and Environmental Engineering with certificates in Architecture and Engineering, Urban Studies, and East Asian Studies. Originally from the Greater Toronto Area, I spend a large portion of my time at the rugby fields as the Co-Captain of the Princeton Women’s Rugby Club which is transitioning to varsity status next year. Additionally, I serve on the board of the Princeton University ASCE Student Chapter, and am the House Manager of the Cap & Gown Club.

This year I am working with Professor Adriaenssens and the Form Finding Lab to explore the affordances and limitations presented by the use of robotics and digital fabrication tools in the construction of traditional Japanese timber joints, using both physical testing as well as finite element analysis. I hope to extend the research to small scale assemblage applications, and look forward to taking an interdisciplinary approach to an exploration of traditional Japanese construction methods.

Mark Skeptas

My name is Mark Skepasts ’22, and I am a Structural engineering Major pursuing a certificate in the Applications of computing. I am from Vancouver, Canada, and some of my hobbies include hiking, playing the drums and cooking. With regards to the AEC industry, my interests lie in timber construction, computational design, prefabrication/modular construction, and sustainability. Consequently, my senior thesis with Professor Sigrid Adriaenssens and Professor Stefana Parascho is centred around timber-steel hybrid construction. More specifically, I plan to study the role of a cast steel node as a connection to modern-day timber-steel structures. As a case study, I hope to analyze the difference between a more traditional steel connection and a cast connection in a grid shell. Overall, I am very excited to be a part of this lab and to explore this traditional method of construction. I am looking forward to see what role casting play in geometrically complex and modular construction.

Daniel Tjondro

My name is Daniel Tjondro ’20 and I’m majoring in Civil and Environmental Engineering whilst working towards certificates in Environmental Studies and Urban Studies. I’m from Queens, NY, which is by far the best borough in NYC. In my free time, I enjoy playing Teamfight Tactics, cubing, and juggling. For my senior thesis, I’m working with Professor Adriaenssens to create an assessment system for evaluating redevelopment projects of brownfield sites in NYC. I’m especially interested in studying the potential of incorporating urban eco-efficiency into the assessment system and comparing my work to the assessment systems that already exist for renewal projects. Can’t wait to see where this thesis takes me and what life after Princeton will be like!

Zoe Zeitler

My undergraduate studies have been an interdisciplinary combination of Engineering, Environmental Science, Architecture, and further relevant topics in the areas of Science, Design, and the Humanities. My culminating thesis offers a concrete embodiment of self-organizing systems in the form of a self-assembling structure. Based in origami mechanics, this architectural design is aimed at folding flat-sheet modules with minimal labor to reduce energy and material consumption of construction. Via an iterative process of parametric optimization, life cycle assessment, and material testing I aim to produce a durable self-assembling pavilion. Post-graduation I plan to work in sustainable design, environmental science, and urban planning.

Ameen Moshirfar

My name is Ameen Moshirfar and I am a senior in the Civil Engineering Department pursuing certificates in Architecture and Computer Science. I am from Salt Lake City, Utah, and I love rock climbing, pottery, and playing guitar. During the 2019-2020 school year, I will be working with Professor Sigrid Adriaenssens to study design and fabrication techniques of origami structures. The ultimate goal will be to arrive at a design that can function as an emergency shelter or off-grid home. Using origami simulators and finite element modeling, I will create a design that optimizes flat foldability, ease of deployment, and stability. I am excited to be a part of the Form Finding Laboratory, and work at what I see to be an intriguing intersection of Civil Engineering, Architecture, and Computer Science.

Angel Fan

I first became involved in research in the field of structural art when looking for a senior thesis project that explored the interface between science and art during my time as an undergraduate student at Princeton. With Prof. Adriaenssens as my adviser, I explored curved-crease origami as an acoustic metamaterial in the interest of developing adaptable highway sound barriers. As a concentrator in Geosciences, I had previously studied computational geophysics, in which I learned about modeling waves. As follows, the research I did senior year was mainly focused on acoustic experiments that tested the effect of curved-crease geometries on the acoustics of spaces. Moving forward, I hope to continue to aid in the research and development of adaptable sound barriers using curved-crease origami designs and intend to contribute to the further stages of this project.

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. Today, Amber is currently working on a tool that quantifies and incentives users to reduce their carbon footprint as part of her senior thesis.

Nyema Wesley

My name is Nyema Wesley and I am a senior in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. For the 2018-2019 school year, I will be working under Prof. Sigrid Adriaenssens and Prof. Maurizio Chiaramonte of Princeton University, along with supporting faculty at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, to study the response behavior of Japanese timber pagodas subject to earthquake forces. In particular, I will use finite element analysis to assess whether the seismic energy dissipation of pagodas are primarily due to the mass damping of their central column or the frictional sliding of their wooden connections.

Kim Perez

I am currently a senior in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department. My concentration is Structural Engineering with a certificate in Architecture and Engineering. My interests lie in sustainable engineering and vernacular architecture. I have the pleasure of working with Professor Sigrid Adriaenssens and her team at the Form Finding Lab on my senior thesis which aims to explore bamboo grid-shell formwork. I aim to present a viable and novel design for a bamboo grid-shell shelter that can be incorporated with renewable energy to provide a holistically sustainable engineered solution in Cali, Colombia.

James Gales

Hi, my name is James Gales Jr. and I am a senior in CEE department.  On campus I am a part of the Varsity Football team as well as a member of Cannon Dial Elm Club.  I am excited to once again have Prof. Adriaenssens as an advisor.  For my senior thesis I will be looking at the feasibility of different designs of retractable roof structures to cover Powers Field at Princeton Stadium.  I hope to potentially find a design that is feasible enough that it could possibly put to use in the future.

Michael Cox

I am a senior undergraduate student in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department. I am following the Structural Engineering concentration and also pursuing a certificate in Finance.  I have had the pleasure to work with Professor Adriaenssens in her “Mechanics of Solids” and “Extraordinary Processes” classes.  I am currently working with her on my senior thesis. My thesis will explore the use of ice as a structural material.  I will be specifically focusing material properties and construction methods for thin-shelled ice structures.  I hope to discover efficiencies that can be applied to both functional ice structures and the construction process of more permanent structures that rely on compressive strength.

Demi Fang

Like many other seniors, I am both anxious and excited to be working on my senior thesis for the 2016-2017 school year – but very happy to be working with Prof. A again! I am fascinated by the intersection of architecture and engineering in the design of the built environment. In the past, the two fields were not so disparate – there existed a single profession, the master builder, who both designed and constructed buildings. Many of these builders created amazing masonry structures that we still admire decades, centuries, and millennia later. Because these historic structures are susceptible to changes in the environment such as earthquakes, we need reliable methods of assessment for masonry structures. Intuitive graphical methods are reliable and efficient in assessing stability, but computational modeling of masonry collapse mechanisms is relatively recent. This year I’m working comparing the results of these graphical methods with computational modeling by assessing the stability of masonry arches and vaults.

Russell Archer

Dennis Smith

Lu Lu

Aaron Katz

My senior thesis within the structural track  combined a unique environmental component as well.  In response to two major earthquakes in the Spring of 2015 that hit Nepal and devastated its fragile infrastructure, my research focused on understanding the collapse behaviors of traditional earthen buildings.  Particularly, I studied the earthquake loading capacity of rammed earth walls.  Rammed earth construction has recently regained popularity around the world as a sustainable building alternative to traditional concrete.  This project introduced a simple kinematic analysis approach to model the overturning collapse mechanism of a rammed earth wall, and evaluate the lateral loading capacities of such walls.  A theoretical analysis as well as laboratory testing of the soil and full scale field tests at Princeton University and in Nepal were all conducted during the yearlong research project.  Furthermore, multiple site visits were made to rammed earth homes that had survived the major earthquakes in Nepal in an attempt to characterize potential crack patterns in the walls.  Ultimately, through these preliminary tests, my research demonstrated the viability of the kinematic model is approximating the lateral loading capacity of in reinforced and unstabilized rammed earth walls.

Michael Manhard

Hello, my name is Michael Manhard, and I am a senior undergraduate student in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. My primary focus is on structures, while also pursuing a certificate in Applications of Computing. As a member of the varsity diving team, I have chosen to explore the performance and behavior of competition diving boards for my senior thesis.

Most competitive springboard divers would agree that a consistent diving board is key to a successful performance. Unfortunately, every diving board offers a unique “feel” to it that can alter how a diver will be able to utilize it. Through my research, I aim to quantify the inconsistencies in the performance of competition diving boards and to identify the factors that cause these inconsistencies. Ultimately, I intend to reduce the effects of these factors, so divers can focus solely on their own performance rather than that of the equipment

Denisa Buzatu

I am a senior in Civil and Environmental Engineering pursuing the Architecture and Engineering track – Structures focus. My allegiance with the Form Finding Lab began in my sophomore year, when I investigated the energy impact of installing dynamic adaptive shading modules on the façade of the Friend Center for Engineering in Princeton. This year, my senior thesis with Prof. Adriaenssens focuses on designing a foldable programmable sheet that is easy to manufacture, control and does not require prohibitive maintenance. My project aims to develop an origami system made out of interconnected rigid triangulated components and memory shape alloy actuators that can move and control the folding of the system’s edges. Such a dynamic system allows for a wide range of possible single and double curved structural surfaces starting from an overall flat configuration.


Diagram of the proposed adaptive system design. The red triangles represent the rigid surfaces, while the green connections represent the actuators.

Cristina Anastase

I am senior in the Civil and Environmental Engineering department pursuing the “Engineering and the Liberal arts track” and interested in further studying architecture from a more quantitative background. The work that I do with Professor Adriaenssens consists of my senior thesis project. Through the flexibility of my degree track, as well as the program of the Form Finding lab, the senior thesis allows me to combine my interests in various areas such as art, architecture, engineering and computational design. Thus, my intent is to use this multidisciplinary background to approach questions that lie at the intersection of the fields and ultimately to explore how the answers to such questions can translate to practical applications of engineering and design to help solve issues of concern in our society. My work in concerned mainly with adaptable structures, whose transformation in response to stimuli, has a functional role.

Erman Eruz

Bar Shabtai

Victoria Richardson

Within the context of sustainable design, much focus is currently placed on the energy efficiency of structures. However, there has been less focus on the reuse and disposal of buildings at the end of their life cycle. In particular, the construction of sports venues for a single major event poses a problem as their use is significantly reduced after the event. My thesis aims to address this issue through the design of an improved modular structure which can be used as part of a stadium structure. There have been great improvements in design for reuse, with the London 2012 Olympic Games having the largest number of temporary structures of any Olympics to date and only building new structures that would have a sustainable legacy after the closing of the games. I aim to expand this notion of building for deconstruction and reuse by taking into account sustainability alongside structural soundness.

Katelyn Scanlan

I am a senior at Princeton studying Civil Engineering and Architecture with a focus in structures.  My thesis centers around the future renovations of Terrace Club, an eating club at Princeton.  A club with over 100 years of history and a home away from home for thousands of former and current Terrace members, the house has seen its share of wear and tear.  Starting with the installation of a modern multi-zonal heating system last year, the club has begun planning a major overhaul of the house to take place within the next few years.  While this first renovation was a major move towards energy efficiency, there is clear room for improvement.  I plan to design energy efficient and sustainable solutions that cater to the needs and values of the club, with multiple options based on large-scale fundraising goals.  Renovations already planned include replacing the slate roof, adding an elevator, and extensions and improvements to the servery, dining space, upper terrace, and third-floor living space.  Through the course of my research, I will design planned changes in a way that will maximize energy efficiency and sustainability as well as design other environmentally-focused initiatives, including daylighting and occupancy sensors as well as photovoltaic cells and solar hot water systems on the roof.  My thesis will address previous old home renovations utilizing green building principles, employ software to assist design choices, and apply these results and conclusions to design a greener, more sustainable clubhouse.

Mariam Wahed


Adriaenssens S.,Liu H., Wahed M., Zhao Q. (2013). Evaluation and Optimization of a Traditional north-light roof on Plant Building energy Consumption. In: Energies 2013, 6(4), 1944-1960; doi:10.3390/en6041944

Daniel Fletcher

I am a senior in the Structures track of the Architecture and Engineering program at Princeton with a strong focus in the environmental side of things to boot.  My thesis will deal with the effects that building artificial barrier islands of the coasts of America’s cities will have on reducing storm surge that occurs during large storms.  While many of the largest cities in America are built on the coast (New York, Boston and Miami just to name a few) very few are equipped to deal with large flooding events  caused by large storms and hurricanes.  Just this past summer, as Hurricane Irene barreled toward the tri-state area, New York was caught completely unprepared for what could have been a major disaster.  This thesis will analyze different patterns of barrier island placement to seek solutions to this problem.  In particular, this thesis will target a barrier island system in New York Harbor to protect the tip of Lower Manhattan from the effects of storm surge in the event of a hurricane.  Relying on what I have learned in the course of my thesis research, and my own contribution, I intend to find a solution that best reduces storm surge in Lower Manhattan.

Sarah Lux

There is no requirement for where a Jewish person must pray. Communities form in living rooms and kitchens, in workplaces and schools, in tents and in sheds. But most of the time communities form in Synagogues, because Jews intend to always pray in a beautiful place that demonstrates their commitment to God. The synagogue, the place of worship, is the nucleus of Jewish life.

The development of Synagogues in America, both architecturally and religiously, is a meandering, complicated path throughout history. My thesis aims to understand the development- growing from a small group of ten men with no permanent residence to a multi-functional center of Jewish life- by dissecting that history. My research systematically divides the content chronologically, and each time period discussed explains a major shift in the progress of Synagogues. Through this search, one might better understand what the ideal synagogue looks like, because the answer may reside in the past rather than in what is functioning today.

My work, like my major, has two major components- architecture and engineering. I hope to understand how the spaces function for  the purposes of the synagogue, and therefore understand how the architecture  drives the program. On another level, I will explore the structures of these buildings to further analyze these designs.

Peter Szerzo

Over two decades ago, structural design office Schlaich Bergermann and Partner introduced and applied a structural principle through which full-scale soccer stadiums could be covered using less than 15 kg/m2 (0.5 lb/ft2) of material, having since completed over 30 projects worldwide. These so-called looped cable roof structures obtain their stiffness through the combined action of ‘rim’ and ‘spokes’, becoming highly efficient both above and under ground.

How do these structures work? What approaches can the designer use to maintain flexibility throughout the design process and providing an optimal, architecturally pleasing and structurally expressive result? My work consists of a transition from conceptual hand-calculations to parametric finite element- and geometric modeling tools to develop preliminary design guides based on the case study of a tennis stadium. Structural design is approached from a more scientific perspective, and the interaction between simple engineering intuition and powerful parametric modeling tools looked at in the framework of a real project.

Smart Mast:


Glisic B., Adriaenssens S., Szerzo P. (2013). Structural Analysis and Physical Validation of a Smart Pantograph Mast Concept’In: Computer Aided Civil and Infrastructure Engineering. DOI: 10.1111/mice.12013



Sabrina Siu

Many engineers seek to integrate conventional structures with technology to enhance energy efficiency. For example, imagine a sunshade that can change its form in response to the sun’s path. How can the electrically induced deformation of materials be exploited to develop a shape-shifting shading device? My thesis explores the use of electroactive polymers (EAP), a new technology that can deform in response to the application of voltage, as an electrically deformable material.
The objectives of my thesis is to validate the results of the study performed by O’Brian, et al. (2008)  as a numerical modeling approach for shape-shifting EAP using dynamic relaxation, a numerical modeling technique that has not yet been applied. Dynamic relaxation is a method of solving a static problem by transforming the problem into a pseudo-dynamic one by introducing ficitious inertia and damping terms in the equation of motion. Then, I will design and test a physical EAP prototype. I will compare the physical results with Dynamic Relaxation and the published results. Finally, I will apply the understanding of EAPs to create a new series of forms and perform simulations using numerical and physical models.

Siu, S., Rhode-Barbarigos, L., Wagner, S., Adriaenssens, S. (2013). ‘Dynamic relaxation study and experimental verification of dielectric-elastomer minimum-energy structures’. In: Applied Physics Letters (accepted for publication).

Siu S.,Rhode-Barbarigos L., Wagner, S., Adriaenssens S. (2013).’ Analysis of dielectric elastomer minimum energy structures using dynamic relaxation.’ CCTS 2013. Sardinia, Italy.

Tina Huang

Combining dielectric elastomers with thin-film solar cells opens the prospect of self-powered, smart civil structures that adapt their shape autonomously in response to external stimuli.  To explore the realm of stable equilibrium forms that these Dielectric Elastomer Minimum Energy (DEME) structures can take, we numerically simulated mechanically-coupled assemblies of DEME elements.  In these models elastomeric membranes are first pre-stressed across triangular frames with low bending stiffness, and then two to eleven frames are connected along their edges in various configurations.  Application of voltage across the membranes’ thickness is simulated by isotropic relaxation, which may be uniform or may differ between the membranes.  We find that these configurations can assume a large variety of stable shapes, some of them quite surprising.  We use the following approach.  First, we use a finite difference method to represent the membrane of each triangular element with a triangular mesh.  Second, we employ dynamic relaxation as a numerical analysis process to solve set of nonlinear equations based on Newton’s second law of motion.  Briefly, the technique traces the motion of the dielectric membrane stretched over the bendable frame through time when loaded with pre-stress forces.  Then we monitor the system until all out-of-balance forces have disappeared and the structure has reached a steady state.  For some DEME structures we find more than one final shape.  We validate our numerical results with physical model results and find that our simulated structures are in close agreement with those published. This projec is co-supervised by Prof. S. Wagner, Department of Electrical Engineering and Prof. C. Peters, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.


Wagner S., Adriaenssens S., Huang T.Y.,  Jafferis N.T., Stone H.A., and Sturm J.C.(2012).‘Stretchable Electronics – From Passive 2D to Active 3D’.  The 2012 International Conference On Flexible and Printed Electronics, Tokyo, Japan.

Huang T., Krupka M., Bagrianski S., , Wagner S. , Peters C., Adriaenssens S.(2011). ‘Shaping mechanically coupled assemblies of dielectric elastomer elements’.2011 Materials Research Society Fall Meeting, Boston, USA.

Gregor Horstmeyer

My name is Gregor Horstmeyer and I am senior in the Department of Civil and   Environmental Engineering at Princeton University.  My focus is on Structures,   while pursuing certificates in both Environmental Studies and the Program in   Sustainable Energy.  My senior thesis explores the structural and constructional   feasibility of a glass umbrella.  Inspiration for my project came from Felix   Candela’s hyperbolic surfaces along with glass’s fascinating material   properties.  Having spent seven years working with glass as medium in art has   stimulated me to incorporate glass into my study of structures.  I hope to show   through the construction of a scale model, strength and safety testing, and   numerical modeling that utilizing the compressive strength of glass in an   efficient design can help create an elegant and unique structural element.


The thesis quintessentially Princeton:

Lauren Clark

My senior thesis focuses on using a life cycle  assessment to estimate and quantify the carbon emissions from the construction  of the Streicker Bridge.   This is done by using the economic input output life cycle assessment  model (EIO-LCA) developed at Carnegie   Mellon University.  This model uses a table developed by the U.S.  Department of Commerce that shows input and output relationships between the  500 sectors of the U.S economy to determine the life cycle output due to an  increase in input from a given economic sector.   This particular method is ideal for my thesis because it can give  outputs in terms of tons of carbon emissions rather than a dollar amount.  Then using the University’s price of $30/ton  of CO2, the carbon emissions can be added to the total construction  costs.  Also, since the EIO-LCA model has  data for Spain and Germany, I can compare the carbon emissions from  hypothetical construction of the Streicker   Bridge in those countries  and the actual construction costs and cost of carbon emissions.  This comparison will provide insight into  which construction trades are the most carbon intensive and possibly identify  ways carbon emissions can be reduced.


Clark L., Adriaenssens S. (2010).‘Construction cost and environmental impact  of a landmark pedestrian bridge’. Proceedings 2010 ISSST International Symposium on  Sustainable Systems and Technology, Washington DC, USA.

Ben Sitler

I am an undergraduate BSE candidate majoring in Civil  and Environmental Engineering with a focus on Structures.  For my Senior Project, I am designing a  steel/glass shell roof to cover the courtyard of Princeton’s Jadwin Physics Building,  investigating how an integrated design workflow can lead to a more creative,  elegant and efficient design.  The design  methodology that I am developing utilizes parametric architectural modeling software,  a dynamic relaxation form finding program, and optimization algorithms to  efficiently explore the economy and aesthetics of various design options.  This method of choosing the final form from a  number of instances has been used by architects since the 1980’s, yet due to  the fragmented nature of the building design industry, structural engineers  have been slow to the realize the potential of this design paradigm.  I hope to use my ideas and findings resulting  from this project at a structural engineering consultancy firm upon completion  of my studies and promote closer collaboration between the architect and  engineer.


2nd Award 2010 SEI Student Structural Design Competition


Adriaenssens S., Sitler B.(2010). ‘Structural digital design to construction workflow for a glass/steel grid shell’. IASS 2010, Shanghai, China.

Scott Huang

Daneeka Abellard

Maryanne Wachter

Although grid shells have become a viable structural form in  the past few years, their constructability remains an obstacle.  While the final form of the grid shell is  derived through dynamic relaxation or finite element methods, the actual  construction of the grid shell can be very difficult due to the nodal  connections.  In the past, steel grid  shells have utilized welding to attain the necessary nodal stiffness, while in dual  layer timber grid shells, the scaffolds were lowered very gradually to lock the  lathes into their final shape. Stiffness of non-welded connections was often an  issue as they are not as precise as welded connections.  However, structural engineering firms, like  Buro Happold, have recently used CNC technology to create custom connections  for each node to improve the fit of the gridshell connections, while also  removing the need for welding on site.   Single layer timber grid shells, like the Scunthorpe grid shell, utilize  this technology to create grid nodes of the necessary stiffness that are easy  to install.

I am interested in performing a  case study of the Scunthorpe grid shell to research the types of new joints  being used and their structural and economic limitations.  I plan on using Finite Element Analysis and  potential lab testing to analyze critical nodes of the structure with its  current joint system. I will also evaluate the use of a different type of  single-layer timber grid shell node to determine which node is more  structurally and economically efficient. This evaluation of two types of timber  grid shell nodes may also be able to extend to use in bamboo structures in  addition to timber and glulam structures.

Daniel Weiss

My name is Danny Weiss, and I am a senior undergraduate student studying Civil Engineering and Architecture at Princeton University.  I am greatly looking forward to working with Professor Sigrid Adriaenssens this year on my senior independent thesis, exploring the renovation of churches and cathedrals in increasingly secularized Europe.   We will be using existing form finding techniques to most efficiently create a program that reorganizes unused church spaces into service oriented projects, whether that be homeless shelters, shelters for abused women, etc.  I spent the summer interning for the organization Bridges to Prosperity, and hope to continue pursuing work in a similarly humanitarian vein once I finish my undergraduate degree.


Weiss D., Adriaenssens S. (2012). ‘A new approach for shell form finding combining numerical and physical design tools’.CST2012 The Eleventh International Conference on Computational Structures Technology, Dubrovnik, Croatia.(submitted).

Nathan Brown

I am a senior in the structures track of the combined Architecture and Engineering program at Princeton.  My thesis is an exploration of the hyperbolic  paraboloid form as employed by thin shell structures.  Shells have fallen out of style with  architects recently due to their perceived high cost and difficulty in  analytically determining their structural behavior.  However, with advances in materials science, construction techniques, and numerical modeling, these structures may once again become viable options to a variety of design solutions, especially within  the current context of sustainable design.  When a thin shell uses the form of a hypar, the geometric properties of  the shape allow for a seemingly limitless potential for innovative structures, which  for the most part can ultimately be analyzed using simple formulas.  This thesis will categorize and evaluate many  existing examples of the hypar form to better understand the many possibilities  available to a designer and how they perform structurally, spatially, and  environmentally.  The Miami Marine  Stadium, designed by architect Hilario Candela and engineer Jack Meyer, will  also be analyzed in detail as a case study for a complex, innovative employment  of the hyperbolic paraboloid.  Relying on  what I have learned through the course of this thesis research as well as other  outside resources, I intend apply the hypar form in my own shell design.


Adriaenssens S., Brown N., Lowinger R., Hernandez J. (2012). Structural Analysis of Reinforced Concrete Folded Hyperbolic Paraboloid Shells: a case study of the Modern Miami Marine Stadium’. In: International Journal of Architectural Heritage. DOI:10.1080/15583058.2012.694967

Adriaenssens S., Lowinger R., Hernandez J.,Brown N., Halpern A., Aye Z M, Prier M. (2012). ‘The Shells of the Miami Marine Stadium: Synergy between form, force and energy.’ IASS-IACM 2012: 7th International Conference on Computational Mechanics of Spatial Structures., Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Megan Prier

My thesis involves designing a bamboo dome for a school gynamsium placed in southwest Nigeria, where there is both a plenty supply of construction quality bamboo (Bambusa vulgaris) and a significant need for the development of education and locally-based building industry. I will both create two and three-dimensional models of a detailed design and complete a thorough analysis of cost and sustainability. One of the biggest challenges in bamboo construction is the design of joints and supports between members. I will thus choose several joint designs, informed by a literature review, to build at full scale and test in a laboratory setting for strength. Results from these tests will inform the final decision of joints to incorporate into the design. I will also discuss the other impediments to bamboo construction, namely durability and safety considerations with limited building codes.


Adriaenssens S., Lowinger R., Hernandez J.,Brown N., Halpern A., Aye Z M, Prier M. (2012). ‘The Shells of the Miami Marine Stadium: Synergy between form, force and energy.’ IASS-IACM 2012: 7th International Conference on Computational Mechanics of Spatial Structures., Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina.