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Dr Marina Konstantatou

Date in FIBE: 2015 - 2019

Very brief history before joining: I have a background in applied mathematics and physics with an emphasis on mathematics for computer science. At the same time, I was interested in design and geometry, so I decided to specialise in computational design, at the ‘Emergent Technologies & Design’ master’s program at the Architectural Association. Subsequently, and before joining FIBE, I worked as a researcher at the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL, on spatial analysis 

Title of thesis plus a very short summary: Geometry-based structural analysis and design via discrete stress functions.

My PhD thesis proposed a direct and unified method for generating global static equilibrium for 2D and 3D reciprocal form and force diagrams based on reciprocal discrete stress functions. It combined and reinterpreted knowledge from Maxwell’s 19th century graphic statics, projective geometry and rigidity theory to provide an interactive design and analysis framework through which information about designed structural performance can be geometrically encoded in the form of the characteristics of the stress function. This method results in novel, intuitive design and analysis freedoms and (hopefully) contributes towards bridging the gap between architectural and engineering practise. 

Why did you join FIBE: Being interested in architectural design, I felt that structural engineering and geometry are, or should be, an indispensable part of it. Specifically, that structural performance should inform the conceptual design stages of an architectural form. As a result, I thought that Cambridge, and in particular FIBE, would be a great place to specialise in structural engineering whilst applying it on a research level to design and analysis.

How did it help you: Apart from having the unique opportunity to work closely with leading academics and practitioners in my area of interest, I received funding and allocated time which enabled me to go for two academic secondment at ETH Zurich (Chair of structural design) and University of Pennsylvania (Weitzman School of Design), as well as for one industry secondment at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (structures group). As a result, I had the chance to present, disseminate and enrich my research in a wide circle of my research community. 

What are you doing now: I am currently working on applied research and development in relation to structural design, form-finding and architectural geometry at the Specialist Modelling Group at Foster + Partners, London. In my spare time I keep working on my (never-ending!) PhD subject. I am particularly interested in the cross-disciplinary application of my research to a wide range of subjects spanning from reinforced concrete to the geometry of the large-scale structure of the universe.

Researchgate profile: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Marina_Konstantatou

Contact: mk822@cantab.ac.uk