Photo of Nathan Brown

Nathan Brown

Assistant Professor


  • Architectural Engineering
  • Center for Acoustics and Vibration

220 Engineering Unit A


Research Website

Research Areas:

Building Structural Systems

Interest Areas:

Conceptual design, sustainable design, structural and multi-objective optimization, computational design tools, applications of data science to building design.




  • BS, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Princeton University, 2012
  • MS, Building Technology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2016
  • Ph D, Building Technology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2019


Journal Articles

  • Isabelle Hens, Ryan L. Solnosky and Nathan C Brown, 2021, "Design space exploration for comparing embodied energy in tall timber structural systems", Energy and Buildings
  • Goncalo Duarte, Nathan C Brown, Ali M Memari and Jose P Duarte, 2021, "Learning from historical structures under compression for concrete 3D printing construction", Journal of Building Engineering
  • Mary Taylor, Nathan Brown and Donghyun Rim, 2021, "Optimizing thermal comfort and energy use for learning environments", Energy and Buildings
  • Nathan Brown, Violetta Jusiega and Caitlin Mueller, 2020, "Implementing data-driven parametric building design with a flexible toolbox approach", Automation in Construction, 118
  • Nathan Brown, 2020, "Design performance and designer preference in an interactive, data-driven conceptual building design scenario", Design Studies, 68, pp. 1
  • Nathan Brown and Caitlin T Mueller, 2019, "Design variable analysis and generation for performance-based parametric modeling in architecture", International Journal of Architectural Computing, 17, (1), pp. 36-52
  • Nathan Brown and Caitlin T Mueller, 2019, "Quantifying diversity in parametric design: a comparison of possible metrics", Artificial Intelligence for Engineering Design, Analysis, and Manufacturing, 33, (1), pp. 40-53
  • Nathan Brown and Caitlin T Mueller, 2016, "Design for structural and energy performance of long span buildings using geometric multi-objective optimization", Energy and Buildings, 127, pp. 748-761
  • Stavros Tseranidis, Nathan Brown and Caitlin T Mueller, 2016, "Data-driven approximation algorithms for rapid performance evaluation and optimization of civil structures", Automation in Construction, 72, pp. 279-293
  • Sigrid Adriaenssens, Nathan Brown, R Lowinger and J Hernandez, 2014, "Structural analysis of reinforced concrete folded hyperbolic paraboloid: a case study of the Miami Marine Stadium", International Journal of Architectural Heritage, 8, (4), pp. 498-516

Conference Proceedings

  • Ryan L. Solnosky, Nathan Brown and Rebecca Napolitano, 2021, "Teaching structures in an (almost) empty room: an assessment of strategies for student engagement in mixed-mode and remote classes", ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition
  • Fernando Lima, Nathan Brown and Jose Pinto Duarte, 2021, "Urban design optimization: generative approaches towards urban fabrics with improved transit accessibility and walkability", Proceedings of CAADRIA
  • Jonathan Broyles, Micah R Shepherd and Nathan Brown, 2020, "Investigation of optimization techniques on structural-acoustic-shaped concrete slabs in buildings", Proceedings of Meetings on Acoustics
  • Nathan Brown, 2020, "Suggesting design directions: early examples of simulation-based guidance for common model types", Proceedings of simAUD 2020
  • Nathan Brown, 2019, "Interactive optimization: understanding how designers engage with live performance feedback from multiple surrogate models", Barcelona, Spain
  • Demi Fang, Alpha Arsano, Nathan Brown, Christoph Reinhart and Caitlin Mueller, 2019, "Design space exploration for high-performance greenhouse design", Barcelona, Spain
  • Nathan Brown and Caitlin Mueller, 2018, "Gradient-based guidance for controlling performance in early design exploration", Cambridge, MA
  • Courtney Stephen, Nathan Brown and Caitlin Mueller, 2018, "Clustering analysis of structural loading for post-disaster housing design", Cambridge, MA
  • Nathan Brown and Caitlin Mueller, 2017, "Designing with data: moving beyond the design space catalog", Cambridge, MA
  • Nathan Brown and Caitlin Mueller, 2017, "Automated performance-based design space simplification for parametric structural design", Hamburg, Germany
  • Nathan Brown and Caitlin Mueller, 2016, "The effect of performance feedback and optimization on the conceptual design process", Tokyo, Japan
  • Nathan Brown and Caitlin Mueller, 2016, "Early-stage integration of architectural and structural performance in a parametric multi-objective design tool", GuimarĂ£es, Portugal
  • Renaud Danhaive, Nathan Brown and Caitlin Mueller, 2015, "Digital brainstorming: new computational tools for creative data-driven design", Boston, MA
  • Nathan Brown, Stavros Tseranidis and Caitlin Mueller, 2015, "Multi-objective optimization for diversity and performance in conceptual structural design", Amsterdam
  • S. Adriaenssens, R. Lowinger, J. Hernandez, N. Brown, A. Halpern, Z. Aye and M. Prier, 2012, "The shells of the Miami Marine Stadium: synergy between form, force, and energy", Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Research Projects

Honors and Awards

  • Presidential Fellowship, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2016 - 2019
  • TODA Award, Massachusetts Institute of Technology - Department of Architecture, 2019
  • Structural Engineering Travel Fellowship, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill Foundation, 2016
  • Hyzen Fellowship, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2015
  • W Mack Angas Prize, Princeton University - Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, 2012


Service to Penn State:

  • Committee Work, Member, Research Computing Committee, September 2019

Service to External Organizations:




Widely acknowledged as one of the top Architectural Engineering programs in the world, the Penn State AE Department is dedicated to providing outstanding academic excellence to all of our students. The AE program is focused on preparing students and conducting research in the design, engineering, and construction of building projects.

Department of Architectural Engineering

104 Engineering Unit A

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802

Phone: 814-865-6394