High-Performance Building Materials, Structural Systems, and Envelopes

Faculty in the Penn State Department of Architectural Engineering conduct fundamental research on the use of computer model simulations and experimental observations to assess the condition, predict the behavior, monitor the performance, and diagnose degradation or damage for existing buildings. They bring forward innovations in novel low-CO2 building materials; efficient structural systems for rapid and/or automated construction; and durable envelope solutions for improved life-cycle performance for buildings.

Research labs focused on this research area:

Current research in progress includes the following:

(funding bodies in parentheses; Penn State architectural engineering faculty names bolded)

  • Understanding the electrochemical corrosion mechanisms in low-CO2 modern concrete technologies (start-up funding), JP Gevaudan, Rebecca Napolitano
  • Developing adaptive material tools to improve the resiliency of in-service buildings (start-up funding), JP Gevaudan, Rebecca Napolitano
  • Novel low-CO2 cementitious materials for additive manufacturing (start-up funding), JP Gevaudan, Rebecca Napolitano
  • Passivation mechanisms at the steel-concrete interface of low-CO2 concrete materials (start-up funding), JP Gevaudan
  • Inverse design of existing envelope geometry and materials properties (Penn State industryXchange), Rebecca Napolitano, Wesley Reinhart (MATSE)
  • Design and control of active insulation and thermal storage for grid-interactive efficient buildings (start-up funding), Greg Pavlak
  • Development of cement-free concrete for 3D printing of homes (Penn State Materials Research Institute), Ali Memari
  • Development of cross laminated timber shelters for tornado and hurricane wind resistance (Penn State Materials Research Institute), Ali Memari
  • Using hempcrete for design and retrofit of homes (DON Services), Ali Memari, Corey Griffin, Hojae Yi, Brain Wolfgang
  • Structural and acoustic optimization of shaped concrete floors (start-up funding), Nathan Brown, Micah Shepherd
  • Enabling energy performance analysis of dynamic building facades for early sustainable design, (start-up funding), Nathan Brown, Julian Wang
  • Resilient and energy efficient envelopes for passive house standard buildings (Penn State Institutes of Energy and the Environment), Corey Griffin, Ali Memari, Lisa Iulo
  • Searchable performance database for design of ultra-high-performance envelope buildings in varied climatic conditions (Penn State Institutes of Energy and the Environment), Aly Said, James Freihaut, Somayeh Asadi, John Yen
  • NSF CAREER: NIR-selective dynamic glazing and envelopes (National Science Foundation), Julian Wang
  • Photothermal energy-efficient windows (National Science Foundation), Julian Wang
  • Dual-modality building skins with photovoltaic effects (National Science Foundation), Julian Wang
  • Spectrally selective solar films for urban greenhouses (U.S. Department of Agriculture), Julian Wang, Robert Berghage
  • Multi-functionalization of concrete using nano particles (start-up funding), Aly Said
  • Novel approach to production of construction materials (start-up funding), Aly Said


Globally recognized as a leading architectural engineering department, the mission of the Department of Architectural Engineering at Penn State is to advance the built environment through the development of world-class architectural engineers and research. The vision of the Department of Architectural Engineering at Penn State is to lead the world in innovative education and research to achieve high-performing built environments. Our program emphasizes the scientific and engineering aspects of planning, designing, and constructing buildings, providing our architectural engineering graduates with outstanding education and research opportunities. 

Department of Architectural Engineering

104 Engineering Unit A

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802

Phone: 814-865-6394