Nathan Brown is the recipient of the SOM Foundation 2016 Structural Engineering Fellowship. For his Research Proposal, entitled, “Integrating Secondary Goals into Structural Design.” Nathan notes that, “The design of modern buildings and other structures demands the ability to synthesize multiple design goals simultaneously. This is largely true because of an increased emphasis on overall performance and design sustainability, of which structural material efficiency is only one consideration.” In carrying out the research on his winning Proposal, Nathan will travel extensively to locations in North America, Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Australia / New Zealand.
Nathan is a currently a student in the Building Technology program within the MIT Department of Architecture. He is from Spring Mills, Pennsylvania, where he graduated from Penns Valley Area High School in 2008. He earned his undergraduate degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering at Princeton University in 2012, along with certificates in Architecture and Urban Studies. At Princeton, Nathan received the W. Mack Angus Prize for an outstanding academic record and high achievement in engineering, the highest award in his department. His senior thesis on the geometry and structure of hypar shells was advised by Prof. Sigrid Adriaenssens. Prior to attending MIT, Nathan worked on building energy retrofit projects for Elevate Energy in Chicago.
While at MIT, Nathan has been advised by Prof. Caitlin Mueller as part of the Digital Structures research group, where he studies interactions between structural considerations and other architectural performance criteria in conceptual design. He has also worked with Prof. John Ochsendorf and the Structural Design Lab, an interdisciplinary research group in Civil Engineering and Architecture. Nathan’s research in the area of computational multi-objective optimization for structural and architectural design has been presented at both design and technical venues, including conferences for the International Association of Shell and Spatial Structures, the Engineering Mechanics Institute, and the Boston Society of Architects.
Nathan plans to graduate in June 2016 with a Master of Science in Building Technology, specializing in structures. Upon completing the fellowship, he hopes to apply what he has learned about design and computation to a variety of structural engineering projects.