Yao Xiao is the recipient of the SOM Foundation 2013 Structural Engineering Travel Fellowship. Born and raised in Beijing, China, Yao is an April 2013 graduate of Stanford University with a Master of Science Degree in Structural Engineering, and also holds a BS in Architectural Engineering, received from the Illinois Institute of Technology in May 2011.
Ms. Xiao received the Foundation’s $10,000 Prize for her award-winning Essay, “Repetition and Modularity in Structural Design.” In her Essay, she notes that, “In contemporary architectural design, the use of architectural and structural modules in repetition can lead to divergent results, ranging from the ordinary to the extraordinary…. Remarkable structures designed by modernists such as Gaudi, Felix Candela and Santiago Calatrava express elegance through repetition of modules that enhance architectural visions and support structural functions.”
In researching examples of notable buildings and structures that, “...demonstrate the critical architectural, structural and construction techniques of modular repetition that differentiate the selected structures from the typical,” and to find out the design stories behind them, Zao will travel to locations on three continents in seeking to answer the question, “What design choices make the difference in promoting elegance, efficiency and economy?”