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Martin Bechthold

Associate Faculty

Martin is Professor of Architectural Technology at the Graduate School of Design (GSD) at Harvard University, and co-director of the GSD’s Doctor of Design Program. Bechthold’s research on material systems pursues technology development, strategic thinking and design applications in a broad range of scales. His current projects investigate adaptivity, robotic architectural fabrication, and innovation in architectural ceramics and other construction systems. He is director of the GSD’s technology platform and principle investigator of numerous research projects with the Design Robotics Group, a research unit he founded 4 years ago at the GSD. Past research has included projects for the Finnish Innovation Fund, the Ayb Foundation, the United States General Services Administrations, as well as various industry and non-profit organizations.

Bechthold chairs the ‘Materials and Construction’ cluster at the Harvard Green Building and Cities Center at the GSD. Together with Prof. Allen Sayegh he leads the interdisciplinary ALivE group, a collaboration between the Harvard Graduate School of Design and the Wyss Adaptive Materials Technology Platform. The group is developing new adaptive material systems for buildings with a focus on enhancing building performance and the experience of occupants. Bechthold has authored numerous papers and articles, and is a frequent speaker at Universities and other venues. He is the co-author of “Structures”, the most widely used textbook in the area of structural design in North America, as well as “Computer-Aided Design and Manufacturing”, the first substantial coverage of digital fabrication technologies in architecture. His book “Innovative Surface Structures”, a leading text in the field of specialty structures, investigates new design opportunities at the intersection of advanced structural systems and digital fabrication techniques. He holds a Doctor of Design degree from Harvard University, and a Diplom-Ingenieur in Architecture degree from the RWTH Aachen, Germany.

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