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Ornella Iuorio

Ornella Iuorio

professor of architecture and structures, University of Leeds

Expertise

Design, Construction, Structural

Location

United Kingdom
Career highlights

ICE Sir John Fowler Award 2021 winner

RISE Off-site Manufacturing Award winner

Part of the 2022 WES Top 50 Women in Engineering list

A day in my life

As an academic, researcher and designer, my day is organised to advance knowledge and applications of lightweight structures.

My work aims to fight climate change by developing systems with low embodied carbon and high structural performance.

For this I develop large scale experimental testing, carefully develop conceptual design and adopt advanced and automated manufacturing.

I’ll always remember the first time an idea went through all the process of design and building.

Which individual project or person inspired you to work in this industry?

Antonio Gaudi

La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain was designed by architect Antonio Gaudí. Image credit: TTstudio/Shutterstock
La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain was designed by architect Antonio Gaudí. Image credit: TTstudio/Shutterstock

I would recommend a career in civil engineering because …

I would recommend a career in civil or architectural engineering because it allows you to contribute to solving complex problems, while helping create real buildings and infrastructure.

I’ll always remember the first time an idea went through all the process of design and building.

What’s one great thing that you love about civil engineering that you didn’t know until you started working in the industry?

The benefit of working across disciplines.

I’m an architect with a PhD in design analysis and experimentation of structures.

My interdisciplinary background has allowed me to advance lightweight steel structures for application in seismic areas and mass manufacturing.

What are you doing to help fight against climate change?

I'm developing low embodied carbon lightweight construction systems for application in seismic areas, mass manufacturing, and the Global South.

Ornella's career path

  • Undergraduate degree in architecture, with strong and extra structure modules, Italy
  • PhD in Design, Analysis and Experimentation of Structures, Italy
  • Work as a structural designer, Italy
  • Postdoc at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), USA
  • Academic in architectural engineering program at University of Leeds, UK
  • Professor, chair in Architecture & Structures at the University of Leeds, UK

Academic highlights

I’m recognised as a leading architectural engineering scholar with an established reputation in academia and industry for innovations in sustainable design of lightweight structures and resilience of the built environment.

My research in lightweight steel structures is recognised internationally. It's had an impact in academia and industry for opening new design processes and applications. It’s been recognised through awards, translation in practise, and code development.

I’ve opened applications of cold formed steel (CFS) in seismic resistant architecture, when the system was not used in Italy.

The innovative seismic procedure proposed in my PhD is highly cited internationally for the capacity to define a complex system with few variables.

Translation of my research in practise was achieved through design and construction of the first CFS building in Italy. Its quality was recognised by ECCS Steel Design Award, national selection.

My current knowledge transfer partnership (KTP) project is opening applications for mass manufacturing of modular homes in UK.

It’s already having huge impact in industry and has been awarded the ICE Sir John Fowler Award and the RISE Off-site Manufacturing Award for the excellence in transforming construction, bringing greater efficiency, safety, productivity and innovation in the way we build.

Major projects

British force défense school (BFS) in Lago Patria, Italy.