John OchsendorfStructural Engineer and Architectural Historian
John Ochsendorf is a structural engineer specializing in historical architecture and creative engineering design at MIT. He has researched the history and technology of great works of construction, including classical Roman vaults, Gothic cathedrals, Mayan arches, Inca suspension bridges and the earthquake-worthiness of Gothic cathedrals. Ochsendorf collaborates with art historians, architects, and engineers on the study and structural assessment of many historic monuments around the world.
His book "Guastavino Vaulting: The Art of Structural Tile" (Princeton Architectural Press, 2010) celebrates the work of the Guastavino family, who built structural tile vaulting in hundreds of major buildings after immigrating to the United States in the late 19th century.
Ochsendorf’s work spans the humanities and engineering, and his research has been supported by both the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Science Foundation. He is a Fellow of the American Academy in Rome (2007) and a Senior Fellow of the Design Futures Council (2011). In awarding him a MacArthur Fellowship in 2008, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation called Ochsendorf “a pioneer in exploring alternative engineering traditions.”