John Ochsendorf is the Class of 1942 Professor in the Departments of Architecture/Civil and Environmental Engineering. Professor Ochsendorf conducts research in structural engineering and architecture, with a primary focus on masonry buildings and sustainable design. His group is actively researching the dynamics of masonry buildings, low-carbon construction materials, and the design of more sustainable infrastructure.
With support from the Tata Center, Ochsendorf and his colleagues are conducting research on sustainable, low-cost housing constructed from masonry materials. This research follows two main focus areas: 1) construction materials from alternative waste products; and 2) seismic resistance of infilled-masonry housing. The material research explores the potential to use industrial and agricultural waste to replace the use of virgin resources, such as fired clay or sand, for housing construction materials. The seismic research explores the potential to utilize masonry walls to increase the earthquake resistance of low-rise housing projects. Together, the two projects seek to develop housing with lower cost, reduced environmental impact, and increased resilience in natural disasters.