Mohamed Ismail



BS in Civil Engineering, Duke University; Master of Architecture, University of Virginia; Master of Science in Architecture Studies in Building Technology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; PhD Candidate in Building Technology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Mohamed Ismail is an Assistant Professor of Architecture at UVA School of Architecture. Ismail is completing his PhD in the Building Technology program at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he has been studying the application of structural and material optimization in the alleviation of housing security in the Global South.  His dissertation is titled “Reshaping concrete: Empowering development through low-carbon structures.”  At MIT, he is a researcher at the Digital Structures Lab working with a team to design and develop low-cost, low-carbon structural components for housing in developing regions.  His research has resulted in numerous authored and co-authored papers for peer-reviewed journals and conferences such as the International Conference on Structures and Architecture (2022); Engineering Structures (2021); Architecture, Structures and Construction (2021); the 7th International Conference on Spatial Structures (2021); the AIA/ACSA Intersections Research Conference “Carbon” (2020), among others.

Ismail has taught classes in construction systems, visual representation, parametric workflows, and structural design at the University of Virginia, Northeastern University and MIT. 

In addition to currently completing his doctorate, Ismail holds an undergraduate degree in Civil Engineering from Duke University, a Master of Architecture degree from the UVA School of Architecture, and a Master of Science in Architecture Studies in Building Technology from MIT.  His award-winning graduate thesis explored an urban vernacular building language for residential architecture in Khartoum, Sudan, that utilized form-finding optimization technologies while carefully integrating local resources, empowering local labor, and advancing local skillsets.

In 2017 and 2019, Ismail was named a Fellow of the MIT Tata Center for Technology and Design and a MIT Presidential Fellow, respectively, and was awarded a Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans in 2020. In 2022, with his PhD advisor Professor Caitlin Mueller, he received an ACSA Diversity Achievement Award. Throughout his academic studies, he has held leadership roles especially in service to advancing justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion.


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