Bechthold is Director of the Doctor of Design Program, director of the GSD‘s Technology Platform, and Associate Faculty at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering. He teaches courses in design robotics and material systems, building structures, as well as life cycle design. Recent courses include CeramicsLab, the TRACES option studio, Analysis and Design of Building Structures I and II, as well as Nano, Mico, Macro: Adaptive Materials Laboratory (cross-listed with Harvard's John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences).
Bechthold received a Diplom-Ingenieur degree in architecture from the Rheinisch-Westfalische Technische Hochschule in Aachen, Germany, and a Doctor of Design Degree from the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University. He is a registered architect in Germany and has practiced in London, Paris, and Hamburg. During this period he was associated with firms such as Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, Santiago Calatrava and von Gerkan, Marg & Partner.
Bechthold’s research broadly looks at material and fabrication technology as a catalyst of innovation for design practice. In 2010 he founded the GSD’s Design Robotics Group and recently merged it into the Material Processes and Systems (MaPS) Group, a collaboration of faculty, research associates, and students that pursues sponsored and other research projects. MaPS's current research focuses on integrating robotic technology into fabrication and construction processes, developing advanced material systems in collaboration with industry partners and the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University, and understanding problems of lifecycle design in (building) products. Bechthold is co-author of Structures and Computer-Aided Design and Manufacturing as well as the author of Innovative Surface Structures. His latest book is Ceramic Material Systems.