Martin Bechthold

Kumagai Professor of Architectural Technology

Co-Director of the Doctor in Design Studies Program

Director of the Material Processes and Systems Group (MaP+S)

On leave for Spring 2024

Martin Bechthold is the founding Co-Director of the Master in Design Engineering Program and the Kumagai Professor of Architectural Technology in the GSD’s Department of Architecture. He is also Associate Faculty at the Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) at Harvard, and was long affiliated with the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University. He teaches courses in design and research methods, material systems, and building structures. Recent courses include ‘Towards a New Science of Design?’, ‘Structural Design II’, and ‘Independent Design Engineering Project’.

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 advances the contemporary understanding of material systems with a special interest in computational methods, robotics, advanced 3D printing, and environmental psychology. In 2010 he founded the GSD’s Design Robotics Group and more recently merged it into the Material Processes and Systems (MaP+S) Group, a collaboration of faculty, research associates, and students that pursues sponsored and other research projects. In 2018 he initiated the creation of the Laboratory for Design Technology as a collaborative platform that connects Harvard Faculty and researchers with forward looking thought leaders from industry. MaP+S’s current research focuses on multi-material 3D printing, structural and material innovation in architectural ceramics, carbon negative building materials, and quantifying the perception of buildings.

Bechthold is co-author of Structures and Computer-Aided Design and Manufacturing, as well as the author of Innovative Surface Structures. His most recent book is Ceramic Material Systems. Bechthold’s peer reviewed journal papers have been published in widely read journals including Nature Reviews, Advanced Functional Materials, and Energy and Buildings. He holds multiple patents on material innovations.