Juliana Felkner

Assistant Professor

Juliana M. Felkner was born in Kansas City, Missouri, USA. She studied architecture and spatial planning at the University of Kansas and the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), Stockholm. She worked for Ateliers Jean Nouvel in Paris before moving to Zurich to conduct her Ph.D. research at ETH in the Chair of Structural Design and the Chair of Structural Mechanics. She is a member of the Swiss Society of Engineers and Architects (SIA). She started as a tenure-track assistant professor at the School of Architecture in 2016 and is an advisor in the Center for Sustainable Development.

Prof. Felkner’s research and teaching addresses the societal challenges that come with increasing urbanization of the world. Smart urban growth requires holistic strategies ranging from historic preservation and spatial development to architecture as materialization of the planning process and energy-related questions pertaining to a sustainable built environment.

For example, inner densification as a means of transforming an area towards more efficient use of land means that in both Europe and North America, mid-rise and tall buildings will become an increasingly important building typology with which to contend. Furthermore, the transformation of historic and industrial sites into residential areas has to be harmonized with the aims of historic preservation.

Finally, a holistic approach demands that buildings be designed or retrofitted such that they operate with low carbon emissions and integrate into the urban fabric.

Prof. Felkner received the Faculty Innovation Grant for 2017 for the project, "Form and Energy: Bridging Engineering and Architectural Education through a collaborative project utilizing interactive architectural models, sensors, control systems and real-time data"

She is currently working with the School of Engineering on a project, "Integrated Transformation of Urban, Building, and Energy Systems," which simulates programmatic spatial development scenarios resulting from integrated modeling of the energy system and the built environment.


  • Ph.D., Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zurich
  • M.Sc. Spatial Planning / Built Environment, Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), Stockholm
  • Master of Architecture, University of Kansas School of Architecture, Design and Planning
  • BA English and Environmental Studies, University of Kansas

Felkner, J., Brown, J., Vázquez-Canteli, J., Schutte, R., Castejón, N., Nagy, Z., “The Impact of Climate Change and Envelope Retrofit on Urban Energy Consumption, Comfort, and Overheating in Austin, Texas” Passive and Low Energy Architecture (PLEA) 2020.

Dilsiz, A.D., Felkner, J., Habert, G., Nagy, Z. “Embodied versus operational energy in residential and commercial buildings: where should we focus?" Journal of Physics: Conference Series 1343 (1), 012178.

Felkner, J., Brown, J. Vazquez-Canteli, J., Nagy, Z. “Urban Densification and Housing Typology for Climate Change Mitigation” CISBAT Climate Resilient Cities- Energy Efficiency and Renewables in the Digital Era, 2019 International Scientific Conference EPFL Lausanne, Switzerland

Bixler, P.R., Lieberknecht, K., Leite, F., Felkner, J., Oden, M. Richter, S., Atshan, S., Zilveti, A., Thomas, R. “An Observatory Framework for Metropolitan Change: Understanding Urban Social–Ecological–Technical Systems in Texas and Beyond” Sustainability, July, 2019.

Felkner, J., Chatzi, E., Schwartz, J. “Framework for Balancing Structural Efficiency and Operational Energy in Tall Buildings” Journal of Architectural Engineering, 2019 25(3). *Best paper of the year award

Kim, D., Felkner, J., “A Sustainable Approach to the Adaptive Reuse of Historic Brick Buildings: Analysis of Energy Efficiency Strategies for Historic Façade Retrofits” International Building Physics Conference (IBPC) 2018 Syracuse N.Y.

Kim, D., Felkner, J. “A Sustainable Strategy to Balance Between Historic Preservation and Sustainable Development in Washington DC, ASCE International Conference on Computing in Civil Engineering (I3CE) 2019.

Felkner, J., Schwartz, J., Chatzi, E., 2017. Tall Buildings: Structure and Energy, Passive and Low Energy Architecture (PLEA), Edinburgh.

Felkner, J., Chatzi, E., and Kotnik, T. “Interactive Truss Design using Particle Swarm Optimization and NURBS curves”, Journal of Building Engineering, vol 4, pp. 60-74, 2015
doi: 10.1016/j.jobe.2015.08.004

Felkner, J., Chatzi, E. “Effect of Structure and Morphology on Natural Ventilation Potentials, Comfort, and Energy Use in Tall Buildings”, in Proc. 8th Windsor Conference: Counting the Cost of Comfort in a changing world, 2014.

Felkner, J., Chatzi, E., and Kotnik, T. “Architectural feedback in the structural optimization process.” In Proc. Structures and Architecture: Concepts, Applications, and Challenges, 2013
doi: 10.1201/b15267-95

Felkner, J., Schwartz, J., and Chatzi, E. “Multi-objective optimization of structural efficiency and operational energy for a tall building”, under review.

Felkner, J., Chatzi, E., and Kotnik, T. “Interactive particle swarm optimization for the architectural design of truss structures.” In Proc. IEEE Symp. on Comp. Intelligence for Engineering Solutions (CIES), 2013, pp. 15-22,
doi: 10.1109/CIES.2013.6611723

Felkner, J. "Multi-objective design balancing structural, environmental, and architectural considerations.", PhD Thesis, ETH Zurich, 2016
doi: 10.3929/ethz-a-010689078

Juliana Felkner Headshot
  • Sustainable Design and Construction
  • Historic Preservation
  • Urban Planning
  • Urban Design
  • Structural Design
  • Tall Building Structures
  • Smart Buildings and Cities

Construction III

Tall Buildings: Structure and Climate

Environmental Controls I

Research Design

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