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 PhD 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.

She is responsible for teaching:
-Construction III
-Tall Buildings: Structure and Climate
-Environmental Controls I
-Research Design
She advises graduate students in the Program of Historic Preservation and the Center for Sustainable Development and is now part of the faculty for Community and Regional Planning.

As a member of the Junior League of Austin, she is committed to its FIT program (Food in Tummies), a volunteer program that provides healthy food on a weekly basis to prevent weekend hunger for approximately 1,500 children in Austin, who depend on the National School Lunch program during the school week.

She also serves as the Vice-Chair of the Faculty Women’s Organization steering committee at UT Austin.


  • 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., and Kim. D. “Inner Development and Spatial Transformation of Industrial and Historic Sites: New Architectural Approaches to Density,” in preparation, 2017

Felkner, J., and Kim, D. “Adaptive Reuse of Historic Buildings for Residential Space: Creating Density while Protecting Heritage”, under review, 2017

Molander, J., and Felkner, J. “Structural glass for retrofit applications,” under review, 2017

Felkner, J., Schwartz, J., and Chatzi, E. “Multi-objective optimization of structural efficiency and operational energy for a tall building”, under review, 2017

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

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

Felkner, J. "Improving American Cities through Sustainable Transit: Lessons Embodied in Stockholm, Sweden", MSc Thesis, KTH Stockholm, 2009

Lesnikowski, W., Felkner, J. “Krystalicyne drapacze chmur w sasiedztwie palacu kultury?” (“Crystalline skyscrapers in the area of the Palace of Culture?”) Archivolta 4(40) / 2008

Felkner, J., Nuntavorakarn, S., Sigurdsson, L., Stein, O., "An Environmental Management System for Schulstad Brød, Pandrup, DK." Department of Planning, University of Aalborg, Aalborg, DK. Company Perspective Report, Fall 2001

Felkner, J., Nuntavorakarn, S., Sigurdsson, L., "Enlargement of the European Union and Alignment of Poland’s Environmental Legislation." Department of Planning, University of Aalborg, Aalborg, Denmark. Institutional and Societal Report, Spring 2002

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