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Glass & Façade Technology Research Group


Research Group Coordinator

Mauro Overend

 mauro 2Dr Mauro Overend founded and leads the Glass & Façade Technology Research Group at the University of Cambridge where he is also is a Senior Lecturer in Building Engineering Design at the Department of Engineering and a Fellow of Christ’s College. Mauro is a chartered engineer with several years of consulting engineering experience in the fields of structural engineering and façade engineering. His research at Cambridge is at the interface of structural response and environmental performance of building envelope systems and glass in particular, which are central to the development of the next generation of resilient, low energy and productive buildings. Dr Overend has more than 80 peer-reviewed publications to his credit and leads / serves on several international committees related to glass and façade engineering. He is a founding member and joint Editor-in-Chief of the Glass Structures & Engineering Journal. He has founding and leading roles in the European Research Network on Structural Glass and the European Research Network on Adaptive Facades and in 2015 was appointed by the European Commission to help draft the Glass Eurocode. Mauro’s research and engineering expertise has been used on some of the most challenging and high profile buildings worldwide and he has received several international awards for his research on glass and facade engineering such as: the Guthrie-Brown medal (2011), The IStructE Research Award (2012), the IABSE Prize (2013), the Bright Ideas Award (2014) and in 2016 he was elected to the College of Fellows of the US-based Façade Tectonics Institute.  


Postdoctoral Research Associates

Carlos Pascual Agulló

New Carlos picture.jpgDr Carlos Pascual Agulló joined the gFT group in April 2015 as postdoctoral Research Associate. He will lead EPSRC-funded research on a new generation of multifunctional FRP-Glass composite panels that have the potential to meet architectural, building physics and structural performance requirements in building façade applications. He joins gFT from École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) where he spent five years as research and teaching assistant, first at the Structural Concrete Laboratory and then at the Composite Construction Laboratory where he completed his PhD thesis on translucent load-bearing GFRP envelopes for daylighting and solar cell integration in building construction. Prior to this Carlos graduated in Civil Engineering at Universitat Politècnica de València in 2008 and worked as structural engineer in the design of lightweight glass fiber-reinforced polymer (GFRP) structures for building and bridge construction.  The research project at the gFT is directed by Dr Mauro Overend.



Post-graduate Research Students

 Caroline Butchart

ButchartCaroline Butchart joined the gFT group in October 2010 after having graduated from the University of Leeds with a BEng and MEng in Architectural Engineering in 2010. She joins the group reading towards a PhD at the University of Cambridge under the supervision of Dr Mauro Overend. Her research will focus on developing a model to help predict the post-fracture behavior of glass elements, and is funded by the EPSRC. 




Jacopo Montali 


Jacopo Montali started his PhD program at the gFT research group in April 2015. After his graduation in Structural Engineering at the University of Parma, he worked as a structural engineer for 2 years as a consultant engineer on façade systems and LEED certification for 3 years. He is a LEED AP since June 2013. His academic research, funded by Laing O'Rourke and EPSRC, focuses on the development of digital tools to support and optimise the early-stage design for manufacture of facades.



Hanxiao Cui 

hanxiaoAfter completing his BEng in Architectural Engineering at University of Nottingham, Hanxiao joined the gFT group in 2014, working on the switchable insulation technology and its thermal performance in the built environment. To advance the understanding of this technology, he pursued his PhD in 2015 under the supervision of Dr. Mauro Overend. He is currently working on the development and testing of a novel switchable thermal insulation technology, with a particular focus on its thermal performance, switching and actuation mechanisms.



Isabelle Paparo


Isabelle-Denise Paparo joined the gFT research group in January 2015. She graduated (B.Sc. and M.Sc.) in civil engineering at the RWTH University Aachen, Germany in 2014; including a 6-monts exchange period at Technion, Haifa. She completed her Masters studies in Structural engineering with final Master project focussing on the edge strength of chemically toughened glass carried out at the gFT research group in Cambridge. Her PhD project on the structural performance of freeform FRP building envelopes is supervised by Dr Overend.  Her research is funded by EPSRC and Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung.


Mark Allen

Mark AllenMark joined the gFT research group in 2016. After graduating in Civil Engineering at Durham University in 2014, he worked as a route engineer for the High Speed Two Rail Project. In 2015, he joined the Future Infrastructure and Built Environment (FIBE) CDT at Cambridge, completing his Masters in Research in August 2016 under the supervision of Dr Overend titled 'Buildings Inspired by Nature'. His PhD research is explores the link between nature and buildings and how integrating nature into buildings can improve occupant wellness and subsequently, productivity.  



Alessandra Luna Navarro

alessandra picture
Alessandra research interests are in adaptive façades and human comfort, energy demand and sustainability in the built environment. In 2013, she graduated with distinction in Building Engineering and Architecture at Università degli Studi "La Sapienza" in Rome. She is a chartered civil  engineer in Italy and in UK with CIBSE and worked in building services engineering, fire safety and building  design for a broad range of large buildings. In 2016, she successfully completed an MPhil in Energy technologies at the Department of Engineering at the University of Cambridge, and she joined the gFT research group to pursue a PhD on adaptive façades and human comfort. Her PhD research is funded by Permasteelisa, Arup and EPSRC.

Rebecca Hartwell

RebeccaRebecca Hartwell joined the gFT research group in 2017. She graduated in Material Science and Engineering (MEng) at the University of Manchester in 2015; including a 1-year placement at Siemens Magnet Technology, Oxford. Subsequently, Rebecca continued to work as a research assistant at the the International Centre for Advanced Materials - University of Manchester, to develop research in understanding the role of microstructure in the failure of insect cuticle using X-Ray Computed Tomography.
In 2016, she joined the Future Infrastructure and Built Environment (FIBE) CDT at Cambridge, recently submitting her Masters dissertation titled ‘A regenerative approach to facade engineering with a focus on end-of-life challenges’. Her ongoing PhD is in this area of research.

Florence Maskell

FlorenceFlorence Started her PhD program as part of the gFT research group in 2017.
Having recently graduated with an MEng in Architectural Engineering design from the University of Sheffield.
She has interests in complex building and facade design. She is working under the supervision of Dr Mauro Overend and in  partnership with Newtecnic Ltd.
Her research is on technologies for complex facade design and construction, with a current focus on the connection of fiber reinforced UHPC panels to a steel structure.


Michalis Michael

MichalisIn June 2017,  Michalis graduated in Engineering (BA & MEng) at the University of Cambridge, funded by the Cambridge European Bursary and qualified in Aerospace and Aerothermal Engineering, Energy and Sustainability and the Environment. His research interests lie in Intelligent and Responsive Sustainable buildings. 

In October 2017, Michalis joined the Future Infrastructure and Built Environment (FIBE) CDT at Cambridge, funded by the EPSRC. In May 2018, he joined the gFT research group under the supervision of Dr Mauro Overend, working on the new generation of multi-functional, responsive and energy efficient building envelopes for improving their overall performance whilst reducing their impact on the environment.  


Efstratios Volakos


Stratis graduated (MEng)  in Civil Engineering in 2014 at the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA)  and he completed his Masters studies (MSc) in Analysis and Design of Earthquake Resistant Structures in 2016 at the same university. During 2016-2017, he worked as a junior structural engineer at Athens and then he joined the gFT research group in October 2018. His PhD research is on façade design with special interest in novel composite connections for glass structures under the supervision of Dr Mauro Overend. His project is funded by EPSRC, Arup, Koemmerling and Seele.

Former Post-Doctoral researchers

Marco Doná (2015-2018)


Former Post-graduate Students

Dr. Kyriaki Corinna Datsiou (2013-2017)

Dr. Fabio Favoino (2013-2016)

Dr. Marco Zaccaria (2011-2016)

Antonella Emili (2015-2016)

Dr. Kenneth Zammit (2007-2016)

Dr. Shelton Nhamoinesu (2010-2015)

Dr. James Watson (2009-2013)

Dr. Eleanor Voss (2009-2013)

Dr. Qian Jin (2009-2012)

Murat Basarir (2009-2010)

Undergraduate Students (2013-2014)

Tom Poole

Susannah Benson 

Madaline Aghinitei

Finley Roberts

Undergraduate Students (2012-2013)

Hao Li

Jonny Sole 

Chris Cavanagh

Jennifer Li

Undergraduate Students (2010-2011)

Richard Boyd

Zhaohong Lu

Celia Cheng

Undergraduate Students (2009-2010)

Simon Bateman

Mark Beevor

Philip Yorke

Undergraduate Students (2008-2009)

Esther Gordon-Smith

Wilson Lai

Alex Muir

James Watson

 Visiting Researchers

Luigi Giovannini (July-August 2017), Politecnico di Torino

Chiara Bedon (April 2017), Università degli studi di Trieste

Chiara Bedon (April 2016), Università degli studi di Trieste

Antonella Emili (Sept 2014 - Feb 2015), KTH, Sweden and Politecnico di Torino, Italy.

Isabelle Denise Paparo (Apr 2014 - Sept 2014), RWTH Aachen University, Germany.

Chayopas Tupberg (Feb 2014 - Jul 2014), Chiang Mai University, Thailand.

Sandra Jordão (Apr 2014), University of Coimbra, Portugal.

Manuel Santarsiero (Feb 2014), EPFL, Switzerland.

Vlad Silvestru (Jun 2013), Graz University of Technology, Austria.

Marc Vandebroek (Feb 2013), Ghent University, Belgium.

Benedetta Marradi (Sept 2012 - Dec 2012), University of Pisa, Italy. 

Daniel Honfi (Sept 2012 - Sept 2012), Lund University, Sweden.

Zhaoying Li (July 2012 - Sept 2012), University of Cambridge, Materials Science Department.

Belarmino Cordero (Feb 2012 - Dec 2013), Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Spain.

Martin Botz (Oct 2011 - Dec 2011), University of the Armed Forces Munich.

Callum Ramsey (July 2011-Sept 2011), University of Camrbidge, Materials Science Department.

Michal Netusil (Jan 2011 - Feb 2011), Technical University of Prague.

Marco Rossi (Sep 2010 - Dec 2010), University of Pisa, University of Parma.

Marco Zaccaria (Feb 2009 - Aug 2010), Technical University of Bari.

Philippe Willateth (Oct 2007 - Jul 2008), HTA Luzern.