ArboSkin, Stuttgart, 2013. © ITKE University of Stuttgart.
The SOM Foundation is pleased to announce the winner of the 2022 Structural Engineering Fellowship. Luis Berg will receive $20,000 to conduct original research. This year’s topic, “Envisioning Responsible Relationships with Materiality,” encouraged applicants to explore materiality from the micro- to the macroscale in order to envision sustainable, responsible, and ethical relationships with materials and the communities that they come from. Berg’s proposal, “An Ontological Study of Structures and Their Materiality,” aims to study thirty exemplary structures across four continents to understand the connection between community impact, environmental sustainability, and engineering innovation.
Luis Berg is an early career structural engineer and researcher with core competencies in the areas of earthquake engineering, data science, and spatial analytics. He has previously worked on building and bridge design, as well as in risk and resilience consulting, at MOST Enginyers in Barcelona, TYLin International in Oakland, and, most recently, Arup in San Francisco. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of California, Davis and will soon complete a Master of Science in Structural Engineering, Mechanics, and Materials at the University of California, Berkeley. Next year, with the Chile Science Initiative Award from the US Fulbright Program, he will work in Santiago at the National Research Center for Disaster Risk Management at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. Looking forward, Berg’s hope is to be engaged in work that will promote systematic resilience against natural hazards within the context of infrastructure and international development in Latin America.
“I am incredibly grateful to the SOM Foundation. The Structural Engineering Fellowship will offer me a unique and invaluable opportunity to develop meaningful research within an area that I am passionate about and will lend to growth, as both an engineer and an individual, engendered by a broadened global perspective,” said Berg.
This year’s jury was chaired by Benton Johnson (Structural Engineering Principal at SOM, Chicago) and included Karen Scrivener (Professor and Head of the Laboratory of Construction Materials at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne), Wil Srubar (Associate Professor of Architectural Engineering and Materials Science at the University of Colorado Boulder), and Theodore Zoli (Senior Vice President and National Bridge Chief Engineer at HNTB Corporation, New York City; Adjunct Professor at Columbia University, New York City and the University of Notre Dame).
“Luis Berg will study some of the most remarkable structures around the world through the lens of materiality, one of the most challenging issues facing our profession today,” said Benton Johnson “I hope the projects documented during the trip help inspire future engineers to design more sustainably.”
Karen Scrivener congratulated the awardee for the selection of such a diverse range of building structures and looks forward to reading the report on the study tour. Wil Srubar commented that Berg’s “proposed plan is comprehensive, ambitious, and really exciting. I was particularly impressed by the mindful focus on materiality and connections to culture and community.”