Newton partners with Industry to Find Innovative Building Solutions


Collaborating with industry to research and create solutions for climate change, one architecture faculty member is exploring robotic masonry systems as a more effective and precise method to meet the demands of a hot, crowded and resource scarce future.

Assistant Professor David Newton was awarded the inaugural Nebraska Masonry Alliance Design Research and Fabrication Grant for his proposal “Sustainability in Robotic Masonry Construction.”

With this grant, Newton aims to explore masonry systems and how they can advance sustainable building solutions. Starting in the 2023 spring semester, students taking Newton’s Arch 492/592/892 Computational Design Processes seminar will acquire hands-on experience researching the robotic processes and how best they can be leveraged to design more sustainable solutions.

“The project will allow students to gain experience and knowledge working with robotic fabrication and file-to-fabrication workflows involving generative design, performance analysis and design optimization,” said Newton. “Students will also examine and develop robotic fabrication procedures and masonry details that allow for swift “low-power” assembly and, crucially, the efficient disassembly of these systems in order to address the issue of recyclability.”

“Newton brings his research into the classroom to facilitate students learning a new skillset related to masonry construction that could significantly guide the trajectory of the professions and help designers explore more sustainable solutions for the built environment,” said Architecture Program Director David Karle. “This grant is another example of our longstanding partnership with Nebraska Masonry Alliance and the many ways our faculty are collaborating with industry.”