PLAN 80: Article
Christoph Reinhart Appointed Associate Professor

World Renowned Building Scientist and Architectural Educator

Christoph Reinhart has been appointed an associate professor with tenure in the Department of Architecture, beginning in January.

Originally trained as a physicist, Reinhart is a building scientist and architectural educator working in the field of sustainable building design and environmental modeling. He has studied both architecture and physics and has particular expertise in daylighting, passive climatization and the influence of occupant behavior on building energy use at both the individual building and neighborhood scale.

'Christoph Reinhart emerged as an ideal candidate for MIT,' says department head Nader Tehrani, 'displaying just the right measure of research initiatives with an interest in design, collaboration and inter-disciplinary projects that will fuel the work and imagination of our student body. He also represents a perfect bridge between engineering and architecture, and promises to be a key protagonist with our faculty.'

'I am extremely excited to join MIT right at this moment in time,' says Reinhart. 'Under Adele Santos and Nader Tehrani, the Department of Architecture at MIT brings together a unique mix of designers and building scientists who – as a group – can redefine how building science and computation may act as meaningful form-givers for architecture of all scales. I am very much looking forward to being a part of this effort. A key interest of mine is to develop integrated methods for architects and planners to model and evaluate the environmental performance of cities. This is of course an area in which multiple MIT faculty are already working. So this should be a great ride.'

Reinhart is known internationally as the creator of Daysim – daylighting analysis software used by thousands of AEC firms in more than ninety countries. He is also the main developer of the DIVA-for-Rhino sustainable design analysis tools that are used in leading schools of architecture and consulting firms across the globe. These tools are based on a simulation studies, field studies and occupant behavior surveys that Reinhart previously led under the umbrella of the International Energy Agency.

Most recently, he was an associate professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, where he coordinated the school’s post-professional degree concentration area in sustainable design and taught basic and advanced courses on environmental technology, daylighting and energy efficiency in buildings. In 2009, the GSD student forum voted him 'Teacher of the Year' out of 77 instructors in the Department of Architecture.

Before joining the GSD in 2008, Reinhart worked for over a decade as a staff scientist at the National Research Council of Canada and the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems in Germany. During that time he was a member of the Technical Advisory Group for LEED-Canada and an Adjunct Professor at the School of Architecture at McGill University.

He holds a doctorate degree in architecture from the Technical University of Karlsruhe, Germany, and masters degrees in physics from Albert Ludwigs Universitaet, Germany, and Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, Canada.

Reinhart has authored and co-authored over 100 scientific articles, including three book chapters, and chaired the scientific committee for esim 2008. He serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Building Performance Simulation and guest-edited a special issue on 'Daylighting' for Energy and Buildings.

His work embodies the kind of multidisciplinary mix of knowledge and skills that is often invoked as the future of engineering and architecture. He is as comfortable addressing scientific and engineering problems as he is navigating the complexities of architectural design and building practice in an age of enhanced computational tools and shifting design priorities. Both his research work and his educational initiatives are strong evidence of a long-standing dedication to contribute on many levels to the transformation of the built environment toward a sustainable future.