Members of the High Performance Building Lab pose in Hinman Courtyard.
Photo: College of Design

High Performance Building Lab

High Performance Building Lab

The High Performance Building Lab (HPBL) is a convergent assemblage of research groups housed in the School of Architecture, College of Design at Georgia Tech. Our goal is to disruptively transform design analysis of existing and new energy flows, in and in-between buildings. We operate at the scale of architecture, urban design, and planning practices through applied research, and by developing sustainable design workflows and metrics. The HPBL attracts qualified students with a background in architecture, design, and technology, and/or engineering. The focus is on the development and application of advanced design technology for the built environment. Students take basic courses in architecture, energy, and the environment, as well as electives in engineering disciplines, along with courses that apply these subjects to buildings. We aim to continuously contribute to the rigorous exploration of sustainability in architecture and inventing the next state of the art in building technology.

Research Groups

Greyscale icon demonstrating an aerial inspection of a building's envelope.

Aerial Diagnostics

Focusing on the use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles for analytical applications in the built environment.
A greyscale icon of a cube with an interior graph to measure the space.

Building Science

Concentrating on the interdisciplinary research of physical phenomena in the built environment.
A greyscale diagram of a tree.

Living Systems

Investigating various active architectural systems that can be integrated on or within the building envelope.
A greyscale icon of a window and a shadow cast from the window.

Natural Lighting

Investigating the art & science of adding daylighting techniques to enhance indoor built environment experiences.
Greyscale icon of a street block showing a building and a road.

Neighborhood Analytics

Exploring how we discuss & understand the performance of urban territories, their structures, and inhabitants.
A greyscale icon of a web representing performance informatics.

Performance Informatics

Investigating representations of built environment interrelated and nested data.

Bayomi, N., Nagpal, S., Rakha, T., and Fernandez, J. (2020) “Building Envelope Modeling Calibration using Aerial Thermography,” Energy and Buildings, 110648. 

El Masri, Y. and Rakha, T., “A scoping review of non-destructive testing (NDT) techniques in building performance diagnostic inspections.” Construction and Building Materials, 265, 1205422

Rakha, T., & El Kontar, R. (2019). Community energy by design: A simulation-based design workflow using measured data clustering to calibrate Urban Building Energy Models (UBEMs). Environment and Planning B: Urban Analytics and City Science, 46(8), 1517-1533. 

Rakha, T., & Gorodetsky, A. (2018). Review of Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) applications in the built environment: Towards automated building inspection procedures using drones. Automation in Construction, 93, 252-264. 


El Masri, Y and Rakha, T. (2020) “Review of Non-Destructive Techniques (NDTs) for Building Diagnostic Inspections” In Proceedings of the 2020 Building Performance Analysis Conference and SimBuild, 29 September – 01 October, Chicago: USA (Virtual).

Panagoulia, E. and Rakha, T. (2020) “Performance Analytics through Building Information Modelling (BIM) in Retrofitting Design: Towards a Graph-based Data-to-Decisions Framework” In Proceedings of In Proceedings of the 35th International Conference on Passive and Low Energy Architecture (PLEA), 1-3 September, A Coruña: Spain (Virtual).

Pilet, T. and Rakha, T. (2020) “A Building Envelope Characterization Workflow for In-Situ Thermal Performance Assessment” In Proceedings of the 2020 Building Performance Analysis Conference and SimBuild, 29 September – 01 October, Chicago: USA (Virtual).

Sherif, T. and Rakha, T. (2020) “Simulating False Sensing Impacts for Diverse Occupancy Patterns and Behaviors on Heating and Cooling Energy Consumption in US Residential Buildings.” In Proceedings of the 2020 Building Performance Analysis Conference and SimBuild, 29 September – 01 October, Chicago: USA (Virtual).


Current and past students in the HPBL have been typically enrolled in the MS and PhD programs in Architecture at Georgia Tech. However, research synergies with the BSArch, MArch and MSUD can be (and are continuously) established. For information about joining the HPBL, please contact the lab director.

Headshot of Tarek Rakha

Lab Director: Dr. Tarek Rakha

Dr. Rakha leads the lab as an architect, building scientist, and educator who is passionate about built environment performance. His research is funded by entities such as the United States Department of Energy (DOE), the National Science Foundation (NSF), and the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E). He was recognized by the International Building Performance Simulation Association – USA (IBPSA-USA) through the Emerging Contributor award.  Dr. Rakha was also recognized as an educator by the institute’s Student Recognition of Excellence in Teaching: Class of 1934 Award. He serves on the board of the International Symposium on Simulation in Architecture and Urban Design (SimAUD). Before joining Georgia Tech in 2019, Dr. Rakha earned his Ph.D. from MIT and was architectural design and building technology faculty at Syracuse University.

Ph.D. Students and Post-Doctoral Associates

Headshot of Kaiwen Chen

Kaiwen Chen, Ph.D.

Yasser El Masri

Yasser El Masri, M.S.

Eleanna Panagoulia

Eleanna Panagoulia, M.Arch

Tyler Pilet

Tyler Pilet, BSME

M.S. and B.S. in Architecture Students

Hala Alfalih

Hala Alfalih, B.Arch

Erin Heidelberger

Erin Heidelberger, B.Arch

Riwayat Katia's headshot

Riwayat Katia, B.S. in Architecture Student

Vitor Leite

Vitor Leite, BS CEE

High Performance Building Alumni

Jayati Chhabra headshot

Jayati Chhabra, M.S.

Nourhan El Sayed's headshot

Nourhan El Sayed, M.S.

Madison Prince headshot

Madison Prince, M.S.

Deva Shree Saini headshot

Deva Shree Saini, M.S.

Tarek Sherif

Tarek Sherif, M.S.

HPBL in the News

The Stockyards rendering

Team Cattlyst Finalists in ULI Hines Competition

Georgia Tech architecture, business, and civil engineering students were selected as finalists in the ULI Hines Competition.
Tarek Rakha

Dr. Tarek Rakha Named HPBL Director

Assistant Professor Tarek Rakha is the new director of the High Performance Building Lab.
Drone equipped with advanced sensors sitting over cracked pavement.

HPBL Drone Research Collaboration

CONECTech Lab and the HPBL to perform critical infrastructure assessment research funded by the Georgia DOT.
Dr. Rakha and students with a drone in the Hinman Courtyard

HPBL Awarded $1.4 Million by U.S. DOE

Our research team will develop drone-based diagnostics technology in a three-year project called AirBEM.
Student architectural model

Students Win Competition

Our architecture students won two awards in the international HERE+NOW competition, first prize and honorable mention.
SimAUD Conference group photo in front of the John and Joyce Caddell Building.

Research Community Celebrates Simulation

The SimAUD conference returned to the United States and was hosted at Georgia Tech.
Student team from Georgia Tech standing in front of the NREL sign after the Department of Energy's Solar Decathalon in Colorado.

Tech Team Wins Prize in DoE's Solar Decathlon

An interdisciplinary Tech team won first place in the net-zero energy, urban single-family home category at the event.
SimAUD 2019 promotion including the words SimAUD 2019 and a skyline represented on a bar graph.

Built Environment Experts Assemble

Built environment experts from across the globe will be on campus April 7 – 9, 2019 for the 10th annual SimAUD conference.

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