Tarek Rakha

Assistant Professor


Ph.D. in Building Technology, MIT (2015)
MS and BS in Architecture, Cairo University (2010, 2007)


Sustainable Design; Building Performance; Simulation; Daylighting; Energy Efficiency; Urban Modeling; Envelope Diagnostics; Thermography


Dr. Tarek Rakha is an architect, building scientist, and educator. He is an Assistant Professor of Architecture at Georgia Tech and Faculty at the High Performance Building (HPB) Lab. His research aims to influence architecture, urban design, and planning practices through three areas of expertise: sustainable urban mobility and outdoor thermal comfort; daylighting and energy efficiency in buildings, and building envelope diagnostics using drones. Prior to joining Tech, Dr. Rakha taught at Syracuse University (SU), Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), and MIT. He completed his Ph.D. in building technology at MIT, where he was part of the Sustainable Design Lab as a member of the developing team for umi, the urban modeling and simulation platform.

As an academic in the United States and a registered architect in Egypt, Dr. Rakha seeks to combine multifaceted research approaches to issues of sustainability in design. He leads efforts in the acquisition and implementation of scholarly collaborations with government, industry, and academic partners. He was an invited speaker and critic by a variety of organizations and academic institutions including TEDxCairo, Skidmore Owings & Merril (SOM), and Harvard University. Dr. Rakha serves international scholarly conferences through his leadership, as he was invited to the Symposium on Simulation for Architecture and Urban Design’s board (SimAUD), and served as the 2018 General Chair in TU Delft and as the 2019 Program Chair in Georgia Tech. He was also a Scientific Track Chair for the 2018 International Building Physics Conference (IBPC).

Select Peer-reviewed Journal Publications

El Kontar, R., & Rakha, T. (2018). Profiling Occupancy Patterns to Calibrate Urban Building Energy Models (UBEMs) Using Measured Data Clustering. Technology| Architecture+ Design, 2(2), 206-217. https://doi.org/10.1080/24751448.2018.1497369

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. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.autcon.2018.05.002

Rakha, T., Liberty, A., Gorodetsky, A., Kakillioglu, B., & Velipasalar, S. (2018). Heat Mapping Drones: An Autonomous Computer-Vision-Based Procedure for Building Envelope Inspection Using Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS). Technology| Architecture+ Design, 2(1), 30-44. https://doi.org/10.1080/24751448.2018.1420963

Rakha, T., Moss, T. W., & Shin, D. (2018). A decade analysis of residential LEED buildings market share in the United States: Trends for transitioning sustainable societies. Sustainable Cities and Society, 39, 568-577. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scs.2018.02.040

Select Peer-reviewed Conference Publications

Rakha, T. and El Kontar, R. (2018). “Calibrated Urban Systems Design: A Simulation-based Design Workflow using Measured Data Clustering to Calibrate Urban Building Energy Models (UBEMs).” In Proceedings of the 36th International Conference on Passive and Low Energy Architecture PLEA, pp. 2 – 7, 10-12 December, Hong Kong: The People’s Republic of China.

Rakha, T., Chen, Y. and Reinhart, C F. (2018). “Do Office Buildings ‘Save’ Energy in the United States due to Daylight Savings Time (DST)? A 50-State Simulation-based Study,” In Proceedings of the 2018 Building Performance Analysis Conference and SimBuild, pp. 21 – 28, 26-28 September, Chicago, IL: USA.

Rakha, T., Zhand, P. and Reinhart, C F. (2017). “A framework for outdoor mean radiant temperature simulation: towards spatially resolved thermal comfort mapping in urban spaces,” In Proceedings of Building Simulation 2017, pp. 2814 – 2820, 07-09 August, San Francisco: USA.

Reinhart, C F., Dogan, T., Jakubiec J.A., Rakha, T. and Sang, A., (2013). “Umi - an urban simulation environment for building energy use, daylighting and walkability,” In Proceedings of Building Simulation 2013, pp. 476 – 483, 25 -28 August, Chambéry‎: France.

2017 SU Innovative Program Development Fund Award: $16,260 SU College fund for development toward offering “Aerial Analytics: Buildings Diagnostics using Drones” co-taught with Dr. Senem Velipasalar in Summer 2018.

2015 Syracuse Center of Excellence Faculty Research Fellow Seed Fund Award: $45,000 fellowship award over three years for research focusing on energy and indoor environmental quality.

2014 Raab Family Education Fund Award – MIT Department of Architecture: First recipient of a $10,000 award for one nominated Ph.D. Candidate with a public interest focus.

2010 Best Paper Award – International Conference on Computing in Civil and Building Engineering (ICCCBE) in Nottingham: UK. Student Paper presented from MS thesis work.

2010 Best Paper Award – Renewable Energy 2010 Conference in Yokohama: Japan. Low Energy Architecture Paper presented from group research.

Community Energy: Technical and Social Challenges and Integrative Solutions 
2017 – 2018, Funding: $99,965
Role: Co-Principal Investigator, PI: Dr. Jason Dedrick. Co-PI: Dr. Bess Krietemeyer.
Sponsor: National Science Foundation (NSF) – Smart and Connected Communities
Partners: Pecan Institute and SU School of Information Studies (I-School)

Heat Mapping Drones: Building Envelope Energy Performance and Privacy Diagnostics using Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS)
2016 – 2017, Funding: $43,162
Role: Principal Investigator, Co-PIs: Dr. Senem Velipasalar and Dr. Yang Wang
Sponsor: New York State (NYS) Department of Economic Development (through Gryphon Sensors, LLC) and Syracuse University’s Office of Research
Partners: SkySkopes, SU College of Engineering and Computer Science and I-School

Feasibility Assessment of Sustainable Transportation Alternatives (FAST: Syracuse)
2016 – 2017, Funding: $230,796
Role: Principal Investigator, Co-PI: Dr. Ed Bogucz
Sponsor: NYS Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and NYS Department of Transportation (NYSDOT), Barton & Loguidice (B&L), and SU SoA and CECS
Partners: SU CECS and SyracuseCoE, B&L, Clean Communities of Central New York, the Downtown Committee of Syracuse, and Hitachi Consulting.

ARCH 6532 Environmental Systems II
ARCH 6072 Design + Research Studio


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High Performance Building at Georgia Tech