Tarek Rakha

Assistant Professor, Director, High Performance Building Lab


Ph.D. in Building Technology, MIT (2015)
M.S. and B.S. in Architecture, Cairo University (2010, 2007)


Sustainable Design; Urban Modeling; Building Performance; Simulation; Energy Efficiency; Artificial Intelligence; Machine Learning; Computer Vision; Envelope Diagnostics; Thermography


Tarek Rakha joined Georgia Tech as Assistant Professor of Architecture in 2019 and was appointed Director of the High Performance Building Lab (HPBL) in 2021. His research and teaching aims to transform climate-responsive and sustainable architectural design decisions to advance racially and socially just solutions using robotics, sensing, modeling, machine learning, and Artificial Intelligence (AI). He is an expert in building and urban performance simulation, vulnerability diagnostics using computer vision drones, and outdoor comfort for walkable and bikeable cities. He previously taught at Syracuse University (SU), RISD, and MIT.

Rakha’s research is transdisciplinary, and he has led and collaborated on major built environment research projects. He is currently the Principal Investigator (PI) of a $1.8M U.S. DOE award called “Aerial Intelligence for Retrofit Building Energy Modeling (AirBEM).” His research received funding from the NSF, ARPA-E, NYSERDA, NYSDOT, and GDOT, among others. He has authored and co-authored more than 50 peer-reviewed journal and conference papers, and two of which won best paper awards. His work was published in journals such as Automation in Construction and Renewable Energy. He was recently nationally recognized by the “Emerging Contributor” Award of the American chapter of the International Building Performance Simulation Association (IBPSA-USA).

As an educator, Rakha intersects design, technology, and climate change-focused courses and studios with the needs of underserved communities. He was awarded the Georgia Tech Student Recognition of Excellence in Teaching: Class of 1934 Award. He also previously received the SU Innovative Program Development Fund to deliver an interdisciplinary course between architecture and computer science. Student groups in his co-taught design studio competed against 400+ submissions in the ACSA and AIA’s 2019 International Design Competition: Here+Now, and two groups won 1st Place and an Honorable Mention.

Recognized internationally through his leadership efforts, Rakha 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 for its 10-year anniversary that he hosted at Georgia Tech. In 2018 he was a Scientific Track Chair for the International Building Physics Conference (IBPC). Rakha has given talks as keynote, lecturer, and panelist including at the American University in Cairo, Cornell, Harvard, as well as TEDxCairo. He is also an invited research proposals reviewer for entities such as the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, the U.S. DOE, and CallisonRTKL.

Rakha received his Bachelor of Science (2007) and Master of Science (2010) in Architecture from Cairo University, Egypt, where he practiced as an architect (2007-2011), and his Doctor of Philosophy in Building Technology from MIT (2015).

Visit the High Performance Building Lab

Select Peer-reviewed Journal Publications

Bayomi, N., Nagpal, S., Rakha, T., and Fernandez, J. (2020) “Building Envelope Modeling Calibration using Aerial Thermography,” Energy and Buildings, 110648. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.enbuild.2020.110648 

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 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.conbuildmat.2020.120542

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. https://doi.org/10.1177/2399808319841909 

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 

Select Peer-reviewed Conference Publications

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).

2020 Emerging Contributor Award – International Building Performance Simulation Association – National USA Chapter (IBPSA-USA)

2020 Georgia Tech Student Recognition of Excellence in Teaching: Class of 1934 Award

2019 HERE+NOW: A House for the 21st Century International Design Competition, Co-Faculty Advisor for the 1st Place Winner and Honorable Mention Student Groups (

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.

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.

Aerial Intelligence for Retrofit Building Energy Modeling (AirBEM)
2019-2022, Funding: $1.8M
Role: Principal Investigator.
Co-PI: Dr. Senem Velipasalar and Prof. John Fernandez; Co-Investigator Dr. Ed Bogucz, Sandeep Ahuja.
Sponsor: U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Building Technologies Office (BTO)
Partners: Syracuse University, MIT and Pattern r+d

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)

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 6072 Design + Research Studio
ARCH 6242 Building Physics Modeling (Modeling the Unseen)
ARCH 6226 Inquiry in Building Performance
ARCH 8833 Integrated Building Systems I


Google Scholar and ResearchGate profiles.
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High Performance Building at Georgia Tech.