Rafael Pastrana is a computational designer and structural engineer from Mexico. Data-driven processes that explore the creation of structural form and the generation of optimized material distributions lie at the core of his work. Rafael received a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering with honors from Tecnológico de Monterrey in 2013. He was a visiting student at the National University of Singapore, where he focused on the structural evaluation of high-rise housing typologies. After being awarded a CONACYT-Alianza FiiDEM Scholarship from the Mexican Council of Science and Technology, Rafael went on to complete a Master of Advanced Studies in Architecture and Digital Fabrication at the ETH Zürich in 2018.
In the professional domain, Rafael worked between 2014 and 2017 at Bollinger + Grohmann Ingenieure as a member of the performative building group in Frankfurt, Germany. There he dealt with the structural analysis, form-finding and geometrical optimization of high-profile architectural projects. Furthermore, Rafael has imparted workshops on structures and parametric engineering at the Southern California Institute of Architecture (Sci-Arc) and the Technical University of Darmstadt.
Since November 2018, Rafael joined Gramazio Kohler Research where he investigates on the applicability of machine-learning techniques to robotic timber construction, in collaboration with Autodesk.