07/10/19 Faculty Spotlight: Bhavna Sharma


Dr. Bhavna Sharma will be joining the USC School of Architecture this fall as an assistant professor. She previously worked as an assistant professor for the Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering at the University of Bath in the UK. Her research centers on improving the design, construction, and sustainability of the built environment through better use of natural materials. Sharma uses an interdisciplinary, multi-scale approach to investigate and develop natural materials (with a focus on bamboo) for structural applications and has developed an international research profile on bamboo for construction.

Can you tell us about your background?

I earned my doctorate (Ph.D.) and master’s (M.Sc.) degrees in civil and environmental engineering with a focus on structural engineering. I also have a background in design with degrees in architecture (B.S.) and architectural history (M.A.).

What will you be teaching at USC Architecture?

I am excited to teach topics such as structural dynamics, construction materials and systems, and natural materials in construction.

What drew you to the USC School of Architecture?

With a background in architecture and engineering, I was drawn to the School of Architecture’s legacy of design excellence and innovation, which are at the core of my work. Also, my style of teaching aligns with the School’s focus on architectural thinking: problem-solving, ideating, creating and making.

What excites you about your faculty role?

I enjoy the intersection of research and teaching. I hope to continue to develop courses that utilize an interdisciplinary approach, which allows students to apply learning and to engage in real-world challenges.

What are your thoughts on the current state of architecture across the globe?

Design is at the core of everything in the built environment, from infrastructure to materials used to construct buildings. There is a need to reduce carbon emissions from the built environment across multiple sectors. Design and engineering innovation will play a key role in achieving those target reductions. In addition, urban areas are growing rapidly around the world and we will need sustainable solutions to provide housing and shelter for these populations. These solutions will require innovation in design, materials and construction.

Who or what inspires you?

Nature is a source of inspiration for me as it holds knowledge that we continue to learn and draw from in designing materials to buildings.

What are your research interests? What drew you to the work you are doing now?

I am interested in the use of sustainable construction materials in design and engineering. My research utilizes an interdisciplinary approach to investigate and develop natural materials, such as bamboo, for structural use. Areas of research include structural and small-scale experimental testing, modelling and design. Through a multi-scale approach, we can form the basis for non-conventional materials to be utilized and accepted in design and engineering practice.

Why is now such an exciting time to study urbanism and architecture?

The field of architecture is in a unique position to improve the performance of the built environment on multiple scales, from how we construct buildings to designing cities and infrastructure globally. Students can learn from and contribute to the development of innovative, practical and scalable solutions.

Any advice to current students?

Through your studies, explore the different areas of the field to discover your passion and find ways to give back to the community and make the world a better place.

Related Links: USC Architecture Appoints Four New Tenure Track Faculty

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