Studio Gang announced that their longtime collaborator, structural engineer Peter Heppel, has joined Studio Gang’s Chicago office as a technology fellow. Specializing in lightweight structures and aerodynamics, Heppel will draw on his decades of experience and unique knowledge of structural design and wind engineering to work closely with design teams at all phases, from conceptual design to construction administration.
A longtime collaborator of the Studio, Heppel has worked closely with founding principal Jeanne Gang and design teams to develop new structural systems in parallel to the architectural and material decisions in many of the studio’s most well-known projects, including the “cat’s paw” at Writers Theatre, the mobile roof at Bengt Sjostrom Starlight Theatre, the experimental Marble Curtain exhibition, and the crenelated façade of the Tour Montparnasse. Now, he is applying his expertise in structure and aerodynamics to the O’Hare Global Terminal project, where he will lead engineering research, collaboration and iterative experimentation using both digital and analog technologies on the studio’s largest project to date.
Prior to joining Studio Gang, Heppel designed several innovative structures, including the lightweight Glasgow Science Centre. He has worked with many leading architects and artists and was the design leader for NASA’s Advanced Inflatable Airlock System, developed for the Space Launch Initiative. He has been recognized for his expertise in the design and structural mechanics of high-performance yacht sails, having taken part in the America’s Cup competition since 1982. He has held visiting professorships at the Vienna University of Technology, Stanford University and the Illinois Institute of Technology.