Dr Ornella Iuorio

Dr Ornella Iuorio


Dr Ornella Iuorio is an academic, researcher and designer working at the edge between Architecture and Structures. Ornella joined the University of Leeds in September 2015 as Lecturer (B, grade 8), teaching in the Architectural Engineering Programme, and has been promoted to “Associate Professor of Architecture and Structures” in 2019. 

Educated in Architecture at the “University Federico II” in Naples (IT) and “University Gabriele D’Annunzio” in Chieti – Pescara, she holds MArch (hons) degree in Architecture and a Ph.D in Structural Engineering. She developed her research carrier at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Boston (USA) within the Structural Design Lab and Building Technology Program. She has published more than 70 scientific articles, including journal publications, technical reports and international conference papers.

Dr Iuorio is a Professional/Chartered Architect in UK and Italy. She is specialized in the area of housing, school and shelters.

Ornella acquired significant teaching experience as part-time professor in a number of design studios and lecturing in light-weight steel constructions.

Main education achievements:

  • Ph.D. in “Design, Analysis and Experimentation of Structures", University of Chieti-Pescara “G. D’Annunzio”. Thesis: "Design procedures for cold formed steel housing in seismic area". (2006 - 2009)
  • Visiting student. John Hopkins University, Baltimore, USA. Numerical analysis of thin walled members and wall systems. (2008)
  • MSc in Architecture, University of Naples "Federico II". Thesis: “Cold Formed Steel Housing: technological and structural performance” (2005)


  • School Champion for Athena Swan (2017 - today)
  • Member: Research and Innovation Committee (2017-Today)
  • Deputy Leader: Energy and Sustainable Buildings

Research interests

Dr Iuorio’s research impact is internationally recognised for its originality and interdisciplinary methods bridging between Resilient Structures, Architecture and Low-embodied Carbon Constructions.  Her current research focuses on the transformation of construction processes and how prefabrication, optimization and digital fabrication can deliver more sustainable new constructions and retrofit the current built environment.

Dr Iuorio has recently been awarded as PI a KTP with Ilke Homes funded by Innovate UK, and an ESRC IAA grants on “Modular Housing, as response the UK housing Crisis”. She has been serving as Member of the Academic Board in the project TRUE “Transformational Routemapping for urban environment” in Leeds between 2016 and 2018. Before joining Leeds, she has been awarded as PI a postdoctoral fellowship funded by Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) and MIT titled “Smart retrofit of resilient historical cities”.

She has been invited as a guest speaker and as member of scientific committees at international conferences and public lectures. She has been member of the scientific committee of international conferences as International fib Symposium on Conceptual Design of Structures (2019), ICSA 2019, SEEDS 2018 and she recently organized the international conference SAFESUST2 SURECON sponsored by the European Joint Research Centre (JRC) in Ispra. She also co-organized the international workshop on “Urban Metabolism, Green Insfrastructures and Environmental Quality” in Rondonopolis (Brasil), sponsored by the Universuty of Leeds, University of Reading, and Universidade Federal de Mato Grosso (Brazil).

Recent Grants & Awards

2019 – 2021NOVA-VIDA: Novel approach for vital infrastructure post-disaster. British Academy – Infrastructure for wellbeing grant. PI: O. Iuorio, Co-Is: M. Janoschka, R. Romano & S.A. Bernal, Value: £260,000

2019 – 2022. KTP Ilke Homes. Founded by Innovate UK. PI: Ornella Iuorio, Co-I; N. Nikitas, Value: £ 300,000 

2019 – 2020. Digital Design and Fabrication, Funded by Laidlaw. PI: O. Iuorio, Scholar: H. Ottmann, Value: £ 10,000​​​​​​

2019. Digital Fabrication of Shell Structures. Funded by EPSRC Summer Project. PI: O.Iuorio, Scholar: E. Pugsley, Value: £3,000

2018 – 2019. Modular Housing, as response to the UK housing Crisis, Funded by ESRC LSSI IAA. PI: O. Iuorio, A. Wallace.  Value: £ 6,000. Project website: https://www.researchgate.net/project/Modular-house-building-as-a-response-to-the-housing-crisis-ESRC-LSSI-IAA 

2017.  Re-naturing cities: Theories, Strategies and Methodologies. Travel grant. Value £1200. Funded by British Council/ FAPEG Newton Fund.

2016 – 2017. TRUE: Transformational Routemapping for urban environment Funded by EPSRC. PI: Paul Chatterton, Member of the Academic board for housing: Ornella Iuorio.

2016 Investigation of digital fabrication through perfomances Funded by Leeds Cultural Institute. Leeds Creative Labs DARE Edition 

2016 Training for Shaking table tests at University of Naples Federico II. Funded by Erasmus +


Dr Iuorio actively contributed to the following research projects:

2013 – 2016 ELISSA: Energy Efficient LIghtweight Sustainable SAfe Steel Construction. Seventh framework programme FP7 2013 NMP ENV EeB Project n°: NMP4 SL 2013 609086, PI: R. Landolfo, RA: O. Iuorio

2013 – 2015 Knauf Project "Experimental Campaign On The Structural Characterization Of Knauf Constructive Systems". PI: R. Landolfo, RA: O. Iuorio

2011- 2013 FARO, Innovation and sustainability for building renewing. Best practice for Building Retrofit and Maintenance. PI: R. Landolfo, RA: O. Iuorio

2010-13. Reluis Network of University Laboratory of Earthquake Engineering" Financed by the Italian Emergency Agency. Unit 3” Steel members” Task 2: “Seismic design of new buildings”, PI: R. Landolfo, RA: O. Iuorio 

2008 – 2011 COST Action C25 “Sustainability of Constructions: an integrated approach to life time structural engineering”, within WG3 “LIFE-TIME STRUCTURAL ENGINEERING”, supported by EU RTD Framework Programme, within COST- European Cooperation in the field of Scientific and Technical Research.

2008 – 2011 COST Action C26 “Urban Habitat Constructions under Catastrophic Events” supported by EU RTD Framework Programme, within COST- European Cooperation in the field of Scientific and Technical Research.

2005-2008 RELUIS "Network of University Laboratory of Earthquake Engineering" Financed by the Italian Emergency Agency. Unit n.1 “Design Principles and Rules for Braced Structures”. Scientific leader: Professor Federico Mazzolani. Task 5: “Development of innovative approaches to design structures in steel and composites.

2007- 2008 PROHITECH: “Earthquake protection of historical buildings by reversible mixed technologies”. Sixth framework programme priority FP6-2002-INCO-MPC-1 – Project n°: INCO-CT-2004-509119 (Coordinator F.M. Mazzolani)


  • MArch (hons)
  • Ph.D.
  • ARB
  • Fellow of Higher Education Academy

Professional memberships

  • Architect Registration Board (ARB)
  • Architect and Urban Planner Registration Board in Italy
  • IALCCE: International Association for Life Cycle Civil Engineering
  • IASS: The Iternational Association for Shell and Spatial Structures
  • Italian LCA Network

Student education

  • 2016 - Today Teaching in the Architectural Engineering Programme, University of Leeds. Module leader for Design studio 3.1 (CIVE 3850) and module leader of Architectural History and Theory 3 (CIVE 3270). She also collaborates in AE Design Studio 2, and Environmental Health Engineering in Developing Countries.   
  • 2015 Kauffman Teaching Certificate Program, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA
  • 2010 – 2011 Part-time Professor of Construction Technologies within Design Studio, Faculty of Architecture, University of Naples Federico II
  • 2009 - 2012 Teaching assistant, MEng “Design of Steel Structures”, University of Naples Federico II, Class: Thin-Walled Structure Design
  • 2006- 2012 Teaching assistant, Faculty of Architecture, University of Naples “Federico II”, Class: Laboratory of Structural Engineering

Dr Iuorio currently supervises 3 PhD students

Jamiu Dauda, "Numerical and experimental investigation of unreinforced masonry wall retrofitted with timber panels"

Marinella Contestabile, "Designing contemporary masonry shell structures"

Elvira Romano, "Sustainable integrated renovation of existing buildings: structural retrofit of concrete Large Panel System (LPS) residential blocks"

Research groups and institutes

  • Energy Leeds
  • Institute of Design, Robotics and Optimisation
  • Materials and Structures
  • Cities and Infrastructure
  • Energy and Sustainable Buildings

Current postgraduate researchers

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>