R. Nijsse

Professor of Structural Design - Department of Architectural Engineering + Technology

Rob Nijsse is professor of Structural Design at the Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment. “Much of my work consists of doing calculations and designing support structures for buildings and bridges. It's a discipline in which you're constantly working against gravity. The skeleton needs to be strong enough to withstand horizontal forces, for example pressure exerted by wind or earthquakes. The design of support structures is constantly developing. The materials used are changing all the time, so the link between theory and practice is of essential importance.

One of our focal areas is the use of glass in construction. From a sustainability perspective it is very suitable: it's 100% recyclable and it doesn't rust. But glass is also fragile, so how can we use it to make a safe and strong material? How can we use it as a construction material? And how can we optimise these constructions for high-rise buildings? Various techniques for this have already been developed, which we are now testing. The tests I am conducting enable us to provide proof that glass is a safe and good material to work with.

We have been able to incorporate support structures into our teaching. Not only by talking about them as a particular technique, but also by placing them in a wider context. An engineer needs to be able to think like a designer; to work together with various disciplines in a team, so that you understand everyone's interests. That is what I want to pass on to the students. So I feel an enormous sense of pride when I see our graduates produce a good product that takes us further."

Besides professor, Rob Nijsse (born 1953) is director and senior constructions advisor at ABT. There he works on complex and special  projects, such as the new building for Rabobank in Utrecht and a high-rise office building in Seoul. Among his well-known glass constructions are the 100% glass bridge in Rotterdam linking two office blocks, and the pavilion for the Sonsbeek sculpture exhibition. Projects which are still under construction include the University Library in Doha, Qatar (architects: OMA), the multidisciplinary Taipei Theatre, Taiwan (arch. OMA) and a glass brick facade for a shop in Amsterdam's P.C. Hooftstraat (architects: MVRDV).

Rob Nijsse