John Orr is University Lecturer in Concrete Structures and an Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Early Career Fellow at the University of Cambridge, United Kingdom.
His teaching and research are related to sustainable construction with emphasis placed on concrete, and structural optimization. He has a strong research interest in all aspects of flexible formwork, including its potential to significantly reduce concrete consumption through optimized design processes, and its inherent architectural appeal.
His work takes a holistic approach to the unique optimization, design and construction requirements of these innovative concrete structures. Their optimized geometries mean that new analysis tools are required, and therefore recent work has focused on developing techniques for the computational modelling of concrete using peridynamics. This offers many advantages and will allow us to model all of the complex behavior of reinforced concrete structures of any geometry, ensuring that material efficiency can be at the center of the design process.
John Orr graduated with a first-class MEng(hons) degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Bath (2009), winning three University Awards. He completed a PhD in fabric formwork, Flexible Formwork for Concrete Structures, at the University of Bath (2012). Throughout his PhD, he worked in industry with Atkins, who sponsored his research through an EPSRC Collaborative Award in Science and Engineering.
He was previously Director of Research and Assistant Professor in Civil Engineering in the Department of Architecture & Civil Engineering, University of Bath. He joined the University of Cambridge in 2017.
John Orr is an EPSRC Early Career Fellow on project EP/M020908/1 (GBP 1.2 mio FEC) Concrete Modelled Using Random Elements. His fellowship will look to reduce the global environmental impact of concrete construction through a new method for the analysis of reinforced concrete structures that is well suited to producing the optimized designs that have the potential to significantly reduce material consumption. The new analysis method will be considered alongside practical construction processes, building on previous work by him in this field, thus ensuring that the computationally optimized form can actually be built, and the research adopted, in industry.
He is also Principal Investigator on EPSRC project EP/M01696X/1 (GBP 301,000 FEC) Knitting Bespoke Reinforcement for New Concrete Structures which will utilize woven carbon fiber in novel geometries to act as reinforcement for optimized concrete structures. He is also Principal Investigator on EPSRC project EP/P033679/1 Minimising Energy in Construction investigating whole life cycle energy consumption using minimum material resource for appropriate performance.
He is Co-Investigator on Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) Project Healthy Housing for the Displaced, and Principal Investigator on a British Council UK-India Education & Research Initiative (UKIERI) Project Development of Structural Concrete with the Help of Plastic Waste as Partial Replacement for Sand (ICB/13-14/047) leading an international team from the United Kingdom and India.
John Orr has also won further funding from the Institution of Structural Engineers, the University of Bath, the Happold Trust, and the Royal Academy of Engineering.
He has been the lead author on two award-winning journal papers, both receiving a diploma of the Henry Adams Award from the Institution of Structural Engineers. He is the author of Structural Innovation in Europe (University of Bath, 2010) and his work has been published in journals including: Construction & Building Materials; Engineering Structures; European Journal of Computational Mechanics; Resources, Conservation & Recycling; Structural Engineer; and Structures.
John Orr was a workshop expert at the 6th International LafargeHolcim Forum for Sustainable Construction in Cairo, April 4-6, 2019.