Dr Rana El-Dabaa

Assistant Professor
School of Energy, Geoscience, Infrastructure and Society
Rana El-Dabaa


Assistant Professor in the Architecture Department at the School of Energy, Geoscience, Infrastructure & Society, Dubai.


Dr. Rana El-Dabaa is an Associate RIBA member specializing in Design computing in Architecture and Environmental Design. She received her Ph.D. from Ain-Shams University in 2020, through a partially funded interdisciplinary project by the Bartlett fund in collaboration between the American University in Cairo and Princeton University in the United States of America. She is interested in adaptive and responsive architectural design, specifically through merging computational design and material science to reach a sustainable architectural design. Rana has been teaching architecture for the past 10 years in RIBA-accredited architecture schools, in addition to giving several international workshops for undergraduates and post-graduate students. Her experience lies in teaching architecture design studios, computation design, additive manufacturing, responsive design, and environmental design. She believes in research-led education and learning by doing pedagogical approaches.


Dr. Rana El-Dabaa is an active researcher with extensive experience in Design computing in Architecture and Environmental Design. She has been working on several interdisciplinary research projects in collaboration with different international universities such as Princeton University, Rome Tre University, and American University in Cairo. Dr. Rana is passionate about research and is a reviewer in several international Scopus journals. Her research mainly focuses on utilizing programmable and smart materials in adaptive and responsive architecture design. During her Ph.D., she developed a novel programmable material that responds to variations in temperature and humidity with zero energy consumption. In addition to using shape-shifting computational grammars and parametric design as a method to evaluate and optimize energy and daylight building performance. Her work has been published in several high-ranked journals in addition to international prestigious conferences and books.

Research Interests:

  • Computation and parametric design
  • Shape Shifting Materials
  • Interactive architecture and responsive structures
  • Utilizing programmable materials in adaptive and responsive facades
  • Energy and daylight performance evaluation
  • Optimizing building performance
  • Additive Manufacturing


El-Dabaa, R. & Abdelmohsen, S. (2022). Integrating Performance Indicators in Production Rules of Shape-Shifting Grammars for Architectural Adaptive Façade Systems, in journal “Architectural Engineering and Design Management”. https://doi.org/10.1080/17452007.2022.2085654

El-Dabaa, R., & Abdelmohsen, S. (2022). Deriving the Production Rules of Shape-Shifting Grammars for Adaptive Façades: The Case of Hygromorphic Thermo-Bimetal Composites (HMTM). In Design Computing and Cognition’20 (pp. 129–149). https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-90625-2_8  

El-Dabaa, R. & Salem, I. (2021). “4D Printing of Wooden Actuators: Encoding Passive Motion for Architectural Responsive Skins”. Open House International Journal.

El-Dabaa, R., Abdelmohsen, S., & Mansour, Y. (2020). “Programmable passive actuation for adaptive building façade design using hygroscopic properties of wood”. Wood Material Science & Engineering, 1–14. https://doi.org/10.1080/17480272.2020.1713885

Abdelmohsen, S., Adriaenssens, S., El-Dabaa, R., Gabriele, S., Olivieri, L., & Teresi, L. (2019). “A multi-physics approach for modeling hygroscopic behavior in wood low-tech architectural adaptive systems”. Computer-Aided Design, 106, 43–53. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.cad.2018.07.005

El-Dabaa, R., Abdelmohsen, S. (2018). "A Methodology for Evaluating the Hygroscopic Behavior of Wood in Adaptive Building Skins using Motion Grammar" , IOP Conf. Series: Materials Science and Engineering 362 (2018), doi:10.1088/1757-899X/362/1/012011.

Wanas, A., Shafik, S., Farghal, A., & El-Dabaa, R. (2015). “Use of Kinetic Facades to Enhance Daylight Performance in Office Buildings with Emphasis on Egypt Climates”, Journal of Engineering and Applied Science, 4(62), 339 - 361.

Book Chapters:

El-Dabaa, R., Abdelmohsen, S., & Mansour, Y. (2020). Encoding Latent Properties of Hygromorphic-Thermobimetal Composites as a Passive Mechanism for Adaptive Building Skins. In S. Kamel, H. Sabry, G. F. Hassan, M. Refat, A. Elshater, A. S. A. Elrahman, … R. Rashed (Eds.), Architecture and Urbanism: A Smart Outlook (pp. 133–145). Cham: Springer International Publishing. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-52584-2_10

Abdelmohsen, S., Adriaenssens, S., Gabriele, S., Olivieri, L., & El-Dabaa, R. (2019). “Hygroscapes: Innovative Shape Shifting Façades”. In F. Bianconi & M. Filippucci (Eds.), Digital Wood Design: Innovative Techniques of Representation in Architectural Design. (Vol. 24, pp. 675–702). Switzerland: Springer. http://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-03676-8_26

Abdelmohsen, S., Massoud, P., El-Dabaa, R., Ibrahim, A., & Mokbel, T. (2019). “The Effect of Hygroscopic Design Parameters on the Programmability of Laminated Wood Composites for Adaptive Façades”. In J.-H. Lee (Ed.), Computer-Aided Architectural Design. “Hello, Culture” (Vol. 1028, pp. 372–383). Singapore: Springer Singapore. http://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-13-8410-3_26


El-Dabaa, R., Salem, I., & Abdelmohsen, S. (2021). “Digitally Encoded Wood: 4D Printing of Hygroscopic Actuators for Architectural Responsive Skins”. ASCAAD 2021 Conference, American University in Cairo.

El-Dabaa, R., & Abdelmohsen, S., (2020). “Revealing the Production Rules of Hygromorphic-Thermobimetal Composites (HMTM) for an Adaptive Façade in Hot Climates”. In 9th International Conference on Design, Computing and Cognition DCC20, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, USA.

El-Dabaa, R., & Abdelmohsen, S. (2019). “HMTM: Hygromorphic-Thermobimetal Composites as a Novel Approach to Enhance Passive Actuation of Adaptive Façades”. In 18th CAAD Futures 2019 International Conference. Daejeon, Korea.

Abdelmohsen, S., Tarabieh, K., Elghazi, Y., Hassan, A., El-Dabaa, R., & Ibrahim, I. (2019). “Coupling Parametric Design and Robotic Assembly Simulation to Generate Thermally Responsive Brick Walls”. In Building Simulation Rome 2019. Rome, Italy.

El-Dabaa, R., & Abdelmohsen, S. (2019). HMTM: Hygromorphic-Thermobimetal Composites as a Novel Approach to Enhance Passive Actuation of Adaptive Façades. 18th CAAD Futures 2019 International Conference, 567–577. Daejeon, Korea.

Abdelmohsen, S., Massoud, P., El-Dabaa, R., Ibrahim, A. and Mokbel, T. (2018) "A Computational Method for Tracking the Hygroscopic Motion of Wood to develop Adaptive Architectural Skins" , 36th Annual Conference on Education and Research in Computer Aided Architectural Design in Europe (eCAADe 2018) At: Lodz, Poland Volume: 2.

Tarabieh, K. Abdelmohsen, S., El-Ghazi, Y., El-Dabaa, R.and Gamal, A. (2018) "Parametric Investigation of Brick Extrusion Patterns Using Thermal Simulation" , Building Simulation and Optimization 2018, London.

Abdelmohsen, S., Massoud, P., El-Dabaa, R., Ibrahim, A. and Mokbel, T. (2018) "A Computational Approach for Soft Adaptive Building Skins using Hygromorphic and Thermobimetal Composites" , Research Culture in Architecture - RCA 2018 (International Conference on Cross-disciplinary Collaboration),Kaiserslautern, Germany.

Tarabieh, K. Abdelmohsen, S., El-Ghazi, Y., El-Dabaa, R., Gamal, A. and Amer, M. (2017), “Parametric Investigation of Three Types of Brick Bonds for Thermal Performance in a Hot Arid Climate”, Passive Low Energy Architecture International Conference (PLEA 2017), Edinburgh, UK.

Thesis and Dissertation:

El-Dabaa, R. (2020). “Programming the Motion of Building Façade Materials by Controlling their Latent Passive Response”. (PhD Dissertation), Ain shams University, Egypt.

El-Dabaa, R. (2016). “The Use of Kinetic Facades in Enhancing Daylight Performance for Office Buildings” (Thesis- Master of Science). Arab Academy for Science and Technology, Cairo, Egypt.


Knowledge Application and Notion for Society Scientific Competition - (Honorary mention),

Passive Programmable Motion: Energy Efficient Interactive Actuators, Tehran- Iran. (2018).

Parametric Fanoos Design and Fabrication Competition – Fab lab -1st prize, 2012.

Gamal Abd El Nasser’s Museum Retrofit Competition (2nd prize), 2009.