top of page

Dr. Joris Smits

Associate Professor


Keywords: Bridge Design, Design of infrastructures, Integrated infrastructure design.

mauro portrait_Delft_edited.jpg
twitterlogo.png Joris Smits is an associate professor at the Structural Design & Mechanics Group in the Faculty of Architecture at TU Delft. His field of expertise focuses on the design of bridges and other large infrastructural projects. Since 2012 Joris has combined his architect’s practice with an academic career at TU Delft were he started The Bridge Design Group which strives to fill in the previous lack of education in the field of bridge design, a deficiency that is strongly felt in practice. He does this by approaching bridge design as a trans-disciplinary design process that requires the input from landscape architects, architects, building technologists and civil engineers alike. The Bridge Design Group also conducts research into the integral design methodology of bridges and the use of new and sustainable materials in bridge design. The research programme has a living lab at The Green Village that is designated to the use of sustainable, durable and innovative materials in bridge design. ​

As an architect and bridge designer, his career has been strongly influenced by his civil engineering background. Joris studied at the Delft University of Technology, where he combined the studies of Civil Engineering and Architecture. He graduated in both in 1994 and thus became an architect as well as a civil engineer. His understanding of structural design has profoundly defined him as an architect. In the field Joris has been widely recognized as an engineering architect due to the design of a wide range of bridges and structural works since 1997, both in the Netherlands and abroad. His projects won prizes all over the world. His designs are rational yet expressive. His fascination is to give shape to the forces at play. In this manner he has designed over three hundred bridges and structures, of which more than hundred have been built. ​

Joris sees it as his mission to bridge the gap that so often exists between architects, engineers and the commissioning authorities. The Roman master builder Vitruvius taught us that a structure can only be of truly lasting value if it respects the balance between aesthetics, structure and function. This adage is still very valid today and constitutes the crux of his professional work, both in teaching and in practice.

Selected Publications

  • The Art of Bridge Design: Identifying a design approach for well-integrated, integrally-designed and socially-valued bridges, Smits, J., 2019, A+BE | Architecture and the Built Environment. 212 p.

  • Bio-Based Composite Footbridge: Design, Production and In Situ Monitoring, Blok, R., Smits, J., Gkaidatzis, R. & Teuffel, P., 2019, In : Structural Engineering International. 29, 3, p. 453-465 13 p.

  • Shaping Forces: Review of two Bridge Design Methodologies towards Architectural and Structural Symbiosis, Smits, J., Eigenraam, P., Gkaidatzis, R., Visser, D. R., Wong, K. & Wassermann-Fry, S., 1 Jun 2018, In : Journal of the International Association for Shell and Spatial Structures. 59, 2 (n.196), p. 152-164 13 p.

  • ShArc: A Shell that is an Arc as well, Smits, J., Eigenraam, P., Gkaidatzis, R., Visser, D. R., Wong, K. & Wassermann-Fry, S., 2017, The Worlds footbridges for Berlin: 76 footbridge design ideas for six locations in the city of Berlin. Schlaich, M. & Goldack, A. (eds.). Jovis Verlag GmbH, p. 171-173.

  • Fiber-Reinforced Polymer Bridge Design in the Netherlands: Architectural Challenges toward Innovative, Sustainable, and Durable Bridges, Smits, J., 28 Dec 2016, In : Engineering. 2, 4, p. 518-527.

  • A bridge with a view, a view with a bridge: Identifying design considerations for bridges to strengthen regional identity, Smits, J. & Van Der Hoeven, F., 2015, In : Research in Urbanism Series (online). 3, 1, p. 135-158 24 p.​ ​

TU Delft Research Profile

Selected Research Projects

- Bio Composite Footbridge Eindhoven - Built project

- Glass Masonry Bridge Delft - Built project - Student Design Competition Karitaat Molensloot Bridge

- Built project 


-Building Technology Graduation Studio (MSc, A+BE)

-SWAT Studio (MSc, A+BE)

-Bridge Design (MSc, A+BE)

-Design of (infra-)structures (BSc Minor, A+BE)

bottom of page