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Michelle Kaufmann is an architect and the co-founder of Flux Factory, a software startup exploring the future of architecture. After studying at Iowa State University and Princeton, she began her career working for Frank Gehry. She then set up her own firm, MKD, specialising in designing and building healthy, durable and sustainable prefabricated homes, which led to her being described by Sierra magazine as ‘the Henry Ford of Green houses’. The recession hit that business, and she started collaborating with Google X, Google’s research and development arm (now part of Google’s parent company, Alphabet).

Flux Factory is the first business to have been spun out of X, as it is now known. Using software and artificial intelligence, Flux aims to streamline and simplify architecture, and this, it is hoped, will have huge implications for the global need for affordable and sustainable housing. Michelle Kaufmann also runs the research and development arm for Google’s new campuses, working with the project’s architects to prototype new kinds of materials and structures.


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