RCAT - Research Center for Architecture and Tectonics

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The Research Centre for Architecture and Tectonics [RCAT] was founded and inaugurated in 2011. The centre pursues experimental and practice-oriented research, combining elements of traditional knowledge production with an inter- and transdisciplinary research by design approach. RCAT conducts funded research projects in a broad range of subject areas focused on questions of performance-oriented design, new environments and embedded architectures, locally specific architecture, urbanism and landscape architecture, information-based design, as well as long-term inquiry into how research is changing the profession.

RCAT offers diverse PhD and post-doctoral researcher tracks and has collaborated on the implementation of Industrial PhDs at AHO. Dr. Julia Schlegel - now research director at Snøhetta - completed the first Industrial PhD in the humanities in Norway in 2015 in the context of RCAT. The research centre also attracts externally funded PhD candidates from organizations such as SINTEF, the largest independent research organization in Scandinavia. In addition RCAT facilitates joint PhDs with other universities.

In 2009 RCAT members initiated research into the use of wood in architecture at AHO. In 2011-12 RCAT held strategic meetings with the Norwegian Ministry of Agriculture and Food that also governs forestry, the Research Council of Norway, the Norwegian Institute of Wood Technology [Treteknisk] and Trefokus. The meetings laid the groundwork for successful grant applications at the Institute of Architecture at AHO into innovative use of wood in architecture.

In 2011 RCAT initiated experimental design and construction efforts. These included the Scarcity and Creativity Studio for which RCAT provided the clients for the first two runs, as well as start-up strategic funding for the first series of projects. RCAT also provided strategic funds for related PhD-level work.

Since 2011 RCAT collaborates with an extensive network of partners on questions of research in architectural practice. This involves a research project entitled “The Changing Shape of Practice” that includes a book- and international symposia series, as well as round-table discussions and industry hearings in Norway in collaboration with the Norwegian Centre for Architecture and Design. As one of the related outcomes RCAT | ACDL currently develops a practice-oriented collaborative platform for integrated research and teaching in collaboration with Snøhetta in Oslo, and Kieran Timberlake in Philadelphia


The Advanced Computational Design Laboratory [ACDL] is the innovation laboratory of the research centre. ACDL integrates research and teaching on master-, PhD- and post-doctoral levels based on the research subjects in RCAT with specific focus on informed non-standard architecture and integrative and information-based computational design. Special focus is placed on the role of data in design, multi-modal data-collection and processing, and advanced computational visualization methods, including augmented and virtual reality. ACDL also delivers advisory support in questions related to the implementation of computational strategies and methods in the overall educational curriculum in architecture and across AHO. 


The RCAT | ACDL Group consists of all current RCAT | ACDL faculty members.


The extended RCAT | ACDL Network consists of all current and former teachers and researchers, PhD and post-doctoral researchers, diploma candidates, and external collaborators.


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Prof. Dr. Michael U. Hensel [Dipl. Ing. Grad Dipl Des AA PhD Reading] is a practicing architect, researcher, educator and writer. In practice, research and education for two and a half decades his work currently focuses on three main themes: [i] Performance-oriented Architectures (New Environments and Embedded Architectures), [ii] Integrative Information-based Design, and [iii] interdisciplinary and practice-oriented integrated research and teaching in architecture.

His architectural works are experimental and innovation-focused. Works undertaken in the context of OCEAN are included in the Prints and Photographs Division of the Library of Congress in the United States and the FRAC Centre (Fonds Regional d'Art Contemporain) in Orléans, France, and have been exhibited in the Venice Architectural Biennales in 2002 and 2004.

Hensel has co-pioneered the field of research-by-design in architecture and has an extensive track-record in research, research strategy development, implementation and assessment. Most recently he is part of the AHO Research Review “Quality for Impact” work group. In his various directorial leadership appointments he has conducted wide industry and practice hearings in setting out acclaimed practice-oriented programmes and facilities. He is founding and acting director of the Research Centre for Architecture and Tectonics at the Oslo School of Architecture and Design where he is tenured Professor. He is also founding and acting chairman of the OCEAN Design Research Association.


Hensel has authored and edited numerous books and journals and authored a large number of book chapters, peer-reviewed journal articles and conference papers, as well as popular journal articles. His writings and works are published in Chinese, Czech, English, Estonian, Farsi, Finnish, French, German, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Spanish, and Turkish language.



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Asst. Prof. Søren S. Sørensen is an architect, educator and researcher. He is a graduate from NTH (NTNU) in Trondheim, where he received his diploma in 1982. He is currently pursuing his PhD thesis within the field of Architectural Representation and Augmented Reality. Søren worked as a practicing architect and project leader at some of the leading architectural offices in Norway from graduation until 1996. During this period he received an Italian State Scholarship for Urban studies in Rome, had an assignment for UNHCR in Hong Kong, established a gallery for contemporary art in Oslo,Norway, and did part time teaching of computational skills. Since 1997 he was been a full time employee at the Oslo School of Architecture and Design, AHO, as Assistant Professor responsible for the implementation of digital technology in the educational curriculum and as teacher at master level. Søren has been doing research on Virtual and Augmented Reality in relation to architecture since 2003, and is responsible for the field at AHO. The interdisciplinary research has been done in cooperation with Institute for Energy Technology in Halden, Norway, and the Kyoto University, Japan, and led to the establishing of AR-Lab Norway. He has published papers internationally, both on Augmented Reality for visualization of architecture and within the field of Nuclear Safety.



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Asst. Prof. Joakim Wiig Hoen is a Norwegian architect educated at the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) and the Oslo School of Architecture and Design (AHO) where he received his masters degree in Architecture. Previously he worked at the architectural office Helen & Hard in Oslo. Since 2013 he is in private practice and teaches at the Oslo School of Architecture and Design where he has been appointed Asst. Professor in 2015. These positions enable him to follow his interest in computational design and fabrication through both practice and academia.

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Sofia Martins da Cunha received her education as an Architect in Portugal and in Norway. She graduated at the Faculty of Architecture of the University of Porto (FAUP) in November 2014. In 2012 and 2013 Sofia attended the Oslo School of Architecture and Design (AHO) as part of the ERASMUS exchange program. While studying at AHO Sofia had the opportunity to use her interest in geometry and computation to be a key participant in the design and construction of the tensegrity structure “Floating Compression canopy” in Nusfjord, Norway. Sofia currently works as an architect for Snøhetta and is an assistant teacher for the Nostalgic Future studio at AHO. In her time at Snøhetta Sofia has been working on projects for the Middle-East and Asia. Sofia has been mainly working on the Riyadh Subway Station, but is now the project leader for the flagship store of Aesop in Singapore.

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Sareh Saeidi is an architect and researcher educated at IAUM in Iran (B.A., 2008) and KTH –the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm (M.S.A. 2014). She has seven years of experience working both as an independent architect and in collaboration with well-established consulting engineers offices in Iran. During her master-level studies, she worked at Rosskopf und Partner in Germany where she was engaged with rationalizing designs for fabrication. Her keen interest in questions of local specificity and role of building envelopes in affecting the architectural experience and building’s climatic performance became the key motive in pursuing her PhD-level research at the Oslo School of Architecture and Design (AHO) since September 2014.

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Defne Sunguroğlu Hensel [AA Dipl RIBA II MSc] is an architect, interior architect, board member and principle researcher in the OCEAN Design Research Association, member of SEA Sustainable Environment Association and doctoral research fellow at AHO Oslo School of Architecture and Design. She holds an advisory role in building professional relations between Norway and Turkey as part of the official programme financed by Innovation Norway for architectural cooperation. She studied interior architecture at KIAD Kent Institute of Art & Design, Rochester, UK, architecture Part I at UCA Canterbury School of Architecture, Canterbury, UK and completed her diploma degree at the AA Architectural Association School of Architecture, London, UK where she also gained her MSc in the Emergent Technologies and Design Programme [EmTech]. Currently, she pursues her PhD entitled: ‘Biologically Driven Convergence for Architectural Innovation and a Developmental Route to Local Specificity’ as a doctoral research fellow, a stipend by AHO. In the field of research by design in architecture, her interdisciplinary work extends into fields including systems & complexity; engineering; biology; biomimetics; TRIZ; material science; micro-climatology; computational design and ontologies; CAD/CAM; environmental and ecological sustainability and receives industrial sponsorships and supports, previously including Wienerberger, Norwegian Brick Association, and institutions such as FFI Norwegian Defense Research Establishment. Her current research projects include Nested Catenaries; Complex Brick Assemblies; ArchiTRIZ – Material-Ontology [MatOnt]; and 30 Case Studies on the performance analysis of historical buildings. Previously, she received the Holloway Trust Award (2006) for a significant contribution to the construction industry; Buro Happold studentship (2006) to pursue her research into Complex Brick Assemblies; a stipend by BDA Brick Development Association (2007), the Anthony Pott Memorial Award (2007) for detailed analysis and research of Eladio Dieste’s work; the PMI Award (2007) in the industrial category of the Pottery Mechanics Institute; and the IASS Tsuboi Award (2013) in the category of the most meritorious paper published in the journal of the IASS International Association for Shell and Spatial Structures in 2013. She held Innovation Fellowships, published, lectured, taught, exhibited, organized symposiums, exhibitions, conducted workshops internationally and her work has been published widely.



Mark Burry is Professor of Innovation (Spatial Information Architecture) and Director of Spatial Information Architecture Laboratory (SIAL) at RMIT University. The laboratory focuses on collocated design research and undergraduate and postgraduate teaching with associated advanced computer applications and the rapid prototyping of ideas. SIAL has a design-practice emphasis and acts as a creative think-tank accessible to both local and international practices.Mark is also Founding Director of RMIT’s Design Research Institute which brings together researchers from a range of design disciplines and harnesses their collective expertise to address major social and environmental dilemmas. He is Executive Architect and Researcher to the Temple Sagrada Familia in Barcelona and was awarded the title Il.lustrisim Senyor by the Reial Acadèmia Catalana de Belles Arts de Sant Jordi in recognition of his contribution. Mark holds various senior positions at academic institutions in Australia, New Zealand and Europe, including Velux Visiting Professor at CITA, Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen, Denmark, is a member of the Advisory Board of Gehry Technologies in Los Angeles and was a member of the Australian Research Council College of Experts 2003 – 2007. In 2006 Mark was awarded the Australian Research Council’s most prestigious funding award, a ‘Federation Fellowship’ for five years.

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Christoph Gengnagel is a graduate architect and engineer. He worked as a senior assistant at the Lehrstuhl fur Tragswerksplanung, Faculty of Architecture at the Technical University Munich for 6 years. His principal areas of research are the design and analysis of lightweight structures. In 2005, he completed his PhD thesis on Mobile Membrane Structures. He has 18 years professional experience as a structural engineer. He is co-founder and partner of a.k.a.ingenieure, an innovative and experienced team of structural engineers and architects, involved in design and construction in all areas of building construction. In 2006 Prof. Gengnagel was appointed as full professor for Structural Design and Technology at the University of the Arts Berlin (UdK Berlin) and became director of the “Lightweight Structure Unit” (LSU) an interdisciplinary team of architects and structural engineers at the University of Dundee, the UdK and the TU München. In 2007 he became director of the Institute of Architecture and Urban Planning (IAS) at the UdK Berlin. In 2010 he was elected as First Vice-President of the UdK Berlin.

Prof. Dr. Jonathan Hale is an architect, Associate Professor & Reader in Architectural Theory. He is Head of the Architecture, Culture and Tectonics research group (ACT) and Convenor for Architectural Humanities II, and Design, Culture & Context modules. Research interests include: architectural theory and criticism; phenomenology and the philosophy of technology; the relationship between architecture and the body; museums and architectural exhibitions. He has published books, chapters, refereed articles and conference papers in these areas and has obtained grants from the EPSRC, the Leverhulme Trust, British Academy, and the Arts Council. He is founder and current steering group member of the international subject network: Architectural Humanities Research Association (AHRA); a member of the interdisciplinary Science, Technology and Culture research group, hosted by the Dept of French, and the Sense of Space group, a collaboration with the Depts of Philosophy and Sociology; and a Management Board member for the University's Research Priority Area in Creative and Cultural Industries.

Dr. Pavel Hladik is an architect and researcher in OCEAN. His research focuses on complex systems and advanced computing methods in architectural design with interest in close collaboration with teams across building design disciplines. Pavel Hladik obtained his master's degree at the Faculty of Architecture of the Czech Technical University in Prague, at the Graduate School of the Architectural Association - Emergent Technologies and Design and he holds PhD from CTU in Prague. He was also trained in internal Arup University course in Computer Design Optimization module in 2009/2010. He had been a visiting tutor at the CTU in Prague, the Academy of Arts in Vienna, the University of Brighton and the Architectural Association. Pavel Hladik is experienced in architectural concept designs as well as delivering projects and currently he is a member of sports design team in international design and consultancy firm AECOM. He has an in depth knowledge of sports venue design and his expertise covers in particular: seating bowl design, operational planning, spectator safety and roof design. Among his work belong Singapore National Stadium and Aquatics Centre for Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Pavel Hladik also worked for various design studios in Prague, London and Singapore: SOM and Arup Sport.

Prof. Dr. David Jolly Monge is an architect. He graduated at the Escuela de Arquitectura de la Universidad Católica de Valparaíso, Chile, where he is Director of the magister program and a tenured professor. He is a co-founder and builder of Ciudad Abierta de Amereida where he lives since 1978. David obtained his PhD at ETSAB - Universidad Politécnica de Cataluña. Research works in building techniques on flexible formworks with the architect Mark West, and on theory and projects done in relation to poetry and architecture through Travesias on the South American continent.

Prof. Dr. Branko Kolarevic is Associate Dean (Academic) and Professor of Architecture at the University of Calgary Faculty of Environmental Design, where he also holds the Chair in Integrated Design and co-directs the Laboratory for Integrative Design (LID). He has taught architecture at several universities in North America and Asia and has lectured worldwide on the use of digital technologies in design and production. He has authored, edited or co-edited several books, including the recently published “Manufacturing Material Effects” (with Kevin Klinger), “Performative Architecture” (with Ali Malkawi) and “Architecture in the Digital Age.” He holds doctoral and master's degrees in design from Harvard University and a diploma engineer in architecture degree from the University of Belgrade in the former Yugoslavia.

Reinhard Kropf is an Austrian architect and researcher educated at the University of Science in Graz and the Oslo School of Architecture and Design (AHO), where he studied under Christian Norberg-Schulz. In 1996, together with Siv Helene Stangeland he founded the architectural office Helen & Hard in Stavanger on the west coast of Norway. Helen & Hard has received several awards for their work, including the Norwegian National Award for Building and Environmental Design for the Pulpit Rock Mountain Lodge. They have exhibited internationally, including at the Venice Biennale, the Lisbon Biennale and Manifesta 7. In 2008, the firm was selected with 8 others to represent European architectural offices in the traveling exhibition ”New Trends of Architecture”. They have won several competitions including the Norway Pavilion at Expo Shanghai 2010 and have an extensive body of built work. H&H have written, published and lectured extensively in Europe, North America and Asia about their research on sustainable practices and methods.

Prof. Dr. David Leatherbarrow is Professor of Architecture, Chairman of the Architecture Ph.D. Program, and Associate Dean at the University of Pennsylvania, where he has taught architectural design, history, and theory since 1984.  Before Penn he taught at Cambridge University and the University of Westminster.  He has also visited and taught at many universities in the USA and abroad.  David Leatherbarrow earned his Bachelor of Architecture degree at the University of Kentucky and his Ph.D. in Art at the University of Essex. His books include Architecture Oriented Otherwise (2009), Topographical Stories: studies in landscape and architecture (2004), and Surface Architecture (2002), written in collaboration with Mohsen Mostafavi.  Earlier books include Uncommon Ground: architecture, technology and topography; The Roots of Architectural Invention: site, enclosure and materials; and On Weathering: the life of buildings in time, again with Mostafavi.  In addition to these books he has published over eighty scholarly articles.  In the past, his research has focused on various topics in the history and theory of architecture, gardens, and urbanism; more recently his work has concentrated on the impact of contemporary technology on architecture and the city.

Prof. Dr. Birger R. Sevaldson [dipl NCAD MNIL PhD] is chairman of the OCEAN Design Research Association and Professor at the Institute of Industrial Design at AHO - Oslo School of Architecture and Design. He is an academic and designer working in a broad field of design and architecture. He has been in private practice since 1986. His practice spans from architecture interior to furniture and product design, design of lighting armatures and boat design. It also includes installations. Birger has been developing concepts in design computing and his doctoral thesis from 2005 is a summary of 15 years of research into this field. This led to an expansion into a wider interest in the design process and especially design processes for uncertainty, unforeseen futures and complexity. This research grew out of the digital research and initially engaged in time related design, reformulating the design environment and systems oriented design. He has defined systems oriented design and developed the central concepts in this emerging respond to more complex design challenges. He has been lecturing and teaching in Norway, Europe, Asia and USA and has held a visiting professorship at NACD in Oslo and has been a visiting critic at Syracuse University School of Architecture, USA.

Siv Helene Stangeland is a Norwegian architect and researcher based in Stavanger, Norway. Together with Reinhard Kropf, she founded the architectural office Helen & Hard in 1996. Siv Helene Stangeland studied at the University of Barcelona and at the Oslo School of Architecture and Design AHO, under Christian Norberg-Schulz. She has taught at AHO, NTNU (Trondheim), Chalmers University (Gothenburg) and KTH (Stockholm). Helen & Hard has received several awards for their work, including the Norwegian National Award for Building and Environmental Design for the Pulpit Rock Mountain Lodge. They have exhibited internationally, including at the Venice Biennale, the Lisbon Biennale and Manifesta 7. In 2008, the firm was selected with 8 others to represent European architectural offices in the traveling exhibition ”New Trends of Architecture”. They have won several competitions including the Norway Pavilion at Expo Shanghai 2010 and have an extensive body of built work. H&H have written, published and lectured extensively in Europe, North America and Asia about their research on sustainable practices and methods.

Jeffrey P. Turko [AA Dipl RIBA II] is an American born architect registered in the Netherlands, educator and researcher currently based in London. He is founder of the design practice NEKTON Studio. A design studio that works on projects ranging in scales form urban design, private houses, to objects. NEKTON Studio's work has been published and exhibited widely and represented the UK in the Beijing Biennial 2008. Also in 2008 Nekton was in the running for the Young Architects of the Year Award in the UK. Jeffrey is a graduate of the Architectural Association School of Architecture where he received his diploma in 1999. He has been a Senior Lecturer at the University of East London from 2001 – 2011, as well as having taught at the Architectural Association School of Architecture where he was unit master of Diploma Unit 12 from 2008 -2010. He is currently the Program Director of the AA Global Visiting School in Sydney Australia. In Summer 2011 Jeffrey accepted a full-time Senior Lecturer post at the University of Brighton where he is studio leader on the Masters of Architecture program. Before becoming a full member of OCEAN in 2007 he was an instrumental collaborator on projects such as Landsc[r]aper - Urban Ring Bridge and the World Centre for Human Concerns. Since joining he was involved in the Membrella project, a shortlisted proposal for a workspace of the future. Previously he has been the Vice Chair of the OCEAN Design and Research Association and currently he has taken on the role of Secretary of the Association. Recently he has been involved in the co-authoring the following essays and chapters on OCEAN in the following books: ‘OCEAN Design Research Association’ in Performalism[Routledge 2011] and Design Innovation for the Built Environment Research by Design and the Renovation of Practice [Routledge 2012]. Other recent publications and articles include ‘Relational Skins’ [LULU, 2009], 'Parallel Indexing - Infrastructure and Space' in Digital Cities AD[AD Wiley, London, 2009].

Dr. Julian Vincent is a biologist though he has involved himself, more or less deeply, in a variety of disciplines.  Realising that many questions in biology are related to mechanical and engineering problems, and also that such problems frequently yielded a graph before the end of the working day, he began to learn materials science.  Insect cuticle gave way to plant materials, animal fibres, shells and bone.  To this range he soon added food materials, fruit and smart structures.  Finding that this form of study had as its corollary in the emerging discipline of Biomimetics, he embraced it from a design and philosophical perspective, developing techniques for bridging the gaps between biology and technology.  His current thinking includes formulations for the greening of technology and the development of new design concepts.