RCAT - Research Center for Architecture and Tectonics

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Prof. Dr. Michael U. Hensel + Asst. Prof. Søren S. Sørensen


Prof. Dr. Michael U. Hensel, Asst. Prof. Søren S. Sørensen, Asst. Prof. Joakim Wiig Hoen, Lecturer Sofia Martins da Cunha, Research Fellow Sareh Saeidi


Bollinger and Grohmann


OCEAN Design Research Association


Research commenced in 2010 - ongoing


This field of research consolidates the long-standing research efforts since the mid-1990s of AHO faculty members that are also members of the OCEAN Design Research Association. The latter include Prof. Dr. Michael Hensel (PhD: Performance-oriented Architecture), Asst. Prof. Søren S. Sørensen, Prof. Dr. Birger Sevaldson (PhD: Digital Creativity), and in the past Thomas Fagernes, Dr. Johan Bettum and Kim Bauman Larsen.

A first major milestone en route to establishing this research area was the inauguration of the Advanced Computational Design Laboratory [ACDL] in 2014. ACDL serves as the locus for teaching, research, and research based studios, addressing the relations between computational design, spatial and material organization, performance and locality. Particular focus is placed on underpinning core areas of the Institute of Architecture’s strategic plan pertaining to core research activities at RCAT. These include [i] ‘Tectonics – Research in Buildings’ (performance-oriented architecture, intensely local architecture), and [ii] ‘Praxis – Experimental Architecture (experimental design, advanced computational design). ACDL integrates teaching and research activities from master-level to PhD and post-doc levels, as well as related research projects.

The advanced computational design oriented research of RCAT | ACDL is grounded within the theoretical framework of performance-oriented architecture (Hensel 2013). The pursued notion of performance foregrounds the interaction between a given architecture and its local setting, with consequences not only for the design product, but also for the related processes by which it is generated. Integrated approaches to data-driven computational design can serve to generate such designs. This approach shifts the focus of design attention away from the delivery of finite architectural objects towards an expanded range of architecture-environment interactions that are registered, instrumentalised and modulated over time. The aim is to integrate specific architectural goals and approaches, computational data-driven design methods and generative design processes based on a range of context-specific and often real-time data sets.

The RCAT | ACDL group focuses in this context on two primary thematics:

[i] Informed Non-standard Architecture: Data-driven Design towards Local Architectures and Urbanism;

[ii] Integrative Data-driven Design: data-collection, generative processes and advanced visualisation AR/VR; (see below)

The RCAT | ACDL group links its various research areas and topics. Integrative computational design is developed through research-by-design activities related to the research areas Experimental Constructions and Informed Non-standard. The aim is to integrate advanced data-driven computational design methods, with locally specific data-collection, computational anaylsis, and advanced visualization including augmented and virtual reality tools. While the aim is state-of-the-art computational design the group engages only affordable technologies in order to ensure that such means can be readily available for researchers and practitioners. Skill-builing focuses on the ability to purpose-configure computational tools and processes as and when needed in the design process.

rcat-web ddd diagram




Hensel, M. (2012). ‘Modelling Modelling – Trajectories in Developing Instrumental Design Processes’. Persistent Modelling, London: Routledge, pp. 71-80.

Hensel M. (2010). 'Material Systems and Environmental Feedback Dynamics'. Emergent Technologies and Design: A Biological Paradigm for ArchitectureLondon: Routledge, pp. 63-81.


Hensel, M. and Sørensen, S. (2014). ‘Intersecting Knowledge Fields and Integrating Data-Driven Computational Design en Route to Performance-oriented and Intensely Local Architectures’. In: Bier, H. and Knigth, T. eds. Dynamics of Data-driven Design Footprint 15 Autumn 2014: pp. 59-74. online

Hensel, M. and Sørensen, S. (2013). ‘En Route to Performance-oriented Architecture - The Research Centre for Architecture and Tectonics: Integrating Architectural Education with Research by Design along a Practice-oriented Perspective’. SAJ Serbian Architectural Journal 5 (2): pp. 106-131.

Sørensen, S. (2010). 'Augmented Reality for improved Communication of Construction and Maintenance Plans in Nuclear Power Plants'. International Journal of Nuclear Safety and Simulation Vol. 1 (1).

Sørensen, S. (2008) 'Augmented Reality for Simulation of Construction and Maintenance in Nuclear Power Plants.' In: Toward Innovative Nuclear Safety and Simulation Technology, Harbin Engineering University Press, Harbin, China.

Sørensen, S. (2006). 'The Development of Augmented Reality as a Tool in Architectural and Urban Design'. Nordic Journal of Architectural Research Vol. 19 (4): pp. 25-32.


Hensel, M., and Menges, A. (2009). 'Patterns in Performance-oriented Design – An Approach towards Pattern Recognition, Generation and Instrumentalisation', AD Pattern in Architecture, AD Architectural Design Vol. 79, 6: 88-93.

Hensel, M. and Menges, A. (2008). 'Inclusive Performance: Efficiency versus Effectiveness', Versatility and Vicissitude – Performance in Morpho-Ecological DesignArchitectural Design Vol. 78, 2: 54-63.

Hensel, M. (2006). ‘Towards Self-organisational and Multi-Performance Capacity in Architecture’, Techniques and Technologies in Morphogenetic DesignAD Architectural Design Vol. 76, 2: 05-11.

Hensel, M. (2006). ‘Computing Self-organisation: Environmentally Sensitive Growth Modelling’, Techniques and Technologies in Morphogenetic DesignAD Architectural Design Vol. 76, 2: 12-17.

Hensel, M. and Menges, A. (2006). ‘Material and Digital Design Synthesis: Integrating material self-organisation, digital morphogenesis, associative parametric modelling and computer-aided manufacturing’, Techniques and Technologies in Morphogenetic DesignAD Architectural Design Vol. 76, 2: 88-95.

Hensel, M. (2004). ‘Digital Architectures: Are We Ready to Compute?’, Digital Tectonics, London: Wiley-Academy, 120-126.

Hensel, M. (2001). ‘3d Modelling in Architecture’, Kenchiku Bunka 652: 81-85.

Bettum, J. and Hensel, M. (2000). ‘Channelling Systems: Dynamic Processes and Digital Time-Based Methods in Urban Design’,Contemporary Processes in ArchitectureAD Architectural Design Vol. Vol. 70, 3: 36-41.


Multi-functional Buildings 01 - The Return of the Living Bridges, 12 - 22 May 2015 @ Galleri AHO, Oslo, Norway

Architectural History from a Performance Perspective - 15 Case Studies, 04 - 28 November 2014 @ Galleri AHO, Oslo, Norway

Informed Non-Standard - Integrated Computational Design in Architecture, 28 April - 24 May 2014 @ Galleri AHO, Oslo, Norway

Facilitating the Empirical - Rapid Proto-typing in Architecture and Industrial Design - Representational, Analytical and Functional Models and their Role in the Design Process, 10 February - 03 March 2010 @ Galleri AHO, Oslo, Norway


2012-17 Prof. Søren S. Sørensen Thesis Title: Informed Non-Standard Architecture. Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Michael U. Hensel

2014-17 Research Fellow Sareh Saeidi Thesis Title: Envelope as Versatile Organiser of Space. Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Michael U. Hensel


ract web arduino 02

Arduino Measure-stations | Performative Envelopes Workshop, 2016_01.

ract web arduino 01Arduino Measure-stations | Performative Envelopes Workshop, 2016_01.

Arduino Measure-stations | Performative Envelopes Workshop, 2016_01.Arduino Measure-stations | Performative Envelopes Workshop, 2016_01.Arduino Measure-stations | Performative Envelopes Workshop, 2016_Arduino Measure-stations | Performative Envelopes Workshop, 2016_01.


RCAT ExtendedThresholdStudio_AR_02

Augmented Reality Visualization utilizing ARive software developed by master student Joakim Svela, 2012_02.

RCAT ExtendedThresholdStudio_VR_01

Virtual Reality Visualization utilizing specialist software developed by IFE Halden, 2012_02.

rcat web adcd 10

Augmented Reality Visualization, 2010_01.


rcat web roboticsworkshop 01

Robotics Workshop @ Snøhetta directed by Association for Robots in Architecture, 2015_01.

rcat web roboticsworkshop 03

Robotics Workshop @ Snøhetta directed by Association for Robots in Architecture, 2015_01.