Urquhart Castle near Loch Ness

Architecture Architectural design & conservation

Our research deals with the challenges of conserving built heritage while allowing changes to adapt historic buildings to contemporary uses. We also deal with the design of new buildings which can contribute to the conservation of our environment, learning both from traditional strategies and the latest technological innovations.

The Architectural Design & Conservation Research Unit (ADCRU)

This unit was established in 2013 by Cristina Gonzalez-Longo. It deals with all aspects of architectural design and conservation, in a local, national, and international context.

Architects, engineers, planners and other built environment professionals, conservators and building patrons have a duty to understand the values and nature of existing buildings and to critically act accordingly while conserving and reusing them.  They should also have the design skills to conceive and deliver new buildings and interventions which will have a positive impact on our existing buildings and the wider environment. All these operations also contribute to people’s sense of identity and well-being. This requires research across a variety of subjects including:

  • theory of conservation
  • architectural design
  • architectural history
  • survey & investigations
  • construction & construction history
  • materials science
  • structural assessment & designs
  • environmental design

ADCRU promotes research-informed practice and teaching as well as practice-informed research. All of which influences the recently created MSc in Architectural Design for the Conservation of the Built Heritage.

Academic leader 

Collaborating academics

Our research involves working jointly with public and private sector professionals and academics, both locally and internationally.

Current research grants & projects

Principal Investigator: Bridging The Gap (BTG), University of Strathclyde: The Application of Image Processing to the Survey, Assessment and Monitoring of Historic Buildings

PhD students

  • Bowen Qiu 

Principal Investigator: Historic Environmental Scotland: Building skills for conserving 17th-18th centuries Scottish built heritage: timber roofs and masonry

PhD students

  • Anna Serafini
  • Clara Gonzalez Manich

Principal Investigator: Architectural Conservation Theory, Architectural Stratification and Complex Architectural Conservation projects; Low Energy Design and Healthy Buildings

PhD students

  • Mohd Firrdhaus Bin Mohd Sahabuddin (Commonwealth Scholar)
  • Sarah-Jane Stewart


  • González Manich, C; Kelman, T., Coutts, F., Qiu, B., Murray, P., González-Longo, C., Marshall, S. “Exploring the use of image processing to survey and quantitatively assess historic buildings”, Proceedings of the 10th International Conference on Structural Analysis of Historical Constructions (SAHC2016)
  • González-Longo, C. “Can architectural conservation become mainstream?”, ICOMOS Scientific Symposium "Heritage and Landscape as Human Values", Edizioni Scientifiche Italiane, 2015
  • Sahabuddin, M.F.M. and González-Longo, C. “Traditional Values and Their Adaptation in Social Housing Design–Towards a New Typology and Establishment of 'Airhouse' Standard in Malaysia”. International Journal of Architectural Research: ArchNet-IJAR 9 (2), 2015
  • González-Longo, C. “Using old stuff and thinking in a new way: material culture, conservation and fashion in architecture”, in P. Emmons, J. Lomholt, J. Hendrix (eds) The Cultural Role of Architecture: Contemporary and Historical Perspectives. Routledge, 2012
  • Serafini A. and González-Longo, C. “Seventeenth and eighteenth century timber roof structures in Scotland: design, pathologies and conservation”, Proceedings of the 10th International Conference on Structural Analysis of Historical Constructions (SAHC2016)
  • González-Longo, C. “Da S. Maria Nova a S. Francesca Romana: Architettura e committenza Olivetana nella transformazione della chiesa dal Trecento al Seicento”. In A. Bartolomei Romagnoli (ed.) La canonizzazione di S. Francesca Romana. Santità, Cultura e Istituzioni a Roma tra Medioevo ed Età Moderna. SISMEL- Edizioni Del Galluzzo, 2013
  • González-Longo, C. and Theodossopoulos, D. “The stratification of S. Maria Nova at the Roman Forum: construction, materials and conservation”. Construction & Building Materials, ELSEVIER, 2013.
  • González-Longo, C. “James Smith & Rome”. Architectural Heritage, 23. Edinburgh University Press, 2012

Current research themes & PhD topics

  • The Application of Image Processing to the Survey, Assessment & Monitoring of Historic Buildings
  • The Architecture & Conservation of Seventeenth & Eighteenth-century Scottish Architecture
  • Architectural Stratification & Complex Architectural Conservation
  • Low Energy Design
  • Healthy Historic Buildings
  • Architectural Conservation Theory
  • Digital applications needs for research & conservation
  • The management of the historic environment