Architecture Design & sustainability

The Cluster for Research and Design & Sustainability (CriDS) at the University of Strathclyde draws together research expertise in sustainable architecture and urbanism, studies on the identification of social ecologies and environmental systems for supporting resilient communities, innovations in solar design technology, improvements in health, and advances in education for sustainable development..

Our goal is to make a difference, by producing quality research work, and research-led educational provision, that will help to improve peoples’ lives today and in the future.

Our research

CRiDS was established in 2010 to address the need to improve relationships between the built and natural environment. Since then, the unit, led by Dr David Grierson and Prof Branka Dimitrijevic, has attracted over 30 postgraduate researchers from around the world.

Our international expertise is being directly applied at the world-renowned Arcosanti urban laboratory in Arizona, USA, and in developing social innovation networks and frameworks across the world, that aim to make a difference. In collaboration with Strathclyde Engineering for Development we are currently designing and building an earthquake resilient school in Nepal, and developing energy and resource efficient technologies for communities in developing countries.

Key research areas

CRiDS encourages applications related to the following topics:

Architecture & Ecology

Research in this area examines environmental and sociological aspects shaping the relationship between Nature, people and place. Our work considers the detrimental effects of the built environment on the natural environment, as well as impacts on human development, with the aim to support a positive transformation of this relationship through design.

Social Innovation & Resilience

Social innovation emerges when the existing governance systems are not capable of providing agile responses to evolving problems or sudden disruptive events. Our research explores social innovation networks, frameworks and solutions which support the resilience of communities within the context of the sustainable development of the built environment.

Energy & Resource Efficiency & Occupant Health

Research in this area supports design interventions that aim towards reductions in energy and resource use, and improved health. Our work has involved assessing the impact of house dust mites on asthma and providing solutions for improved thermal comfort and air quality.

Education for Sustainable Development

Our research explores transformative methods for cross-disciplinary education in sustainable development (ESD). The cluster has contributed to the development of curricula, teaching methods and material within Higher Education Institutions across Europe, and more recently in North Africa.

To learn more about CRiDS, download the Research at the Cluster for Research in Design & Sustainability.

Our Team

The cluster has a holistic approach, and a collaborative, cross-disciplinary ethos. We collaborate with prestigious Institutions across Europe, USA and North Africa.

Collaborating academics

  • Teaching team and Invited speakers

PhD students

PhD studentTopic
Karen Munro Architecture and Ecology
Neda Poorang Sustainable Architecture: the Development of a Sustainable Management System for Iran
Qaaid Zgher Khlef Al-Saraify Sustainable Development Policies: the Problem of Housing Collapse in the City of Basra, Iraq
Nada Khider Jassim Al-Naemyi Sustainable Architecture: Environmental Analysis using Artificial Intelligence
Paul Farren Balancing the conflict between energy efficiency and indoor air quality
To Thanh Phuong Children’s experience of nature in primary school architecture
Jamil Fareed J Hijazi Displacing air conditioning in kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Shahrzad Malek Housing design, economic and socio-environmental dimensions for a sustainable future in Iran
Khaoula Benbatouche Measuring pre-school children’s experience on Nature
Alan Lawson Indoor air quality, dust mite allergens and asthma
Christos Tsapsos Passive and active solar design to displace space heating in Greece
Selma Harrington Modernist Heritage: Destruction, Survival & Resilience. Contextualising the Case of the Historical Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina
Donagh Horgan Social innovation systems for building resilient communities
Runda Aduldejcharas The sensibility of material culture and structure performance for building skin

Research grants & projects

  • The Nepal Project: Designing and Constructing Earthquake-Resilient Schools in Nepal.
    Funded by: Strathclyde Engineering for Development.
  • Inclusive Tourism in the City: How Urban Tourism Can Benefit Marginalised and Vulnerable Communities.
    Funded by: Global Challenges Research Fund, with the University of Philippines Diliman.
  • BC-SDBE: Building Capacity for Sustainable Development of the Built Environment
    Funded by: British Council Institutional Links Project
  • Designing Out Construction Waste
    Funded by: Zero Waste Scotland
  • Sustainable and Resilient Built Environment Knowledge Labs
    Funded by: Erasmus+, with 10 EU and Western Balkans HEI Partners
  • Architecture and Planning
    Funded by: Erasmus+ KA107
  • The Development of a Micro-Solar CHP and Desalination Unit
    Funded by: Scottish Enterprise
  • Analysing and Testing the Architectural and Ecological Model Developed at Arcosanti, Arizona, USA.
    Funded by: The Cosanti Foundation
  • Sustainable Design and the Impact of Small-Scale Renewable Energy Intervention in Rural West Africa
    Funded by: EPSRC

Selected Publications

  • Al-Saraify, Q. & Grierson, D. (2019), Approaching Urban Design through the Analysis of Structural Differences within Three Neighbourhood Typologies in Basra City, in ‘Urban Design’, Ed. Amsaad, A. IntechOpen.
  • Phuong, T.T. & Grierson, D. (2019), A Methodology for Measuring Children’s Visual and Non-visual Sensorial Experiences of Nature: Child-Nature-Distance Case Studies within Primary School Spaces in Glasgow, International Journal of Architectural Research, ArchNet: IJAR.
  • Grierson, D. & Al-Saraify, Q. Z. K. (2019), Walking to Occupational Activities within Three Neighbourhoods in Basra City, Open House International.
  • Grierson, D. & Munro, K. (2018) Nature, People, and Place: informing the design of urban environments in harmony with Nature through the Space/Nature Syntax, in Azeiteiro, UM., Akerman, M., Leal Filho, W., Setti, AFF. & Brandli, LL. (eds.). Lifelong Learning and Education in Healthy and Sustainable Cities. Springer International Publishing (World Sustainability Series).
  • Grierson, D. & Salama, A. M. (Editors) (2019) Urban Performance Between the Imagined, the Measured, and the Experienced, Open House International (Special Issue).
  • Harrington, S., Dimitrijevic, B. & Salama, A. M. (2018) Cracks and light: observing the resilience of the history museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Martor.
  • Horgan, D. & Dimitrijevic, B. (2018) Social innovation systems for building resilient communities, Urban Science.
  • Dimitrijevic, B. (2018) Challenges of Application of Innovative Technologies for Cultural Heritage Management and Presentation, Proceedings of the International Conference Built Heritage Management and Presentation, Niš, Serbia.
  • Harrington, S, Dimitrijevic, B. & Salama, A. (2017) Modernist Architecture, Conflict, Heritage and Resilience: The Case of Historical Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Archnet- IJAR: International Journal of Architectural Research.
  • Dimitrijevic, B. (2017) Application of ICT for urban regeneration, environmental protection and social equality in Scotland, Places and Technologies 2017, Book of Conference Proceedings, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina.
  • Nigra, M. & Dimitrijevic, B. (2018) Is radical innovation in architecture crucial to sustainability? Lessons from three Scottish contemporary buildings, Architectural Engineering and Design Management.
  • Konstantinou, T. & Dimitrijević, B. (2018) Sustainable Refurbishment for an Adaptable Built Environment, Kosanović, S., Klein, T., Konstantinou, T., Radivojević, A. & Hildebrand, L. (Eds.) Sustainable and Resilient Buildings: Approaches, Methods and Tools. Delft: TU Delft Open.
  • Hijazi J. & Howieson S. (2018) Displacing Air Conditioning in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: an evaluation of ‘fabric first’ design integrated with hybrid night radiant and ground pipe cooling systems, Building Services Engineering Research and Technology.
  • Howieson S. (2017), The Great Scottish Housing Disaster: the impacts of feudalism, modernism, energy efficiency and vapour barriers on indoor air quality, asthma and public health, Sustainability.
  • Anguillari, E. & Dimitrijevic, B. (Eds.) (2018) Integrated Urban Planning: Territories, Resources and Directions. Delft: TU Delft Open.
  • Grierson, D. & Munro, K. (2017) Towards Transformative Learning Methods for Interdisciplinary Postgraduate Education for Sustainable Development (ESD): a case study, ArchNet-IJAR: International Journal of Architectural Research.

Our research impact

Discover more about architecture

Our galleries

Take a look in the image gallery to see the range of award winning work that is produced in the Department

Architecture studio

Our experts


Students Andrea Hickey and Neal Hemingway created ChalkTalk for their Masters project, to encourage discussion and stories about architecture and design within the city during the Merchant City Festival.

Future Architecture Workshop: Merchant City Festival 2015

We invited prospective students of architecture to participate in a day long workshop as part of the Merchant City Festival. Explore our city with them!