ArchitectureDigital construction


The Digital Construction research unit dedicates to convergence research into the theory and praxis of digital construction for the dependable built environment. It catalyses and facilitates initiatives and collaborations in research and knowledge exchange to inform sustainability-driven practices and research-led education.


This research unit aims to develop research strength and knowledge in the following areas:

  • acquisition and use of data, information and knowledge for decision intelligence and optimization
  • advanced informatics for the design, construction and operation of buildings and infrastructure
  • education, training and learning for professional excellence
  • evidence-based learning for the best practices, policy, regulation, and standardisation
  • interdisciplinary methodologies for convergent research and practice under complexity and uncertainty
  • resources efficiency in the built environment
  • strategic, tactical and operational decision-making support in mega project management

This research unit is the host of MSc Advanced Construction Technologies & BIM in the Department of Architecture at the University of Strathclyde.


Academic leader: Dr Zhen Chen

Call for Participation

This research unit is open for new students to pursue doctoral study in areas relating to evidence-based learning and research for professional excellence in the built environment.

This research theme aims to foster new world class research into challenging issues in the built environment with regard to evidence-based practice for excellence in professional practices. It is open to applicants who have specialty interests in related areas and have ambition to generate new knowledge to inform academic research and professional practices in the design, construction, and/or operation of buildings and/or civil infrastructure.

The research areas within this theme include but not limited to the following new analysis and/or solutions in the context of engineering and/or management for the built environment:

  • calculated/Informed/Intelligent decision-making support in design, construction, and/or operation
  • methodological studies on advanced technical solutions for optimization and/or optioneering with regard to people, products, processes, resources, and/or environment
  • the enhancement of capability, dependability, efficacy, and/or resilience at strategic, tactical, and/or operational levels
  • the study on accidents or best practices to advance the professional body of knowledge

The expected research outcomes from this research theme may include but not limited to with regard to the researchers’ career development in academic research and/or professional practices:

  • academic papers published in top journals
  • books based on the research for dissertations
  • presentations to national and/or international audiences

Relevant subject areas include but not limited to: Engineering (Civil & Structural Engineering), Maths & Computing (AI & Machine Learning; Data Analysis; Operational Research), Social Science & Health (Architecture & the Built Environment; Education; History; Political Science & International Studies; Psychology), and Business & Finance (Business & Management).

PPE waste identification and reduction in the Scottish construction sector during pandemic, 2021.
Funders: the Scottish Institute for Remanufacturing (SIR) and Zero Waste Scotland, Scotland, UK.

Distributed knowledge graphs, 2020-2024.
Funder: the European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST), the EU Framework Programme Horizon 2020, European Union, Belgium.

Adaptive disaster and emergency management for the sustainable built environment, 2014-2015.
Funder: the British Council, UK.

Optimising energy use in the National Gallery buildings in Scotland, 2014-2018.
Funders: the Energy Technology Partnership (ETP) and the National Galleries of Scotland, UK.

Developing a system prototype for rapid and accurate post-disaster damage and needs assessment of built assets (Built Assets DNA), 2012-2013.
Funder: EPSRC Additional Sponsorship, EPSRC Ref. EP/J501335/1, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), UK.

The effective design and delivery of megaprojects in the European Union, 2011-2015.
Funder: COST, Belgium.

An innovative theoretical framework for the research and development of intelligent buildings, 2011.
Funder: The Royal Society, UK.

Co-ordinated management of intelligent pervasive spaces (CMIPS), 2005-2008.
Funders: Former Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Thales Group, and Arup Group, UK.

The Academic Leader is an academic participant to the following funded research projects:

  • Research projects at Centre for Digital Built Britain. University of Cambridge, UK. 2018.
  • Improving science-based climate policy for flood risk management. University Colleague London (UCL), UK. 2018.
  • Past earth network. EPSRC, UK. 2017.
  • Challenging radical uncertainty in science, society and the environment (CRUISSE). UKRI, UK. 2017.
  • From models to decisions (M2D). UKRI, UK. 2017.
  • Smart cities joint programme. European Energy Research Alliance (EERA). 2011.
  • Future infrastructure forum - a network for resilient and sustainable infrastructure. EPSRC, UK. 2011-2013.
  • Intelligent monitoring, control and security of critical infrastructure systems. COST, Belgium. 2011-2013.
  • Innovation in design, construction and operation of building for people (IDCOP). EPSRC, UK. 2005-2007.

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

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!