Professor Sonja Dragojlovic-Oliveira


Personal statement

Sonja is Professor in Architecture and Sustainability Design Innovation with over 20 years innovation and research experience in the sustainability and design sector. She has worked as an associate architect, senior manager and principal investigator in delivery of complex multidisciplinary research, innovation and design projects ranging in value from £200k-£29mil in the UK and internationally. She founded the Radical Architecture Practice for Sustainability network ( in partnership with leading design practitioners and researchers in Sweden, the Netherlands, Portugal, Austria, Serbia and France. She has been appointed as a Thought Leadership Specialist Advisor to the Design Council and is a board member of the World Green Building Council (Serbia), as well as scientific and industry advisory member of numerous scientific committees including ARENA and the New European Bauhaus Collective. Her research, design and teaching practice are fostered through building strong industry and academic links across disciplines within the built environment as well as in computer science, psychology, environmental science and sociology. Her recent work carried out for accelerating socially responsible design capability and capacity for housing delivery has been selected for the House of Lords Science and Technology Select Committee’s report, Off-site manufacture for construction: Building for change and presented as invited keynote at the Westminster Social Forum in Dec 2020. Sonja has worked with UK and EU government institutions, EU business consultancy, international design firms, UK innovation hubs, research institutions and recently housing associations to examine complex cross-disciplinary problems that emerge in the designed environment. Trained in architecture and construction management and engineering, Sonja takes a novel approach to developing new insights into complex climate change phenomena in the designed environment.


Beyond energy services : a multidimensional and cross-disciplinary agenda for Home Energy Management research
Oliveira Sonja, Badarnah Lidia, Barakat Merate, Chatzimichali Anna, Atkins Ed
Energy Research and Social Science (2021)
Energy Modelling in Architecture : A Practice Guide
Oliveira Sonja, Gething Bill, Marco Elena
From data to strata? How design professionals "see" energy use in buildings
Oliveira Sonja, Shortt Harriet, King Louise
Energy Research and Social Science Vol 101 (2023)
Reconceptualising sustainability practice research in architecture : radical ways of seeing and imagining
Oliveira Sonja, Betancour Ana, Mosley Jonathan, Schröder Torsten
ARENA Journal of Architectural Research Vol 8 (2023)
Architects' 'enforced togetherness' : new design affordances of the home
Marco Elena, Tahsiri Mina, Sinnett Danielle, Oliveira Sonja
Buildings and Cities Vol 3, pp. 168-185 (2022)
Prioritising storage practices : a new approach to housing design thinking
Marco Elena, Williams Katie, Oliveira Sonja
Interiority Vol 4, pp. 223-248 (2021)

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Research interests

Currently, Sonja is leading delivery of multiple research and innovation projects (value in 2021 in excess of £1.2mil) aiming to transform interrelated energy governance systems to account for complex multi-phenomenon and multi-scale interconnected encounters between humans, nonhumans, spatial, socio-technological and environmental dimensions of everyday life. As PI on the £586,000 EPSRC project GLOW [EP/V041770/1], she is in collaboration with multiple research and industry partners, looking to develop new communication protocols to manage home energy demand drawing on bee colony and home socio spatial energy behaviour data across three low energy housing communities. She was Co-I on the £772,178 EPSRC project RESIDE [ EP/R008434/1] (with Oxford Brookes) and was lead investigator on the energy evaluation work for the REPLICATE project ( She is also developing a new multimodal visual lexicon for radical architecture practice to better communicate collective needs across diverse multispecies environments. Below is a selection of projects delivered or ongoing since last 5 years:

  • 09/2021 (£586K) EPSRC GLOW-Energy nested bio system flows- from the home to the hub (PI) - Multidisciplinary collaboration with leading international experts in smart energy governance regimes including Energy Systems Catapult
  • 02/2021 (£310K) Department for Education ‘Achieving zero carbon’ bootcamp cpd course for industry (Co-Lead) collaboration with UWE EDM
  • 03/2019 (22K) VC Challenge Fund Automating environmental performance analysis in modular housing (PI) Collaboration with UWE FBL
  • 08/2019 (20K) G4G Energy stories from the campus in collaboration with BAM and Hydrock (Co-Lead) Collaboration with UWE FBL
  • 06/2019 (10K) G4G Perceptions of comfort in MMC housingZedpods study (PI) Collaboration with BCC, YMCA, BHF
  • 03/2018 (EUR 29mil) EU H2020 project Renaissance of Places with Innovative Citizenship and Technology (REPLICATE) Co-leading Housing energy intervention Evaluation Programme in Bristol (Lead)
  • 02/2018-(7K) North Somerset Council NSC Design Guidance and Sustainability Evaluation Consultancy (Lead)
  • 12/2017-(3K) SHAPE Energy Research Challenge Award (with Wroclaw University of Science and Technology) (PI) Invited Contribution in advisory capacity to European Research Challenges in Energy Policy Agenda
  • 10/2018- (£773K) EPSRC RESIDE ‘Residential building energy demand reduction in India’ (Co-I); leading and developing 2 work packages that will provide theoretical underpinning to data analysis and dissemination
  • 03/2017- (£46K) Flagship fund ‘MMC delivery in social housing’ (PI); leading data bid writing as well as research design, data collection, analysis, liaising with client and disseminating- most recently in AJ Offsite construction’ issue 5thOct 2017
  • 09/2017- (£3.5K) Scott Brownrigg sustainability and environmental management consultancy (PI)
  • 01/2017 (£22K) BEIS, International evidence heating controls (PI)
  • 07/2016-09/2017 (£15K) HEA Developing Digital Feedback tools (CoLead













Professional activities

Socially Intelligent Home Energy Networks - views from Glasgow residents
GLOW - Hive Launch Workshop

More professional activities


Carbon Artifacts: a socio-material approach to low and net zero carbon building design from concept to handover (transfer)
Dragojlovic-Oliveira, Sonja (Principal Investigator)
17-Jan-2022 - 16-Jan-2024
Dragojlovic-Oliveira, Sonja (Principal Investigator) Chatzimichali, Anna (Co-investigator) Atkins, Ed (Co-investigator) Badarnah, Lidia (Co-investigator) Barakat, Merate (Co-investigator) Perez Hernandez, Marco (Academic) Bagheri Moghaddam, Faezeh (Researcher)
The GLOW project is funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and will create a new socially smart computational system to equitably and dynamically communicate household energy demand at a neighbourhood scale. Drawing on new insights from Glasgow and Bristol residents’ approaches to managing energy in their homes as well as their perceptions of what this means in their neighbourhoods, a new multidimensional evidence base on the social and spatial characteristics of energy demand behaviour will be developed. The computational system will be shaped by this first of a kind of evidence base as well as theoretical insights from Social Practice and Social Identity Theory to biomimetic approaches in the study of other species’ communication mechanisms such as bees that have evolved an efficient way to communicate collective resource needs.

The project is led by Prof. Sonja Oliveira, Department of Architecture, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow in collaboration with academic partners, the University of Bath (Dr Chatzimichali), the University of the West of England (UWE) (Dr Barakat, Dr Badarnah), the University of Bristol (Dr Atkins) and non-academic partners. The project team will be working closely with Steering Group partners, including Energy Systems Catapult, Energy Super Hub Oxford, Kenza Engineering, Community Infrastructure Group, SNUG, Bristol Housing Festival, Stride Treglown as well as Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study, Purpose and Desire, Oxford Brookes University, Utah State University / Centre for Atmospheric and Space Sciences CASS and The University of Texas at Arlington.
GLOW-Energy nested bio system flows: from the home to the hub (Transfer)
Dragojlovic-Oliveira, Sonja (Principal Investigator)
01-Jan-2021 - 31-Jan-2024
Campus spaces and places - Impact on Student Outcomes
Dragojlovic-Oliveira, Sonja (Principal Investigator)
Systematic Literature review
01-Jan-2021 - 23-Jan-2021
Automating environmental performance analysis in modular housing
Dragojlovic-Oliveira, Sonja (Principal Investigator)
01-Jan-2020 - 01-Jan-2021
Energy Design stories from the campus - Architects' and Engineers' views
Dragojlovic-Oliveira, Sonja (Principal Investigator)
01-Jan-2020 - 01-Jan-2021

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