Dr David Grierson




Personal statement

I am Reader in Architecture and have been Deputy Head of the department since 2011. As the department's lead on international activity since 2014 I have worked with colleagues to establish collaborative agreement with institutions in East Asia (China and Inner Mongolia), South Asia (India and Hong Kong), Southeast Asia (Malaysia), the Middle East (Qatar and Kuwait), the USA (Arizona), and led the Faculty's first overseas engagement visit to the Middle East (to UAE, Qatar). I am pleased to say that the number of students from overseas now studying Architecture annually at Strathclyde has doubled in the past 5 years, and I believe our international academic profile has never been higher. In directing the ground breaking Faculty-wide postgraduate programme in Sustainable Engineering over the past fifteen years it has been a privilege for me to see well over a thousand students from our integrated engineering and architecture courses successfully graduate and advance their careers in industry and practice. On a more personal note I was honoured to be appointed as the first ever visiting professor at Arcosanti in Arizona, USA in 2013, subsequently launching a new MSc in Architecture and Ecology there, and then joining the Steering Committee of the Cosanti Foundation to guide the strategic development of Arcosanti in the years ahead. I currently lead the CRiDS research cluster at Strathclyde towards resilient and sustainable responses to social, environmental, and economic challenges associated with buildings and cities, in both developed and developing countries. My own research contributions, that aim to support design decision-making for a more balanced relationship between the built & natural environments and develop innovative teaching methods for sustainable development, have led to the supervision of around 40 postgraduate researchers over the past ten years and over 80 peer-reviewed publications in these areas.

Selected Publications:

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Area of Expertise

Academic Engagement as:

  • Grant Reviewer for Research Councils (Austrian Science Fund, ESRC UK, NSFC China, ANR France, DFT Germany, NWO Netherlands)
  • Visiting Professor (USA and Qatar)
  • PhD Examiner (in the UK)
  • Postgraduate Course Examiner (University College London, Queens University Belfast, Sheffield Hallam University)
  • Quality Assurance Scrutineer (the Bartlett, UCL)
  • Senior Academic Staff Selector/Interviewer (USA, Spain, UK)
  • Co-Editor of Routledge Book Series (Architecture and Urbansim in the Global South)
  • Co-Editor of Journal Special Issues (International Journal of Architectural Research, Open House International)
  • Member of Journal Editorial Boards (ArchNet - IJAR, OHI, European Journal of Engineering Education, Design Principles and Practices, Altralineas Ediziona, International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, International Journal of Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability)
  • Conference organiser (UK) and participator (Canada, Italy, New Zealand, Germany, Turkey, India, Spain, USA, and UK)
  • Workshop organiser (Guatemala, Italy, Belgium, USA and UK)
  • Invited guest lecturer (India, Qatar, Italy, Czech Republic, Malaysia, Hong Kong and UK)

Industry Engagement with:

  • The Scottish Executive (Building the Curriculum)
  • The Government of Catalonia (Serra Hunter Programme)
  • The Cosanti Foundation (Strategic Steering Committee)
  • The Royal Academy of Engineering (Visiting Professor in Sustainability)
  • Zero Waste Scotland (Designing Out Construction Waste)
  • Scottish Enterprise (Design Consultant)
  • Glasgow City Council (Urban Design Panel)
  • East Ayrshire Council (Design Consultant)
  • North Lanarkshire Council (Design Consultant)
  • Scottish Housing Associations (Design Consultant)

Public Engagement and Outreach with:

  • The British Council (India, Malaysia and Hong Kong)
  • The English Schools Foundation (Hong Kong)
  • The Ellen MacArthur Foundation (UK)
  • Yew Chung Educational Foundation (Hong Kong)
  • Singapore International School (Hong Kong)
  • King George V School (Hong Kong)
  • Victoria Shanghai Academy (Hong Kong)
  • Renaissance College (Hong Kong)

Prize And Awards

Cosanti Foundation Alumni Award
Inaugural Cosanti Foundation Alumni Award
Selected entry to the UK Universities' Climate Innovation Showcase, 'Building futures with Nature in mind'.'
Selected entry to the UK Universities' Climate Innovation Showcase, 'Construction sustainable futures'
Appointed External Examiner at INTO, Queens University Belfast
Appointed External Examiner at Sheffield Hallam University

More prizes and awards

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"Patterns" of Threshold Spaces in the Historical City of Jeddah : Investigating the Relationship Between the Public Spaces and Residential Units
Massoud Bama, Grierson David, Salama Ashraf M
Architecture and Urbanism in the Global South Architecture and Urbanism in the Global South (2023)
Architecture and Urbanism in a Contact Zone : Histories of Difference, Migrancy and Dwelling in Kolkata
Mukherjee Campbell Mark, Grierson David, Salama Ashraf M
Architecture and Urbanism in the Global South Architecture and Urbanism in the Global South (2023)
A study on children's multi-sensorial experiences of nature : design approaches and preferences for primary school architecture, case studies in Glasgow, Scotland, UK
To Phuong, Grierson David
ArchNet-IJAR: International Journal of Architectural Research (2023)
Children's experience of nature in primary school environments : contextual influences and child-nature-distance ranges case studies in Glasgow, Scotland and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Thanh Phuong To, Grierson David
VIII International Scientific and Technical Conference (2023)
Uncertain Regional Urbanism in Venezuela : Government, Infrastructure and Environment
Capra Ribeiro Fabio, Grierson David, Salama Ashraf M
Architecture and Urbanism in the Global South Architecture and Urbanism in the Global South (2023)
Urban Architecture and Local Spaces in Pakistan
Grierson David, Ahmed Suneela
Architecture and Urbanism in the Global South Architecture and Urbanism in the Global South (2022)

More publications

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International Teaching Profile:

David's academic activity spans over 30 years. In addition to the delivery of courses in the UK and mainland Europe (Italy, Belgium, Czech Republic) this includes invited teaching contributions on architecture and urban design in the United States, Guatemala, Qatar, Turkey, Malaysia, Hong Kong, and China. His teaching emphasizes research-based transformative learning methods, utilising digital technologies, within interdisciplinary education for sustainable development. His aim is to help accommodate the evolving concept of sustainability using a variety of pedagogical techniques that promote participatory learning and thinking skills. Some examples of international teaching contributions are:

  • MSc in Architecture and Ecology. Arcosanti, Arizona, USA
  • Ecology, Biophilia, and Cities of Tomorrow. Taylor's University, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  • Ecology, Biophila, and Sustainable Architecture. Victoria Shanghai Academy, Kowloon, Hong Kong
  • Sustainability and Ecology. Hamad Bin Khalifa University, Doha, Qatar
  • Didactical Activities using Contemporary Learning Methodologies and Materials: MSc Sustainable Engineering, Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy 
  • Re-Thinking Urban Life. Bahcesehir University and Yildiz Technical University, Istanbul, Turkey
  • How Do We Begin Again? University of San Carlos, Guatemala City, Guatemala

Teaching Roles and Activities:

  • Head of the Graduate School of Engineering (2012 - 2018)
  • Programme Director of Faculty Postgraduate Programme in Sustainable Engineering (2004 - present). Over 1,000 postgraduate students from architecture and engineering have graduated from the programme since 2004
  • Lead Academic on Succceeding for the Workplace: postgraduate skills training (2005 - 2008)
  • Course Director MSc Architecture and Ecology (2015 - present)
  • PG Sustainability module leader (2004 - present)
  • Pg Arcology module leader (2015 - present)
  • PG Group Project Supervision 
  • Masters Thesis Supervision
  • UG Ecology, Sustainability and the Built Environment leader (2004 - present)
  • UG Dissertation Supervision 

Primary PhD Supervision topics have included:

  • Participatory Design and its role in Sustainable Development
  • Sustainable Design and the Impact of Small Scale Renewable Energy Interventions in Rural West Africa
  • Sustainable Development Policies, the Problem of Housing Collapse in Iran
  • Walking to Occupational Activities in Basra City: developing and testing an ecological model to support evidence-based feedback in neighbourhood planning 
  • The Development of a Sustainable Building Management System for Iran
  • Towards Space-Nature-Syntax: the influence of spatial configuration and a view of Nature on social interaction, with Arcosanti, Arizona, USA, as case study
  • Education for Sustainable Development (ESD)
  • Optimizing Regenerative Design for Sustainability
  • The Sensibility of Material Culture and Structural Performance
  • The Relationship between the Physical Environment and Human Behaviour


Contribution to Reports on Education for Sustainable Development:

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Research Interests

David's research interests and experience extend from his doctoral work in Ecology, Sustainability and the City completed in 2000. His early work on ecological approaches to environmental sustainability has led to research activity in Asia, Africa, North America and Europe involving architecture, urbanism, sustainable development of the built environment, education for sustainable development, design for sustainability, and more recently, biophilia and space nature syntax methods. Awards and funding secured and managed on projects related to these topics totals over £1M since 2005.

Funded Projects:

  • The Nepal School Project (Feb 2018 - ). Principal Investigator with Strathclyde Engineering for Development.
  • Designing Out Construction Waste: guidance and pilot support (Oct 2017 - Jan 2018) Zero Waste Scotland. Principal Investigator with Ricardo Energy and Environment. 
  • BC-SDBE: Building Capacity: Sustainable Development of the Built Environment: British Council Newton Institutional Links Project (Oct 2016 - Oct 2018) British Council. Co-I.
  • KLABS: Creating Knowledge Labs for Sustainable and Resilient Environments (Oct 2015 - Oct 2018) European Commission Funding. Co-I.
  • Sustainable Design and the Impact of Small Scale Renewable Energy Intervention in Rural West Africa (Oct 2014 – Sep 2018) EPSRC Doctoral Funding. Principal Investigator.
  • Participatory Design and its Role in Sustainable Development: Rethinking Technologies for Healthcare and Water Infrastructure in the Developing World (Feb 2014 - Sep 2018) EPSRC Doctoral Funding. Principal Investigator.
  • Analysing and Testing the Architectural & Ecological Model Developed at Arcosanti, Arizona, USA (Oct 2013 - Sep 2017) EPSRC, Cosanti Foundation, Doctoral Funding. Principal Investigator.
  • Mainstreaming Innovation (Sep 2012 – Sep 2013) ERDF, SFC, and Scottish Government. Consortia Project with nine HEIs: Principal Investigator at Strathclyde.
  • Online CPD for Design Professionals (Jun 2012 – Jun 2013) SFC Knowledge Exchange Development Fund. Principal Investigator.
  • Evaluation of Intelligent Homes Prototype (Feb 2012 – Oct 2012) Scottish Enterprise. Principal Investigator.
  • Benefit Analysis of Edge Fall Prevention System (Feb 2011 – Feb 2012) ERDF, Scottish Government. Principal Investigator with Roof Profiles Ltd.
  • Promoting Inclusive Education through the Built Environment (Oct 2010 – Oct 2013) University of Strathclyde Doctoral Award. Principal Investigator.
  • CIC Start Online (Sept 2009 - Sept 2012) ERDF, SFC, and Scottish Government. Consortia Project with seven HEIs: Principal Investigator at Strathclyde.
  • Development of Online Modules in Entrepreneurship (Oct 2009 – Oct 2010) RCUK. Principal Investigator.
  • Project Gateway to the Professions: Urban Design Skills (Oct 2008 - 2009) Royal Town Planning Institute. Co-I.
  • Strathclyde Masters Programme in Sustainability (Jan 2009 – Jan 2010) EPSRC. Principal Investigator.
  • Sustainable Engineering EPSRC Studentships (Oct 2008 – Oct 2009) EPSRC. Principal Investigator.
  • Gartcosh Steel Mill Regeneration Project (Nov, 2007) Scottish Enterprise Lanarkshire. Principal Investigator.
  • Sustainable Engineering EPSRC Studentships (Oct 2007 – Oct 2008) EPSRC. Principal Investigator.
  • Visiting Professor in Engineering for Sustainable Development (Oct 2007 - Sep 2009) Royal Academy of Engineering. Principal Investigator.
  • Sustainable Engineering EPSRC Studentships (Oct 2006 – Oct 2007) EPSRC. Principal Investigator.
  • Succeeding for the Workplace (Developing Generic Skills Workshops for Postgraduates) (Oct 2005) RCUK (Roberts). Principal Investigator.
  • Sustainable Engineering EPSRC Studentships (Oct 2005 – Oct 2006) EPSRC. Principal Investigator.
  • Online CPD for the Construction Industry (Sep 2005 – Sep 2006) SHEFC CPD Development Fund. Co-I.
  • Sustainable Design: Community Heating, CHP, and SUDS at Kirkintilloch, Scotland (Jun 2005 – Jun 2006) Energy Savings Trust. Principal Investigator with Hillhead Housing Association.
  • Rationalising Postgraduate Provision across the Faculty of Engineering (Oct 2004 – Oct 2005) EPSRC. Principal Investigator.


Professional Activities

Zero Carbon and the Built Environment
Participation in Hong Kong English Schools Foundation University Fair 2020
Participation in Hong Kong British Council Study UK Fair 2020
Renaissance College
Visiting researcher
Victoria Shanghai Academy
Visiting researcher
King George V School
Visiting researcher

More professional activities


SFC Alliances for Research Challenges (ARCS)
Grierson, David (Co-investigator)
Scottish Research Alliance for Energy, Homes and Livelihoods
01-Jan-2023 - 01-Jan-2027
KA107 staff and PhD students mobility with the University of Belgrade, Serbia
Dimitrijevic, Branka (Principal Investigator) Salama, Ashraf (Co-investigator) Grierson, David (Co-investigator)
3 academics and 2 PhD students involved in mobility activities
01-Jan-2018 - 31-Jan-2020
Sustainable Development for Ecotourism.
Grierson, David (Principal Investigator) Salama, Ashraf (Principal Investigator)
01-Jan-2018 - 01-Jan-2021
Development of the Space/Nature Syntax Method
Grierson, David (Principal Investigator) Munro, Karen (Researcher)
02-Jan-2017 - 01-Jan-2019
Zero Waste Scotland Circular Economy Investment Fund Project
Grierson, David (Principal Investigator) Dimitrijevic, Branka (Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2017 - 01-Jan-2019
BC-SDBE:Building Capacity: Sustainable Development of the Built Environment: British Council Newton Institutional Links Project
Salama, Ashraf (Principal Investigator) Grierson, David (Co-investigator) Pour Rahimian Leilabadi, Farzad (Co-investigator)
15-Jan-2016 - 30-Jan-2018

More projects

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Dr David Grierson

Email: d.grierson@strath.ac.uk
Tel: 548 3069