Professor Chris Tweed BSc, BArch, PhD, FHEA

Head of School / Chair in Sustainable Design

+44 (0)29 2087 6207
2.56, Bute Building
Research group:
Architectural Science Group


Head of School
Director of the Centre for Sustainable Design of the Built Environment (SuDoBE)

External activities

Chris is recognised as a subject specialist in important areas of the architectural curriculum and beyond. He has served as an external examiner for Masters level programmes in Architectural Science and Computing (Sheffield), Digital Design and Media (Edinburgh) and (currently) Sustainable Design in Architecture (Oxford Brookes). Chris has examined PhDs at UCL, Cambridge, Bath, Sheffield, Liverpool, Edinburgh, Queen’s University Belfast and Ulster.

Other information

2015–2018: A Critical Regionalist Approach to Sustainable Urban Development Through The Transformative Use of Green Infrastructure. Collaborative project with School of Planning and Geography in Cardiff, University of Florida and University of Indonesia. Global Innovation Initiative award funded by US State Department and British Council. ~£150k. Co-investigator at Cardiff.

2013–2016: The Health Impacts of Structural Energy Performance Investments in Wales: An Evaluation of the Arbed Programme. National Health Institute for Research (NIHR). £750k. Co-investigator at Cardiff.
2012–2013: NHBC Foundation Co-heating Project. £4,000. Principal investigator in Cardiff.

2011–2013: Conditioning Demand: Older People, Diversity and Thermal Experience. £650k, ~£150k to Cardiff. EPSRC project with University of Manchester, Lancaster University, Exeter University and EDF (France). Principal investigator in Cardiff.

2010–2013: Monitoring the performance of low carbon buildings and technologies in Wales—Work Package 6 of the Low Carbon Built Environment project. £600k. WEFO/LCRI funded research. Work package leader.

2009–2012: Sustainable Refurbishment Of Building Facades And External Walls (SUSREF). ~2M€ (180k€ to Cardiff). European project funded under FP7. Principal Investigator in Cardiff.

2009–2012: Carbon, Control and Comfort: User-centred control systems for comfort, carbon saving and energy management. EPSRC, ~£2M (£313k to Cardiff). Collaborative project with universities in Reading, Greenwich, Leeds, Durham and Loughborough, starting April 2009. Principal Investigator in Cardiff.

2011: Future Works. ~£40k. Technology Strategy Board (TSB) project to evaluate the performance of two Passivhaus dwellings in Ebbw Vale. Principal Investigator.

2011: Camden Passivhaus. ~£10k. Technology Strategy Board (TSB) project to evaluate the performance of a Passivhaus dwelling in Camden. Principal Investigator.

2007–2008: Developing knowledge exchange mechanisms to support Welsh low-carbon housing. Knowledge Exchange Fund, Welsh Assembly Government, ~£50k. Principal Investigator.

2005–07: With M. Sutherland. Investing in Heritage to Regenerate Heritage Cities (INHERIT). Interreg iiic sub-contract from Belfast City Council, ~£30k. Principal Investigator at Queen’s.

2004–07: Pro-active management of the Impact of Cultural Tourism upon Urban Resources and Economies (PICTURE), EC-funded project SSPA-CT-2003-502491, ~£1.5M, €250k to Queen’s University. Principal Investigator at Queen’s.

2000–05: Dynamic interfaces to 3d urban information (£4.5 million total). This project is one of ten being funded from the SPUR grant awarded to Queen’s to establish a Virtual Engineering Centre (VEC). The exact sum to be received by the School of Architecture has yet to be determined, although it is likely to be of the order of £100k. I propose to research augmented reality systems in collaboration with the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at Queen’s. This will consist of a mix of 3d models and real-time monitoring to present time-variant information about a city. Co-investigator.

2000–04: Sustainable development of Urban fragments through an active Integration in Towns (SUIT) EVK4-2000-00540, ~£930k. EC funded project in collaboration with European partners. This project aims to develop methodologies and tools that will help local authorities decide on issues surrounding urban development and cultural heritage. This landmark project was awarded the highest possible rating and is the only project to have been funded under the Framework 5 Environment And Sustainable Development, Key Action 4 : The City of Tomorrow and Cultural Heritage, Action 1.1.4-4.2.3 Foster integration of cultural heritage in the urban setting. The School has developed a method of assessing public perceptions and attitudes about built cultural heritage which has led to additional research with the ARCCHIP project in the Czech Republic. Principal Investigator at Queen’s.

Research interests

Chris’s main interests lie at the interface between people and the built environment and its technologies. Within this broad area a recurring theme of in his studies is the tensions between formal and official policies, procedures and structures, and the informal, ad hoc responses of those on the receiving end of policy, guidance/advice and designs. This work is being advanced through funded research, such as the recent EPSRC projects, Carbon, Control and Comfort: User-centred control systems for comfort, carbon saving and energy management and Conditioning Demand: Older People, Diversity and Thermal Experience. It is also evident in the research carried out by PhD students under Chris’s supervision who are conducting research on such topics as the informal responses to low carbon design advice and legislation in architectural practice, insulation installer practices on site, ad hoc low impact housing development in Wales, how people use transition spaces in public buildings, and community based apple harvesting in urban areas. A second key interest in Chris’s research is how people experience the built environment with a particular emphasis on thermal comfort and experience. This currently manifests itself in an overarching interest in designing for usability and delight. This is summarised in his recent talk at TEDxCardiff, which can be viewed here:

Research projects

Research supervisor

Main expertise

My background is in architecture, but I have subsequently carried out research firstly on energy in buildings, including on the development of HTB, and subsequently on a range of topics that relate to the interaction between people and built environment technologies. This work has ranged from studies of people’s perception of and attitudes to built cultural heritage, engagement with information and communications technology, assisted living, use of computer models in practice and thermal comfort as perceived and managed by building occupants. A holistic approach to building performance evaluation has become an important strand in recent research, particularly when applied to energy and environmental new build and retrofit.

Supervision experience

3 to completion at the WSA, currently supervising 5 PhDs.

Additional supervision interests

A common theme of my research is the mismatch between rational conceptions of how people should or do interact with the built environment and its technologies and the everyday behaviour of people engaging in design, construction and use of buildings and their systems. This interest underpins a broad interest in user-centred design.

Teaching profile

Chris has taught topics across the architectural education spectrum ranging from thermal aspects of building technology and acoustics through to philosophy in design and environmental psychology. His current teaching relates closely to research interests described above and focuses on how developing a better understanding of human factors can inform architectural and urban design to produce a better built environment, aligned more closely to people’s needs and wants.

Chris studied at the Welsh School of Architecture and conducted research for a doctorate on energy modelling in buildings. He has 30+ years’ experience researching and teaching architecture, information technologies, energy conservation and sustainable design of the built environment. He was appointed Chair in Sustainable Design and Director of the BRE Trust Centre for Sustainable Design of the Built Environment (SuDoBE) in 2007 and has a track record of attracting research funding from the UK’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and from the European Commission. Before returning to Cardiff he was Head of the School of Architecture at Queen’s University of Belfast from 2002-2005, a Visiting Professor at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh in 2000, and Director of the EdCAAD (Edinburgh Computer Aided Architectural Design) at the University of Edinburgh. Chris has published extensively in peer-reviewed, international journals and conferences on sustainability, energy conservation, CAD and information systems. He was a member of the sub-panel for Architecture and the Built Environment in the UK’s Research Assessment Exercise 2008, and is currently a member of the EPSRC Peer Review College and reviewer for the French Agence Nationale de la Recherche (ANR). He was appointed Head of the Welsh School of Architecture in January 2014.