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Dr Marianna Marchesi MArch, MSc, PhD

Dr Marianna Marchesi

MArch, MSc, PhD

Lecturer in Architectural Design
Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow

+44 (0)29 2087 0923
Room 3.05, Bute Building, King Edward VII Avenue, Cardiff, CF10 3NB


I am a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow in the Welsh School of Architecture at Cardiff University.

My main responsibilities at the University concern:

  • To independently develop research objectives within Sustainable Design/Urban Engineering/Circular Economy projects or proposals for own or joint research including research funding acting as a Principle Investigator (PI).
  • To generate and pursue independent and original research ideas in the field of research and support the initiation of new lines of research in related areas.
  • To disseminate research findings using appropriate and effective national and international publications, research seminars, meetings and conferences.
  • To build and create networks both internally and externally to the university.
  • To engage effectively with industrial, commercial and public-sector organisations, professional institutions, other academic institutions, regionally and nationally.
  • To promote the School and its work to the wider University and the outside world.

External activities

  • Reviewer of the international peer-review journal Automation in Construction.


I am responsible for the development of a European Commission-funded H2020-MSCA-IF (2018-2020) with the contribution of Arup Foresight (London, UK) on the implementation of the circular economy in the design of social housing.

I hold a Master of Architecture at the University of Ferrara (Italy), and later received a Master of Science in Sustainable Buildings at the Free University of Bozen-Bolzano (Italy). Here, I also obtained a Ph.D. in Sustainable Energy and Technologies focused on Design Research for the design development of mass-customised modular houses in collaboration with MIT (USA) where I spent a research year.

As a researcher assistant, I collaborated at the Free University of Bozen-Bolzano on the development of sustainable high-performance building designs and technologies for two years. I also served as a teaching assistant in Architectural Design courses at the IUAV University (Italy) for three years, and at the Free University of Bozen-Bolzano (Italy) supporting undergraduate and postgraduate students in design studio activities.

As an architect, I initially worked in architectural firms for four years, and then, as a freelance architect for another four years, collaborating with building contractors, technicians and suppliers on the implementation of full-integrated high-quality buildings.








  • Erlacher, P. and Marchesi, M. 2014. Improving the energy efficiency of existing building envelope. In: Riso, V. ed. Modern Building Reuse: Documentation, Maintenance, Recovery and Renewal.. Universidade do Minho.: Escola de Arquitectura, pp. 121-137.
  • Marchesi, al. 2014. Axiomatic design approach for the conceptual design of sustainable buildings. Presented at: The 8th International Conference on Axiomatic Design, Lisbon, Portugal, 24-26 Sept 2014 Presented at Mourao, A. and Gonclaves-Coelho, A. eds.Proceedings of the Eigth International Conference on Axiomatic Design (ICAD 2014). Monte de Caparica, Portugal:
  • Marchesi, M. and Paradisi, I. 2014. The role of the customer in building design: a literature review. Presented at: 3rd International Workshop on Design in Civil and Environmental Engineering, Kongens Lyngby, Denmark, 22-23 Aug 2014 Presented at Jensen, L. B. and Thompson, M. K. eds.Proceedings of the 3rd International Workshop on Design in Civil and Environmental Engineering. pp. 129-136.


Research interests

I am interested in the implementation of a sustainable, resilient and efficient built environment by the application of a circular economy approach combined to advanced design tools and industrial processes on the development of innovative building systems and components.

Research projects

H2020 MSCA IF 2017 – CircuBED: Promoting sustainability in social housing through circular economy and social innovation

In cities around the world, housing demand is high and predicted to increase. Cities struggle with the challenge of providing housing to low and middle-income populations at reasonable costs. In addition, the built environment remains wasteful despite progress in energy efficiency. New approaches are needed to develop solutions that provide housing for citizens of different income groups and their changing needs in efficient buildings with reduced resources consumption and waste generation while social and economic growth is boosted.

This project proposes the application of a circular economy approach combined with social innovation for dealing with this complex challenge. The research will involve a social housing community in London for rethinking an interior system of new social houses focusing on components frequently personalised, maintained, repaired and replaced. A kitchen, as a key example, will be redesigned as a hybrid combination of products and services.

The solution will be developed to allow the community to easily and locally personalise, maintain, refurbish and remanufacture it in order to minimise waste and material consumption and maximise social and economic benefits for the community. This opens a space for social innovation: a social enterprise will be envisioned within the community to involve members in locally-based production/construction, adjustment, refurbishment and remanufacturing activities (by a Fab-Lab).

This initiative will also promote return mechanisms as well as provide training, space and tools for use (by a Library of Things). In this way, residents may be engaged in DIY activities giving them a sense of home ownership, ensuring care, and encouraging a sense of community. This experiment will be finally assessed to evaluate a new means to boost sustainability by linking a new way of producing, a new way of consuming, and new kinds of relationship between people and between people and the environment through circular economy and social innovation.