The Bartlett School of Architecture

Dr Christopher Leung

Dr Christopher Leung


The Bartlett School of Architecture

Faculty of the Built Environment

Joined UCL
22nd Sep 2014

Research summary

My research interests lie in the environmental design of buildings, in particular investigating novel methods for harnessing different passive flows of energy and mass through buildings. I have contributed to the field through collaborations by making technical inventions in a Wind-catcher system (1999) and dynamic external insulation for buildings (DEI pavillion in 2009) leading to patent applications through UCL's commercialisation arm.

I am the lead investigator in the development of a physical solar simulation facility at the Bartlett. This is carried out in collaboration with UCL's department of Physics and Astrophysics. The facility is built to carry out physical experimentation with novel types of energy-conversion techniques, in particular taking forward my doctoral work on applying thermal actuators within the built environment.

I have been a researcher in an EPSRC-funded project investigating "Computational Seeding: Bio-receptivity in novel concrete materials" as part of a team working in close collaboration with UPC Barcelona and industry-partner Laing O'Rourke. My role was the design, installation and management of a comprehensive environmental monitoring campaign over a year-long observation study of eighteen full-size bio-seeded panels (10m x 1.5m). I was the lead investigator of water absorption in porous material interactions under realistic conditions through on-site empirical studies and laboratory-based physical experiments.

I have pursued individual original research with a sponsored Engineering Doctorate (Eng.D) at the Bartlett investigating the application of thermal actuator technology within the built-environment. This work has led to proof-of-concept demonstrations of the possibility for different seasonal responses driven solely by passive exchanges of thermal energy between buildings and its surroundings.

As an architect / research engineer I approach investigations with virtual computational and practical empirical tools, I have conducted a variety of observational studies through designing instrumentation systems to collect data in close collaboration with others.

I have a specialism in high-resolution robotic photographic surveys of building surfaces for gathering colour data for superimposition onto LiDAR scan data. This was used on the EPSRC-funded bio-receptive concrete observation study to capture data on surface growth over time.

I have expertise using imaging to capture the qualitative behaviour as well as evaluate the quantitative performance of working systems built to test design options. I work in the visible-band, near infra-red and LW thermal band. As an analytical tool, I have built up experience planning experiments and observational studies as well as interpreting and analysing visible and LW thermal images. In the LW infra-red, I have expertise in quantitative measurements in the spatial the thermal domain. I am a certified Thermographer to ITC category 1 and 2 compliant with ISO 18436 (1, 2 and 8).

Panoramic thermogram showing the comparative solar absorption in MPC vs OPC concrete under clear-sky conditions

Teaching summary

I am a design tutor in the Bartlett's post-graduate M.Arch course on Design for Manufacture. Teaching focuses on advanced manufacturing and fabrication processes, placing students at the interface between designers and makers in the production of architecture through direct physical engagement with the underlying processes and materials.

I have previously taught in the Bartlett's M.Sc in Architectural Computing and the post-professional masters course in architectural design (MArch) in the BiotA and the Interactive Architecture Labs (IAL). I also teach environmental design of buildings, specialising in passive approaches to building services at the University of Westminster.


University College London
FHEA, Teaching and Learning in Higher Education | 2018
University College London
EngD, Virtual Environments | 2014
University College London
ARB, Professional Practice in Architecture | 2002
University College London
MArch, Architecture | 2001
University College London
DipArch, Architecture | 1998
University College London
BSc Hons, Architecture | 1994


I trained as an architect at the Bartlett School of Architecture where I qualified for professional practice in 2002. I followed an interdisciplinary path toward gaining experience in industry by working in environmental design consultancy and a variety of architectural practices. This gave me a diverse base of experience, from which I have adopted a holistic approach to design.

I pursue this through attempting to reconcile the physical construction of buildings and the spaces it encloses with its environmental design for human occupation, with a strong emphasis on passive approaches to environmental considerations especially thermal management. I focus on manufacturing possibilities and technical innovations for variable performance building facades.