The Bartlett School of Architecture

Mr Dirk Krolikowski

Mr Dirk Krolikowski

Associate Professor

The Bartlett School of Architecture

Faculty of the Built Environment

Joined UCL
3rd Jan 2012

Research summary

As active member of the Architectural Research Group at the Bartlett, Dirk focuses on three research themes which strive to contribute to the ongoing debate within the profession concerning the role of architectural practitioners in response to technological advances and in turn how education of future Architects should evolve to address these.

I. Innovative structures

How in the light of emerging methods of fabrication but also of new methods of conception (parametric/associative design) do we approach the design and conceptional implementation of structural systems? How do new digital design tools and the advance in mass customization influence tomorrows' buildings and structural systems with particular view to their integration?

II. System Integration and the 'culture of making'

The afore mentioned tools and advanced methods of conception also have the potential to enhance the level of building systems (services integration, performative facades etc.) and their integration in buildings. Of particular interest are bionic principles and their application. Other than static systems it aims for the integration of flexible and adaptive systems and components to increase performance while minimizing the use of resources. Part of the research with digital tools will also the critical evaluation of recent applications of these tools. Methods of research are testing on elemental level with the incorporation of latest customized fabrication methods (Rapid Prototyping, Rapid Fabrication, 3D steel‐printing etc.) which reflects the ‘culture of making’. 

III. The Digital Master Builder (Digital Practice)

As the everyday use of digital tools becomes more and more important, a successful integration of these technologies into teaching and practice, resulting in a fluent understanding of these technologies(e.g. Building Information Modeling, parametric modeling) is central to the proposed research as it is key to the development of the profession . The aim of successful application of these technologies and the ownership of design team data represents a significant and unique chance for the profession of the architect: It can bring the trade back to its lost role of a generalist, a conductor of an orchestra ‐ basically a ‘Digital Master Builder’ with the digital model as representation of design team data in his domain and control. The research will reflect the notion of the architect as generalist, a conductor of a orchestra and so will have the topic synthesis of architecture and technology at its core. Methods of research will be ‘Digital workflow’documentation of leading design practices and data mining in form of interviews with industry leaders . These are intended to be supported in collaboration with sponsors from the building industry particular with view to the research on ‘digital workflow’ efficiency between disciplines. Technology transfer from the aeronautical and automotive industry to understand how design team data and virtual fabrication models (‘The Virtual Bird’) is managed will be another method of research.


Dirk Krolikowski is associate Professor at the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL.

He studied architecture at  the RWTH Aachen University Germany and the University of Washington USA. He received several international scholarships and awards for his work amongst them the Arch+ prize. After working for practices in Germany and the UK he for more than a decade worked for the Richard Rogers Partnership (now RSH+P) working on projects such as The Leadenhall Building in London. 

He and Falko Schmitt are Founding Partners of DKFS.io, a practice that has won numerous international competitions and has been recognized by the Chicago Athenaeum as one of the '40 under 40' of Europe.  

Dirk maintains a particular interest in the relationship between architecture and engineering in terms of achieving an interdisciplinary approach to design.  He has pioneered the application of advanced modelling tools and the implementation of new digital design tools such as advanced BIM as well as its use by large multidisciplinary project teams.

As an Adjunct Professor, he has been teaching his own unit at RWTH Aachen University where he explored the implementation of new technologies into design and fabrication with support of ARUP, AIRBUS and other industry leaders.

Next to his research commitments he teaches UNIT 14 in the MArch P2 programme with an emphasis on research led design.