The Bartlett School of Architecture

Prof Jonathan Michael Hill

Prof Jonathan Michael Hill

Professor of Architecture and Visual Theory

The Bartlett School of Architecture

Faculty of the Built Environment

Joined UCL
1st Sep 1989

Research summary

My research has helped to pioneer investigation of the relations between the design and experience of architecture. In The Illegal Architect (1998) and Actions of Architecture (2003) I state that architecture is an experience as well as an object or a space. Consequently, I conclude that architecture is made by use as well as by design and argue that user creativity should be a central concern of architects, In Immaterial Architecture (2006) I focus on the perceived absence of matter more than the actual absence of matter, in order to devise further means to explore the interdependent creativity of the designer and the user. At a time when environmental awareness is of increasing relevance, Weather Architecture (2012) considers the history of architecture as a history of weather. For centuries, environmental awareness has been central to the architectural imagination. But, in contrast, current attitudes to climate change often reduce nature-culture relations to a merely technical concern. Questioning the narrowly technocratic conception of the architect as problem solver and moderator of climatic performance, Weather Architecture furthers my investigation of authorship by identifying the weather as a creative architectural force alongside the designer and user. Associating the changing natural world with journeys in self-understanding, and the design process with a visual and spatial autobiography, A Landscape of Architecture, History and Fiction (2016) describes journeys between London and the North Sea in successive centuries, analysing an enduring and evolving environmental tradition from the picturesque and romanticism to modernism. The Architecture of Ruins (2019) identifies an alternative history of architecture, from the sixteenth century to the twenty-first, in which a building is designed, occupied, and imagined as a ruin. This design practice conceives a monument and a ruin as creative, interdependent, and simultaneous themes within a single building dialectic, addressing temporal and environmental questions in poetic, psychological and practical terms, and stimulating questions of personal and national identity, nature and culture, weather and climate, permanence and impermanence, and life and death. 

Teaching summary

At The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL, I have previously led the Part 1 and Part 2 programmes and been acting Head of School and acting Director of Design. Currently, I run MArch Unit 12 with Elizabeth Dow. Recent awards to Unit 12 students include First Prize, RIBA Journal Award for 'Drawing in the 21st Century' (2013), RIBA President's Silver Medal Commendations (2014, 2018), RIBA President's Serjeant Medal for Excellence in Drawing (2015), RIBA SOM Foundation Fellowship (2015), and First Prize, RIBA Eyeline Drawing Competition (2020). I am also Director of the MPhil/PhD Architectural Design programme, which was the first to be established in the UK and is internationally recognised as one of the most influential doctoral programmes dedicated to architectural design. The programme draws on the strengths of design teaching and doctoral research at the Bartlett, encouraging the development of architectural research through the interaction of designing and writing. An architectural design doctoral thesis has two inter-related elements of equal importance—a project and a text—that share a research theme and a productive relationship. The project may be drawn, filmed, built, or use whatever media is appropriate. PhD students I supervised have won First Prize in the RIBA President's Award for Outstanding PhD Thesis (2007) and been shortlisted (2006, 2009, 2010, 2012), and also shortlisted for the RIBA President's Award for Research (2018). PhD students on the programme I direct have won First Prize in the RIBA President's Award for Outstanding PhD Thesis (2014) and been shortlisted (2009), and also won First Prize in the RIBA President's Award of Research (2020) and been shortlisted (2017, 2020). I have supervised 39 PhD students to completion and examined 36 PhD students, including at Aalto University, Aarhus School of Architecture, Architectural Association School of Architecture, Birkbeck College University of London, Cardiff University, University of East London, Edinburgh College of Art, University of Edinburgh, KTH Royal Institute of Technology Stockholm, Universidad Politecnica de Madrid, University of Melbourne, RMIT University Melbourne, Middlesex University, University of Plymouth, University of Queensland, Royal College of Art, and UCL.


University of London
Doctorate, Doctor of Philosophy | 2000
University College London
Other higher degree, Master of Science | 1990
Architectural Association School of Architecture
Other Postgraduate qualification (including professional), Architectural Association Diploma | 1983


An architect and architectural historian, I am the author of The Illegal Architect (1998), Actions of Architecture (2003), Drawing Research (2006), Immaterial Architecture (2006), Weather Architecture (2012), A Landscape of Architecture, History and Fiction (2016), and The Architecture of Ruins (2019); editor of Occupying Architecture (1998), Architecture—the Subject is Matter (2001), Research by Design (2003), and Designs on History: The Architect as Physical Historian (2021); and co-editor of Critical Architecture (2007) and Pattern (2007). I am a commissioning editor of the UCL Press ‘Design Research in Architecture’ book series, and an academic advisor to the African Futures Institute, Dimensions: Journal of Architectural Knowledge, FOLIO: Journal of Contemporary African Architecture, PEAR: Paper of Emerging Architectural Research, and RIBA Educational Publishing Advisory Panel. Venues for solo exhibitions have included the Haus der Architektur, Graz (1997), Architektur-Galerie am Weissenhof, Stuttgart (1998) and the Matthew Gallery, University of Edinburgh (1999). My research has been translated into Catalan, Chinese, Czech, Danish, French, German, Greek, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish and Swedish. I have presented 24 international keynotes, 30 invited conference papers, and over 120 international lectures, including in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Canada, China, Cyprus, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Liechtenstein, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Turkey and the USA.