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 architectural objects and the practice 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 space. Consequently, I conclude that architecture is made by use as well as by design and state that the user can be as creative as the designer. Arguing that user creativity should be a central concern of architectural design, I also recognise that use may involve design, and vice versa. 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 creativity of the designer and the user, which may be complimentary or conflicting. The user decides whether architecture is immaterial. But the architect, or any other designer, devises material conditions in which that decision can be made. Emphasising that architecture is not just conventional building fabric, Immaterial Architecture concludes with an ‘Index’ of thirty architectural ‘materials’ that can be perceived as immaterial, such as condensation, glass and rust. 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 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. Most architectural research focuses on one subject, such as history, technology or design, and one output, such as the text, drawing or object. In contrast, my research combines historical investigations, material studies and design propositions, results in books, exhibitions and installations and encompasses personal scholarship, teaching, collective projects and public discourse. 

Teaching summary

I have previously co-ordinated the BSc and Diploma programmes and been acting Head of School and acting Director of Design. Currently, I run MArch Unit 12 with Matthew Butcher and Elizabeth Dow. I am also Director of the MPhil/PhD Architectural Design programme, which was the first to be established in the UK and is internationally recognized 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.


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) and Weather Architecture (2012), editor of Occupying Architecture (1998), Architecture—the Subject is Matter (2001) and Research by Design (2003), and co-editor of Critical Architecture (2007) and Pattern (2007). I am also a commissioning editor of the Ashgate ‘Design Research in Architecture’ book series. 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 13 international keynotes and over 100 international lectures, including in Australia, Austria, Denmark, Canada, Cyprus, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Korea, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan and the USA.