The Bartlett School of Architecture

Prof Marjan Colletti

Prof Marjan Colletti

Professor of Architecture and Post Digital Practice

The Bartlett School of Architecture

Faculty of the Built Environment

Joined UCL
26th Sep 2005

Research summary

A known advocate of digital/computational design promoting research-based teaching since 2000, investigating the feedback system between designer-computer and how it changes how a ‘(post)digital architect’ imagines, produces and communicates design. Students gain often virtuoso design and software/hardware skills plus a theoretical understanding of the contemporary debate and of their own work.

Over the years, I have developed a methodology targeted at the shifting paradigms of design-based research in architecture. It is focused on digital architecture, recently on post-digital practice (the world’s first and only professorship), investigating how digital technologies can change the way we think, discuss and build architecture.

Main research agendas:

Post-Digitality (probing the present)

Teaching: software/hardware/machinic skills. Contemporariness and innovation are paramount to my teaching/research/own work. I am particularly interested in a hybrid approach between CAD processes (2D drafting, 2,5D drawings, 3D modeling, 3,5D simulations) and CAD/CAM processes (2D laser cutting, 2,5D CNC milling, 3D Rapid Prototyping; 3,5D robotic fabrication). My highly skilled students have a clear career advantage in leading architectural practices.

Research: technology/novelty/contemporariness. It investigates the impact of digital technologies onto contemporary architecture, how they can widen the architectural vocabulary and improve the way we design and make buildings. It encompasses software/hardware advances, novel fabrication techniques, building materials and their use involving industrial robots (REX|LAB @ Innsbruck University).

Digital Culture (understanding the past)

Teaching: structure/form/ornament. Advanced computer-aided techniques/technologies are key in developing new paradigms in the 21st century; yet skilled students should also be capable to critically reflect on their own production and the on-going discourse in architecture (technologies/aesthetics/environments). Strong references to past and present cultural phenomena complement my teaching: e.g. the revival of ornamentation, the Neo-Baroque, European Organicism, Islamic Architecture etc..

Research: context/aesthetics/language. It contextualizes architecture as cultural production, embedding new forms/materials and a revised understanding of performance/ornament into a longer history of art/architecture/philosophy. A particular interest at the contemporary Neo-Baroque contributed to its theoretical/aesthetic foundations. With this ‘view in the rear mirror’, architects may accept their accountability towards society as much as individual clients.

Hybrid Environments (envisaging the future)

Teaching: cities/territory/infrastructure. Architects carry a huge responsibility in reprogramming the built and natural habitat to respond to the acute problems of ecology/sustainability. I teach my students how architecture is interfaced between technology and nature; and how intelligent architecture should provide adaptive and novel solutions in terms of form/program/materiality/energy/cities/environments… Students develop their work in various scales, from micro (materiality, bio-technologies) to 1:1 (prototyping, fabrication) to macro (understanding cities, landscapes and ecosystems of the Alpine territory but not only).

Research: typologies/nature/artificiality. This research ‘pro-jects’ (designs and predicts) possible scenarios for adaptive building typologies/novel fabrication techniques/material intelligences as well as buildings/cities that interface stronger with the natural environment. Several of my projects such as the Alga(e)zebo and the Algae-Cellunoi explore architecture meeting nature halfway; I have also led various design studios, collaborated trans-disciplinarily to build various installations related to this topic.

Teaching summary

Over the years, I have developed a teaching methodology targeted at the shifting paradigms of design-based research in architecture. It is focused on digital architecture, recently on post-digital practice (the world’s first and only professorship), investigating how digital technologies can change the way we think, discuss and build architecture.


University College London
Doctorate, Doctor of Philosophy | 2008
University College London
Other higher degree, Master of Architecture | 1999
Universita Iuav di Venezia
First Degree, Staatsexamen | 1999
Universita Iuav di Venezia
Doctorate, Dottore | 1998
Universitat Innsbruck
Other Postgraduate qualification (including professional), Diplom- Ingenieur | 1997
Liceo Classico
A level, Scottish Higher or equivalent, Diploma di Maturita Classica | 1991


Architect, educator, researcher, and author.

I am a p/t Full Professor in Architecture and PostDigital Practice at the Bartlett School of Architecture UCL. I am involved in a plethora of managerial discussions and strategic decisions on teaching curricula, research impact, networking platforms etc. In the past I have been a Visiting Professor at the TU Vienna Austria (2011/12), UT Arlington Texas US (2010), UCLA Los Angeles US (2010) and UIBK (2007); workshop instructor in Taichung, Taiwan, Copenhagen, Oslo and Paris. I have also been a Senior Lecturer at Westminster University in London, Guest Lecturer at KIAD Canterbury, and Digital Augmentation Course tutor at the RCA London.

In parallel I am a p/t Chair Professor in Building Design and Construction and Head of the Institute for Experimental Architecture at Innsbruck University Innsbruck. In order to integrate digital design and advanced building and fabrication technologies, I established REX|LAB, the robotic experimentation laboratory, composed of a transportable tri-ABB IRB2600 multimove system, the first multi-robot setup to be integrated in an architecture school worldwide.

My goal is to strengthen both faculties’ international reputation as the most innovative and experimental schools of architecture in the world.

My own/ students’/studio mam-arch work, which I co-founded in 2000 with Marcos Cruz, has been widely published and exhibited (approx. 80+ exhibitions in Europe, Brazil and Asia). My studio work include a won competition for a 180.000m2 entertainment complex in front of the Summer Palace in Beijing and the 2005 Lisbon Book Fair, visited by 2 million people in 2 weeks.

I am a respected member of the international architectural community. Published books include Meeting Nature Halfway. Architecture Interfaced between Technology and Environment, the 80th anniversary edition of AD, Exuberance: New Virtuosity in Contemporary Architecture, March/April (no 2) (Wiley, 2010) and the monograph Digital Poetics: An Open Theory of Design-Research in Architecture (Routledge, 2013). Other publications include Hyperarticulated Morphologies (listLab, 2015), PoroCITIES (listLab, 2013), Research Projects 2009 (Bartlett UCL), Research and Project Almanac 2011-13 (Innsbruck University Press), 2&1/2D TwoandahalfDimensionality (Bucher Hohenems 2008), and marcosandmarjan: Interfaces/Intrafaces (SpringerWienNewYork 2005). Many articles on digital and postdigital technology, design-research and research-led education have been published internationally.

I act as scientific/peer reviewer for several institutions: the Australian Research Council (ARC), New Eurasia Foundation - Russian Federation, Canada Foundation for Innovation, SSHRC (Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council) Canada, British Academy UK, Vinnova Sweden, IEREK UK, IASS Netherlands, ACADIA USA, eCAADe USA, ARCHmedium USA, Arch2O USA, Marie Curie Switzerland, Routledge/Taylor & Francis UK, Journal of Cultural Economy, Ashgate Publishing UK, American University of Sharja UAE, Queen's University Belfast, Universität Innsbruck, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, ICESEP 2013 China, ROB/ARCH2012 Austria, (en)coding architecture USA, Austrian Agency for International Cooperation in Education and Research, Initiative Architektur Salzburg Austria, Smartgeometry UK, REDS Italy, Provincia di Bolzano Italy, Associate Editor of Frontiers Switzerland, British Academy BA/Leverhulme UK...