The Bartlett School of Architecture

Prof Sean Hanna

Prof Sean Hanna

Professor of Design Computing

The Bartlett School of Architecture

Faculty of the Built Environment

Joined UCL
1st Oct 2005

Research summary

Sean’s research is primarily in developing computational methods for dealing with complexity in the built environment, including the comparative modelling of space and its perception by machine, and the use of machine learning and optimisation techniques for the design and fabrication of structures.


Recent research projects include: Innochain (www.innochain.net) a collaboration between six universities and fifteen industry partners, to examine how advances in digital design tools will enable sustainable, informed and materially smart design solutions; and ENFOLDing (https://www.ucl.ac.uk/bartlett/casa/enfolding), a collaboration between the Bartlett, CEGE, Mathematics, Security and Crime Science, Political Science and Geography, to model the global dynamics of complex systems of trade, migration, conflict and aid.


He has over 100 academic publications addressing the fields of spatial modelling, machine intelligence, collaborative creativity, among others, and his work has been featured in the non-academic press, including the Architects’ Journal and The Economist. He has served as chair or committee member for numerous conferences or symposia in his field and on the editorial boards of AI EDAM Journal, the Journal of Engineering Design, and Design Science Journal.

Teaching summary

Sean’s teaching is primarily on the MSc/MRes Architectural Computation courses, which he directed from 2010 to 2017, and on which he leads the Computational Analysis and Computational Synthesis modules and the research dissertation. He also shares the Design as a Knowledge-Based Process module with Sam Griffiths and the MSc Space Syntax: Architecture & Cities programme. Sean supervises PhD and EngD researchers, as well as dissertation projects from both the MSc AC and Bartlett Diploma programmes.


Sean Hanna is Reader in Space and Adaptive Architectures at the Bartlett School of Architecture, and a member of the UCL Space Syntax Laboratory, recognised as one of the UK’s highest performing research groups in the field of architecture and the built environment in consecutive UK Research Assessment Exercises. Prior to academia, his background is in architecture and design practice, in which his development and application of design algorithms includes work with architects Foster + Partners and sculptor Antony Gormley.