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Architecture Masters Theses Collection

Theses from 2023 2023.

Music As a Tool For Ecstatic Space Design , Pranav Amin, Architecture

Creating Dormitories with a Sense of Home , Johnathon A. Brousseau, Architecture

The Tectonic Evaluation And Design Implementation of 3D Printing Technology in Architecture , Robert Buttrick, Architecture

Designing for the Unhoused: Finding Innovative and Transformative Solutions to Housing , Hannah C. Campbell, Architecture

Investigating Design-Functional Dimension Of Affordable Housing With Prefabrication On Dense Suburbs Of Chelsea, MA , Siddharth Jagadishbhai Dabhia, Architecture

Architecture of Extraction: Imagining New Modes of Inhabitation and Reclamation in the Mining Lifecyle , Erica DeWitt, Architecture

Utopian Thought and Architectural Design , Anthony L. Faith, Architecture

Building Hygge In-Roads into Incremental Living , Tanisha Kalra, Architecture


Sustainable Architecture in Athletics: Using Mass Timber in an Old-Fashioned Field , Zach C. Lefever, Architecture

Off-grid Living for the Normative Society: Shifting Perception and Perspectives by Design , Patsun Lillie, Architecture

The Evolution of Chinese Supermarkets in North America: An Alternative Approach to Chinese Supermarket Design , Ruoxin Lin, Architecture

Refreshing Refinery: An Analysis of Victorian Architecture and How to Translate its Elements for Contemporary Architecture , Richard J. Marcil, Architecture

After Iconoclasm: Reassessing Monumental Practices and Redesigning Public Memorials in Twenty-First-Century Massachusetts , Lincoln T. Nemetz-Carlson, Architecture

Earthen Materials In Organic Forms: An Ecological Solution to the Urban Biosphere? , Rutuja Patil, Architecture

Adaptive (Re)purpose of Industrial Heritage Buildings in Massachusetts A Modular Strategy for Building a Community , Riya D. Premani, Architecture

Community Design: A Health Center Serving the Greater Boston Population , Brandon E. Rosario, Architecture

The Food Hub as a Social Infrastructure Framework: Restitching Communities in Boston After the Pandemic , Connor J. Tiches, Architecture

Theses from 2022 2022

Equitable Housing Generation Through Cellular Automata , Molly R. Clark, Architecture

Beneficial Invasive: A Rhizomatic Approach to Utilizing Local Bamboo for COVID Responsive Educational Spaces , Megan Futscher, Architecture

Architectural Activism Through Hip-Hop , Micaela Goodrich, Architecture

Addressing Trauma Through Architecture: Cultivating Well-being For Youth Who Have Experienced Trauma , Megan Itzkowitz, Architecture

Buildings Integrated into Landscape & Making People Care for Them: Exploring Integrated Land-Building Ecosystems and the Lifestyles Needed to Support It , Sara Mallio, Architecture

Reimagining Black Architecture , Esosa Osayamen, Architecture

Prefabricated Homes: Delivery At Your Doorsteps , Obed K. Otabil, Architecture

Memory and Resistance , Cami Quinteros, Architecture

Mycelium: The Building Blocks of Nature and the Nature of Architecture , Carly Regalado, Architecture


Theses from 2021 2021

Creating New Cultural Hubs in American Cities: The Syrian Diaspora of Worcester, Massachusetts , Aleesa Asfoura, Architecture

Firesafe: Designing for Fire-Resilient Communities in the American West , Brenden Baitch, Architecture

The Beige Conundrum , Alma Crawford-Mendoza, Architecture

Cultivating Food Justice: Exploring Public Interest Design Process through a Food Security & Sustainability Hub , Madison J. DeHaven, Architecture

Physical to Virtual: A Model for Future Virtual Classroom Environments , Stephen J. Fink, Architecture

Detroit: Revitalizing Urban Communities , David N. Fite, Architecture

The Homestead Helper Handbook , Courtney A. Jurzynski, Architecture

An Architecture of a New Story , Nathan Y. Lumen, Architecture

Border Town: Preserving a 'Living' Cultural Landscape in Harlingen, Texas , Shelby Parrish, Architecture

Housing for Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD): Creating an Integrated Living Community in Salem, MA , Tara Pearce, Architecture

From Sanctuary to Home in the Post-Interstate City , Morgan B. Sawyer, Architecture

Exploring the Use of Grid-Scale Compressed Air Energy Storage in the Urban Landscape , Connor S. Slover, Architecture

Bridging the Gaps in Public Conversation by Fostering Spaces of Activism , Karitikeya Sonker, Architecture

Re-envisioning the American Dream , Elain Tang, Architecture

Tall Timber in Denver: An Exploration of New Forms in Large Scale Timber Architecture , Andrew P. Weuling, Architecture

Theses from 2020 2020

Urban Inter-Space: Convergence of Human Interaction and Form , Clayton Beaudoin, Architecture

The Hues of Hadley Massachusetts: Pioneering Places for Preservation and Growth , Elisha M. Bettencourt, Architecture

Reinvigorating Englewood, Chicago Through New Public Spaces and Mixed-Income Housing , Givan Carrero, Architecture

Architectural Agency Through Real Estate Development , Hitali Gondaliya, Architecture

Multimodal Transit and a New Civic Architecture , Samuel Bruce Hill, Architecture

Rethinking The Suburban Center , Andrew Jones, Architecture

Resilient Urbanism: Bridging Natural Elements & Sustainable Structures in a Post-Industrial Urban Environment , Nicholas McGee, Architecture

Adaptive Airport Architecture , Yash Mehta, Architecture

Rethinking School Design to Promote Safety and Positivity , Emily Moreau, Architecture

The Built Environment and Well-Being: Designing for Well-Being in Post-Industrial Communities During the Age of Urbanization , Tyler O'Neil, Architecture

Brutalism and the Public University: Integrating Conservation into Comprehensive Campus Planning , Shelby Schrank, Architecture

Spatial Design for Behavioral Education , Madeline Szczypinski, Architecture

Theses from 2019 2019

THERAPEUTIC COMMUNITY: FOR REFUGEES , Raghad Alrashidi, Architecture

From Archaic To contemporary : Energy Efficient Adaptive Reuse of Historic Building , Nisha Borgohain, Architecture

(RE)Developing Place: The Power of Narrative , Kinsey Diomedi, Architecture

Rethinking Ambulatory Care Delivery , Senada Dushaj, Architecture

Photosynthesizing the Workplace: A Study in Healthy and Holistic Production Spaces , Kaeli Howard, Architecture

Museum Design As A Tool For A City , Cunbei Jiang, Architecture

Architecture and Wilderness: An Exchange of Order , Ashley Lepre, Architecture

Cross-Species Architecture: Developing an Architecture for Rehabilitative Learning Through the Human-Canine Relationship , Jake Porter, Architecture

Intermodal Transit Terminal: Integrating the Future of Transit into the Urban Fabric , Guy Vigneau, Architecture

Theses from 2018 2018

Bangladeshi Cultural Center: for the Bangladeshi Population Living in New York City , Sabrina Afrin, Architecture




Resilient Architecture: Adaptive Community Living in Coastal Locations , Erica Shannon, Architecture

Theses from 2017 2017

New York City 2050: Climate Change and Future of New York | Design for Resilience , Abhinav Bhargava, Architecture

The Performance of Light: Exploring the Impact of Natural Lighting in the New UMass School of Performance , Dylan Brown, Architecture

Regional Expression In The Renovation Of Remote Historic Villages , Jie chen, Architecture

An Incremental Intervention In Jakarta: An Empowering Infrastructural Approach For Upgrading Informal Settlements , Christopher H. Counihan, Architecture

UMASS Dining Hall. A Path to Resiliency , Lukasz Czarniecki, Architecture


HUMANITY IN A CHILDREN’S CANCER HOSPITAL , Sara Jandaghi Jafari, Architecture

Designing Symbiosis for the New Church Community , Evan Janes, Architecture

A Visible History: A Synthesis of Past, Present and Future Through the Evocation of Memory Within Historic Contexts , Nicholas Jeffway, Architecture

Creating A Community A New Ecological, Economical, and Social Path to Uniting a Community , Andrew Stadnicki, Architecture

Z-Cube: Mobile Living for Feminist Nomads , Zi Ye, Architecture

Theses from 2016 2016

Music and Architecture: An Interpresence , Rachel J. Beesen, Architecture

Intervening in the Lives of Internally Displaced People in Colombia , Amy L. Carbone, Architecture

Designing Waste Creating Space: A Critical Examination Into Waste Reduction Through Building Techniques, Architectural Design, and Systems , Courtney M. Carrier, Architecture

Umass September 11 Intervention , Mohamad Farzinmoghadam, Architecture

Merging Social Science and Neuroscience in Architecture: Creating a Framework to Functionally Re-integrate Ex-Convicts , Kylie A. Landrey, Architecture

From Shelters to Long Living Communities , Yakun Liang, Architecture

Building Hope: A Community + Water Initiative, La Villa de San Francisco, Honduras , Christopher D. Mansfield, Architecture


Innovation of the Residential Buildings and Community in the Emerging City Rongcheng , Xing Yu, Architecture

Art and Life - Make invisible visible in Cao changdi village, Beijing, China , peng zhang, Architecture

Theses from 2015 2015

The Dialogue of Craft and Architecture , Thomas J. Forker, Architecture



Design Of A Housing For Urban Artisan-Living Work , Fahim Mahmud, Architecture

Membranes and Matrices: Architecture as an Interface , Nayef Mudawar, Architecture

Building for the Future: Revitalization through Architecture , Rebecca N. Perry, Architecture

Developing Maker Economies in Post-Industrial Cities: Applying Commons Based Peer Production to Mycelium Biomaterials , Grant R. Rocco, Architecture

Design of Children's Event and Cutural Center in Osu, Accra, Ghana , Rudi Somuah, Architecture

Sustainable Design of Student Centers Retrofitting and Adaptive Reuse of UMass Student Union , Tianye Song, Architecture

Design/Build in Architectural Education: studying community-focused curriculum , Matthew K. Sutter, Architecture

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List of architecture dissertation topics

architectural design dissertation

The architecture dissertation takes you on a ride where you are questioning what exists, and you are the one to address and answer what you want to change or architecturally contribute to. While brainstorming the architectural topic, you need to be very composed about your interests and aspirations. In this process, being integral with ongoing living trends and contextual issues will lead you towards making your architecture dissertation relevant and impactful. Here are a few categories to help you choose your design forte and then sink into the hustle and celebrate the phase of your architecture dissertation.


  • Urban Architecture
  • Industrial Architecture
  • Public Architecture
  • Hospitality Architecture
  • Religious Architecture
  • Cultural Architecture
  • Commercial Architecture
  • Healthcare Architecture
  • Educational Architecture
  • Residential Architecture

As per the categories below is the list of architecture dissertation topics:  

1. Co-living Housing ( Residential Architecture )

In the age where earning a living is of more priority than living in families, co-living spaces are here to stay. Co-living housing schemes, not only encourage sharing space, but also sharing culture, social life, and philosophy even across generations. This design topic has the scope of uplifting the work from home culture and offering affordable ideas which respond to the collective lifestyle.  

List of architecture dissertation topics - Sheet1

2. Multi-functional Urban Squares ( Urban Architecture )

With the increasing population, the world faces land scarcity and a rise in concrete jungles. But some places have been solving this problem by introducing multi-functional urban squares. Thus, while accommodating urban facilities, this concept also offers recreational facilities. The topic allows fulfilling the urban requirement with shades of green in the cityscape.  

List of architecture dissertation topics - Sheet2

3. Mass Rapid Transit System (MRTS) Design (Transportation Architecture)

Urban cities with efficient transit systems develop quickly in terms of technology and economy. Architecture dissertation for mass transit challenges one to dictate movements of city residents through designing it to be less chaotic and more engaging. Along with technological aspects, one can instigate environment-friendly public transport proposals.

List of architecture dissertation topics - Sheet3

4. Waste Management Center ( Industrial Architecture )

An increase in urban population led to an increase in urban waste, which is not treated well in cities. An architecture dissertation in waste management could be a game-changer for rethinking urban environments to be sustainable. It grants exposure to materials that can be recycled or reused and also towards the scale, acoustics, and circulation around the machines installed for waste management.

List of architecture dissertation topics - Sheet4

5. Community Center ( Public Architecture )

Community centers often are the result of the empathetic need in society. Architecture has always amazed society with its contribution to community development. Not only in rural areas but also in the urban vicinity we live requires such centers to address the mental health of urban dwellers. It is a context-driven topic where one can showcase their sensibility towards neglected social issues of any observed region.

List of architecture dissertation topics - Sheet5

6. Redefining Hotels and Resorts (Hospitality Architecture)

Hotel Architecture has been initiated to become the face of the city and reflects nuances of the city culture, history, and style. Hospitality has always been a diverse concept, from greeting to offering meals, and architecture has magnificently contributed to constantly adapting this diversity. This kind of architecture dissertation topic confronts one to be pitch-perfect in the functional planning and circulation of spaces and at the same time create a statement design.

List of architecture dissertation topics - Sheet6

7. Temple Complex of the Future (Religious Architecture)

The temple architecture involves ample customs and traditional beliefs while considering the hierarchy of spaces. Such topics evoke a sense of narration to remodel the temples that will be as captivating in the future as they are today. Hence, to design for the religious activities performed today and fathom the design response of future cohorts is the gap to be bridged.

List of architecture dissertation topics - Sheet7

8. Retracing the Identity of Crematorium (Public Architecture)

The death phenomenon has always been dark and desolate, and crematoriums reflect this with utmost peculiarity. Although, along with time, the idea of death has transformed quite spiritually, and there is a rising need to imprint that intangibility in the tangible space of cremations. This topic challenges to mold human perspectives towards life and death by attempting to retrace them.   

List of architecture dissertation topics - Sheet8

9.  Eco-Museum (Cultural Architecture)

Lately, museums have evolved in varied typologies from general science-art-history museums to an intervention of Virtual Reality in the museums. However, eco-museums encourage observation and learning of the social, cultural, and natural ties of the place and the people and highlight sensitivity towards the welfare of the ecosystem. This typology of architecture dissertation attempts to connect with the visitors through awareness activities expanding the community distantly.

List of architecture dissertation topics - Sheet9

10. Revitalizing Local Markets (Commercial Architecture) 

Markets are a place of constant engagement and community encounters. Analyzing markets post-pandemic, one can sense the need to organize these congestions. Thus, while designing a market, it is essential to adapt to the current needs, achieve a sustainable design, and recreate engagement. 

List of architecture dissertation topics - Sheet10

11. Animal Shelter and Veterinary Care ( Healthcare Architecture )

While we are busy designing for our needs, being thoughtful for the ecosystem is equally crucial. The architecture dissertation dedicated to natural life around us apart from fulfilling the never-ending demands of humans’ could direct towards eco-sensitive design. The animal habitats are not something they can compromise on, and when they need to be treated by veterans, they face difficulties with the environment around them.

List of architecture dissertation topics - Sheet11

12. Urban Campus (Educational Architecture)

Urban campus weaves itself into the urban fabric such that the students coming from distant places feel a part of the city. They aim to offer distinctive curricular experiences through providing spaces to learn, work, play, and integrate themselves into fun learning. This topic liberates you to plan a wide range of functional spaces like R&D labs, libraries, cultural areas, cafes, canteens, etc., and integrate themselves to create a vibrant and energetic environment.

List of architecture dissertation topics - Sheet12

13. Reinventing Villages (Residential Architecture)

Rural development scouts to create affordable and sustainable living conditions for the residents. They lead a simple life with contentment and vulnerability towards nature. In response, recreating vernacular housing and providing them with basic amenities like health and sanitation, educational and communal facilities, electricity, and gas supply with proper maintenance could fulfill Gandhiji’s ideal village initiative. 

List of architecture dissertation topics - Sheet13

14. Disaster Relief Housing (Residential Architecture)

Disaster Relief calls for emergent architecture during natural calamities or even wars or terror attacks. Such a dissertation topic requires crisp research on building materials that can be prefabricated, recyclable, easily available, and assembled at such times. This topic is not limited to modular buildings and can innovate for concentration camps to resolve the issue. 

List of architecture dissertation topics - Sheet14


Online sources:

  • Arkitecture & design.   100+ latest unusual architecture thesis topics list for dissertation research proposal . [online]. Available at: [Accessed 25 February 2022].
  • ArchDaily.   Architecture Projects [online]. Available at: [Accessed 25 February 2022].

Images/visual mediums:

  • BlessedArch. (2018).  68 Thesis topics in 5 minutes . [YouTube video]. Available at: [Accessed: 25 February 2022].

List of architecture dissertation topics - Sheet1

Trishla Doshi is a philomath designer and an architect in Mumbai. She aspires to foster cultural resurgence among people through reaching out to them sometimes in the form of words and sometimes design. She is in the constant exploration of the space between herself and her illustrative narratives breathing history.

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architectural design dissertation

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Digital Commons @ USF > College of The Arts > School of Architecture and Community Design > Theses and Dissertations

Architecture and Community Design Theses and Dissertations

Theses/dissertations from 2011 2011.

Aging with Independence and Interaction: An Assisted Living Community , Steven J. Flositz

Theses/Dissertations from 2010 2010

Wayfinding in Architecture , Jason Brandon Abrams

Phenomenology of Home , Lidiya Angelova

Do You Have A Permit For That? Exposing the Pseudo-Public Space and Exploring Alternative Means of Urban Occupation , Adam Barbosa

Architecture as Canvas , Monika Blazenovic

Women and Architecture: Re-Making Shelter Through Woven Tectonics , Kirsten Lee Dahlquist

Re-Connecting: Revitalizing Downtown Clearwater With Environmental Sensibility , Diego Duran

Livable Streets: Establishing Social Place Through a Walkable Intervention , Jeffrey T. Flositz

Upgrading Design: A Mechatronic Investigation into the Architectural Product Market , Matthew Gaboury

Emergent Morphogenetic Design Strategies , Dawn Gunter

Re-Tooling an American Metropolis , Robert Shawn Hott

The Rebirth of a Semi-Disintegrated Enterprise: Towards the Future of Composites in Pre-Synthesized Domestic Dwellings; and the Societal Acceptance of the Anti-In Situ Architectural Movement , Timothy James Keepers

Architectural Symbiosis , Tim Kimball

Elevating Communication , Thao Thanh Nguyen

PLAY: A Process-Driven Study of Design Discovery , Kuebler Wilson Perry

AC/DC: Let There Be Hybrid Cooling , Christopher Podes

The Third Realm: Suburban Identity through the Transformation of the Main Street , Alberto Rodriguez

From Airport to Spaceport: Designing for an Aerospace Revolution , Paula Selvidge

Perceiving Architecture: An Experiential Design Approach , Ashley Verbanic

(im•print) A Material Investigation to Encourage a Haptic Dialog , Julie Marie Vo

Theses/Dissertations from 2009 2009

The Sleeping Giant: Revealing the Potential Energy of Abandoned Industry Through Adaptive Transformation , Wesley A. Bradley

Community Service Through Architecture: Social Housing with Identity , Karina Cabernite Cigagna

Building a Brighter Future Through Education: Student Housing for Single Parent Families , Carrie Cogsdale

Cooper-Hewitt Museum of Design and Technology (C-HMD+T): Biomimetic architecture as part of nature , Isabel Marisa Corsino Carro

Dyna-Mod Constructing the Modern Adaptable Home , Sarah Deardorff

Memory - Ness: The Collaboration Between a Library and Museum , Kelsey Doughty

Promoting Cultural Experiences Through Responsive Architecture , Shabonni Olivia Elkanah

Urban-Eco-Filter: Introducing New Lungs to the City of Beijing , Carlos Gil

Sustainable Planning and Design for Ecotourism: Ecotecture Embraced by the Essence of Nature on Amboro National Park, Santa Cruz-Bolivia , Claudia P. Gil

Revitalization and Modernization of Old Havana, Cuba , Mileydis Hernandez

Framework for Self Sustaining Eco-Village , Eric Holtgard

Condition / recondition: Reconstruction of the city and its collective memory , C Lopez

Architecture of materialism: A study of craft in design culture, process, and product , Logan Mahaffey

Incorporating solar technology to design in humid subtropical climates , Andres Mamontoff

"RE-Homing": Sustaining housing first , Jennifer McKinney

Devised architecture: Revitalizing the mundane , Jason Novisk

A greener vertical habitat: Creating a naturally cohesive sense of community in a vertical multi-family housing structure , Justin Onorati

Visualizing sound: A musical composition of aural architecture , James Pendley

Biotopia: An interdisciplinary connection between ecology, suburbia, and the city , Jessica Phillips

Cultural visualization through architecture , Fernando Pizarro

Experience + evolution: Exploring nature as a constant in an evolving culture and building type , Robin Plotkowski

Nature, daylight and sound: A sensible environment for the families, staff and patients of neonatal intensive care units , Ana Praskach

School work environment: Transition from education to practice , Shane Ross

ReLife: Transitional Housing for Victims of Natural Disaster , Alexander B. Smith

Form and Numbers: Mathematical Patterns and Ordering Elements in Design , Alison Marie Thom

Martian Modules: Design of a Programmable Martian Settlement , Craig A. Trover

Redesigning the megachurch: reintroduction of sacred space into a highly functional building , Javier Valencia

Aquatecture: Architectural Adaptation to Rising Sea Levels , Erica Williams

Theses/Dissertations from 2008 2008

Landscape as Urbanism , Ryan Nicholas Abraham

Architectural Strategies in Reducing Heat Gain in the Sub-Tropical Urban Heat Island , Mark A. Blazer

A Heritage Center for the Mississippi Gulf Coast: Linking the Community and Tourism Through Culture , Islay Burgess

Living Chassis: Learning from the Automotive Industry; Site Specifi c, Prefabricated, Systems Architecture , Christopher Emilio Emiliucci Cox

Permanent Supportive Housing in Tampa, Florida: Facilitating Transition through Site, Program, & Design , Nicole Lara Dodd

School as a Center for Community: Establishing Neighborhood Identity through Public Space and Educational Facility , Fred Goykhman

Reestablishing the Neighborhood: Exploring New Relationships & Strategies in Inner City Single Family Home Development , Jeremy Michael Hughes

High-Rise Neighborhood: Rethinking Community in the Residential Tower , Benjamin Hurlbut

reBURB: Redefining the Suburban Family Unit Under a New Construction Ecology , Matthew A. Lobeck

Blurring the Disconnect: [Inter]positioning Place within a Struggling Context , Eric Luttmann

Socializing Housing Phased Early Response to Impromptu Migrant Encampments In Lima, Peru , Raul E. Mayta

Knitting of Nature into an Urban Fabric: A Riverfront Development , Thant Myat

An Address, Not a Room Number: An Assisted Living Community within a Community , Gregory J. Novotnak

Ecological Coexistence: A Nature Retreat and Education Center on Rattlesnake Key, Terra Ceia, Florida , Richard F. Peterika

Aging with Identity: Integrating Culture into Senior Housing , Christine Sanchez

Re-Establishing Place Through Knowledge: A Facility for Earth Construction Education in Pisco, Peru , Hannah Jo Sebastian

Redefining What Is Sacred , Sarah A. Sisson

Reside…Commute…Visit... Reintegrating Defined Communal Place Amongst Those Who Engage with Tampa’s Built Environment , Matthew D. Suarez

The First Icomde A Library for the Information Age , Daniel Elias Todd

eCO_URBANism Restitching Clearwater's Urban Fabric Through Transit and Nature , Daniel P. Uebler

Urban Fabric as a Calayst for Architectural Awareness: Center for Architectural Research , Bernard C. Wilhelm

Theses/Dissertations from 2001 2001

Creating Healing Spaces, the Process of Designing Holistically a Battered Women Shelter , Lilian Menéndez

A prototypical Computer Museum , Eric Otto Ryder

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Theses and Dissertations

architectural design dissertation

View all past theses and dissertations on DSpace@MIT .

Theses and Dissertations in HTC

Thesis and Dissertations in HTC

  • Original Paper
  • Published: 18 March 2022

Structure as (primary) generator of architectural design: a study of a master dissertation studio

  • Laurens Luyten   ORCID: 1  

Architecture, Structures and Construction volume  2 ,  pages 129–143 ( 2022 ) Cite this article

1794 Accesses

1 Citations

Metrics details

The design studio plays a central role in educating architecture students to develop design skills and be creative when dealing with the complexity of ill-defined design problems. One way for students to cope with these problems, and find a way into the design process, is to reduce the complexity by framing the problem. This can, for example, be established by focussing on the design component of structure as a broad field, ranging from engineering theory over structural materials, products and systems to construction details. It allows to create a variety of structural frames to step into the design process, and generate architectural design proposals. This design generation, starting from the student’s structural knowledge, that leads to creative design, is the subject of this paper. For this research, 36 master dissertation projects were analysed, developed under the supervision of the author. In these projects architecture students created a personal link between the realm of structure and their architectural design to generate architecture through structural framing. This resulted in a final design project and a dissertation with reflections on the developed structure-based design generators. This paper shortly introduces the applied studio approach to help students implement their structural knowledge for design generation. Furthermore, it presents 14 identified types of structure-based design generators, to illustrate their potential in architectural design and to provide a frame of reference for students to develop creative design skills.

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The design studio plays a central role in educating architecture students to develop design skills and be creative [ 1 , 2 , 3 ] when dealing with the complexity of ill-defined design problems [ 4 ], also referred to as wicked problems [ 5 ]. Developing creative ideas at the start of the design process [ 6 , 7 , 8 ], and implementing divergent thinking [ 9 ] are hereby recognized as valuable approaches to develop creative design outcomes.

One way for students to deal with the wicked problem of design and find a way into the design process is to reduce the design complexity by framing [ 10 ] the problem through a focus on some of its multi-dimensional components [ 11 ]. One of these components is the structure of the architectural form that needs to withstand the various loads inherent to the design project.

This component is essential in architectural design, and the relationship between structure and architectural form has often been investigated: several types of this relationship are mapped by Angus Macdonald [ 12 ], while Bjørn Sandaker et al. [ 13 ] describe the structure’s spatial and mechanical functions in architecture. Additionally, many creative design projects can be found in which structure was an important part of the architectural concept and design development. Here creativity is often attributed to the design collaboration of architects and structural engineers [ 14 , 15 , 16 , 17 ]. Also emerging possibilities in fabrication and construction emphasize the crucial role of this structure component in architectural design [ 18 , 19 ].

However, for the architecture student in the design studio, the first steps into a design project and the generation of design ideas, are mostly the product of his/her individual cognitive processes and thus not due to creative design collaborations with engineers. And consequently, in order to develop creative design outcomes adapted design strategies are required.

When framing the design problem through the component of structure, the available knowledge field in which the architecture student can find creative ideas is larger than the strict interpretation of the (materialised) structure needed to support the final architectural form, as described above. The student’s cognitive framework reaches from engineering theory over structural materials, products and systems, to construction details. It allows for a variety of structural frames to step into an architectural design and generate various design proposals. This design generation, starting from the student’s structural knowledge, that leads to creative design, is the subject of this paper.

After three years of leading a master dissertation studio on architectural design, called “ Studio Structure ”, at the faculty of Architecture, KU Leuven (campus Ghent), the author discovered repeating patterns in the structure-based design generation of the students’ projects. This paper introduces the concept of design generator, and the applied studio approach that helped students implement divergent thinking and develop creative ideas when applying their structural knowledge for design generation. It further presents the identified design generators, developed from a broad, structure-inspired field, to illustrate their potential in architectural design and to provide a frame of reference for students to develop creative design skills.

Design generator

Jane Dark developed a model to describe a design process based on a cyclic sequence of primary generator, conjecture and analysis [ 20 ]. According to Dark the complexity of a design problem is reduced by the designer to a cognitive manageable size by focussing on certain aspects the designer finds essential. This is the primary generator, similar to the organizing principle of P.G. Rowe [ 21 ] and the frame of Donald Schön [ 10 ]. Based on this reduction a design proposal is developed (i.e. the conjecture) and then analysed. This analysis allows the designer to have a better understanding of the design problem at hand, and to develop a more adapted conjecture, and possibly adjust or change the primary generator for further refinement.

The primary generator is a way into the design (at the start of the process) and linked by Brian Lawson [ 11 ] to the design concept, parti or central idea that mainly shapes the design outcome. Lawson also connects the primary generator of a design project to the guiding principles of the designer. These guiding principles, go beyond a single project and express the personal beliefs, values and attitudes a designer develops over the years about the way design in his/her field should be practised.

In this paper, a design generator is understood as a cognitive construct developed by the designer to provide a way into a design problem and help forward the design project significantly. It consists of a cognitive framework (i.e. the primary generator) to reduce the complexity of the design problem, and contains the ability to generate design proposals (i.e. the conjectures). In design, multiple generators can be at play and the implementation of a certain generator is not necessarily visible in the design outcome as its importance can fade during the further course of the design process.

Structure as a concept in architectural design is often reduced to the set of construction elements (e.g. beams, columns and slabs) of a building that is responsible for transferring the most important loads to its supports [ 12 , 13 , 22 ]. However, in architecture more meaning is attributed to structure than just this physical system of structural elements in a building [ 23 ]. For example, according to Eduard Sekler a distinction can be made between structure and construction. Sekler considers structure an abstract concept that follows established principles destined to cope with the forces in a building, while construction is to him the actual materialisation of this structure in a building [ 24 ]. This abstract, cognitive construct of structure can also be found in the concept of Kunstform of Karl Bötticher, which is considered the ornamentation that clads the essential construction (i.e. Kernform ) of a building, and is capable of expressing the structural forces and rules hidden behind the visual surface [ 25 ]. This expression, importantly, requires a cognitive framework of an observer to interpret the structural story.

A similar role of the cognitive abilities of the interpreter of the architectural building and its structural story can be found in the corporeal metaphor of a building transferring forces to the ground, and our own body under gravitational loads [ 26 ].

It is this broader understanding of structure in architecture, that is applied in this paper, as in the studio learning environment: structure is understood as a cognitive framework, a lens through which architectural form is interpreted (cf. Kunstform). This framework is developed through a personal understanding of experiences and precedents that find their meaning in the realm of structural engineering theory with its established principles and rules.

Consequently, structure as a (personal) framework that helps the observer to make sense of architectural design, stands next to other sensemaking frameworks of architecture like function, light, thermal comfort, organization, texture and culture. It is within this broad and abstract understanding of structure that design generators are mapped in this paper, to open up a potential for creative design.

Studio structure

The Faculty of Architecture, where the design studio is offered, has a history in education based on the Ecole des Beaux Arts tradition [ 27 ], and values students to develop creative and personal designs. The investigated design studio (30 ECTS credits) is the master dissertation course for architecture students. It ends their five-year programme (300 ECTS credits) in which half of the courses focus on design in studio learning environments, and the other half are theory courses in Building Technology and Architecture History & Theory, mainly taught in classrooms. The courses on structure theory focus on developing an understanding of first principles and structural behaviour, and less on teaching how to dimension and calculate structures.

In this “ Studio Structure ” students are required to develop a design strategy that generates creative ideas through divergent thinking, and apply this strategy when designing their architecture project. (This project acts as a test case for the design strategy under development, and symbolizes a set of similar projects in which the strategy is applicable). Students are asked to find a personal link between the broad realm of structure, as described above, and their architecture project in a search to generate architecture through structural framing. In their project they are free to choose the programme and context to allow for additional personal themes in their dissertation project, which helps their engagement in the studio.

Students have specifically chosen this studio next to others, because of their interest in structures. In their application letter for the studio, students indicate various fascinations for structures: the aesthetics of structure and construction (e.g. Japanese wooden joinery), the relation between the structure and the experience of architectural space, the reality of constructing a building according to regulations, and the integration of structure in a design project. Some students also express their longing to improve their understanding of structural behaviour, and their ability to design structures. The studio aims to have students develop personal design generators based on their personal interests in structures, which in turn can evolve into personal guiding principles.

To help students improve their skills in structural (divergent) thinking for architecture design generation, they are introduced to a conceptual structural design thinking through the abstract language developed by the author [ 28 ] : by using symbols the structural function of an element is expressed (cf. Fig.  2 ), and as such a structural conceptual design can be presented as a system of abstract elements without having to decide materialisation or structural typology. This approach allows for a wide search for conceptual design alternatives, and simple form alterations within one structural conceptual design, while maintaining a large design solution space (since no structural type or material is chosen). (In order not to influence the student's creation of personal design generators, no other hints for generators are provided).

In the studio, tutoring is weekly provided, first in groups of students and then evolving to a more personal approach, while peer learning is encouraged throughout the course. Since developing a design generator is a wicked problem in itself, students are encouraged to follow the design cycle of Dark. They investigate their (ill-defined) link between structure and architectural design, by choosing a personal frame (i.e. primary generator) for the creation of a design generator and then applying this generator in their design project (i.e. conjecture) to analyse the quality of the design generator and also to evaluate the chosen frame for adjustment. Different cycles are followed before a satisfying design generator is found. This design-led research results in (1) a reflection paper in which the theoretical investigations and the developed design generator(s) are addressed, and (2) a design project to demonstrate the applicability of the developed design generator(s).

Research method

In this research, design generators are mapped by analysing 36 design projects created in three consecutive years of this master dissertation studio. All dissertations were supervised by the author of which 19 together with a colleague. Data of the students’ design processes were retrieved through the weekly observations during the one semester in which students presented their ongoing work, through informal interviews with the students, reviews, their reflection papers, and final design documents and presentations. In order not to influence the students’ development of design generators and allow for the widest variety, no examples of the previous year(s) were presented to a new cohort of students.

For each project, the author identified in detail all project-specific design generators related to the structural field. In the next step, these project-specific generators were analysed for common characteristics to identify types of design generators by focussing on the origin and development of the generators, and their ability to develop design proposals or conjectures. This analysis process started with the batch of 7 projects of the first year, then the next 10, to end with the final 19 projects of the third year. (As a control, the co-supervisor of this last batch identified independently of the author, similar project-specific design generators). For each batch, the present types of design generators were identified before the next batch was analysed. This allowed the author to control (1) if the already identified types would reoccur and have meaning in the new batch, and (2) if new types would still be discovered to check the completeness of the design generator set. For the last batch, which contains more than 50% of all analysed projects, it showed that only one more type of design generators was discovered and that thus the already discovered thirteen generators effectively covered most of the field (Table 1 ).

The design generators of studio structure

In the design studio, 14 different design generators were identified, linked to the broad field of structure (Table 2 ). Each generator was developed within a cognitive framework, through a cyclic process as described above.

For most of these generators, the applied framework belonged to the field of structural engineering: concepts, principles and logics of structural behaviour and design were applied to adapt and refine the generator. Students operated in this framework by mainly applying structure calculations software, rules of thumb and first principles.

However, some students developed their generators within a cognitive framework belonging to the field of aesthetics, in which for example the personal appreciation of structural form stands central (i.e. away from the cognitive framework of engineering sciences). This led to a division into two main groups of the identified design generators: structural engineering and aesthetics .

For both groups, the final outcome of a generator development, allowed to produce a wide range of qualitative design proposals or conjectures, mostly based on a developed generic catalogue of design possibilities, or by applying explicit and/or implicit design rules or principles.

Another interesting observation is that some students developed their generator through the use of an existing building or type of building. In these cases, this building importantly determined the properties of the generator (e.g. a catalogue of structural interventions in a 19 th -century warehouse).

This building dependent development further divides the first group (structural engineering) into three subgroups: generators developed with an existing building ( building dependent ), without using a building ( building independent ) and developed with or without using an existing building ( mixed ).

In the second group (aesthetics) only one type of design generators was identified, developed with and without an existing building determining the final outcome.

To indicate the importance of each design generator, the number of projects in which the generator was applied is indicated in brackets after its title. (Remark: one project can have multiple design generators).

Structural engineering; building dependent

These design generators are developed by using an existing building or a type of building that importantly influences the generator’s characteristics.

Remediate intervention (9 projects)

After analysing structurally and architecturally an existing building or type of building for refurbishment, various spatial interventions are imagined by the student based on qualitative spatial needs (e.g. daylight transmission, floor height, free plan) or other types of architectural investigations (e.g. stripping a church building to its stylistic characteristics). These interventions affect the structure of the building and require structural remediations to maintain its stability. The relationship between intervention and remediation is explored by applying a set of specific interventions and developing different possible structural remediations for them (Fig.  1 ). These remediations can be developed through structure calculation software, or by applying rules of thumb and simple first principles of structural design. This process generally leads to an informed catalogue of possible types of interventions as inspiration for their own project, or can result in certain design rules or strategies ranging from intuitively understood to specifically defined.

figure 1

Example Remediate Intervention . (Above) Starting from an existing building with a typical skeleton structure, the student investigates different spatial interventions with their possible structural remediations. (Below) This design catalogue is then used to develop the final design outcome. (Courtesy of Cato Van den brande)

Context-specific addition (8 projects)

This generator is used to explore possible additions to an existing building by thoroughly analysing the building’s structure and selecting (by the student) one or more important structural characteristics for refurbishment. This structural mapping can include soil characteristics, structural order, structure typologies, stress patterns, (non-)supporting walls, foundations, structural history,… By making a personal choice of a few structural characteristics to focus on for the refurbishment design, the design solution space is narrowed down but also made more manageable and is thoroughly explored: examples include focussing on existing supporting walls for positioning a building addition (Fig.  2 ), using the present foundation setup to add, delete and shift loads, and exploring possible stripping of a building to various structural core systems. This exploration leads to similar outcomes as under Remediate Intervention, of design catalogue, rules and strategies.

figure 2

Example Context-Specific Addition & Abstract Prototyping . (Above) By analysing the foundations, walls and rooftops of an existing building, the potential for additional loading is explored. (Middle) Various spatial forms of abstract structural prototypes are created, based on the loadbearing surplus of the existing building. (Below) Final design. (Courtesy of Jonas Degroote)

Structure Mimicry (5 projects)

The development of this generator starts similarly to the Context - Specific Addition generator, by analysing the structure of an existing building, but differently it involves creating a structural prototype of (part of) this building. This prototype describes a structure as a system of elements with their structural functions and connections, that allows transferring loads to the supports. This prototype is without materialised form or scale and helps to create and explore various materialisations of a new building design based on a mimicry of this existing abstracted structure.

Structural engineering; building independent

These design generators are created without using an existing building or type of building.

Structural Material (1 project)

By exploring the possibilities in form through determining the structural properties of a material (e.g. rammed earth, Fig.  3 ), design rules are developed for architectural form design. This exploration ranges from structural details and construction elements to the general form.

figure 3

Example Structural Material . (Above) Inspired by the qualities of rammed earth, the student explores its structural form potential through physical and digital models. (Middle) Explorations in window openings. (Below) The developed understanding of form possibilities leads to the final design outcome. (Courtesy of Olivier Meuris)

Structural Product (3 projects)

This generator is similar to the previous one, except that the starting point is a structural product (e.g. Cross Laminated Timber) instead of material: the student explores the different possibilities in structural form with this product to inspire the architectural design process. Besides the structural properties of the product, the structural possibilities in connecting the product determine importantly the possibilities in structural form, and thus architectural form. In this exploration, the student often applies rules of thumb, first principles and structural typologies (e.g. folded structures with Cross Laminated Timber).

Structural Joint (3 projects)

By investigating the constructive conditions (e.g. adding sequence of joining elements) and the force transfers in a structural joint (e.g. in Japanese wood joinery), the constructive and structural possibilities of the joint are mapped to explore possible structural and constructive forms (e.g. skeleton or portal frames) (Fig.  4 ). Often in this exploration, existing joints or connections (e.g. wooden puzzles) are modified and further developed to fulfil specific design needs (e.g. connecting with different angles or detailing of building envelopes). This exploration is then used as inspiration for architectural design by creating a catalogue of possibilities or by identifying specific design rules to create (skeleton) forms.

figure 4

Example Structural Joint . (Above) The student's fascination for wooden connection puzzles leads to physical and digital explorations and developments of the joint. (Middle) Exploring the structural and constructive possibilities through trial and error. (Below) Construction rules and structural principles determine the final design outcome. (Courtesy of Sies Vandevelde)

Structural Typology (7 projects)

A specific structural typology (e.g. shell or greenhouse structure) is chosen for (an important part of) the architectural design form. This typology is structurally analysed by the student to be able to refine and adjust elements, materials, dimensions and details of this typology (Fig.  5 ). Through this understanding, architectural form is created following these structural design rules. (This type of generator includes kinetic structures as a typology: here the possibilities of structural form transformations are an important part of the student’s investigation and exploration in adaptive architectural design).

figure 5

Example Structural Typology . (Above and middle) The student's interest in local Philippine houses leads to structural and constructive explorations of wooden portal frames. (Below) The model of the final design outcome. (Courtesy of Stephanie Alatraca)

Adaptable (Con)Structures (7 projects)

This design generator does not necessarily find its core existence in only structural considerations but can be closely connected to certain desired qualities in the construction of a design. Such design is generated by focusing on the ability to easily adapt its materialisation (e.g. to change the qualities of the architectural skin). This desire for adaptability leads to an exploration of the interconnectivity of different construction elements and the development of the elements themselves for interchangeability (Fig.  6 ). These investigations in turn provide an understanding of possibilities and limitations in architectural form (e.g. modular architecture). Based on this understanding, the architectural project is created.

figure 6

Example Adaptable (Con)Structures, Structural Module & Structure Reuse . (Above) The student explores different sets of floor panels for the uniformization of interchangeable elements. (Middle) The connections and dimensions of elements are refined for modular reusability and adaptability. (Below) The developed modular system is the building block of the final design outcome. (Courtesy of Michael Holemans)

Structural engineering; mixed (building dependent and independent)

These design generators can be developed by using an existing building, but this is not necessary. However, when they are developed with an existing building, it will importantly influence the characteristics of the generator.

Principle Repetition (3 projects)

This generator consists of a structural prototype (cf. Structure Mimicry ) with specific internal structural principles (e.g. tensegrity principles), and is used in materialising architectural form through repetitiously applying this prototype and its principles. The prototype is as such a building block of design and free of scale and materialised form. A reciprocal structural system or a portal frame are examples of such prototypes, but they can also be created by the designer with unique features (Fig.  7 ). The generation of the prototype can be based on an analysis of an existing building structure or independent from a building.

figure 7

Example Principle Repetition . (Above) In a case study, the student discovers slender columns put under tension to avoid torsional buckling under horizontal load. This leads to the development of a structural prototype for vertical and horizontal support. (Middle) This prototype is then repeatedly applied and materialised in a design project as a building block of design. (Below) Final design outcome. (Courtesy of Tomàs Lepoutre)

Grid (2 projects)

An exploration of the design solution space occurs through the application of a structural and functional grid, and their displacements and transformations. Here the structural grid is used to snap the structural elements on (e.g. columns and beams), and the functional grid to snap spatial separators on (e.g. walls). By (randomly or controlled) changing both grids, the design process is guided towards unexpectedly new creations of spatial qualities. Two or three-dimensional displacements put the structural and functional grid in spatial conversation while transformations can change orthogonal grids into a more chaotic or organic constellation with an important impact on architectural space creation. These changes can be induced through software (e.g. generative algorithms) or directly by the designer for systematic or random exploration. (The structural (or functional) grid can be determined by an existing building grid in a refurbishment project and thus importantly influence this generator).

Structural Module (9 projects)

In this design process, the architectural form consists of a configuration of similar structural (and materialised) modules. This structural and constructive module is developed to achieve certain self-chosen requirements of for example stability, adaptability, (easy) constructability, material efficiency, joint uniformity, grid planning and reuse. During generator development, the design quality of the module is tested in one or multiple case-specific scenarios for adjustments (Fig.  6 ). Such scenarios can include a specific existing building that importantly determines the development of the module design outcome (e.g. the applied module dimensions).

Abstract Prototyping (2 projects)

Abstract structural thinking is used to develop a structural prototype capable of transferring the imposed loads to its supports (cf. [ 28 ] ). Such an abstract structural prototype represents a wide range of architectural design solutions. Exploration of the design solution space occurs through developing various structural prototypes that fit load and support conditions within the desired volume setup. This generator allows to easily develop a wide range of structurally sound (abstract) designs that will be materialised only later on in the process when more architectural design criteria are taken into account (Fig.  2 ). This generator can be importantly influenced by an existing building if it determines the conditions (e.g. possible supports) of the prototype creation.

Structure Reuse (8 projects)

The ability to reuse structures in other constellations for different architecture projects, is a generator for these design processes. It requires the construction process to be reversible and the structural elements reusable (Fig.  6 ). This generator importantly determines the characteristics of the structural elements and their interconnection and as such the design outcome. These structural possibilities are explored, refined and/or adjusted, and form the building blocks of the architectural design. When connections need to be made with existing structures, it will influence this generator significantly.

Aesthetics; mixed (building dependent and independent)

Different from the above group of design generators developed within the framework of structural engineering, these generators are primarily developed within the framework of aesthetics. Even though only one type of generators is identified so far in this group with only limited project cases, it is believed that more generators are possible.

Structure Experience (5 projects)

The elements of a building identified as structural, can instigate specific experiences with the observer of that building. In these projects, the design is directed towards certain (intended) structure-induced experiences. This generator is developed by analysing such experiences in various existing or self-developed project cases by evaluating the observer experience of the designer self (Fig.  8 ) or by surveying the experiences of other (external) observers. The developed understanding of the relationship between a structure and its observer experience guides the designer in the creation of architectural form.

figure 8

Example Structure Experience . (Above and left) The student’s longing to express lightness in an existing church leads to an investigation in the observer experiences of different structural interventions through model making. (Below right) The model of the final design outcome. (Courtesy of Fien Dequeker)

By mapping the presented design generators, a frame of reference with examples in the broad field of structure is made available for architecture students to apply in their design project, and even to develop an understanding of how to create novel ones. Furthermore, together with the design studio setup, insight is given into the design strategy of framing as a way into the complexity of design problems. This understanding in developing effective framing of design problems is recognized as an important design skill [ 29 , 30 ].

This set of design generators also allows evaluating the architecture curriculum in its ability to teach students to develop such design generators: the type of structural and technological knowledge that needs to be learned, but also design skills (e.g. framing and divergent thinking) and abilities in aesthetic articulation.

(In addition, the broad variety of different design generators that link structural understanding with architectural designing, adds potential to the concept of ‘structural integrated design processes’ with new types of integration).

However, this study is limited as it only investigates 36 projects of specific Belgian students with a common interest in structures. Also, the analysis of the design processes is based on what the students decided to present during consults and reviews, which does not necessarily reflect these processes accurately. And although a specific research method was followed, another organisation in different groups and subgroups of generators, is possible.


The creation by the students of their project-specific design generators, was often a difficult process of finding an appropriate link between their interest in the field of structure and the development of their design project: this way into a design project, proved unfamiliar and often required students to reinvent their approach in starting a design process. However, once a link was identified, and students started their first cycles of developing their design generators, the further refinement proceeded more smoothly.

Also, when their design project was related to an existing building (e.g. in refurbishment project) and thus the design solution space already narrowed down, it often helped students find their design generators faster.

Students were stimulated to introduce additional design generators outside of the field of structure, based on their personal interests (e.g. in sustainability or development aid). This proved to motivate them to engage in the design studio.

Additionally, by asking them to focus on developing a frame for a type of design projects, instead of one specific pre-defined project (i.e. with a set context and programme), the studio setup stimulates students in developing their personal guiding principles in designing, that go beyond the singular project.

Remarkable in this study is that starting from 36 students with a common interest in designing with structural input, and a design assignment with total freedom in programme and context, similar design generators are identified in the various developed design projects. Even more, during these three years of studio courses in which each batch of students was not introduced in previous studio projects and their design generators, the same generators reappeared equally spread over projects and years, to a point where only a few new ones were discovered in the last year’s group of 19 projects.

Characteristics of design generators

Different takes were investigated on how to organise the available data in types and characteristics of the identified design generators. It was observed that each generator contained three sequential aspects: at the start of the development, there was often a (1) specific interest of the student (e.g. rammed earth, Cross Laminated Timber, an existing building or Japanese wood joinery), then there were (2) specific processes of generator development (e.g. investigations through physical or digital modelling, form interventions and remediations, and case studies), to end with a (3) generator of design proposals (e.g. through a catalogue of possibilities or rules for design creation).

For the first of these three aspects, not enough data was available for investigation, as only on rare occasions students were clear on their personal interest: often students had a messy start in developing a generator.

For the processes of generator development, a distinction was made between structural engineering and aesthetic framework, but further refinement proved hard to establish.

The last aspect, generator of design proposals, could be better characterised by distinguishing between catalogue of possibilities, and implicit and explicit design rules or principles. Certain design generators even allow for further refinement: creation through (form or principle) mimicry, structural principles, form algorithms, aesthetic principles, construction principles. However, a concise and all-covering set could not be established.

Also looking into already established design taxonomies that link structure and architecture, did not lead to satisfying solutions. For example, the types of relationships between structure and architecture of Macdonald (i.e. structure ignored, accepted, symbolised or true structural high-tech) [ 12 ] describe the final design outcome which does not necessarily reflect the applied design generators. Also, Olga Popovic Larsen and Andy Tyas developed an interesting taxonomy for architectural design inspiration from structural design [ 17 ]. Even though their classification is mainly historically established and focuses on structural and not architectural design, it contains a set of interesting characteristics of design generation that can be applied in this research: applying intuition, inspiration from precedents, understanding structural principles, and learning from physical models. These characteristics mainly make sense within the aspect of generator development, but do not cover all identified once (e.g. in aesthetics), and are mainly not well demarcated (e.g. the difference between understanding principles and applying intuition) to further develop from.

Because no appropriate existing taxonomy was found to compare with the found data, it was chosen to present the set of design generators broadly (i.e. with a maximum of types) to allow for future investigations.

During three consecutive years of the same master dissertation studio under the supervision of the author, 36 design projects were developed in which architecture students created a personal link between the realm of structure and their architectural design, to generate architecture through structural framing. In these projects, students developed design generators to provide a way into an ill-defined design problem and to help forward the design project significantly. Each generator consists of a cognitive framework, within the broad field of structure, to reduce the complexity of the design problem, and contains the ability to generate design proposals.

Based on different data sets from supervising the students’ investigations and design developments, together with their final design projects and dissertations with reflections on their design-led research, 14 distinct structure-based design generators were identified (cf. Table 2 ).

Most of these generators were developed within a cognitive framework belonging to the field of structural engineering, but others were developed within aesthetics. A further distinction between generators can be made if their development was determined, or not, by an existing building (or type of building).

By identifying these structure-based design generators, a frame of reference with examples is developed for architecture students to apply in their design, and to create novel ones as part of learning to design through framing.

Future research involves analysing a new set of design projects from a new year of this master dissertation studio with the author as supervisor. The focus lies in evaluating the completeness and recurring of the identified set of 14 structure-based design generators, together with a special focus on discovering new generators within the field of aesthetics. Also, valuable contributions lie in further research into the observer experiences of their structural reading of architectural forms.

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This research is made possible thanks to all the contributions of the students of the master dissertation course “ Studio Structure ” from 2018 to 2021. Furthermore, I like to thank my colleague Stijn Leemans for co-supervising the dissertations of the third year and for investigating the students’ dissertations for design generators. Also, the reviewing support of Öykü Acican and Ivo Vrouwe was much appreciated.

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Luyten, L. Structure as (primary) generator of architectural design: a study of a master dissertation studio. Archit. Struct. Constr. 2 , 129–143 (2022).

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Received : 28 October 2021

Accepted : 03 March 2022

Published : 18 March 2022

Issue Date : May 2022


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Dissertations are a good source of trending research, sources for literature reviews, and a review of what's been published as a dissertation. It is essential to check dissertations as you prepare for your doctoral research.  Doctoral dissertations and theses from around the world can be located through the  ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global Database . Some of these may obtained for limited borrowing through our  Interlibrary Loan Service (Illiad) . 

The ASU Library holds at least one copy or version for  most   of the dissertations and theses written by ASU graduates.   The term "dissertation" refers to the document produced at the doctoral level, while "thesis" refers to documents produced at the Masters and Undergraduate Honors levels.  Some Masters programs do not produce a thesis; documents from non-thesis programs such as applied, capstone, or research projects, are not collected by the ASU Library.   The availability or format (print/online) of a dissertation/thesis will vary according to the level (doctoral, masters, honors) and the year it was produced.    For more information on finding ASU  diss ertations and theses, see:  

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First In Architecture

How to Write an Architecture Dissertation 101​

In this post we will explore how to write an architecture dissertation, but first…

What is an architecture dissertation?

The architecture dissertation (or thesis) is an opportunity to demonstrate the skills you have learnt and the knowledge you have developed over the course of your studies. It identifies a current question of interest that you are willing to explore and analyse.

Thesis and dissertation mean different things in Europe than they do in the USA. In Europe, a dissertation is usually part of a masters degree involving a broader research project. In the USA however, the dissertation is part of a doctorate degree. Likewise, a thesis in Europe generally refers to research work for a PhD, while in the USA thesis is part of your masters degree. Nice and confusing 🙂

Given that we are based in the UK, we will refer to the document as a dissertation, but much of the information and tips here are interchangeable. Hopefully you will find this guide useful when considering your architecture dissertation… or thesis!

Scroll to the end to download this article as a handy PDF guide!

How to write an architecture dissertation, choosing your topic​.

Choosing your topic

Selecting a topic for your architecture dissertation is often one of the biggest challenges for students. Where to start?! Let’s take a look at the process of selecting your architecture dissertation topic.

Ask a question Your architecture dissertation needs to ask a question. Whether it is a big question or just a small part of a big question, there has to be a reason for your research and data collection.

So, when you have selected a big issue that you would like to explore, you can look at breaking this down into a smaller question for your subject.

Starting off with a big issue, and beginning to narrow this down into smaller issues, allows you to end up asking a small question that could perhaps have big implications or bring very interesting results.

You could use a mind map to help you visualise and brainstorm ideas – have your big question in the centre with other smaller questions branching out from it.

Focus on an area of study that you are comfortable with Try to consider areas within your field of study that you are comfortable with. For example, if you are particularly interested and inspired by environmental architecture, perhaps you can start there.

On the flip side, if you are particularly interested in new technologies and software developments, then perhaps you could start thinking along those lines.

The more comfortable you are with your topic area, the more solid your work will be and you will be able to pursue your architecture dissertation with more confidence.

Select a topic that is focused Don’t go too broad with your topic idea. Don’t forget, you are not writing a long novel, so your research and your final architecture dissertation has to be concise. A broad topic will make it very difficult to get into the nitty gritty details.

As an example, let’s say you are interested in the feasibility of using sustainable prefabricated systems in residential architecture. This is a fairly large subject, so your work could look at an aspect of this, such as a particular sustainable prefabricated system like a timber panel, or perhaps prefab systems in social housing. You could then drill down further. You can look at the subject as a whole in your introduction or conclusion, but investigate a more focused part of that topic for your own work.

Don’t forget, as you start to investigate your topic further, it may lead you to other questions, which in turn can change the theme of your architecture dissertation.

Don’t be too fixated on a topic in the early stages that stops you from shifting and developing the dissertation. It is a bit like design projects, sometimes it is easy to get fixated on your concept at the detriment of the design – adjusting, and pivoting can be a good thing, it is an iterative process.

Look at other architecture dissertations Take some time to read and research other dissertations, to get a feel for what excites or interests you. By gaining an understanding of the format, content and overall outcomes of the architecture dissertation, you will be able to develop your ideas more easily, and drill down on a topic that fits.

Doing this will also help you see what topics have been extensively covered and ones that are niche.

You can find some architecture dissertations on the RIBA Presidents Medals website for some inspiration:

Read other architecture works Take some time to read other architecture works while you are in your topic decision making process. This might open up new ideas and thoughts that you didn’t think of before.

Look at current trends, what is new, what is changing, what hasn’t changed, why? How about world events, how do they impact architecture? How does architecture impact them? What can we learn?

Make sure your question can be answered Once you have chosen your question or topic, make sure that data collection and research will bring you to some sort of conclusion or answer. It will be very frustrating if you are investigating an issue that will not be possible to conclude on or resolve.

Make sure you can ask the right questions to get information from people, are there enough books on the subject? Is there any historical data that might be useful? How about photographs and drawings? Consider how you will research your architecture dissertation before finalising your topic.

Drafting a proposal You will most likely be asked to create a proposal for the topic you have selected. Your proposal will be presented to your tutors who will give you feedback that will help you move forward.

Carry out your research

Carry out your research

The research phase of your architecture dissertation is really important. We must look at many different sources and aspects of our topic to start to develop our strategies and ideas.

Start with the library The best way to start investigating our topic is to find out what information currently exists, who has asked your question, or similar questions, what has been published? So head to the library and start reading!

Try and get a selection of sources for a more balanced overview, rather than relying on just one source. Although you can use the internet, don’t forget that it is an unregulated source, and therefore not all the information is completely reliable.

Keep track of any books, journals etc that you have consulted. (more on that later).

Follow the citations and references in relevant articles to see if other works have been written that are relevant to your topic. Research papers are good sources of references and information you could further explore.

During this initial stage of research you may still be narrowing your topic, refining your question and that’s totally ok. Often, it is not until you have started reading around your topic and delving deeper that you start to see the questions that need to be asked.

Take notes Take notes and keep track of all your research, book name, author, title, date, publisher plus all the page numbers of the important points. This will help you when you come to referencing and citation and also enable you to stay organised.

Keep your topic / question in mind as you read through the research material and make notes on relevant points, in your own words. Write down any phrases or quotations that you will want to cite later, but make sure you keep a list of the details of the author etc, so the quotation doesn’t get mixed up with your own writing.

Citations and references Make sure you reference and cite all your work correctly. This is a tedious part of the architecture dissertation but extremely important to do it right.

You can find a guide about doing the Harvard referencing system which is most commonly used in UK universities, here:

This page goes through the other citation styles and gives examples for each:

Or you can refer to your own university library reference material to make sure you are carrying out your citations and references according to university guidelines.

Collect data The goal of your architecture dissertation should be to gather and interpret new data, rather than just regurgitating existing information.

Try to collect data that you can analyse and interpret rather than just writing descriptively about the topic.

Collection of data can include information from books as we have mentioned, but also reports, studies, statistical data, surveys, interviews, opinions, archived material, and so much more.

Be prepared to think openly, and think wide. By drawing on many different data sources and formats you will have a more rounded research pool to collect data and analyse going forward.

Our Architecture Dissertation Source Log

Architecture Dissertation Source Log

Our Dissertation Source log is a valuable tool for architecture students and researchers working on their dissertations. This spreadsheet can help you record all the key information on the sources you have used in your research.

It is also a great way to keep track of your research progress. As you add new sources to the spreadsheet, you can include notes on each source and its quality. This information can be helpful when you are writing your dissertation and need to refer back to your sources.

There are also columns where you can add in citations for each source. This means that all your references will be stored in one place, which will be super handy for when you come to create your bibliography.

The Architecture Dissertation Source Log is a free download. You can start filling it in right away or adjust and edit to your liking to make it your own.

Download your copy today!


As you analyse your data and research, your findings will shape your architecture dissertation, the topic and the big or small question that you are exploring. Make sure you leave the title, introduction and abstract till last.

There are different types of analysis when it comes to researching. The main ones you will be using for your architecture dissertation are visual analysis, textual analysis and historical analysis – although there are many more that you could draw on.

Obviously your choice of topic and question will determine what data you will be analysing but let’s look at this as an overview.

Textual content analysis This is a deep focus on the books, reports, papers and journals that you have identified as being an important part of your research. The areas you have ‘highlighted’ to be of interest should be studied in detail and notes taken as to why these points are important.

What is the author saying? Why is this important? How does it relate to your question, and your observations? Has the author written any other titles? Do they refer to other titles? Lots of questions to ask in order to draw out the information you are looking for.

Visual content analysis Visually, you will be looking at plans, maps, photographs and use your skills to question what you see. Analysis of the spaces, the site etc similar to a site analysis or precedent analysis .

There should be countless questions you could ask when analysing your visual findings, write down your observations.

Historical analysis Here you will focus on the historical events or situations that have had an impact on the topic or question that you are studying.

What were the circumstances at that time? Where do the ideas come from? What is the author focusing on? And so on.


Where appropriate, use maps, images, diagrams, drawings, surveys, time lines and data mapping to explore and present the data you have collected and analysed.

Check out our Mapping Techniques Pinterest board for some ideas:

The main things to consider here are:

What is your big question or topic?

What is the sub topic or smaller question that you are looking to answer?

What research and information will you draw on to answer the question?

How will you analyse the research?

How will you present or argue your findings?

Before presenting or putting together your final works, it is important to have a clear structure to your architecture dissertation and the research you have carried out.

By now, hopefully you will be clear on your topic and the question you are looking to answer. You will know what research you will draw on to inform your ideas, and how you will collect your data.

The clearer you can make your outline of how you want the structure of your dissertation to be, the easier it will be to write. If your ideas and concepts are in a muddle, the end result could mirror this.

Your university will most likely provide guidance on how you should structure your dissertation. Some UK university guidance examples include:

University of Westminster

University of Bath

University of York

In general a dissertation will typically follow the structure shown below:

Title Acknowledgements Abstract Table of contents List of figures and tables List of Abbreviations Glossary

Introduction Literature review Methodology Results Discussion Conclusion

Bibliography/Reference list Appendix

General Architecture Dissertation Tips 

1. Start work on your dissertation early.

2. Include references and citations to other scholars’ work.

3. Discuss the topic with other people.

4. Make the most of your tutorials, or any dedicated sessions.

5. Don’t get stuck on your title/topic. Let your data research lead and guide you.

6. Don’t feel you have to solve the world’s problems with your architecture dissertation. You are contributing to the research on a particular topic, don’t feel that your work has to result in a ground breaking solution to a worldwide problem.

7. Tell a story – make sure there is a flow to your architecture dissertation. Avoid using complex sentence structures and fancy words, make it readable. Always try to say more, with less – keep it simple.

8. Give yourself plenty of time to carry out your project from start to finish. Start early with your research – it takes a lot of time if it is to be done properly.

9. Make a schedule – dedicate chunks of time to your architecture dissertation. Ideally intersperse these studies with lighter tasks or something different like sport. It is difficult to write for more than 4 hours without becoming tired and inefficient so make sure your schedule allows for breaks and changes in activity.

10. If you are asking people for help in your data collection, make sure you give them lots of time to get back to you.

11. Be as direct and clear as you can in your writing, avoid fluffy over wordy sentences.

12. Make visual connections between your architecture dissertation topic and the way you design and set it up. Use a consistent style and readable fonts.

13. Get someone to proofread your work, ideally a couple of people.

14. Use your tutors for advice and guidance, that is what they are there for. Be sure to ask plenty of questions if you are not sure about something.

Topic Ideas

Topic Ideas

Here are some broad topic areas you could consider looking into when you are deciding what to write about.

1. Sustainable Architecture: This topic area focuses on designing and constructing buildings with a reduced environmental impact, incorporating energy-efficient systems, renewable materials, and sustainable design principles.

2. Urban Design and Planning: This area explores the planning, development, and design of cities and urban spaces, including aspects such as transportation systems, public spaces, infrastructure, and community development.

3. Historic Preservation and Conservation: This topic area delves into the preservation, restoration, and adaptive reuse of historic buildings and sites, considering the cultural and historical significance of architecture and the methods used to protect and maintain them.

4. Housing and Residential Architecture: This area focuses on the design and planning of housing solutions, including affordable housing, sustainable housing, multi-family dwellings, and innovative approaches to residential architecture.

5. Interior Design and Space Planning: This topic area examines the design and arrangement of interior spaces, exploring aspects such as ergonomics, aesthetics, functionality, and the use of materials and finishes to create effective and appealing interior environments.

6. Landscape Architecture: This area explores the design and planning of outdoor spaces, including parks, gardens, urban landscapes, and sustainable landscape design strategies that integrate natural and built elements.

7. Digital Design and Building Information Modeling (BIM): This topic area investigates the use of digital tools, technologies, and software in architectural design and construction processes, including topics like parametric design, computational design, and BIM implementation.

8. Cultural and Contextual Studies: This area examines the relationship between architecture and culture, exploring how buildings and urban environments reflect and influence social, cultural, and historical contexts.

9. Architectural Theory and Criticism: This topic area involves the exploration of theoretical concepts, critical analysis of architectural works, and the examination of philosophical, social, and cultural influences on architecture.

10. Human-Centred Design and Well-being: This area focuses on designing spaces that prioritise the well-being, comfort, and health of occupants, exploring topics such as biophilic design, universal design, and the impact of the built environment on human behaviour and psychology.

Remember to choose a topic that aligns with your interests and academic goals. It’s also essential to conduct thorough research to ensure that your chosen topic has sufficient scholarly literature available for reference.

Example Architecture Dissertation Studies Here are some examples of other dissertation topics to get you inspired.

1. Sustainable Architecture: Exploring innovative design strategies for energy-efficient and environmentally conscious buildings.

2. Adaptive Reuse: Analysing the potential of transforming abandoned or underutilised structures into functional spaces while preserving their historical significance.

3. Urban Planning and Design: Investigating strategies for creating inclusive and livable cities through thoughtful urban design and infrastructure development.

4. Biophilic Design: Exploring the integration of nature and natural elements within built environments to enhance well-being and productivity.

5. Parametric Design: Investigating the applications of computational design techniques and algorithms in creating complex architectural forms and structures.

6. Affordable Housing: Analysing design approaches and policies that address the pressing need for affordable and accessible housing solutions in urban areas.

7. Post-Disaster Reconstruction: Examining architectural responses and strategies for rebuilding communities affected by natural disasters and creating resilient built environments.

8. Heritage Conservation: Investigating methods and principles for preserving and conserving historic buildings and sites while adapting them for contemporary use.

9. Smart Cities: Exploring the integration of advanced technologies and data-driven solutions in urban environments to improve efficiency, sustainability, and quality of life.

10. Cultural Identity in Architecture: Analysing how architecture can reflect and reinforce cultural identity, exploring the relationship between built form and cultural heritage.

Helpful Links:​

Books The Dissertation: A Guide for Architecture Students                   

The Dissertation A Guide for Architecture Students

Resources There will be loads of useful websites and databases that you can access through your university. A few examples include:


The Courtauld Institute’s Conway Library

Arts & Architecture

Harvard Digital Collection Library

Getty Publications Virtual Library


Architectural Association Photo Library

Archigram Archive

You might also be interested in:

We also have lots of incredible architecture content. Be sure to check it out:

Data visualisation for architecture

Download the Guide!

Download this helpful article as a pdf to keep for reference later!

How to Write an Architecture Dissertation 101

We hope this post helps you get started on your architecture dissertation.

Wishing you the very best of luck with your work 🙂

Thank you for reading!

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Excellent Dissertation Topics in Architecture

15 Mar 2022

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Architecture Dissertation Topics:

  • 🌱Eco-Friendly
  • 🎯Risk Management
  • 🏡Landscape Architecture
  • 🚗Urban Planning and Transport
  • ✅Interesting
  • 💡Modern Design
  • 🎓Sustainable Topics
  • 📑Trending Landscape Design

Picking a topic for your architecture dissertation or thesis can be a challenge because whether your final project is successful depends on it. It’s essential that you focus on your field of study to ensure that your arguments are solid and strong. If you pick a topic that you feel comfortable with, writing your final draft will be easier. Still, and if you choose to go for a theme that you’re interested in but have little or zero knowledge of, you should keep in mind that your chances of being 100% outstanding decrease. You also have to select one of the architecture dissertation topics that involve innovation and technology because in the century we’re in, people care a lot about how these two things affect our everyday lives. If you talk about what interests others, you’ll have them hooked.

With this in mind, it’s vital that you stick to your field of study and the topics that are within it. If you’re clueless as to what to talk about, you can always go online and see what other people have to say and what they’re writing about; this could give you a heads-up on what’s to come. If, for example, you study architecture, there are many things that you could address in your final document.

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The structures for buildings around the world change with the years and come from many different styles that have very different meanings because of the cultures in which they were created within. This gives you an endless list of possibilities to talk about. There really are no limits when it comes to writing about architecture.

You could discuss the never-ending debate regarding whether old buildings should be preserved or not. All you’ll have to do is provide your idea and opinion based on a series of research that you’ll need to do prior to writing your final draft. A dissertation paper isn’t something that you do in one day; this document requires months and months of hard, tedious work, where you have to read a lot and work on your citation formats and turn in various pieces of work that others will revise and provide feedback for you to adjust and have the cycle repeat itself endless times.

When you’re faced with the task of  writing your dissertation for your Ph.D , the most important factor to consider is the topic. If you need inspiration, take a look at the list of topics below, which were popular choices among other students. You can also buy case study online to get an in-depth look at a particular subject. Whichever route you choose, make sure to pick a topic that interests you. If you still have no idea of what to talk about, you can take a look at the list below, which will provide you with a series of topics that other students have been talking about throughout the years, and they are still popular. If you still have no idea of what to talk about, you can take a look at the list below, which will provide you with a series of topics that other students have been talking about throughout the years, and they are still popular.

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Eco-Friendly Architecture Dissertation Topics

These architecture dissertation topics are more than just popular, and we have a list of dissertation topics in architecture that will make any task you have on mind easier. At the same time, we will partially be focused on waste management, recycling spaces, and renewable energy, which are all related here. Let’s check the best architecture thesis topics right now.

  • Eco-friendly neighborhood development
  • Making more urban parks
  • Best eco-friendly community garden design
  • Old building eco-restoration
  • Proper waste management
  • Fast and cheap riverfront development
  • Making the most advanced SMART village
  • Completely sustainable building idea
  • What is regenerative design?
  • What is an urban agriculture center?

Architecture Dissertation Topics in Risk Management

It is important for all architecture students to have a good understanding of dissertation topics in architecture, as it is an essential field. This list of topics will be a great help when researching, and with the help of professional thesis writers, you can even pay for thesis writing to get the best results. With this assistance, you can be sure to get the best quality dissertation that will impress your peers.

Here we have a list of dissertation topics in architecture that are mandatory to know, and you will probably see a lot of architecture dissertation topics from this group. We can add that it is an essential field of architecture and one all students need to know more about.

  • Best practices for making safety better
  • How to avoid future water pollution?
  • Managing risks of high-end infrastructures
  • Limits of computer simulation
  • Benefits of risk computer simulations
  • Pros of low-cost and high-strength buildings
  • Cons of low-cost and high-strength buildings
  • New methods for decreasing risk in architecture
  • Common risk mistakes new workers make
  • Using virtual reality to test the risk

Stuck with finding the right title?

Get plenty of fresh and catchy topic ideas and pick the perfect one with PapersOwl Title Generator.

Landscape Architecture Dissertation Topics

You may need to focus on one of these when it comes to proper dissertation writing. Each dissertation topic here is a bit special, and each dissertation topic is something you will need to invest a lot of research in and then make presentable. Let’s see the best topics of this type.

  • Processing data on food, water, and energy in the real-time
  • Benefits of offshore wind energy projects
  • Using landscape to make architecture self-sustainable
  • Evolution on current energy landscape models
  • Food access for locals in large cities
  • Shaping the landscape to suit people more
  • Making landscape more suitable for people with disabilities
  • Using rainwater design in a modern city
  • Adaptive reuse of a river park
  • Adapting building design to the specific landscape

Architecture Dissertation Topics for Urban Planning and Transport

The field of architecture we have here is a bit special but more important than ever before. Now you can see the topics that will help you and the ones that can make any process of this kind even better and definitely easier.

  • Low-cost homes and low-cost transport
  • Should we make more skyscrapers?
  • Suburban communities and transporting issues
  • Benefits of developing a marine park
  • Is transport suitable for modern cities?
  • How transport can be improved in multi-million cities
  • Incorporating airports in urban planning
  • Making train stations more suitable for urban areas
  • Managing a million tourists in a modern city
  • Hotels that can accommodate more visitors than ever before but are eco-friendly

Interesting Architecture Dissertation Topics

Here you can see all about housing schemes, appealing ideas, and more that are definitely going to make your writing process easier and better the lack of a better word. Each one of these ideas has been more than just popular. Focus on building design if this is what you like.

  • How to know what the right number of restrooms is when building a large, public venue.
  • Redefining a city through architecture.
  • Maximizing small spaces: all there is to know.
  • Building for the family: privacy and closeness.
  • Cathedrals: using the new world’s budget to recreate the old world.
  • Discuss the difference in the design of houses in cold climates and warm climates.
  • Explain some benefits of using technological models in architectural diagrams.
  • Provide an accurate description of an architectural model that would be appealing to a religious client.
  • Discuss the nature of middle-class architecture and its place in modern society.
  • Include elements of famous architects without copying their work.
  • Getting people to move through energizing architecture.
  • Architecture and the family. The need for closeness and privacy
  • Cathedrals: Recreating the old world on a new world budget

Build your thesis statement

This is AI-powered online tool that lets you create a thesis statement about any topic you need.

  • Simple interface
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It is no wonder that more and more students are turning to these services for dissertation help . They can provide guidance, expertise and offer support for editing, proofreading, and writing for your best results. With their help, the dissertation can be completed in a timely and efficient manner.

Research Topics in Modern Design

The contemporary architecture will cover the hot topics in the field, and a good place to start would be one of these engaging building design topics:

  • Multicultural Architecture in the Urban Landscape
  • Trends of Environmental Technology in Residential Structures
  • Developing Commercial Projects for IoT
  • Evaluating Design in Municipal Structures
  • Creative Designs in the Modern Era
  • Maximizing Resources and Space with Accessibility
  • Minimalist Design in Compact Areas
  • Methods of Mitigating Damage from Natural Disaster
  • Methods of Pre-fabricated Design
  • Features of Portable Housing Units

Sustainable Architecture Topics 

With so much focus on the environment and technology associated with it, there is a significant push to develop green tech with design. Here are some ideas:

  • Applications of Hemp in Building Structure
  • Retrofitting Inefficiency with Existing Buildings
  • Building in Response to Climate Change
  • Micro-Construction for the Future
  • Creating Self-Sufficient Structures
  • Calculating Solar Panel Output with Planning
  • Determining Optimal Insulation R-Values
  • Principles of Net Zero Design
  • Reducing A Structure’s Carbon Footprint
  • Heating and Cooling Systems with Renewable Energy

Trending Topics in Landscape Design

Architecture is more about structures. There is the landscape that accompanies it. You must consider many elements of the environment you place your structures. Here are a few topics you can use:

  • Planning for Water Scarcity and Droughts
  • Maximizing Green Space in Residential Designs
  • Managing Flood Zones with Climate Change
  • Revitalizing Landscapes
  • Reducing Development Risks with Wildlife
  • Principles of Urban Agriculture
  • Optimizing Drainage for Water Conservation
  • Child-Friendly Landscapes
  • Retaining Green Cities in Periods of Growth
  • Efficient Public Infrastructure

Who said architecture couldn’t be exciting? With these modern architecture dissertation topics, you’re well on your way to getting your proposal approved. A dissertation is a rewarding academic achievement that is quite exhausting, which is why some students buy a dissertation . With much new technology and urban requirements coming into the mix, a degree in architecture is well worth the investment. Don’t be afraid to ask for architecture dissertation help, as we at are here to assist 24 hours. We cover all aspects of academic writing and can work with a portion of your paper or even do the whole dissertation. So if you’re stuck, reach out to us.  

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Dr. Caroline Phd

I have always been a bit of a polymath – I loved going through encyclopedias, learning interesting facts about the world around us. Even when it was time to choose my major, I struggled a lot, as I wanted to learn everything about everything.

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architectural design dissertation

Selected Architecture Thesis Projects: Fall 2020

A collage of five architecture thesis projects from Fall 2020.

Clockwise from top left: “Citing the Native Genius” by Taylor Cook, “Pair of Dice, Para-Dice, Paradise: A Counter-Memorial to Victims of Police Brutality” by Calvin Boyd, “The Magic Carpet” by Goli Jalali, “Stacked Daydreams: Ceiling-Scape for the Neglected” by Zai Xi Jeffrey Wong, and “Up from the Past: Housing as Reparations on Chicago’s South Side” by Isabel Strauss

Five films showcase a selection of Fall 2020 thesis projects from the Department of Architecture.

Time-lapse of Counter-memorial aggregation and burning, with National Museum of African American History and Culture in the foreground.

Pair of Dice, Para-Dice, Paradise: A Counter-Memorial to Victims of Police Brutality

This thesis is a proposal for a counter-memorial to victims of police brutality. The counter-memorial addresses scale by being both local and national, addresses materiality by privileging black aesthetics over politeness, addresses presence/absence by being more transient than permanent, and lastly, addresses site by being collective rather than singular. The result is an architecture that plays itself out over 18,000 police stations across America and the Washington Monument at the National Mall, two sites that are intrinsically linked through the architecture itself: negative “voids” at police stations whose positive counterparts aggregate at the Mall.

The critical question here is whether or not the system in which police brutality takes place can be reformed from within, or if people of color need to seek their utopia outside of these too-ironclad structures. This counter-memorial, when understood as an instrument of accountability (and therefore a real-time beacon that measures America’s capacity to either change or otherwise repeat the same violent patterns), ultimately provides us with an eventual answer.

Author: Calvin Boyd, MArch I 2020 Advisor: Jon Lott , Assistant Professor of Architecture Duration: 11 min, 2 sec

Thesis Helpers: Shaina Yang (MArch I 2021), Rachel Coulomb (MArch I 2022)

The white dome re-imagined. A cross-section of a multi-leveled building surrounded by vegetation with people participating in various activities inside and outside its walls.

The Magic Carpet

The Persian Carpet and the Persian Miniature painting have served as representation tools for the Persian Gar­den and the idea of paradise in Persian culture since antiquity. The word paradise derives from the Persian word pari-daeza meaning “walled enclosure.” The garden is always walled and stands in opposition to its landscape. This thesis investigates the idea of a contemporary image of paradise in the Iranian imagination by using carpets and miniature paintings as a tool for designing architecture. The garden, with its profound associations, provided a world of metaphor for the classical mystic poets. One of the manuscripts describing the Persian garden is called Haft Paykar – known as the Seven Domes – written by the 12th century Persian poet called Nizami. These types of manuscripts were made for Persian kings and contain within them miniature paintings and poetry describing battles, romances, tragedies, and triumphs that compromise Iran’s mythical and pre-Islamic history. The carpet is the repeating object in the minia­ture paintings of the manuscript. This thesis deconstructs the carpet in seven ways in order to digitally reconstruct the miniature paintings of the Seven Domes and the image of paradise with new techniques.

Author: Goli Jalali, MArch I 2021 Advisor: Jennifer Bonner , Associate Professor of Architecture Duration: 8min, 28 sec

An abstract rendering of an architectural space with images of historically prominent Black citizens on the walls.

Up from the Past: Housing as Reparations on Chicago’s South Side

Do people know what the Illinois Institute of Technology and the South Side Planning Board and the city of Chicago and the state of Illinois and the United States government did to the Black Metropolis? If they know, do they care? Is it too hard to hold these entities accountable? If we held them accountable, could we find justice for those that were displaced? What would justice look like? What comes after Mecca? What types of spaces come after Mecca? Are they different than what was there before? Are they already there? What defines them? Can Reparations be housing? How many people are already doing this work? How many people are doing this work in academia? On the ground? Is the word “Reparations” dead? What do we draw from? Who is this for? Do white men own the legacy of the architecture that defined the Black Metropolis? How personal should this work be? How anecdotal? How quantitative? Does the design need to be inherently spatial? Or atmospheric? What should it feel like? How do I draw a feeling in Rhino? What are radical ways of looking? How do we reclaim racialized architecture? Do we? Should we even talk about these things?

Author: Isabel Strauss, MArch I 2021 Advisor: Oana Stanescu , Design Critic in Architecture Duration: 4 min, 4 sec

Soundtrack Created By: Edward Davis (@DJ Eway) Production Support: Adam Maserow , Evan Orf , Glen Marquardt Collaborators: Rekha Auguste Nelson , Farnoosh Rafaie , Zena Mariem Mengesha , Edward Davis (DJ Eway) Special Thanks: Caleb Negash , Tara Oluwafemi , Maggie Janik , Ann Whiteside , Dana McKinney Guidance: Stephen Gray , John Peterson , Chris Herbert , Cecilia Conrad , Lawrence J. Vale , Ilan Strauss , Mark Lee , Iman Fayyad , Jennifer Bonner , Mindy Pugh , Peter Martinez Collage Credits: Adler and Sullivan , Bisa Butler , Carrie Mae Weems , Dawoud Bey , Deborah Roberts , Ebony G Patterson , Ellen Gallagher , Frank Lloyd Wright , Howardena Pindell , Jordan Casteel , Kerry James Marshall , Latoya Ruby Frazier , Lelaine Foster , Lorna Simpson , Mark Bradford , Mickalene Thomas , Mies van der Rohe , Nick Cave , Njideka Akunyili Crosby , Romare Bearden , Sadie Barnette More Information:

An early morning shot of the communal chapel space formed by operable stretched fabric ceiling that drapes around an existing concrete column in the elderly care home atrium.

Stacked Daydreams: Ceiling‐Scape for the Neglected

Elderly Care Adaptive Reuse of Hong Kong’s Vertical Factory

This thesis operates at the intersection of three domains of neglect:

  • In the realm of building elements, the ceiling is often considered as an afterthought in the design process.
  • Across building types, the vertical factory sits abandoned and anachronistic to its surroundings. It spiraled into disuse due to Hong Kong’s shifting economic focus.
  • In society, the elderly are often subjected to social neglect, seen as a financial burden, and forced toward the fringes of society.

These parts experience obsolescence that led to indifference, and subsequently to boredom. I intend to draw the parallel of deterioration between the body of the elderly and the body of the vertical factory. Using a set of ceiling parts in the manner of prosthetics to reactivate the spaces into elderly care facilities, revert boredom to daydreams, and reimagine the concept of elderhood as an experimental second stage of life.

Author: Zai Xi Jeffrey Wong, MArch I AP 2021 Advisor: Eric Höweler , Associate Professor of Architecture & Architecture Thesis Coordinator Duration: 4 min, 53 sec

Leaving the duplex for an early morning surf session. A figure carries a surfboard in front of curved two-story residential buildings bisected by a walkway.

Citing the Native Genius

Reconstructing vernacular architecture in Hawai’i

For over 120 years, Americanization has tried to demean and erase Hawaiian language, culture, and architecture. In contemporary discourse, the vernacular architecture of Hawai’i is mostly referred to as ancient and vague. As with many Indigenous cultures, Western perspectives tend to fetishize or patronize the Hawaiian design aesthetic. Within this hierarchy of knowledge is a systemic assumption that Hawaiian vernacular architecture cannot effectively serve as a precedent resource for contemporary architects. Those who do reference the original vernacular will often classify it as utilitarian or resourceful. Regardless of intent, this narrative takes design agency away from the people involved. As a corrective, a respectful use of vernacular domestic form would benefit designers that are struggling to connect with Hawai’i’s cultural and architectural traditions.

Mining the European gaze and influence out of revivalist publications, archeological surveys and historic images reveal unique characteristics of Hawaiian domestic space. Geometric quotation and symbolic referencing are the foundational instruments in applying the discrete components, form, and organizational logic of the vernacular. The result is a design process that creates an amalgamation of decolonized form and contemporary technique. This residential project intends to revive Hawai’i’s erased domestic experience by revisiting the precolonial vernacular form and plan.

Author: Taylor Cook, MArch I 2021 Advisor: Jeffry Burchard , Assistant Professor in Practice of Architecture Duration: 5 min, 13 sec

Special Thanks: Jeffry Burchard, Cameron Wu, Kanoa Chung, Nik Butterbaugh, Carly Yong, Vernacular Pacific LLC More Information:

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the galleries in Gund Hall have been turned ‘inside out,’ with exhibitions shown through a series of exterior projections on the building’s facade. View some images from the screening of these films below:

The Cambridge Street facade of Gund hall at night. On the wall is projected an image of a building with a demonstrator in front holding a sign that says “Justice for George Floyd”

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architectural design dissertation

Architecture Dissertation Topics (29 Examples) For Your Academic Research

Mark May 9, 2020 Jun 5, 2020 Architecture No Comments

To get a job in the field of architecture, students are required to complete a perfect dissertation. We have listed down some very interesting architecture dissertation topics. We can help you with researching, outlining, and writing a dissertation on your selected dissertation topic. The list includes project topics on architecture and research topics on architecture. […]

architecture dissertation topics

To get a job in the field of architecture, students are required to complete a perfect dissertation. We have listed down some very interesting architecture dissertation topics. We can help you with researching, outlining, and writing a dissertation on your selected dissertation topic. The list includes project topics on architecture and research topics on architecture.

All the listed architecture dissertation topics are highly interesting and manageable.

Architecture dissertation topics

The growing interest in small scale homes influencing the architects.

An analysis of the importance of inclusive architecture and first-rate designing.

A review of the digital future of the infrastructure.

Investigating the need for urban designs and resource management to create a greener city.

How the architects are recycling spaces by emphasising on the reuse of material and space.

Impact of renewable energy and environmental awareness on the role of architects.

The designing of smart homes in the world of technology.

An analysis of the concept of flexible designing in the field of architecture.

How designing for sustainability can help architects in playing their role effectively.

The smaller-scale home building projects and creative ideas.

The open concept of segmented spaces for the American families.

An analysis of the concept of accessibility in designing.

A comparison of architecture in the Middle East and Western countries.

Exploring the modern trends in the formation of adaptive architecture.

To study the recent mortgaging agreements that affect the architecture.

Exploring the nature of middle-class architecture in modern societies.

Examining how the architectural designs of ancient churches were influenced by art.

An evaluation of the social media and google trends in support of audience analytics.

Exploring the psychological impact of architectural design.

Analysing the compression in the cultural evolution of a large scale online collaborative art project.

To analyse the perspectives of architects on obstacles of sustainable architecture in metropolitan areas.

Investigating the green buildings as a solution for sustainable housing: the role of private housing schemes.

Evaluating the traditional methods in the maintenance of mud houses for environmental sustainability.

Analysing the concept of abstract expressionism by comparing architecture with artistic expression.

How digital innovation is supporting the role of architects?

An analysis of the emergence of architecture in motion: planes, trains, and automobiles.

Architects using locally sourced materials and designs.

An evolution of automation and robotic designs and its impact on the role of architects.

The growing demand for energy-efficient homes.

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An dissertation examples on architecture is a prosaic composition of a small volume and free composition, expressing individual impressions and thoughts on a specific occasion or issue and obviously not claiming a definitive or exhaustive interpretation of the subject.

Some signs of architecture dissertation:

  • the presence of a specific topic or question. A work devoted to the analysis of a wide range of problems in biology, by definition, cannot be performed in the genre of architecture dissertation topic.
  • The dissertation expresses individual impressions and thoughts on a specific occasion or issue, in this case, on architecture and does not knowingly pretend to a definitive or exhaustive interpretation of the subject.
  • As a rule, an essay suggests a new, subjectively colored word about something, such a work may have a philosophical, historical, biographical, journalistic, literary, critical, popular scientific or purely fiction character.
  • in the content of an dissertation samples on architecture , first of all, the author’s personality is assessed - his worldview, thoughts and feelings.

The goal of an dissertation in architecture is to develop such skills as independent creative thinking and writing out your own thoughts.

Writing an dissertation is extremely useful, because it allows the author to learn to clearly and correctly formulate thoughts, structure information, use basic concepts, highlight causal relationships, illustrate experience with relevant examples, and substantiate his conclusions.

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Architectural Styles and the Design of Network-based Software Architectures


submitted in partial satisfaction of the requirements for the degree of


in Information and Computer Science

Roy Thomas Fielding

Dissertation Committee: Professor Richard N. Taylor, Chair Professor Mark S. Ackerman Professor David S. Rosenblum

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  • The ground is uneven: If your backyard has slopes or uneven terrain, a deck can provide a stable and level outdoor space.


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    The ASU Library holds at least one copy or version for most of the dissertations and theses written by ASU graduates. The term "dissertation" refers to the document produced at the doctoral level, while "thesis" refers to documents produced at the Masters and Undergraduate Honors levels. Some Masters programs do not produce a thesis; documents ...

  10. The Dissertation A Guide for Architecture Students

    The Dissertation is one of the most demanding yet potentially most stimulating components of an architectural course. This classic text provides a complete guide to what to do, how to do it, when to do it, and what the major pitfalls are. This is a comprehensive guide to all that an architecture student might need to know about undertaking the dissertation. The book provides a plain guide ...

  11. Projects

    2022 Landscape Architecture Thesis Prize: Liwei Shen's "The Echoes of Sky River - Two Pre-modern and Modern Atmospheric Assemblages" by Liwei Shen (MLA I '22) — Recipient of the Landscape Architecture Thesis Prize. The…

  12. How to Write an Architecture Dissertation 101

    Let your data research lead and guide you. 6. Don't feel you have to solve the world's problems with your architecture dissertation. You are contributing to the research on a particular topic, don't feel that your work has to result in a ground breaking solution to a worldwide problem. 7.

  13. Excellent Dissertation Topics in Architecture

    15 Mar 2022 Quick Navigation Architecture Dissertation Topics: 🌱Eco-Friendly 🎯Risk Management 🏡Landscape Architecture 🚗Urban Planning and Transport Interesting 💡Modern Design 🎓Sustainable Topics 📑Trending Landscape Design

  14. Architecture Dissertations

    Architecture Dissertations on Architecture Architecture relates to the design and construction of buildings and structures. Architecture also involves the complex planning of buildings and structures, before they can be designed and built. View All Dissertation Examples Latest Architecture Dissertations

  15. Selected Architecture Thesis Projects: Fall 2020

    Advisor: Eric Höweler, Associate Professor of Architecture & Architecture Thesis Coordinator Duration: 4 min, 53 sec . From "Citing the Native Genius" by Taylor Cook Citing the Native Genius. Reconstructing vernacular architecture in Hawai'i. For over 120 years, Americanization has tried to demean and erase Hawaiian language, culture ...

  16. Architecture Dissertation Topics (29 Examples) For Your Academic Research

    Architecture dissertation topics. The growing interest in small scale homes influencing the architects. An analysis of the importance of inclusive architecture and first-rate designing. A review of the digital future of the infrastructure. Investigating the need for urban designs and resource management to create a greener city.

  17. Architectural Dissertation Report

    Architectural Dissertation Report - Contemplative Spaces in Built Environment. DISSERTATION Year: 2019-20 Batch No. 17 CONTEMPLATIVE SPACES IN BUILT ENVIRONMENT Undertaken by: Aayushi...

  18. Examples List on Architecture Dissertation

    10 pages (2500 words) , Download 2 , Dissertation. Free. Preview sample. Mapping and the Geometry of Form and Function of Cities. 19 pages (4750 words) , Download 2 , Dissertation. Free. Preview sample. The Way of Approaching for Sustainable Architecture - Norman Foster. 25 pages (6250 words) , Download 5 , Dissertation.

  19. Architectural Styles and the Design of Network-based Software Architectures

    2.1 Scope 2.2 Evaluating the Design of Application Architectures 2.3 Architectural Properties of Key Interest 2.4 Summary CHAPTER 3: Network-based Architectural Styles 3.1 Classification Methodology 3.2 Data-flow Styles 3.3 Replication Styles 3.4 Hierarchical Styles

  20. Competition results announced for the design of Moscow metro stations

    The Architectural Design of Two New Metro Stations to Be Chosen during International Competition. 15.04.2020. Moscow has set a world record in metro construction. 26.03.2020. Section of Kitaygorod Wall Near Metropol Hotel will be Restored . 03.02.2020.

  21. Landscape Architects & Designers in Elektrostal'

    A Elektrostal' landscape architect or designer works with living plants as well as building materials to design for future growth and maintenance as well as the present visual appeal. Landscape architecture is very regional, so look for a landscape designer near me that's familiar with the local climate and plant types that do well there.

  22. Stone, Paver & Concrete Contractors in Elektrostal'

    Professionals specializing in hardscape such as walkways, patios and retaining walls will work with you to design, plan, install and even fix your exterior and interior home projects. Read further to learn how to best find and work with Elektrostal', Moscow Oblast, Russia masonry and local concrete contractors.

  23. Deck Builders & Contractors in Elektrostal'

    A functional deck design and patio layout is dependent on meeting your specific needs, so it's a space that needs to be created carefully. Luckily, there are professionals to handle your deck installation or patio design — hiring local Elektrostal', Moscow Oblast, Russia deck builders or patio installers is your surefire ticket to creating an ...