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The School of the Built Environment delivers world-leading research relating to the design, construction and operation of the built environment. 100% of our research is of international standing (REF 2021, combining 4*, 3* and 2* submissions – Architecture, Built Environment and Planning) and 100% of our research impact has been classed 'outstanding’ or ‘very considerable’ (REF 2021, combining 4* and 3* submissions – Architecture, Built Environment and Planning).

Our research vision is to understand the built environment "across the scales" that addresses societal aspirations relating to the built environment, combining real-world problems with high-quality interdisciplinary research. 

Our research in architecture

Architecture research within the School of the Built Environment is embedded in the real-world problems of architecture practice. We develop rigorous methodologies to describe, map and evaluate what it is that architects do, feeding back these findings into industry and policy.

Our staff in the School have an interest in the monitoring of more intangible aspects of experience, for example the capturing of atmospheres, and the feeling of urban space and social value.

The Urban Room

A long-term objective of the School of Architecture is to develop an Urban Room for Reading, a nexus or research collaboration across the community, industry and University. 

All staff are part of the Urban Living research group, and have contributed to a range of publications, books and projects associated with Urban Living.

A collaborative environment

Co-design and collaborative making is a strong theme within the School's research. The School benefits from a long-term collaboration with Invisible Studio, enabling students to develop a series of built structures during their undergraduate degrees.  

This collaboration continues into the new Master of Architecture course, which offers students opportunities to develop research in this area.

Interdisciplinary research

The School works on research and PhD supervision across the University with colleagues in agriculture, biological sciences, film, Henley Business School, meteorology, Museum of English Rural Life, and real estate and planning.

Research Practice Leads Group

The School of Architecture hosts and facilitates the Research Practice Leads, enabling a group of leaders in research across 40 prominent architectural practices to share best practice.

All staff in the School are committed to furthering the cause of the School's research, educating students to be the next generation of practice-based researchers with an ethical commitment to advance the cause of people and planet.

Read more about the Research Practice Leads group

Built environment research groups

Energy and Environmental Engineering

The Energy and Environmental Engineering research group brings together a diverse range of expertise that is informing scientific (physical and social) and engineering understanding of the built environment as well as influencing policy and industry practice. 

As part of national and international collaboration, the group is leading research on issues such as energy demand, urban meteorology, air quality and pollution exposure, and climate change mitigation and resilience.

Organisation, People and Technology

The Organisation, People and Technology research group draws upon an illustrious tradition of construction management research and industry engagement over the past 60 years. The group has evolved to remain at the forefront of practice-oriented research in the design and construction of the built environment. 

The group's expertise spans management, sustainability, innovation studies, diversity and digital practices, combined to create a vibrant and collaborative atmosphere in which to investigate key issues affecting the wider construction industry.

Urban Living

The Urban Living group is truly interdisciplinary, with expertise in analysis, evaluation and mapping of urban systems from a social, economic, environmental, cultural, experiential and design perspective, and the interfaces between those systems. 

The group's aim is to impact on strategy, policy and practice for climate resilience, sustainable resources use, wellbeing community, design quality, and the public realm.

Athena SWAN Silver Award