RCAT - Research Center for Architecture and Tectonics

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[2010 - ongoing]


Prof. Dr. Michael U. Hensel + Asst. Prof. Søren S. Sørensen



Prof. Dr. Michael U. Hensel, Asst. Prof. Søren S. Sørensen, Asst. Prof. Joakim Wiig Hoen, Lecturer Sofia Martins da Cunha, Research Fellow Sareh Saeidi, Matteo Lomaglio


Bollinger and Grohmann, Kieran Timberlake, Snøhetta, OCEAN Design Research Association

TU Delft - Hyperbody Research Group - Robotic Building Group


This field of research consolidates the long-standing research efforts since the mid-1990s of AHO faculty members that are also members of the OCEAN Design Research Association. The latter include Prof. Dr. Michael Hensel (PhD: Performance-oriented Architecture), Asst. Prof. Søren S. Sørensen (Informed Non-standard), Prof. Dr. Birger Sevaldson (PhD: Digital Creativity), Defne Sunguroglu Hensel (material Informatics / MatOnt) and in the past Thomas Fagernes, Dr. Johan Bettum and Kim Bauman Larsen.

A first major milestone en route to establishing this research area was the inauguration of the Advanced Computational Design Laboratory [ACDL] in 2014. ACDL serves as the research centers innovation laboratory for teaching, research, and research based studios, addressing the relations between computational design, spatial and material organization, performance and locality. Particular focus is placed on underpinning core areas of the Institute of Architecture’s strategic plan pertaining to core research activities at RCAT. These include [i] ‘Tectonics – Research in Buildings’ (performance-oriented architecture, intensely local architecture), and [ii] ‘Praxis – Experimental Architecture (experimental design, advanced computational design). ACDL integrates teaching and research activities from master-level to PhD and post-doc levels, as well as related research projects.

The advanced computational design oriented research of RCAT | ACDL is grounded within the theoretical framework of performance-oriented architecture. The pursued notion of performance foregrounds the interaction between a given architecture and its local setting, with consequences not only for the design product, but also for the related processes by which it is generated. Integrated approaches to data-driven computational design can serve to generate such designs. This approach shifts the focus of design attention away from the delivery of finite architectural objects towards an expanded range of architecture-environment interactions that are registered, instrumentalised and modulated over time. The aim is to integrate specific architectural goals and approaches, computational data-driven design methods and generative design processes based on a range of context-specific and often real-time data sets.

The aim is to integrate multi-modal data-collection, advanced data-driven computational design methods, computational anaylsis, and advanced visualization including augmented and virtual reality tools. While the aim is state-of-the-art computational design the group engages only affordable technologies in order to ensure that such means can be readily available for researchers and practitioners. Skill-builing focuses on the ability to purpose-configure computational tools and processes as and when needed in the design process.


2012-15 Dr. Julia Schlegel. The Gap between Design and Vision – Investigating the impact of high-end visualization on architectural practice.

Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Michael U. Hensel [AHO], Prof. Dr. Martina Keitsch [NTNU], Kjetil Trædal Thorsen and Eli Synnevåg [Snøhetta]

2012-18 Asst. Prof. Søren S. Sørensen. Informed Non-Standard Architecture.

Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Michael U. Hensel

2014-18 Research Fellow Sareh Saeidi. Envelope as Versatile Organiser of Space.

Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Michael U. Hensel


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Arduino Workshop | Performative Envelopes Workshop, Spring 2016.

ract web arduino 01Arduino Measure-stations | Performative Envelopes Workshop, 2016_01.

Arduino Measure-stations | Performative Envelopes Workshop, 2016_01.Arduino Measure-stations | Performative Envelopes Workshop, 2016_01.Arduino Measure-stations | Performative Envelopes Workshop, 2016_Arduino Workshop | 24 Hours Oslo: Performative Envelopes Workshop, Spring 2016.


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Arduino Workshop | Performative Envelopes Workshop Spring 2015. Top: Purpose made measure-stations based on Arduino technology for collecting data on solar exposure of the site and for the purpose of analysing scaled models. Centre and bottom: measurements on scaled models of the design system in development.

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Preparations of measure-stations for the Grospoli Terraces in Lamole, Fall 2016.


RCAT ExtendedThresholdStudio_01

Workspace organization for the Extended Threshold Studio, Fall 2012.

RCAT ExtendedThresholdStudio_AR_02

Augmented Reality Visualization utilizing ARive software developed by master student Joakim Svela, Fall 2012.

RCAT ExtendedThresholdStudio_VR_01

Virtual Reality Visualization utilizing specialist software developed by IFE Halden, Fall 2012.

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Interactive Augmented Reality Visualization, Spring 2010.


rcat web roboticsworkshop 01

Robotics Workshop @ Snøhetta directed by Association for Robots in Architecture, Spring 2015.

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Robotics Workshop @ Snøhetta directed by Association for Robots in Architecture, Spring 2015.