Portrait of Dr Timothy Ireland

Dr Timothy Ireland

Senior Lecturer
Director of Digital Architecture
MSc Bio Digital Architecture Programme Director
Director of DARC Research Centre


Tim is a UK registered architect who, having worked in small-scale private and large-scale international practices in the UK and overseas turned to focus on his interests in natural systems and computation. Awarded an EPSRC research grant in 2008 Tim completed his PhD (2013) in Architecture and Computational Design at the Bartlett School of Graduate Studies, University College London. Tim’s research is a synthesis of algorithmic and biological design thinking. Taking an interdisciplinary approach his research is a combination of (1) synthesising several different strands of theoretical work on conceptualising, representing and analysing space and spatiality, and (2) developing computer codes that simulate bio-inspired spatial self-organisation. The purpose of these two endeavours is to (a) probe and improve the concept of space for architectural practice, and (b) make a case for the use of such computational tools as creative stimuli for early-stage design processes. Understanding space to arise from the interplay of dynamic habitual agencies, he proposes architects may benefit from embracing a decentralised approach to configuration in order to mediate and articulate inhabitation.

In 2011 Tim became a senior lecturer at the Leicester School of Architecture, De Montfort University where he taught design and theory at both undergraduate and postgraduate level. He became Programme Leader of the MA Architecture course, through which he instigated the Motive Ecologies programme (a computational design initiative amalgamating architecture and computing with biological and semiotic theory). In 2015 Tim became Programme Leader of the MArch Architecture course and the Motive Ecologies programme became a research oriented studio within the MArch encouraging computation and code as a means to stimulate a biological approach to design thinking.

Tim has a boutique architectural practice in London, where he lives.

Research interests

My research stems from an interest in how organisms interact with their world and construct niches to enhance their existence, as well as how shape, form and structure arise in nature. 

The task of configuring buildings spatially is complex, yet traditional approaches tend to flatten and quantify such problems to make them manageable.  My research looks at how the complexity of such problems may be used as an engine to drive the process of configuration, using the computer as a tool to emulate natural phenomena to capitalise on their productive pattern-making properties.

  • Computational design
  • Analysis of architectural space and form
  • Digital design methods
  • Generative design
  • Natural architecture
  • Understanding morphology and structure in nature
  • Algorithmic and biological design
  • Swarm / collective intelligence and distributed cognition
  • Understanding space and spatiality


Module CodeModule TitleInformation
AR836Design 4ATutor
AR838Design 5aTutor
AR839Design 5b


PhD Supervision

  • Seyedeh Alavi
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