Sonja Dragojlovic-Oliveira


  • United Kingdom

Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

new models of socially responsible energy governance
digital/physical interfaces in healthy smart homes/smart cities
designers sustainable architecture design practice/environmental ways of knowing
automation of environmental performance analysis
MMC/automation/building performance systems
multidisciplinary methods
visual and sociospatial methods

Personal profile

Personal Statement

Sonja is Professor in Architecture and Sustainability Design Innovation with over 20 years innovation and research experience in the sustainability and design sector. She has worked as an associate architect, senior manager and principal consultant in delivery of complex multidisciplinary research, innovation and design projects ranging in value from £200k-£29mil in the UK and internationally. She founded the Radical Architecture Practice for Sustainability network ( in partnership with leading design practitioners and researchers in Sweden, the Netherlands, Portugal, Austria, Serbia and France. She has been appointed as a Thought Leadership Specialist Advisor to the Design Council  and is a board member of the World Green Building Council (Serbia), as well as scientific and industry advisory member of numerous scientific committees including ARENA and the New European Bauhaus Collective.

Her research, design and teaching practice are fostered through building strong industry and academic links across disciplines within the built environment as well as in computer science, psychology, environmental science and sociology. Her recent work carried out for accelerating  socially responsible design capability and capacity for net-zero modular housing delivery has been selected for the House of Lords Science and Technology Select Committee’s report, Off-site manufacture for construction: Building for change and presented as invited keynote at the Westminster Social Forum in Dec 2020.

Sonja has worked with UK and EU government institutions, EU business consultancy, international design firms, UK innovation hubs, research institutions and recently housing associations to examine complex cross-disciplinary problems that emerge in the designed environment. Trained in architecture and construction management and engineering, Sonja takes a novel approach to developing new insights into complex climate change phenomena in the designed environment. Sonja is a graduate of the Mackintosh School of Architecture and completed an MSc in “Integration of renewable energies in buildings” at CASS, Metropolitan University London and FEUP in Portugal. Her PhD at the University of Reading examined how evaluation of sustainability and aesthetics develop in RIBA awards.

Research Interests

Currently, Sonja is leading delivery of multiple research and innovation projects (value in 2021 in excess of £1.2mil) aiming to transform interrelated energy governance systems to account for complex multi-phenomenon and multi-scale interconnected encounters between humans, nonhumans, spatial, socio-technological and environmental dimensions of everyday life. As PI on the £586,000 EPSRC project GLOW [EP/V041770/1], she is in collaboration with multiple research and industry partners, looking to develop new communication protocols to manage home energy demand drawing on bee colony and home socio spatial energy behaviour data across three low energy housing communities. She was Co-I on the £772,178 EPSRC project RESIDE [ EP/R008434/1] (with Oxford Brookes) and was lead investigator on the energy evaluation work for the REPLICATE project ( She is also developing a new multimodal visual lexicon for radical architecture practice to better communicate collective needs across diverse multispecies environments. Below is a selection of projects delivered or ongoing since last 5 years:

  • 09/2021 (£586K) EPSRC GLOW-Energy nested bio system flows- from the home to the hub (PI) - Multidisciplinary collaboration with leading international experts in smart energy governance regimes including Energy Systems Catapult
  • 02/2021 (£310K) Department for Education ‘Achieving zero carbon’ bootcamp cpd course for industry (Co-Lead) collaboration with UWE EDM
  • 03/2019 (22K) VC Challenge Fund Automating environmental performance analysis in modular housing (PI) Collaboration with UWE FBL
  • 08/2019 (20K) G4G Energy stories from the campus in collaboration with BAM and Hydrock (Co-Lead) Collaboration with UWE FBL
  • 06/2019 (10K) G4G Perceptions of comfort in MMC housingZedpods study (PI) Collaboration with BCC, YMCA, BHF
  • 03/2018 (EUR 29mil) EU H2020 project Renaissance of Places with Innovative Citizenship and Technology (REPLICATE) Co-leading Housing energy intervention Evaluation Programme in Bristol (Lead)
  • 02/2018-(7K) North Somerset Council NSC Design Guidance and Sustainability Evaluation Consultancy (Lead)
  • 12/2017-(3K) SHAPE Energy Research Challenge Award (with Wroclaw University of Science and Technology) (PI) Invited Contribution in advisory capacity to European Research Challenges in Energy Policy Agenda
  • 10/2018- (£773K) EPSRC RESIDE ‘Residential building energy demand reduction in India’ (Co-I); leading and developing 2 work packages that will provide theoretical underpinning to data analysis and dissemination
  • 03/2017- (£46K) Flagship fund ‘MMC delivery in social housing’ (PI); leading data bid writing as well as research design, data collection, analysis, liaising with client and disseminating- most recently in AJ Offsite construction’ issue 5thOct 2017
  • 09/2017- (£3.5K) Scott Brownrigg sustainability and environmental management consultancy (PI)
  • 01/2017 (£22K) BEIS, International evidence heating controls (PI)
  • 07/2016-09/2017 (£15K) HEA Developing Digital Feedback tools (CoLead













Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action


  • Architecture
  • Sustainability
  • Design
  • Energy
  • Climate Change
  • Visual Methodology
  • Social Methods


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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