Research studies

We help institutions and entrepreneurs innovate in sustainable architecture.

All of us at 2hD have experience of research activity at doctorate level, and we’re particularly keen to put our skills to use for the benefit both of public and private clients, professional consultants and community groups: if you want us to investigate an issue involving differences of viewpoint, or to solve a material or construction-related technical problem, we’d be delighted to take up the challenge.  

In relation to the built environment and its associated culture, we believe strongly that people need in-depth knowledge of context (social, political, technical and economic) to enable them to make the most effective decisions about its future. Generating this kind of knowledge is one of our specialisms.

Although experts in our own right, we pride ourselves on being good listeners and communicators, enabling us to design research projects and disseminate knowledge effectively and clearly. We produce relevant, practically useful and easily understood information in response to whatever questions we are asked to investigate.

What we can help you with

Understanding the context for development

  • Undertaking physical, technical and legal feasibility studies
  • Investigating the history of a site and its surroundings
  • Developing a business case for site proposals

Providing recommendations for change

  • Advising on alternative development options
  • Negotiating routes through conflicting issues
  • Undertaking comparative evaluation of constraints and opportunities

Developing architectural products

  • Designing and experimentally testing new construction systems
  • Analysing marketability of new products and construction techniques
  • Creating custom visualisation and data-mining tools for environmental design

Our fields of expertise and research projects

Architectural practice & community

An ongoing research project by 2hD director Chris Heuvel, into how architectural practices can grow their business in parallel with involvement in community engagement exercises. The research is supported by the School of Architecture at Nottingham Trent University and is currently conducted by Chris within the framework of his DArch thesis.
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Environmental design & textile architecture

A PhD research project by 2hD director Thibaut Devulder, investigating the thermal behaviour of spaces enclosed by large-scale tensile structures. This research was carried out by Thibaut at the Faculty of Architecture of the University of Nottingham. It was published in his PhD thesis (2004) and as part of the official European Design Guide for Tensile Surface Structures (2004).
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Lightweight steel-frame housing

A PhD research project by 2hD director Tom Hughes, investigating the design and market perception of lightweight steel-frame housing in the UK. This research was carried out by Tom at the School of Architecture & Design at Lincoln University and was published in 2003 in his PhD thesis.

Conservation of historical buildings

Our research expertise in the field of architectural conservation extends from the cultural implications of rehabilitation policies in Transylvanian villages to the conservation of medieval timber structures at Lincoln cathedral. These research projects were carried out by Alina and Tom at Nottingham Trent University and by Thibaut at the University of Nottingham.

Some research articles in our Workshop blog

Our publications

Here is a complete list of our publications, which relate to our practice and research expertise.

If you would like more information on any of these papers or would be interested in future research collaborations, get in touch with us!

  • Formation through Misinformation
    Heuvel C
    10th international conference of the AHRA, Bristol, 2013

  • Studio as Cabaret: from Genius Loci to Locus Genii
    Heuvel C
    Inaugural conference of the AAE, NTU, Nottingham, 2013

  • Inflatable event space for a museum
    Devulder T, Hughes A
    TensiNews, published by the European based network for the design and realisation of tensile structures, Issue 22, 2012

  • The Lost Cuckoo: holding a creative space for public participation
    Devulder T, Hughes T, Rowlands M
    Mailout magazine, June-July 2012 (article available online), 2012

  • A Postman’s Palace – Madness or Civilisation?
    Heuvel C
    FAILED ARCHITECTURE conference, NTU, Nottingham,  2011

  • Greening the Design Practice
    Heuvel C
    CADBE Annual Research Conference, NTU, Nottingham, 2011

  • Transylvanian villages: conservationism, but at what price?
    Hughes A, Hughes T, Koranyi J
    Open Democracy (paper available online), 2010

  • Rehabilitation and retrofit: Sustainable futures in Romania’s Saxon Villages
    Hughes A, Hughes T
    XXXVII IAHS World Congress on Housing, Santander, Spain, 2010

  • Towards a sustainable critical regionalism
    Hughes A, Lu C, Du Y
    In ‘Urban Morphology and Urban Transformation’, Sixteenth International Seminar on Urban Form, Guangzhou, China, 2009

  • Cultures, identities, heritage, conflict: emerging dynamics in Transylvania's Saxon villages
    Hughes A, Hughes T
    ADGD Conference: The Multiple Faces of Identity in the Designed Environment, Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, 2009

  • Will there be conflict? Identity and values tensions in Transylvania's Saxon villages
    Hughes A
    Europolis, Journal of Political Analysis and Theory (4), pp. 309-328, 2008

  • The Architecture of Fantasy (lessons from Facteur Cheval’s ‘Palais Ideal’ at Hauterives, France)
    Heuvel C
    Opening seminar for NAA Wednesday Architectural Forum series, 2008

  • The thermal behaviour of buildings incorporating single skin tensile membrane structures
    Devulder T, Wilson R, Chilton JC
    International Journal of Low Carbon Technologies, Manchester University Press, Volume 2, Issue 2, April 2007, pp. 195-213, 2007

  • Aesthetics & Urbanism – the Imminent Return of the Gothic (some pointers from modern Japanese architecture)
    Heuvel C
    Opening seminar for NAA Wednesday Architectural Forum series, 2007

  • Tailoring the environmental properties of membrane constructions
    Devulder T, Chilton JC, Wilson R, Blum R
    Proceedings of the TensiNet Symposium 2007: Ephemeral Architecture, Textiles and Time, Milano, 2007

  • Steel Frame Homes: Design practice and consumer response in the take up of steel frame in English speculative housing
    Hughes T
    PhD thesis, University of Lincoln, 2005

  • Steel homes: Construction systems and identity
    Hughes T
    International Conference Globalisation and Representation, University of Brighton, Brighton, 2005

  • The thermal behaviour of textile skins
    Devulder T, Chilton JC, Wilson R, Blum R
    TensiNews, published by the Communication Network for Tensile Structures in Europe 2005

  • European Design Guide for Tensile Surface Structures
    Devulder T, Blum R, Chilton JC, Rutherford P
    Chapter 4: Internal Environment, TensiNet, ISBN 908086871X, 2004

  • The thermal response of textile membrane constructions
    Devulder T
    PhD thesis, University of Nottingham, 2004

  • Consumer response to steel frame housing: A choice modelling experiment
    Hughes T
    European Network for Housing Research conference paper, 2004

  • Environmental monitoring of the Inland Revenue Amenity Building, Nottingham
    Chilton JC, Devulder T
    Proceedings of the TechTextil Symposium, Innovative Lightweight membrane construction session, Frankfurt, Germany, 2003

  • Integrating Light Steel Frame: Impact on product and process
    Hughes T
    XXX IAHS World Congress on Housing, Vol. 1, 2002

  • Chapter House Roof, Lincoln Cathedral
    Chilton JC, Devulder T
    Proceedings of Spatial Wood Structures 2002, special session of the Fifth International Conference on Space Structures, Surrey, 2002

  • It's a steel
    Hughes T
    Article on steel frame housing, Architects' Journal, No. 5, Vol. 216, 2002

  • Material Presence: Spatial Potential
    Hughes T
    Proceedings of the 5th Iberoamerican Congress of Digital Graphics, 2001

  • Widespan membrane enclosures as passive climate modifiers
    Devulder T, Chilton JC
    Proceedings of the International Symposium on Theory, Design and Realization of Shell and Spatial Structures, Nagoya, Japan, 2001

  • The Built Environment and the Community
    Heuvel C, Millward et al
    GNVQ Construction and the Built Environment (Advanced), 2nd & 3rd Editions, 1997/2000

  • An Historic Timber Reciprocal Structure — The Chapter House Roof, Lincoln Cathedral
    Chilton JC, Devulder T
    Proceedings of the IASS Symposium, Bridging Large Spans from Antiquity to the Present, Sanayi-i Nefise Vakfi, Istanbul, Turkey, 2000

  • "It’s Norwich, Jim, but We Used to Call It Amsterdam" (possible influences of the Amsterdam School on pre-war architecture in Norwich)
    Heuvel C
    Illustrated public lecture given to the Norfolk Contemporary Art Society, 1998

  • Value-added 'Criteria' – Competencies with Attitude
    Heuvel C
    Conference on ‘Developments in Education and Training for Professionals in the Built Environment: Quality through Inter-Professionalism & Collaboration', University of Central England, 1996

  • Educating for Urbanity
    Heuvel C
    EAAE 20th Anniversary Forum ('Architectural Education and Urban Reality'), School of Architecture, Weimar University, Germany, 1995

  • Inciting Insights
    Heuvel C
    Essay submitted for the EAAE prize, 1995

  • Answers from Within
    Heuvel C
    27th Conference of European Association for Architectural Education, Faculty of Architecture, Polytechnic of Turin, Italy, 1994