Dr-Ing (TU-Berlin), AA Diploma (AA School London), Dipl Des (Univ ApplSc Mainz), RIBA, RAIA, AoU
I am Professor of Sustainable Architecture and lead the research theme 'Sustainable Cities' in the Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries, and across faculties at the University of Portsmouth.
I am Founding Director of the Cluster for Sustainable Cities, a University-wide cross-Faculty research concentration that brings together a group of over 35 researchers and key industry partners with an interest in resilient urban futures.
The Cluster web site is here: www.city-futures.org.uk
Urbanisation is one of the defining processes of contemporary times. Our understanding of the urban, whether in theory or in practice, has reached a turning point, with cities across the world facing new, complex and challenging conditions that require resilience and adaptation to the impacts of environmental and social change. It's time to rethink cities for the age of global warming.
With my own practice, I am currently working on innovative low-carbon housing projects in Berlin and Stuttgart (Germany), and in Australia.
My motto: "Stay focused, hungry and resilient!"
Prior to joining the University of Portsmouth to establish the interdisciplinary Research Cluster for Sustainable Cities, I have been a full professor for the last 15 years (since Dec 2002), I have held a range of senior leadership positions, ranging from Head of School to Head of Discipline and Director of impactful research centres. I have been in research intensive positions for the past decade. During this time I have had significant responsibility in creating and leading new urban research formations, generating a large publication and granting output and a continuous stream of successful research students.
At the University of Portsmouth (UK) I am a tenured Research Professor. I was previously a tenured Chair Professor of Sustainable Design at the University of South Australia, where I was also founding director of two highly successful research centres (2010-14).
My research interests span architecture, urban design and sustainability with a strong focus on improving the environmental performance of buildings and neighbourhoods by introducing the concept of 'integrated urban climate resilience'. The main focus of my work over the past twentyfive years concerns urbanisation and the integration of low-carbon technologies into the societal/behavioural context. Current research includes the emerging field of low-carbon precinct design combining strategies of passive and active building performance, and the adaptation of communities for climate change. I focus on solutions for a low carbon society, resilient urban development and technologies to further optimise the resource-efficiency of cities.
I believe architects and urban designers have a crucial role to play in developing strategies and adaptation solutions to ensure our cities are resilient, resource-efficient and more sustainable in the face of intensifying global warming.
One of the key questions I am trying to answer is: How can design thinking and behaviour change accelerate the move towards a sustainable society?
The fruits of my research are prodigious, including 17 books, numerous articles and conference papers (over 150+), over 40 invited book chapters, encyclopaedia entries, online podcasts and contributions to significant UN reports. For the last 8 years, I have been advising the United Nations' UN-ESCAP and UNESCO organisations on urbanisation models and 'The New Urban Agenda'. In 2008, based on the international significance of my work, I was appointed the chairholder of the prestigious UNESCO Chair in Sustainable Urban Development for Asia and the Pacific (2008-2010).
From 2016 to 2018, I hold an Honorary appointment with the Institute for Sustainable Futures, at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS).
I am currently an editorial board member for five international scientific journals and editor of the Routledge book series for Sustainable Design.
I have an international outlook and extensive experience as a senior academic and practitioner in Europe and Asia, particularly in China. In April 2014, I organised and led the high-profile international group mission and research symposium ‘Sustainable Urbanisation of China’ at Tianjin University.
I studied at the Architectural Association School in London in the 1980s (AA Dip 1990), and completed a PhD (Dr.-Ing.) in Architecture and Urbanism at the TU-Berlin.
Leadership in architectural practice
I have a long and distinguished career as an architect and urban designer - with a strong track record as a practising architect and policy adviser - and I like to combine practice with research and teaching. Industry collaboration is a strength and I have been leading numerous outreach initiatives to practitioners, policy makers, municipalties, business and citizens.
As a young architect and urban designer I have first worked with visionary architects Arata Isozaki in Tokyo and Jim Stirling in London, before establishing my own architectural practice (the s_Lab, Steffen Lehmann Architekten Berlin) in 1993 in Berlin. With my own studio I was actively involved for over 10 years in the architectural creation of the `New Berlin'.
In Berlin and throughout my career, I was privileged to work on numerous high profile projects: I designed and built significant large-scale (public and private) projects in historically important places, such as at Potsdamer Platz and at Hackescher Markt in Berlin, for high-profile clients.
The s_Lab in Berlin, which I led as Principal and Founding Director for over a decade, was an interdisciplinary studio employing around 20-25 staff, based on the belief that architecture can deliver the most important innovations of our time. In the 1990s, the s_Lab was an adventurous team of architectural designers, architects, researchers, urban planners, digital craftspeople, urban ecologists and model-makers, delivering a construction budget of $900mill in 20 projects.
With the s_Lab, I led project partnerships with architects Arata Isozaki and Christian de Portzamparc for the design and delivery of significant large-scale buildings, such as the French Embassy as 'Generalplaner'.
I built for over 30 clients, including notable institutions such as the Bundesverband Deutscher Banken, the Auswaertige Amt (German Ministry of Foreign Affairs), Deutsche Bahn AG, the Berliner Volksbank, Daimler Immobilien - and numerous others we have represented - with entities as diverse as the Senate of Berlin, the Republique de France, Manhattan Loft Corp, URA Singapore and the City of Sydney.
Over the last 25 years, I have presented projects to heads of state and heads of corporations, with international bankers and small-town advisors, with bureaucratic prime bodies like the Deutscher Gewerkschaftsbund (German Workers Union) and autocratic empire builders in Asia and the Middle East.
Since then, I have been invited to teach at many different universities around the world and have been a Visiting Professor at the University of California at Berkeley, TU-Munich (as DAAD Professor), TU-Berlin, the National University of Singapore, Tongji and Tianjin University and at other prestigious institutions.
In my free time I enjoy running with my cocker spaniel ‘Mawson’ along the Southsea waterfront.
Member, Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA)
Member, Royal Australian Institute of Architects (RAIA)
Member, Academy of Urbanism (AoU)
PhD Supervision: I have successfully supervised a variety of interdisciplinary PhD studies as Primary Supervisor (since 2003) in the field of sustainable architecture, urbanism, design theory and socio-technical change. I am happy to discuss proposals with potential PhD candidates that connect to my field and are interested to explore open-ended questions. PhD students will have the freedom to 'design' their own research, and to 'research' in design.
'I am passionate about the possible urban futures of our cities and our capacity to rethink urbanism to enable principles of social and environmental sustainability. That passion extends into my research, teaching and collaborative practice.' -- Steffen Lehmann, 2017