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Prof Marcos Cruz
22 Gordon Street
Prof Marcos Cruz profile picture
  • Professor of Innovative Environments
  • The Bartlett School of Architecture
  • Faculty of the Built Environment

Marcos Cruz is an Architect and Professor of Innovative Environments at the Bartlett, UCL. His main research focuses on bio-integrated design in buildings. He runs Bio-ID with Dr Brenda Parker, a multidisciplinary research platform and Masters programme that investigates design that is driven by advances in bio-technology, computation, materials and fabrication. He was co-editor of Syn.de.Bio and founder of the BiotA Lab (2014-18).

Cruz was the Director of the Bartlett from 2010-14, having fostered its uncontested reputation as the UK's leading architecture school. His varied teaching activity as an investigator, tutor and critic has been carried out at the University of Westminster (2008-10), UCLA (2010), and IAAC (2014- ), but most of all at UCL where he ran MArch Unit 20 for 19 years, as well as MArch AD RC7 for 4 years. In addition, he is regularly invited as an adviser to academic institutions and jury member of International competitions.

Cruz studied at the ESAP Porto and was an exchange student at the ETSAB Barcelona. After moving to London he gained a Masters with distinction and a PhD degree sponsored by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology in 2007. His investigations about Neoplasmatic Architecture won the RIBA President’s Research Award in 2008.

In 2000 he was part of the design team for the Kunsthaus Graz competition (P Cook and C Fournier, first prize). In the same year Cruz co-founded MAM-ARCH London (former marcosandmarjan), whose work has been extensively exhibited, including the Venice and S.Paulo Biennales, along with solo exhibitions in Hamburg and Braunschweig. MAM-ARCH built buildings and pavilions and won several competitions. Their work is part of the permanent collection of the FRAC Orleans.

Selected books and articles:

- Cruz M. 'Poikilohydric Design', in Design with Life: Biotech Architecture and Resilient Cities, Terreform ONE / ACTAR (2020)

- Malik S., Hagopian J., Mohite S., Lintong C., Stoffels L., Giannakopoulos S., Beckett R., Leung  C., Ruiz R., Cruz M.*, Parker B.*. 'Robotic Extrusion of Algae‐Laden Hydrogels for Large‐Scale Applications', in Global Challenges, Wiley (2019)

- Vivaldi J. 'Bio-integrated Design - Interview with MCruz', in Black Ecologies, IaaC Bits (2019)

- Cruz M. 'Paramateriality', in Architectural Materialisms: Nonhuman Creativity (Edinburgh University Press, 2018)

- Cruz M, Colletti M. 'Advancing the Vernacular: Hi-tech Meets Low-tech', in HABITAT, Thames and Hudson (2017)

- Cobas M. 'La Imperfeccion Como Oportunidad', in Entrevistas 3, FARQ (2017)

- Colletti M, Cruz M (eds.). Unit 20: Hyper-Articulated Morphologies, LISt Lab (2016)

- Cruz M, Beckett R. 'Bioreceptive Design', in ARQ Vol. 20 Issue1, Cambridge University Press (2016)

- Cruz M. El Cuerpo Habitable de la Arquitectura, FARQ (2015)

- Paz Agras L. 'M Cruz - Arquitectura como Ecologia', in Dardo Magazine, (2014)

- Cruz M. 'Architectural Education Today, The School of Tomorrow', in Dealing with Change, ENHSA (2014)

- Colletti M, Cruz M, Beckett R (eds.). Unit 20: poroCITY, LISt Lab (2014)

- Cruz M. The Inhabitable Flesh of Architecture, Ashgate (2013)

- Cruz M (ed.). Bartlett Books – Summer Show catalogues, UCL (2011, 2012, 2013)

- Cruz M. 'Lateral Design', in Archithese (2010)

- Cruz M, Colletti M. 'The Return of the Figural', in Beyond (2010)

- Cruz M, Pike S (eds.). AD - Neoplasmatic Design Vol. 78 No. 6, Wiley (2008)

- Cruz M, Colletti M. marcosandmarjan - Interfaces/Intrafaces, Springer (2005)

- Furtado G. Cruz M - Unpredictable Flesh, Mimesis (2004)

- Perez Arroyo S, Cruz M (eds.). Unit 20, University of Valencia/ACTAR (2002)

- Cruz M (ed.). Flesh and Vision, Forum da Maia (2000)

Research Themes
Research Summary

Bio-Integrated Design

The design of urban habitat today is being shaped by the outcomes of two key revolutions, biotechnology and computation, and our exposure to the long-lasting effects of climate change. Bio-Integrated Design takes these life-changing phenomena as the foundation for radically new, yet also critical design solutions that help developing our future built environment. Nature plays a central role that goes beyond being a simple environmental regulator, model or inspiration; it is in itself the medium of a multi-layered design approach that is biologically, materially and socially integrated.

Bio-Integrated Design is a collaboration between the Bartlett and UCL Biochemical Engineering (Dr Brenda Parker) that embraces a wide range of expertise, including advanced design and computational simulations; algae-laden hydrogels; multifunctional cementitious materials; robotic fabrication. It combines in unique way scientific methods with design experimentation, looking for new modes of production, and how  biotechnology, synthetic biology and material science are leading towards a truly interdisciplinary design.

Poikilohydric Living Walls

The research investigates ways to increase biological growth in architecture. It responds to the urgency of our current climate crisis to improve biodiversity and the environmental quality of cities. The aim is to integrate growth systems directly on buildings facades in which algae and mosses can switch on and off their photosynthetic activity without the need for additional maintenance and mechanical irrigation, while also creating a new design aesthetic for ageing buildings. Bioreceptive materials are being developed to increase water retention to create scaffolds for bio-material substrata that feed small-scale poikilohydric plants. The research is structured in three main parts that reflect different types of material and biological explorations.

Phase 1 – EPSRC-funded Robotic Seeding of bioreceptive materials, 2015-17
Team: Prof M.Cruz (PI), B.Watts (co-I), R.Beckett, Dr S.Manso, Dr C.Leung 
Fabrication: B-Made
Industrial Partner: Laing O'Rourke
Sponsor: EPSRC

Phase 2 - St Anne’s Catholic Primary School; East Putney Station, 2017-2020
Team: Prof M.Cruz (Concept, design, project lead) with J.Ruiz (computational design), R.Beckett (concept)
Manufacturing / Industrial Partner: Pennine Stone Limited
Sponsors: Transport for London; London Borough of Lambeth

Phase 3 – Poikilohydric corkcrete, 2018-20
Team: Prof M.Cruz (Concept, design, project lead), Dr B.Parker (Synthetic Biology)
Manufacturing / Industrial Partners: Pennine Stone Limited, Amorim
Academic Partners: UCL Biochemical Engineering; University of Coimbra; IST Tomar

The Body in Architecture

The research questions our human flesh and its altered relationship with a new contemporary architectural flesh. The analyses of different body conceptions in historic and aesthetic terms helps to recognize the emergence of a Cyborgian Body. Today's architecture has failed the body with its long heritage of physical detachment, purity of form, and aesthetics of cleanliness. But a resurgence of interest in flesh has led to politics of abjection, changing completely traditional aesthetics, and is now giving light to an alternative vision of the body in architecture. Flesh is seen as a concept that extends the meaning of skin as one of architecture's most fundamental metaphors, putting forward a 'thick embodied flesh' by creating architectural interfaces that are truly inhabitable.

Teaching Summary

Marcos Cruz's varied teaching activity as an investigator, tutor and critic has been carried out in numerous international universities, but most of all at University College London where he is academically active since 1999. He is the Programme Director of the newly established 21-months MArch/MSc in Bio-Integrated Design, which is the only one of its kind offered by a world-leading architecture school that embraces design experimentation, while applying real biologic growth in the built environment. The MArch is entirely design-focused, while the MSc is more science-driven and conjointly run between the Bartlett and the Department of Biochemical Engineering (co-director Dr Brenda Parker).

Cruz previously run MArch Unit 20 (1999-2018), which he was initiated with Prof. Salvador Perez Arroyo in 1999. Marjan Colletti joined in 2004, with other tutors including Hannes Mayer (2012), Richard Beckett (2013-15), and Javier Ruiz (since 2017). The unit focused on crossing boundaries of the traditional architectural practice, investigating building design that was influenced by advances in a wide range of sciences, with the aim to create innovative conditions in architecture and the urban environment. Objects in our daily life were under reconsideration leading to an understanding of buildings and urban environments that were created by many different strata, scientific knowledge, artefacts, and micro-worlds. The unit searched for architecture that was in its conceptual, spatial, and technological dimension multifaceted, hybrid and interdisciplinary.

The work of Unit 20 was extensively published and exhibited and many projects awarded national and international prizes. In 2002 Cruz was co-editor of the book Unit 20, published by Universidad de Valencia / ACTAR, which presented a comprehensive documentation of the unit’s research. It was followed-up with two other publications published by LISt Lab 2014/16. Unit 20 was also recurrently chosen the Best-Unit-in-Show at the Bartlett Summer Show with award given by Thom Mayne (2002), Paul Finch (2006), Richard Rogers (2007), Claude Parent (2013), and Ross Lovegrove (2017). 

Cruz previously ran  rC7/BiotA Lab in the 1-year MArch AD, focused on advanced computational design with a strong emphasis on novel bioreceptive materials. The cluster was co-tutored with Richard Beckett and Javier Ruiz.

Cruz is a PhD supervisor in the Research-by-Design programme.

Current students include:

- Pincipal Supervisor: Ram Shergill (Secondary Supervisor Dr Brenda Parker/BiochemEng)

- Principal Supervisor: Johan Steenberg (Secondary Supervisor Prof Yoannis Papakonstantinos/Electronic Engineering)

- Principal Supervisor: Nina Jotanovic (Secondary Supervisor Prof Marc-Olivier Coppens/CNIE) 

- Secondary Supervisor: Malica Schmidt (Principal Supervisor Prof Marc-Olivier Coppens/CNIE)

- Principal Supervisor: Shneel Malik (Secondary Supervisor Dr Brenda Parker/BioChemEng)

- Secondary Supervisor: Niccolo Casas (Principal Supervisor Prof Marjan Colletti/Bartlett)

Past students include:

- Principal Supervisor: Jaime Bartolome (Secondary Supervisor Prof Peg Rawes/Bartlett; 2018)

- Principal Supervisor (up to MPhil level): Richard Beckett (Secondary Supervisor Prof Mark Miodownik/Mechanical Engineering)

- Secondary Supervisor: Pablo Gil (Principal Supervisor Prof Stephen Gage/Bartlett; 2016)

- Principal Supervisor: Alessandro Ayuso (Secondary Supervisor Prof Jonathan Hill/Bartlett; 2015)

- Secondary Supervisor: Michael Wihart (Principal Supervisor Prof Neil Spiller/Bartlett; 2014)

2018 – 2018 Jury: Intl Competition for Hsinta Power Plant (Kaohsiung)   Taiwan Power, Taiwan, Province Of China
SEP-2016 Professor of Innovative Environments Bartlett School of Architecture University College London, United Kingdom
AUG-2016 – NOV-2016 Jury: Intl Competition for Terminal 3 Airport (Taipei)) Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport  , Taiwan, Province Of China
2014 Co-founder and Co-editor of Syn.de.Bio   University College London, United Kingdom
2014 – 2014 Jury: 1. Mostra d'Arquitectura Catalana   COAC / AADIP Barcelona, Spain
2013 – 2013 Visiting Board Member: Validation of AADRL   Open University, United Kingdom
2012 – 2012 Jury: Intl Competition Viewpoint for Camley Street Park   Architecture Foundation/Finnish Institute/London Wildlife Tr, United Kingdom
2011 – 2011 Visiting Board Member: Validation of MA Design Interactio   Royal College of Art, United Kingdom
2011 – 2011 Jury: Intl Competition for the Taiwan Tower (tender)   Taichung City Government, Taiwan, Province Of China
2011 – 2011 Jury: Intl Competition Rethinking Today's Housing Fundacion Fisac / Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha Colégio de Arquitectos de Castilla-La Mancha, Spain
2011 Member of the School’s Council (Conselho de Escola) FAUTL Universidade Tecnica de Lisboa, Portugal
2010 – 2010 Visiting Lecturer - marcosandmarjan studio (Winter Semester) Architecture and Urban Design / AUD University California Los Angeles, United States
2010 Reader in Architecture and the City Bartlett School of Architecture University College London, United Kingdom
2010 – 2013 Regular Visiting Critic Escuela Superior de Arquitectura y Tecnologia Universidad Camilo Jose Cela, United Kingdom
2010 – 2010 Jury: Intl Competition New Architects - Portugal UK   Architecture Foundation, United Kingdom
2010 – 2010 Jury: Intl Competition for the Taiwan Tower (concept)   Taichung City Government, Taiwan, Province Of China
2010 – 2010 Visiting Professor: International Workshop Department of Architecture / Thu Tunghai University, Taichung, Taiwan, Province Of China
2010 – 2010 Visiting Professor: Digital Design Workshop   Ecole Speciale d’Architecture, France
2009 – 2009 Visiting Professor: Digital Design Workshop School of Architecture / CITA The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Denmark
2008 Registered Architect: ARB   Architects Registration Board, United Kingdom
2008 – 2010 Senior Lecturer in Architecture Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment University of Westminster, United Kingdom
2008 – 2008 Jury: Student Competition New Brazilian Architecture   Brazilian Embassy London, United Kingdom
2006 – 2009 Regular Visiting Critic School of Architecture University of Liverpool, United Kingdom
2006 – 2010 Lecturer in Architecture Bartlett School of Architecture University College London, United Kingdom
2006 – 2010 Design Tutor – Unit Master of Diploma Studio 10 Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment University of Westminster, United Kingdom
2005 – 2005 Visiting Professor: International Workshop Department of Architecture Feng Chia University, Taichung, Taiwan, Province Of China
2003 – 2003 Co-commissioner re-structuring Viennese Schools Architecture   Austrian Ministry of Education, Austria
2000 Co-founder and Co-principal of marcosandmarjan   Studio marcosandmarjan, United Kingdom
1999 Design Tutor – Unit Master of MArch Architecture Unit 20 Bartlett School of Architecture University College London, United Kingdom
1998 – 1998 Visiting Tutor: International Summer Workshop ASL Universität Kassel, Germany
1997 Member of Ecologic Association   Associação dos Amigos dos Mindelo / AAMDMA, Portugal
1997 Registered Architect: Portuguese Architecture Chamber   Ordem dos Arquitetos Secção Regional Norte / OASRN, Portugal
Academic Background
2007   Doctor of Philosophy University College London
1999   Master of Architecture University College London
1997   Licenciatura Escola Superior Artistica do Porto (ESAP), Porto
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