University of Hertfordshire

Professor Ljubomir Jankovic Professor of Advanced Building Design, Director of Centre for Future Societies Research


Ljubomir Jankovic

Professor Ljubomir Jankovic Professor of Advanced Building Design, Director of Centre for Future Societies Research


Postal address:
University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield, Hertfordshire
United Kingdom


Research interests

My research is focused in two interconnected areas: zero carbon design research which combines computer simulation, multi-objective optimisation and post occupancy monitoring, and Complexity Science based design research which includes Emergence-based design using nature-inspired computation.

The inspiration for zero carbon research came from my involvement in the Birmingham Zero Carbon House. Originally built 175 years ago, it achieved zero carbon status through retrofit and won the RIBA award for architecture in 2010. I established collaboration with the owner Architect John Christophers in 2011, and found that he did not have anyone working on evaluation of performance of the house.

I subsequently secured seed funding from the Higher Education Innovation Fund to pay for the instrumentation system to monitor the house. When the system was installed and data started flowing, it enabled detailed evaluation of the building performance. This led to experimental research, combining building simulation with data from monitoring, looking into alternative solutions for zero carbon design, and testing the resilience of these designs in the context of climate change. I have been using the monitoring results as experimental evidence base, together with my PhD students, and we have produced numerous papers on various aspects of zero carbon design and retrofit.

I have worked extensively on retrofit, and led a project called RetrofitPlus, funded by Innovate UK. We converted two houses built from concrete Wimpey no-fines construction into Passivhaus standard houses. The work involved development and calibration of simulation models, and design simulations using multi-objective optimisation. The optimum design was passed onto the industrial partner Beattie Passive, to develop off-site insulation panels, and completely surround the buildings with their TCosy insulation approach.

One of the aspects of my research is the work to automate zero carbon design. An office building located near Portsmouth was used as the basis for analysis. Instead of looking at a handful of possible solutions, potentially resulting in a sub optimum, this process defines the solution space of over 900 million possibilities, and uses a genetic algorithm to find a range of optimum solutions. These optimum solutions are shown on a Pareto front, and comprise a set of results that are considered for the final design.

I have also worked on design of buildings made from hemp-lime bio-composite materials. These photosynthetic materials are very hard to represent in design simulations, resulting in expensive overdesign. I have developed a method for accurate modelling of these materials, resulting in typically 65% reduction in capital costs. The two buildings I was involved on as a member of the desigteam, GlaxoSmithKline Elipta Building in Ware and Hemcrete Museum Store for Science Museum in Wroughton, have now been in operation for several years and their performance is consistent with my deign simulations.

My computer science teaching familiarised me with swarm beahviour modelling, which I applied to modelling of structures, such as bridges and domes. That led to a 4-year EPSRC project to increase the understanding of dynamics of structures. This method would have avoided the lateral wobble developed by the Millennium Bridge in London, which was designe using conventional methods.

I applied similar principles arising from Complexity Science research to urban modelling and designing resilient cities. This work led to an EU grant and an EPSRC grant, and resulted in increased understanding of behaviour of cities and the key issues for resilience design.

Continuing the complexity theme, I looked into how building forms can be designed from the bottom up, using attractors. This led to the creation of courtyard and ghirkin shapes in Java 3D and to experimentation with gravitational attractors in the Unity games engine.

Working with students of architecture and with colleagues, I became aware that the preparation of design simulation models is a technical and time barrier for architects, and that performance of such designs is compromised as result. I therefore used similar principles as from the modelling of cites, to develop sketches that become 'alive'. This enables interactive drawing and simulation of air flow in a building.

I have been involved as a Principal Investigator or Co-Investigator in externally funded projects worth over £10 million, funded by EPSRC, ARTEMIS, EU, EUREKA, KTP, and Innovate UK.