Dr Sonja Dragojlovic-Oliveira

About me

Sonja trained in architecture and has held numerous senior design posts in award winning firms in the UK and internationally. 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 sculpture, photography, pharmacy, institutional theory, environmental science and sociology. Her research expertise is built on developing new insights in energy simulation and design practice across scales of analysis from policy level global reviews, organizational dynamics in implementing new digital technologies in design firms to household heating practices in low carbon architecture. She is particularly interested in new conceptual approaches to understanding energy transitions across a range of urban, cultural and social contexts. Currently she is a convener of an institutional theory track for the upcoming Association of Researchers in Construction Management (ARCOM) 2018 Conference. Sonja has successfully led the delivery of a number of research projects for a range of funding bodies including the UK Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, local authorities, architecture and engineering firms, research consultancy firms, professional bodies and housing association consortia. Currently she is finalising a large research project examining innovative digital approaches to energy analysis in architecture as well as designers' evaluation of energy efficient MMC housing in the UK. She is also a Co-I in a large EPSRC funded research project examining residential energy demand reduction in India.

Area of expertise

Sonja's main interests are in understanding how and why certain evaluative decisions in design count; how they are justified, legitimated and promoted. She has developed expertise in sustainability evaluation in architecture, institutional theory application and analysis across a range of empirical settings as well as technology adoption in design. She is also interested in how particular evaluative understandings (digital and physical) develop over time drawing on historical approaches. Her research focuses on design interfaces between energy, engineering and architecture within education, practice and professional development. Sonja is a firm believer in knowledge exchange and proactive multidisciplinary collective engagement.

She has initiated and promoted the institutional membership of research networks such as ARENA as well as Departmental representation in university wide sustainability education knowledge exchange (KESE), departmental reading groups and thematic funding initiatives. Sonja is a Scientific Committee member of the Passive Low Energy Architecture (PLEA) network, institutional representative of the European Architecture Research Network (ARENA) as well as member of the European Group of Organization Studies (EGOS), Sustainable Society Network (SSN), Society of Building Science Educators (SBSE) and the Architectural Humanities Research Association (AHRA). In addition, Sonja is a reviewer of a number of leading journals and conferences in building environmental science, engineering, design research methods and organization theory research. She also frequently collaborates with artists, sculptors, photographers and installation performance modellers to develop novel methods in visualising and disseminating energy in challenging design contexts. 


My Publications