Skip to main content
Christopher Whitman  B.Arch (Hons), Dip.Arch, PhD, FHEA

Dr Christopher Whitman


B.Arch (Hons), Dip.Arch, PhD, FHEA

Director of Impact

Welsh School of Architecture

+44 29208 75893
Bute Building, Room 1.35, King Edward VII Avenue, Cardiff, CF10 3NB
Media commentator
Available for postgraduate supervision


I am a qualified architect with over 20 years’ experience in both practice and academia.

Since 2007 my research has focused on the comfort and energy use in indigenous, vernacular, traditional and contemporary dwellings, utilizing in situ monitoring, digital simulation and the construction and monitoring of physical test cells. My PhD focused on the distribution of historic timber-framed buildings in the UK and the impacts of their low energy retrofit, an area that I continue to research.

At the same time my experience in architectural practice has included work on a wide range of award winning projects. As such my experience provides a balance of architectural science, building design and construction, and architectural history and theory.

Currently I am the Course Leader of the MSc in Sustainable Building Conservation, and Module Leader for “Energy use in historic Building”, and coordinator of the dissertation. I also lead a MArch2 Design Thesis unit, "Carbon Pasts, Low Carbon Futures" which focuses on the role of South Wales's industrial heritage in takling the climate emergency. 

My current academic administrative roles include the School's Director of Impact, Lead of the History, Heritage and Conservation Research and Scholarhsip Group, and membership of the School Board, and the Research Ethics Committee.

I am signatory and volunteer for Heritage Declares a Climate and Ecological Emergency 

















Book sections





Research interests

  • Energy use in historic buildings
  • Vernacular Architecture
  • Retrofit
  • Bioclimatic Architecture
  • Non-conventional materials
  • Environmental comfort

Research projects

  • Hygrothermal Monitoring of Timber-Frame Replacement Infill Panels (funded by Historic England)
  • Transforming Homes (AHRC Green Transistion Ecosystems Project focusing on interwar social housing)
  • Low Energy Retrofit of historic Timber-Framed Buildings in the UK
  • Correlating maintenance, energy efficiency and fuel poverty for traditional buildings in the UK
  • Safeguarding the Adrian Gibson Collection for the Future


I am currently Course Leader of the MSc Sustainable Building Conservation and Module Leader of the modules “Energy Use in Historic Buildings”, and the dissertation.

In addition I am unit lead for a 5th year M.Arch2 Design Unit "Carbon Pasts, Low Carbon Futures" which focuses on the sustainable future of the post-industrial legacy of South-East Wales.

My experience includes teaching on undergraduate and postgraduate taught courses in both Chile and UK. Previous courses have included undergraduate and postgraduate design studio, sustainable and bioclimatic design, and renewable energy for industrial designers.


Chris Whitman is a British architect with more than 20 years of experience both in practice and academia. He studied at Edinburgh College of Art with a six month Erasmus exchange at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen and an ILAUD summer school in Venice. He has worked with Building Design Partnership, Shepheard Epstein Hunter, and for seven years was a director at Edward Cullinan Architects (now Cullinan Studio). During his last two years with them he worked one day a week as a 3rd year studio tutor at The School of Architecture and the Built Environment, University of Nottingham.

In 2007 Chris moved to Chile where he worked at the Universidad Central de Chile, Universidad Andrés Bello; and Universidad Católica de Temuco. At these universities he worked as lecturer, design tutor and researcher. His research focused on vernacular and indigenous architecture, energy efficiency and post occupancy evaluation with a special interest in natural, low carbon building materials. In addition he was an invited lecturer in postgraduate programs at the Universidad Bio Bio in Concepción and the Pontifica Universidad Católica in Santiago.

Currently he is a Senior Lecturer and Course Leader of the MSc Sustainable Building Conservation, at the Welsh School of Architecture, Cardiff University. In 2018 he completed his PhD studying the “The Distribution Of Historic Timber-Framed Buildings in the UK and the Impacts of Their Low Energy Retrofit.” He was the winner of the Association for Preservation Technology International Martin Weaver Scholarship in 2015 and winner of their Oliver Torrey Fuller Award in 2017. He has also recently contributed to the upcoming 2nd edition of the Encyclopaedia of Vernacular Architecture of the World.

Honours and awards

  • 2018 Merit for best technical paper, Passive and Low Energy Architecture Conference 2018
  • 2017 Oliver Torrey Fuller Award, Best technical article, Association for Preservation Technology
  • 2016 Student Presentation Award, Energy Institute, South Western and South Wales Chapter.
  • 2015 Martin Weaver Scholarship. Association for Preservation Technology International.
  • 2008 Gloucester Civic Awards - Commendation for Best Climate Friendly Scheme: Barge Arm Development, Gloucester, with Edward Cullinan Architects.
  • 2008 British Homes apartment of the year, Honourable Mention. Barge Arm Development, Gloucester with Edward Cullinan Architects.
  • 2008 Brick Awards: Best Private Housing Development. Barge Arm Development, Gloucester with Edward Cullinan Architects.
  • 2007 Hertfordshire Association of Architects, 1st Prize. New Music Centre, Purcell School, Edward Cullinan Architects.
  • 2007 Brick Awards. Highly Commended. New Music Centre, Purcell School, Edward Cullinan Architects.
  • 2006 Landscape Industry Association of Singapore, Gold Award. Singapore Management University, Edward Cullinan Architects.
  • 1998 University Medal for Architecture. Heriot-Watt University.
  • 1997 Student Winner, Faculty of Building, National Student challenge. Hostel for Young Homeless People.
  • 1996 Silver Medal. Edinburgh Architectural Association.
  • 1994&1995 Architectural Bursaries. Edinburgh College of Art.

Academic positions

  • Deputy Course Leader, MSc Sustainable Building Conservation
  • Module Leader, Energy Use in Historic Buildings


I am interested in supervising PhD students in a wide range of areas principally related to Sustainable Architecture

These include Sustainability and the Historic Built Environment

  • Energy Use in Historic Buildings
  • Retrofit of Historic and Traditional Buildings
  • Vernacular and Indigenous Architecture
  • Sustainable Building Conservation
  • Industrial Heritage

And Sustainability and New Construction

  • Low Carbon and Non-Conventional Construction Materials
  • Recyling and Resuse
  • Bioclimatic Architecture
  • Renewable Energies
  • Building Performance Monitoring and Post Occupational Evaluation

Current supervision

Esther Onyekwere

Esther Onyekwere

Research student

Lizzie Wynn

Lizzie Wynn

Research student

Ked Wangyao

Ked Wangyao

Research student

Hadjer Messabih

Hadjer Messabih

Research student

Past projects

  • Adaptive Reuse for Industial Heritage sites under a semi-colonial conceptual framework
  • The role of householders’ energy demand practices for CO2 emissions reductions in homes retrofitted with on-site renewable energy systems
  • Continuity and Change in the M'zab Vernacular Architecture: The case of a community-led housing project of Ksar Tafilelt
  • Single-use plastics and tyres as construction materials
  • Construction and Demolition Waste in Nigeria


  • Energy use in historic buildings
  • Industrial Heritage
  • Hygrothermal Performance
  • Home energy retrofit
  • Vernacular Architecture

External profiles