Dr Eleni Tracada

Eleni Tracada

Position: Lecturer in Architecture

College: College of Engineering and Technology

Department: Mechanical Engineering and the Built Environment

Subject area: Architecture and Built Environment

Show All


I am a full time Senior Lecturer in Architecture and in July 2010, I was awarded the title of University Principal Tutor in the Built Environment (Architecture).

Programme Leader in Joint Honours Architectural Design.

Leader of the Built Environment Research Group until end 2014.

Teaching responsibilities

  • Programme Leader in Joint Honours Architectural Design.
  • Founder and Head of the Built Environment Research Group (since May 2010) in the University of Derby, Faculty of Art, Design and Technology, School of Technology.
  • Lecturer in History and Theories of Design and Architecture at Level 4 & 5 (Module Leader).
  • Face-to-face tutorial support, Levels 4, 5 & 6; personal tutor to students at all levels.
  • Supervision of Independent Study and Personal Development/Dissertation at Level 6 (Module Leader and Coordinator).
  • Supervision of Independent Scholarship at Level 7 in MSc in Sustainable Architecture and Healthy Buildings.
  • Supervision of Integrated Final Year Projects and Research and Urban Design Module projects (Level 6).
  • Moderator for the George & Eleni Vakalo’ School of Arts in Athens, Greece; moderation of undergraduate and postgraduate architectural design courses.
  • Lecturer in Designing Environments (Module Leader) and Independent Scholarship supervisor at Level 7 modules in MSc in Sustainable Architecture and Healthy Buildings.
  • Supervisor to PhD students.

Professional interests

I graduated in Architecture from the Faculty of Architecture of the University of Florence, Italy in 1983.  As a student, I had the opportunity to take part in very active research groups guided by distinguished specialists in Architectural Design (Leonardo Savioli, Adolfo Natalini, Giovanni Michelucci), Conservation and Restoration (Marco Dezzi-Bardeschi), History of Architecture (Emilio Battisti, Klaus Coening), Urban Planning and Social Architecture (Edoardo Detti).

I qualified and worked as a self-employed architect in Florence from 1983 to 1993.  From 1993 to 1996 I studied at the Manchester Metropolitan University and was awarded a Masters of Arts in Interior Design.  From 2001 to 2007 I taught a range of modules in Interior Design at the Leeds College of Art and Design; I promoted shared research interests (GIDE international programme) with my students, with several students shortlisted or winning design competitions (Formica, Satelliet).

I studied at the University of Leeds for a Postgraduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education from 2003 to 2007 and used the latest learning and teaching processes in my teaching, such as student peer assessment and personal development portfolios.

Currently I am involved in teaching on the following courses: BSc (Hons) Architectural Technology and Practice, BA (Hons) Architectural Venue Design, FdSc Architectural Studies, the Joint Honours Scheme.

I am very active in educational research.

Research interests


  • Member of the Spatiality in Design cluster, one of 21 research clusters set up in 2005 by the Designing for the 21 Century Initiative and funded by EPSRC and AHRC. The cluster was based at the University of Leeds (Official site of the cluster was in www.leeds.ac.uk/SiD).  Special contribution into the work of this cluster has been acclaimed in Dr John Stell, Prof. Lynne Cameron & Prof. Kenneth G. Kay ‘Spatiality in Design’ in Prof. Tom Inns (ed.)(2007) Designing for the 21stcentury: Interdisciplinary Questions and Insights, Aldershot, England: Gower Publishing Limited & Burlington, USA: Ashgate Publishing Company, pp226-227. 
  • Participation in the research Workshop 4: Recovered Landscapes on Thursday, 30 March 2006 in the Gunpowder Park, Essex and organised by CCASE-NET, Network for Creative Collaboration in Arts, Science and Engineering, University of Leeds, EPSRC Culture and Creativity Programme 2004 -2006. 
  • Participation in the research Workshop 5: Sublime Engineering on Wednesday 6 September 2006
    in the Drax Power Station, Selby, N. Yorkshire and organised by CCASE-NET, University of Leeds. 
  • Participation in the research Workshop 6: Special meeting ‘Reflections, findings and outcomes’ at the National Museum of Photography, Film and TV, Bradford on Wednesday, 22 November 2006 organised by CCASE-NET, University of Leeds. 
  • Currently involved in research in History and Philosophy of Architecture; active member of East Midlands Philosophy and History of Architecture Research Network (other participating Universities: University of Nottingham, Nottingham Trent and Lincoln Universities).  Also linked to East Midlands Research Network in Environmental Technology and often participating in the East Midlands Research Group in Architectural Education. 
  • Involved actively in the foundation of the Built Environment Research Group (B.E.R.G.) in the School of Technology of the University of Derby.  As a leading member of the development team, I wrote and organised the application documents for the approval of the group.  The final approval was officially attained in September 2010.   Since then I have been organising the programme and strategy of B.E.R.G. as Head and Principal Researcher. 
  • I submitted an application to the competition for the conferment of academic awards in the University of Derby in May 2010.  As a result, I was awarded the title of University Principal Tutor (equivalent to Principal Lecturer/Reader) in the Built Environment (Architecture) on 7th July 2010.

Membership of professional bodies

  • RIBAmembership PART 3 approved on 16/03/2005.  Membership No. 11405842.
  • ARB (Architects Registration Board).  Registration No. 064848E from 17/01/2001.
  • Society of Architectural Historians of Great BritainMembership from 01/01/2000.
  • East Midlands Research Network in History and Philosophy of Architecture.  Member of the Steering Group since October 2009.
  • European Architectural History Network. Membership from 01/11/2010.
  • International Society of Biourbanism.  Member of the Executive and Scientific Committee from July 2010.
  • HEA (Higher Education Academy) Standard 3 attained in May 2011 (viva on 19/04/2011)
  • UDG (Urban Design Group) Membership No. 7755 from 14/02/2014.


  • Laurea in Architettura (Diploma) , University of Florence
  • Master of Arts in Interior Design, Manchester Metropolitan University
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education, University of Leeds

Recent publications

  1. CHAPTERS (peer reviewed)

    Tracada, E. & O’ Leary, N. (2008), ‘Deep Learning and Understanding Lighting in Interiors: Focusing on ‘the Concepts’ rather than ‘the Signs’ in  Rossi, M. & Scullica, F. (ed.s) Designing Designers:  Light as an architectural matter – Lighting design, Milan: Edizioni POLI.design

    Tracada, E. (2008) ‘Design Codes and Design  Language’ in Kate Hatton (ed.) Design-Pedagogy-Research, Leeds 2007, Huddersfield: Jeremy Mills Publishing Ltd

    Tracada, E. (2009) ‘La Chiesa sull’Autostrada di Giovanni Michelucci e Jorio Vivarelli”  in Ferretti, V. (ed.) Jorio Vivarelli – La Materia della Vita: Catalogue of the exhibition, Sala d’Arme Palazzo Vecchio – Firenze (15 January-8 February 2009), Verona: Edizioni d’Arte Ghelfi

    Tracada, E. (2012) ‘Self Build Design and Construction Processes and the Future of Sustainable Design Education' in Patricios, N. & Alifragkis, S. (ed.s) Construction Essays on Architectural History, Theory & Technology, Athens: ATINER, pp157-172.

    Tracada, E. (2013) ‘Harmonious architecture and kinetic linear energy’ in Villemur, F. (ed.) in Dance Architecture Spatiality-Athens 2012, Montpellier: éditions del’espérou.

    Tracada, E. (2014) ‘Performing in Corso Palladio’ in Villemur, F. (ed.) in Dance Architecture Spatiality-Vicence 2013, Montpellier: Éditions de l’Espérou. 

    JOURNAL ARTICLES (Peer-reviewed)

    Tracada, E. (2011) ‘Reformation Places and the use of Senses in their Design: Seclusion Spaces and Heightened Sensory Awareness/Responsiveness’ in the International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Volume 5, Number 10, 2011, pp355-370.

    Tracada, E. (2013) 'The Fractal Urban Coherence in Biourbanism: The Factual Elements of Urban Fabric' in The International Journal of Architectonic, Spatial, and Environmental Design, Volume 7, Issue 1,pp1-17 and available at http://ijgase.cgpublisher.com/product/pub.240/prod.41  (ISSN: 2325-1662)


    Tracada, E. (2010) ‘Assessment of International Collaborative Undergraduate and Postgraduate Courses in Art, Design and Architecture: Learning without barriers’ in W089 Commission of Building Research and Education Papers, Paper Nr 1231, in Barrett, P., Amaratunga, D., Haigh, R., Karaminiyage, K. & Pathirage, C. (ed.s)  Congress Proceedings of CIB Congress 2010 - Building a Better World in The Lowry, Salford Quays, United Kingdom, 10-13 May 2010, available in http://www.cib2010.org/post/files/papers/1231.pdf

    Tracada, E. (2010) ‘From Modernism and under the Fascist flag of Italian Nation to Post-modernist urban sprawl: the emergence and the power of the Schools of Architecture in Italy’ in Quek, R. (ed.) Proceedings of the Conference Theoretical Currents I: Architecture, Design, and the Nation, 13-15 September 2010, theme of ‘Historical Perspectives’.

    Tracada, E. & Caperna, A. (2012) ‘Biourbanism for a Healthy City: Biophilia and Sustainable Urban Theories and Practices’ in the Proceedings Vol.4: Biotechnology/Textile Technology/Fashion Technology of the International Convention on Innovations in Engineering and Technology for Sustainable Development, 3-5 September 2012, in Bannari Amman Institute of Technology, Erode District, Tamil Nadu, India, ppFT-01 to FT-09.

    Tracada, E. & Caperna, A. (2013) ‘Complexity and Biourbanism: Thermodynamical Architectural and Urban Models integrated in Modern Geographic Mapping’ (initially published end of April 2012 online in the Proceedings of the Theoretical Currents II Architecture and its Geographic Horizons Conference in Lincoln, UK, 4th-5th  April 2012). The paper was initially inserted into the University of Lincoln Conferences’ Documents Store and it has been now published in www.biourbanism.org at http://www.biourbanism.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/TC-II-paper_Caperna-Tracada.pdf

    Tracada, E. & Caperna, A. (2013) 'A New Paradigm for Deep Sustainability: Biourbanism’ in Application of Efficient & Renewable Energy Technologies in Low Cost Buildings and Construction Conference Proceedings, International Conference & Exhibition, 16-18 September 2013, Ankara-Turkey, Gazi University & University of South Wales, pp367-381


    Tracada, E. (2011) ‘Editorial’ in the Journal of Biourbanism, Issue 1, Rome, Italy, available online at http://journalofbiourbanism.org/category/jbu-i-2011-1/

    Tracada, E. (2012) ‘Editorial’ in the Journal of Biourbanism, Issue 1, Rome, Italy, available online at http://journalofbiourbanism.org/category/jbu-ii-2012-1/

    Tracada, E. (2012) ‘Editorial’ in the Journal of Biourbanism, Issue 2, Rome, Italy, available online at


    Tracada, E. (2013) ‘Editorial’ in the Journal of Biourbanism, Issue 1&2, Rome, Italy, available online at http://journalofbiourbanism.org/category/jbu-iii-2013-1-2/

Recent conferences

  1. Paper title:       Biourbanism and self-organised built environment and sustainable communities during times of socio-political and economic turmoil

  Conference:     2nd Annual International Conference on Construction, 18th-20th June 2012, Athens, Greece.

  Accepted:        On February 2012

  Presented:       On 18th June 2012.

  2. Paper title:      Biourbanism for a Healthy City: Biophilia and Sustainable Urban Theories  and Practices

  Conference:     International Convention on Innovations in Engineering and Technology for Sustainable Development, 3-5 September 2012, in Bannari Amman Institute of Technology, Erode District, Tamil Nadu, India

  Accepted:        On 16th July 2012 and it was presented in Bannari Amman Institute of Technology on 4th September.

 3. Workshop       

 /Panel title:       Neuroergonomics and urban design.  Assessing the evidence of Biourbanism practice, after the experience of the first International Summer School           

  Conference:        EDRA44 PROVIDENCE: Conference organized by the Environmental Design Research Association and the University of Washington, College of Built Environments, in May 29-June 1, 2013 in Providence, Rhode    Island.

 Submitted and

 Accepted:         Abstract on 20th September 2012. The panel was accepted and the presentation took place in EDRA44PROVIDENCE on 1st June 2013.   

 4. Paper title:    A New Paradigm for Deep Sustainability: Biourbanism

  Conference:       Renewbuild Conference in Turkey, 16-18 September, Ankara, Turkey.Submitted and

  Accepted:         Submitted and accepted in February 2013; this paper was presented on 17th September 2013 in the University of Gazi, Ankara, Turkey.

5. Paper title:       Biourbanism as Neuroergonomics in Design in Higher Education

   Conference:      Towards a Progressive Arts Education: Inclusion, Change and Intervention Conference & Exhibition, British Library & University of Arts London, 6– 8 November 2013

   Presented:        On 8th November 2013 in a special session in UAL; the author is now a member of this network on Inclusivity in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education which has been introduced by Dr Kate Hatton, UAL.

 6. Paper title:      Thermodynamics of Architecture and Urban Fabric: Designing and Reshaping

 Cityscapes by Laws of Nature

Conference:          Eighth International Conference on Design Principles and Practices, “Design As Collective Intelligence, 16th-18th January 2014 in Vancouver, Canada. The Conference was co-hosted by the Carleton University    School of Industrial Design and the Emily Carr University of Art and Design in Vancouver.

Presented:            On 18th January 2014.

 7. Paper title:       ‘Hidden agenda in the last decade Localism and Housing Acts in UK. Where is good practice in East and West Midlands case studies?

  Conference:        III. Conference on Gypsy Studies, International scientific conference in Pécs,  Hungary,  25th-26th April 2014 in the University of Pécs, Research Centre of Romology.

  Presented:          On 25th April 2014.

 8.  Paper title:      Fractal cities: symmetries and patterns of fabric influencing human well-being

 Conference:     International Conference on art, architecture and urban design “Past present and future of public space (PPF Public Space)", 25th-27th June 2014, Bologna, Italy. Workshop on Neuroergonomics and urban environment: ‘Biourbanism for a human-centered sustainable design’, coordinated by Dr Antonio Caperna and Dr Antonio Serafini. This workshop has been inserted in ‘Multidisciplinary Fields’ as current primary domain and ‘Perception and senses in the urban space’ as current secondary domain.


via audio/video: On 25 June 2014


Additional interests and activities

I am currently interested in studies in innovations in design and technology related to green architecture and also in urban design and planning.

Experience in industry

15/12/1983 - 31/07/1993:            Self-employed architect with professional studio in Florence Via degli Alfani 62 (until 1988)

and in Carmignano, Prato, Via S. Biagio 21 (until 1993).

 Responsibilities: Design and/or direction of projects in restoration, refurbishment, housing, planning, interior and graphic design.  Retail projects included fashion showrooms for Fusione srl, Florence, Lo Stuzzicchino and Ponte Vecchio Bars, Florence.  Exhibition designs in collaboration with Targetti and Sestini Lory companies in the Fortezza da Basso, Florence, for Pitti Uomo and Pitti Donna.  Graphic designs included logos and stationery, advertising etc. for bars, restaurants, showrooms in Florence, Prato and Empoli, Italy.  Landscape designs included eco-projects, such as landscaped gardens on the top of a car park and a green space covering ventilation ducts of a supermarket in Scandicci, Nr Florence.  Participation in stage designs for special performances and community projects in Florence and surrounding areas. Projects on housing and planning in Empoli, Nr Florence and restoration or refurbishment projects for interiors in historical buildings.

International experience


  • ‘Giovanni Michelucci: architecture and politics in      Italy between 1922 and 1942’. Research was carried out between 2000 and      2003; the materials have been and are being used for conference papers,      independent research and scholarly activities.
  • In recent      academic years, I researched on Recycling of (and Recyclable) Materials in      new architectural designs dealing with social issues, such as ageing      population and shortage of housing; these have been my main focus in      delivering Studio Design 1 at level 4 and Independent Study/ Dissertations      at level 6.  Also research has been      carried out on projects produced in Studio Design 1 with intend to link      them to LEONARDO B.E.S.T. Self Build Processes Project (European mobility      funds granted for Derby: approx. £15,000) – See also below.
  •  On 10/02/2011, an      application was submitted to European Lifelong Learning Programme,      Leonardo partnerships to obtain collaborative mobility funds for      international partners from Italy, France and Belgium and UK (University      of Derby).  The Giovanni Michelucci Foundation (main      coordinator) proposed me to be the main contact in the University of Derby      for the B.E.S.T. project.  This      project mainly focused on ‘self-build’ training and qualifications for      young vulnerable people from local communities seeking to solve their      problems of unemployment and lack of housing. The application      was successful and this project has now been completed (September 2013)      with notable success; the feedback received from the assessors praised      innovation in learning and teaching because of the active participation of      students throughout the project.
  •  As a moderator of the architectural design courses      of George and Eleni Vakalo’ School of Arts in Athens, Greece, I became      aware of its teachers’ research and professional activities, which are      close to my own interests.  Thus, we      have managed to promote ideas of collaborative research and opportunities      to participate in common international research programmes.  In early March 2011, we were invited by      the School of Architecture of Montpellier and the Institute of      Architecture of Venice to take part in a research project with the title ‘Dance      Architecture and Spatiality’ (DAS) dealing with human bodily spatiality      and kinesis in historical architectural spaces.  We had applied for Erasmus funding and      support.  We were successful (as      seen by the outcome of our application in July 2011).  We ran the first workshop in Athens in      July 2012 (2nd to 15th July) near the Efesteion      Temple in Athens and along Dimitrios Pikionis’s ritual path opposite the Acropolis      hill of Athens.  We also used the      facilities of the Isadora Duncan Dance School in Athens.  A book referring to that experience and      also containing my research and observation findings and outcomes was published      in June 2013; all tutors have contributed by writing one specific chapter in      it.  A second project ran in Vicenza      and Venice in July 2013 (again for fifteen days) and finally a third      project ran in Montpellier in 2014.       The first part of the project in Athens ended with a live      performance with the title “Now or Never 2012” along Pikionis’ ritual path      and it received a lot of attention by the Press and general public.  The second part in Vicenza included a      performance inspired by ‘Edipo on the road’ along Corso Palladio; the      public was enthusiastic about it and the Press dedicated a special article      on it.  A second book with      contributions by staff and students was published in June 2014 and the      third and final series of workshops was held in St Guilhelm-Le-Desert,      near Montpellier, in July 2014.  A      third book is going to be published in early spring 2014.
  • Since July 2010, I have been involved in Biourbanism      by joining the International Society of Biourbanism (ISB). I had      discussions with Prof Nikos Salingaros, University di Sant’ Antonio, Texas      and Dr Antonio Caperna, Università Tre, Rome, Italy; I was accepted as a      member of the Executive and Scientific Committees of the International      Society of Biourbanism in July 2010.       Since then, we have been organising specialist lectures on      Biourbanism and a special programme of activities starting with the      publication of a manifesto on Biourbanism now published in the web site of      the Society.  As a result of these      activities, many experts in a variety of sciences, arts, etc. became      members of the society.  In summer      2011, I was recommended to be Editor in Chief of the Journal of      Biourbanism.  With the help of      excellent sub-editors, collaborators and peer reviewers, we were able to      get Issue no. 1 (2011) published in December 2011, Issue no. 1 (2012)      published in November 2012 and Issue no. 2 (2012) published in 2013.  Also Issue no 1&2 (2013) and Suppl.      Issue to 1&2 were published in 2014.  In December 2013 I have received a message from Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) to apply to this directory in order to get the Journal of Biourbanism included.  The application has been successful and the journal now appears in DOAJ at http://www.doaj.org
  •  I have also presented specialist papers on      Biourbanism in several conferences recently.  In January 2012, I gave a paper in the      International Conference of Design Principles and Practices in Los Angeles      in UCLA (organised by Common Ground publishers); a paper has been now      published.  Another paper was      presented in Theoretical Currents II Conference in the University of      Lincoln and was included in the Conference Proceedings’ book; in that      paper, I had also included a project on thermodynamics of architecture,      which was developed for the Module Designing Environments in 2011-2012 by      one of my students in MSc Sustainable Architecture and Healthy Buildings.
  •  During a Summerschool in July 2012, I was invited      to give a special lecture online via Skype. Two more lectures were also      scheduled and given for a Masters on Urbanism in the University Tre of      Rome, Faculty of Architecture.  Dr.      Caperna gave a special lecture to my MSc students in Designing      Environments in mid-November 2011 as well.       We are in the process of developing more activities in      architectural and urban studies education as international collaboration      between the University of Derby and the International Society of      Biourbanism very soon.  For example,      online materials on my specialism will be offered as open and free      resource during online networking with specialist schools in architecture      and urbanism and an MA in Biourbanism is being currently drafted by our      ISB team.
  • Please, see also information at http://www.biourbanism.org/summer-school-2013/for  Summerschool on NEUROERGONOMICS AND URBAN PLACEMAKING: BIOURBANISM FOR A HUMAN-CENTERED SUSTAINABLE DESIGN which was held in Artena, Province of Rome, Italy from 21st to 28th July 2013.  During that Summerschool, I presented a lecture on ‘Human Behaviour and patterns of urban life’; the scholars worked on urban acupuncture projects in Artena with the active participation of its inhabitants.  I also presented a lecture online for the Summerschool in Artena from 14th to 20th July 2014.
  • Since January 2013 I have been working and      researching as a Researcher in a Justice 12 European Grundtvig programme      with the title Wor(l)ds which Exclude;      the research project brings together experts and researchers from eight      European countries working on frameworks related to housing and facilities      for Gypsy and Travellers Communities.       The programme of research includes international mobility meetings,      writing of chapters for books, an ethnographic film and recommendations to      governments on planning law changes.       The project is expected to be completed by end of December 2014;      the external funds are approximately £60,000 for the University of Derby      participation.
  •  Currently member of Watef (Water efficiency) network and member of the Scientific      Committee of the Conferences Watef      organized and introduced by Dr Kemi Adeyeye, University of Brighton, Principal      Researcher in Architectural Technology (1st Conference in March      2013 in Oxford and latest Conference in Brighton in September 2014)
  • Currently member of the Scientific Programme      Committee of Smart/Green Buildings      Conference in October 2014, Gazi University, Ankara, Turkey.


In the media

I was interviewed for Biourbanism several times.

Find out how to update your staff profile

Edit your staff profile