ECOLOPES (ECOlogical building enveLOPES) is an innovative HORIZON 2020 funded research project proposing a radical change for city development. Instead of minimizing the negative impact of urbanisation on nature, we aim at urbanization to be planned and designed such that nature – including humans – can co-evolve within the city. The research group envisages a radically new integrated ecosystem approach to architecture that focuses equally on humans, plants, animals, and associated organisms such as microbiota. ECOLOPES will provide the technology (computational architecture) that will help to achieve this vision.

In ECOLOPES, the research focuses on the envelope, the building enclosure. ECOLOPES will transform the envelope into an ecolope, a multi-species living space for four types of inhabitants, humans, plants, animals, and microbiota. ECOLOPES will develop the core technologies for designing ecolopes in a systematic way, considering the needs of both humans, as well as of plants, animals and beneficial microbes. ECOLOPES will make biological knowledge available for the architectural design process, to find architectural solutions that enable synergies and limit conflicts between the inhabitants. The ecolopes designed by this multi-species approach will restore the beneficial human – nature relationships in cities.

A key element of ECOLOPES will be an Information Model that integrates ecological and architectural knowledge, data and models into a data-integrated design recommendation system. The ECOLOPES Information Model will guide the development of the ECOLOPES Computational modelling and simulation environment, to make biological and architectural knowledge available for design.


Katia Perini, Thomas E. Hauck, ECOLOPES Research Group


Technical University of Munich,
Vienna University of Technology,
University of Genoa,
Technion – Israel Institute of Technology,
McNeel Europe