Dr Robert Schmidt III

BArch MArch PhD

  • Reader in Architectural Design

Research groups and centres

Research and expertise

Research interests 

  • Designing for adaptability with investigations in post-occupancy studies and further understanding of the longitudinal life of buildings related to time and change.
  • Urban transformation strategies. Integration of top-down and bottom-up transformations to create a holistic approach.
  • Digital design and fabrication methods. This spans a wide range of design environments from digital sketching technologies to computational programming.
  • Culture of architectural practice and the resulting influences it has on the architecture delivered.
  • The housing sector and the opportunities and challenges in delivering mass amounts of housing.

Previous research projects

  • Restructuring of owner-occupied apartments in Europe As our culture evolves our living preferences shift and influences how, where and what we live in – e.g. space standards, demographics, technology all play a part in this shift. Japan has a long history of scrap and build mentality and that starting anew is the best way to accommodate new demands. How can we better activate the semi-public spaces in and around the housing blocks – e.g. rooftop spaces, courtyards, car parks, basement, attic? 
  • The Practic(s)e of Architecture The practice(s)e of architecture is a micro-political battlefield that involves thousands of quotidian decisions that accumulate into what eventually becomes the building – unravelling these decisions reveal a complex interplay of endogenous and exogenous factors. The defined practice(s)e culture can enhance or diminish the role various factors will play and in turn the process and product produced. In this conceptual space, design can be viewed as a complex and on-going social accomplishment, the building, a product of everyday trajectories between a milieu of human and material registers. The research seeks to construct a more dynamic picture of architecture by connecting process and product, supplementing a project narrative with one of practice(s)e, highlighting the context in which the outcome was created.
  • Low-energy Adaptations of High-rise Residential buildings The number of new residential buildings in China continues to increase annually and the 2014 national budget recognizes the need for existing cities to house an extra 100 million people who will migrate from the countryside to the cities in the coming year. However, notwithstanding the need for new housing, there is an increasing need for refurbishing existing housing and to make current residential buildings more energy efficient.


  • Member of the Scientific Committee of Low-Carbon Cities, Low-Carbon Buildings, SBE16 Conference in Chongqing, November 5th and 6th, 2016
  • Journal referee for Construction, Management, and Economics Journal and Journal of Engineering Design
  • Guest educator at local primary schools to facilitate design projects for students • Teacher of English as a second language for private and group instruction


I have spent my adult life collecting varied academic, industry and personal experiences exploring the built environment across a broad range of cultural and physical topographies. I received a BArch from Iowa State University and then practiced architecture for one year in Iowa at the progressive, design-infused practice of OPN Architects, Inc. and for five years in New York City with the award winning descendant firm of Marcel Breuer, Beckhard Richlan Szerbaty and Associates (BRS+A). In 2003 I was accepted into a construction-focused architecture lab, Matsumura laboratory, at the University of Tokyo. I worked to complete a two-year MSc degree with research and practice focused on semi-autonomous house designs, conversion of abandoned buildings and incremental improvements to informal settlements across multiple countries to include: Turkey, Korea, Brazil, Venezuela, Italy and the USA. Following the completion of my MSc degree I was offered a position as a Research Associate on the Adaptable Future’s project at Loughborough where he quickly grew a network of industry partners and projects to infuse the research with real building and practice case studies. This work led to a follow-on Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) with a select number of practices and a co-authored book, Adaptable Architecture: theory and practice. I wrote my PhD on the topic of Designing for Adaptability which I received from Loughborough University in 2014. As a practitioner, I continues to explore the built environment working on projects in China, Japan, Germany and the USA through Idapu, my own design and research consultancy. I am excited to find myself, amidst the shifting landscape of architectural education in the UK, playing a leading role in the development of Loughborough University’s new and innovative architecture program. My vast body of knowledge and experience of architecture programmes in Asia, Europe and the Americas provide an extensive framework from which to shape innovative approaches to the school’s architectural education.

Broad interests and activities

I have an appetite for new experiences and challenges which is fulfilled through my enthusiasm and motivation for architecture and architectural education. This has driven me to follow an unconventional pathway with my love for studying, constructing and experiencing the built environment. I enjoy the challenge to creatively engage and successively solve problems. I have a broad interest in design and have done a number of design projects including web design, graphic design, event design and photography.