Professor of Sustainable Architecture, University of Portsmouth

To check out Prof Lehmann’s website at:

and his Lab here:

and one of his international research projects here:

Professor Steffen Lehmann, PhD, is a German-born urbanist, designer, senior research leader, author and educator at the University of Portsmouth (UK), where he is Director of the Innovation Cluster for Sustainable Cities, leading the theme across faculties and across the University.

He works frequently on two continents, between London/Berlin and Australia.

As full Professor of Sustainable Architecture (tenured), he also works internationally as founding director and design adviser of the s_Lab (Sydney-Berlin-London), advising cities on sustainable urban development.

He has been recipient of a series of research grants funded by a range of agencies. In 2017, he was awarded as Principal Investigator a large grant (US$2m) under the JPI Urban Europe programme for 'CRUNCH: the Food-Water-Energy Nexus', an interdisciplinary project with 20 partners from 6 countries.

Over the last 15 years, Steffen has held a range of senior leadership positions, from Head of School and Professor of Architecture, to tenured Chair Professor of Sustainable Design, and Founding Director of the Research Centre for Sustainable Design and Behaviour (sd+b). He was appointed a Full Professor in 2002 and received tenure in 2010 at the University of South Australia.

At the University of South Australia, he was also Founding Director of the China-Australia Centre for Sustainable Urban Development, a leading urban think-tank for research and consultancy on urbanisation in the Asia-Pacific region. At UniSA, he has led the China engagement for the university, managed large competitive research grants and built multi-stakeholder consortia.

As Head of School in Perth, he re-positioned the large School of Built Environment and led the global recruitment of 20 new staff in a relatively short time.

Steffen was promoted to full University Professor in December 2002.
Today, he is particularly interested in research impact, green innovation, high-performance architecture and urban waterfront development.

In recognition of the international significance of his work, he was appointed by UNESCO as Inaugural Chair of the UNESCO Chair in Sustainable Urban Development for Asia and the Pacific, from 2008 to 2010; he continues to collaborate with UNESCO as adviser ex-officio on selected important initiatives, such as strategic adviser for the UNESCO Global Learning Cities Network and for the UN ESCAP initiative for Low-Carbon Green Cities in the Asia-Pacific.

He has a long-standing engagement with top-level policy makers, and in 2014-15 contributed to the highly influential report ''The State of Asian and Pacific Cities 2015'' (published by UN-HABITAT and UN ESCAP).

2006 to 2010, he held an Endowed Chair, Professor of Architecture at the University of Newcastle (NSW).

In 1993, he registered as a licensed architect and urban designer in Berlin, where he established his own practice, the Space Laboratory for Architectural Research and Design (the s_Lab), to pursue a more ethically correct practice. With his own practice, he was actively involved in the architectural creation of the `New Berlin' in the 1990s.

He worked 3 years with Arata Isozaki in Tokyo and Jim Stirling in London before establishing his own practice. 1997-2002 he was project partner of Christian de Portzamparc for the design and construction of the new French Embassy in Berlin (architect in charge as 'Generalplaner').

Over the last 25 years, he has been at the forefront of sustainable architecture research and practice, and has won a number of competition awards and prizes for sustainable buildings, while publishing books on green architectural and urban design. For instance, his award-winning low-carbon master planning projects for the cities of Mildura (Vic), Taree (NSW) and the urban renewal of Newcastle (NSW).

Steffen has published 18 books, over 300+ papers and articles, and gave over 450+ public presentations in 40 countries. In 2016, he launched the book 'Sustainable Lina' (Springer); in 2017, a new book with Routledge was published: 'Growing Compact'.

His 'Global Urban Lecture' for UN-Habitat was launched in 2016, see: . In 2011 he was invited to give a TED talk.

His Book Series on Sustainable Design can be found here:

In 2009, Steffen was the DAAD Visiting Professor at TU Munich, and a Visiting Professor at the National University Singapore; in 2012 at the University of California at Berkeley. In 2014 he was Visiting Professor at Tianjin University (China). In 2016-18 he holds an Honorary position at the University of Technology Sydney, and is a Visiting Professor in Ahmadabad, India.

He holds a “Dr-Ing.” degree from the TU-Berlin (2003); an AA Diploma from the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London (1991); and a Master's (German Diplom) degree from the University of Applied Sciences Mainz, Germany (1988).

His research is in the field of sustainable buildings and urban development, concerned with the integration of low carbon technologies in urban and architectural design and social implications.

Steffen has given lectures for TEDx and UN-HABITAT; he lectured at some of the world's top universities, including Harvard University, University of Oxford, University of California at Berkeley, University of California at San Diego, the Architectural Association School London, TU Munich, National University of Singapore, KTH Stockholm, TU Vienna, TU Delft, Hong Kong Poly University, Tsinghua University and the University of Melbourne.


  • 2016–present
    Professor of Sustainable Architecture and Director, Cluster for Sustainable Cities, The University of Portsmouth
  • 2014–2015
    Head of School, Professor of Architecture, School of Built Environment, Perth
  • 2010–2014
    Founding Director (Research Chair) and Professor of Sustainable Design; Research Centre for Sustainable Design and Behaviour, The University of South Australia
  • 2012–2014
    Founding Director, China-Australia Centre for Sustainable Urban Development, The University of South Australia and Tianjin University (China)
  • 2012–2012
    Visiting Professor, School of Environmental Design, The University of California at Berkeley
  • 2008–2010
    Chairholder, UNESCO Chair in Sustainable Urban Developoment for Asia and the Pacific, The University of Newcastle
  • 2006–2010
    Endowed Chair, Professor of Architectural Design, The University of Newcastle
  • 2003–2006
    Chair, Professor of Architecture and Head of Discipline, Queensland University of Technology


  • 2003 
    TU Berlin, Germany, Faculty of Architecture, Dr-Ing (PhD)
  • 1991 
    Architectural Association, School of Architecture London, AA Dipl
  • 1988 
    University of Applied Sciences Mainz , Diplom (Master's)
  • 1985 
    University of Applied Sciences Trier, Vordiplom (Bachelor)


  • 2018
    Urban Regeneration: A Manifesto for UK Cities, forthcoming
  • 2017
    Growing Compact. Urban Form, Density and Sustainability, Routledge, London
  • 2016
    Sustainable Lina. Lina Bo Bardi's Adaptive Reuse Projects, Springer, Amsterdam
  • 2015
    Low Carbon Cities. Transforming Urban Systems, Routledge, London
  • 2014
    Journal of Green Building, Editor-in-Chief of academic journal, 2006-2014
  • 2013
    Motivating Change. Sustainable Design and Behaviour in the Built Environment, Routledge, London
  • 2012
    Designing for Zero Waste. Consumption, Technologies and the Built Environment, Routledge, London (Editor of book series on sustainable design)
  • 2010
    The Principles of Green Urbanism. Transforming the City for Sustainability, Earthscan, London (authored book)
  • 2009
    Back to the City, Hatje Cantz Publishing Group, Stuttgart (edited volume)

Professional Memberships

  • Royal Australian Institute of Architects
  • Royal Institute of British Architects
  • Academy of Urbanism, UK
  • Bund Deutscher Architekten (BDA Berlin)