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Department of Architecture



Alan Short was educated at Trinity College (senior scholar) and as Exchange Fellow at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design. He has been the Professor of Architecture at the University of Cambridge since 2001, Head of Dept. 2001-04. His work focuses on the design of sustainable buildings. He won the RIBA President’s Award for ‘Outstanding Professional Practice-located Research’ 2007 for the project ‘Design for the Warming Environment’ and the 2009 RIBA President’s Commendation for Outstanding University-located Research for his work on the resilience of the NHS Estate. He is a PR China Ministry of Education Distinguished Professor, a Guest Professor at Zhejiang University and was the 2014 George Collins Fellow of the Society of Architectural Historians and 2013-14 Geddes Fellow at the University of Edinburgh. He also designs buildings, one of very few architects in the UK deeply involved in Higher Education and Research, maintaining Short & Associates Architects as a vehicle for putting research concepts into practice, winning the first 'High Architecture, Low Energy Award' 1995; 'Green Building of the Year' 1995; the Society of College, National and University Librarians (SCONUL) 'Best Academic Library Award' 1998-2003 and ‘Commendation’ 2008; CIBSE 'Project of the Year' in 2003 & 2004; ‘CIBSE Environmental Initiative of the Year’ 2006; BDA ‘Building of the Year 2001’ and ‘Best Public Building 2006’; RIBA Awards in 1995, 2000, 2003 and 2006. He is the Principle Investigator for the UK-China EPSRC/NSFC funded ‘Low carbon climate-responsive heating and cooling of cities’ (LoHCool) £800K, focussing on carbon reduction opportunities in mega-cities in China. He was the Principal Investigator for the EPSRC Adaptation and Resilience to Climate Change project ‘Design and Delivery of Robust Hospital Environments in a Changing Climate’ DeDeRHECC (2009-13) £800K, and the NIHR funded  ‘Design Strategy for Low Energy Ventilation and Cooling of Health Buildings’ (2006-09) £265K. His research group has produced a film of its work on the NHS Estate, ‘Robust Hospitals in a Changing Climate’ at  which won the tv/e Global Sustainability Film Award 2013 at BAFTA. He was appointed to administer and monitor the NHS Energy Efficiency Fund 2013-14 with the Professor of Sustainable Engineering Peter Guthrie, reporting to the Under Secretary of State for Health. The Executive Summary was published in February 2015 at: His team has redrafted the guidance on energy efficiency for the NHS, HTM 07-02, published in March 2015 at:

He has an interest in the design of theatres and was PI for the AHRC funded (£350K) ‘Designing Dynamic Environments for the Performing Arts’ (DeDepa), an investigation into the design of contemporary Arts Council funded arts buildings. There is a book and a film of the findings, both titled ‘Geometry and Atmosphere’. The film is available at:,com_mediadb/task,view/idstr,CU-ARCT-2008-DEDEPA/Itemid,26

He authored the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE) Guidance for Capital Arts Projects, “Building Excellence for the Arts” and designed the Contact Theatre in Manchester, the Garrick at Lichfield and the Lighthouse at Poole.



Short’s research group investigates and develops passive and hybrid resilient, low-energy design strategies for new-build and perhaps more importantly for interventions in non-domestic buildings in different climates, projecting their future performance against current climate change predictions. More recently the work has concentrated on hospital buildings, the group has assessed the resilience of the entire NHS Estate, its adaptation potential and the likely cost, reported to Ministers. Short is appointed to administer and report on the UK Dept of Health's NHS Energy Efficiency Fund 2013-14.

Professor Short is the PI for the EPSRC-NSFC funded project LoHCool, 'Low Carbon environmentally responsive Heating and Cooling of Cities' 2015-19, an investigation into the adaptation opportunities within the mega cities of the Hot Summer-Cold Winter zone in China with the Departments of Engineering, Geography and Mathematics at Cambridge; Reading, Chongqing and Zhejiang Universities and Imperial College London.

Professor Short is also the PI for the AHRC Antimicrobial Resistance project ExISE, Excising Infection in the Surgical Environment 2017-2020 with the BP Institute, Infectious Diseases and History of Art in Cambridge, History at Kings College London, Leeds University's Engineering Department and the Royal College of Surgeons.


Key publications: 

- Xinyi Li, Runming Yao,,Wei Yu, Xiangzhong Meng, Meng Liu, Alan Short, Baizhan Li (2019) Low carbon heating and cooling of residential buildings in cities in the hot summer and cold winter zone - a bottom-up engineering stock modeling approach, Journal of Cleaner Production.

- Colin Porteous (2018): The significance of natural ventilation, Building Research & Information, DOI:10.1080/09613218.2018.1500005. Published online: 17 Aug 2018. Detailed review and commentary of Short C A (2017) The Recovery of Natural Environments in Architecture.

- Xinyi Li, Runming Yao, Meng Liu, Vincenzo Costanzo, Wenbo Wang, Alan Short, Baizhan Li (2018) Developing urban residential reference buildings using clustering analysis of satellite images, Building and Environment.

- Linden P., ...Short C.A et al (2018) Sustainable design: the implications of fluid mechanics, Building Research and Information Special Issue - Urban Form Density and Microclimate, Taylor and Francis.

- C. A. Short, J. Song, L. Mottet, S. Chen, J.Wu & J. Ge (2018) Challenges in the low-carbon adaptation of China's apartment towers, Building Research & Information, 46:8, 899-930, DOI:10.1080/09613218.2018.1489465  Special Issue - Urban Form Density and Microclimate, Taylor and Francis

- C. Alan Short, Baizhan Li, Mehdi Shahrestani (2018) Editorial, Climate responsive solutions to heating and cooling of buildings, Journal of Building Engineering, Special issue, Volume 15, January 2018, Page 289

- C. Alan Short (2018) The Recovery of Natural Environments in Architecture: Delivering the Recovery, Journal of Building Engineering, Volume 15, January 2018, Elsevier, DOI 10.1016/j.jobe.2017.11.014

- Short C.A., Drumright L., Noakes C., Woods A., Gainty C., Schoefert K., Tantardini L. (2017) Excising Infection in the Surgical Environment, Royal College of Surgeons Bulletin, November 2017 pp.17- 20,

- Short C.Alan (2017) The Recovery of Natural Environments in Architecture, Taylor and Francis, Abingdon

- C.Alan Short (2017) Scroope Terrace of Cambridge University, a latter Day Castle of Otranto, World Architecture 2017, 08 326, Where We Started: Spaces for Architectural Education, pp.38-43, Tsinghua University Press

- Daniel Bannister, Michael Herzog, Hans Graf, J. Scott Hosking, and C. Alan Short (2017) Performance of CMIP5 Models for Current and Future Temperature in the Sichuan Basin, China, Using CMIP5 Climate Models, Journal of Climate, publ. online 3rd May 2017,

- Short C.A., Lomas K.J., Renganathan G. (2015) A medium-rise1970’s maternity hospital in the east of England: resilience and adaptation to climate change, Building Services, Engineering, Research, Technology (BSERT), special issue ‘Indoor Temperature and Air Quality’ 0(0) 1-28, SAGE, DOI: 10.1177/0143624414567544, ( Winner of the Carter Bronze Medal 2016, Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineers.

- C. Alan Short, Catherine J. Noakes, Carl A. Gilkeson (2014): Functional recovery of a resilient hospital type, Building Research & Information, DOI: 10.1080/09613218.2014.92660521.

- C. Alan Short, Catherine J. Noakes, Carl A. Gilkeson (2014): Functional recovery of a resilient hospital type, Building Research & Information, DOI: 10.1080/09613218.2014.926605

- R. Giridharana, K.J. Lomas, C.A. Short, A.J. Fair (2013) Performance of hospital spaces in summer: A case study of a ‘Nucleus’-type hospital in the UK Midlands, Energy and Buildings 66 (2013) 315–328

- C.Alan Short, YAO Runming, LUO Guozhi, Li Baizhan (2013) ‘Hybrid Environmental Design as an Alternative to Full Air-Conditioning in the Continental Climate:A Case Study in Beijing’, Ecocity & Green Building, Beijing

- Short C.A., Yao R., Luo G. ,Li B (2012) ‘Exploiting a Hybrid Environmental Design Strategy in the Continental Climate of Beijing’, International Journal of Ventilation ISSN 1473-3315 Volume 11 No 2, pp.105-130

-  Short, C.A., Lomas, K.J., Renganathan, G., Fair,A. (2012) ‘Building resilience to overheating into 1960's UK hospital buildings within the constraint of the national carbon reduction target: adaptive strategies’. Building and Environment, doi:10.1016/j.buildenv.2012.02.031, pp.1-23

- Lomas, K.J., Giridharan, R., Short, C.A., Fair,A.J. (2012) ‘Resilience of ‘Nightingale’ hospital wards in a changing climate’, Building Serv. Eng. Res. Technol. 33,1, pp. 81–103

- Short, C. Alan , Cook, Malcolm , Cropper, Paul C. and Al-Maiyah, Sura  (2010) 'Low energy refurbishment strategies for health buildings', Journal of Building Performance Simulation, 3: 3, 197-216, First published on: 17 February 2010 (iFirst), DOI: 10.1080/19401490903318218

 -  Short C.A., Cook M., Lomas K.J. (2009) ‘Delivery and performance of a low-energy ventilation and cooling strategy’, Building Research and Information, 37 (1), January – February, pp. 1-30.

-  Short C.A., Al-Maiyah S. (2009) ‘Design Strategy for low energy ventilation and cooling of hospitals’, Building Research and Information, (2009) 37(3), pp.1–29.doi: 10.1080/09613210902885156

 -  Short, C.A., Cook, M.J., Woods, A. (2009) ‘Low energy ventilation and cooling within an urban heat island’, Renewable Energy, Renewable E: doi: 101016/j.renene.2009.02.013

  Lomas, K.J., Cook, M.J., and Short,C.A. (2009) ‘Commissioning hybrid advanced naturally ventilated buildings: a US case study’, Energy and Buildings

-  Yao R., Li B., Steemers K., Short A., (2009) ‘Assessing the natural ventilation cooling potential of office buildings in different climate zones in China,’ Renewable Energy, doi: 10.1016/j.renene.2009.05.015

-  Lomas K.J., Cook M.J, & Short C.A., (2008) ‘Commissioning hybrid advanced naturally ventilated buildings: a US case study’, NCEUB 2008 Proceedings

-  Short C.A. (2008) ‘What is Architectural Design Research?’  Building Research and Information Vol 36, Issue 2, March 2008, p195-199

-  Short C.A. (2008) ‘Geometry and Atmosphere: the conundrum of Building for the Arts’ in the series ‘The importance of Arts & Humanities to life in the UK’, essay commissioned by the Chief Executive of the AHRC

-  Short, C.A., Barrett, P., Dye A., Sutrisna, M., (2007) ‘Impacts of value engineering on five capital arts projects’, Building Research and Information, 35(3), pp. 287–315.

-  Short, C.A., Lomas, K., (2007) ‘Exploiting a hybrid environmental design strategy in a US continental climate’, Building Research and Information, 35 (2), pp. 119-143

-  Short, C.A., Whittle, G., Owarish, M., (2006) ‘Fire and Smoke control in naturally ventilated buildings’, Building Research & Information, 34 (1), pp. 21-54

-  Cook, M.J. and Short, C.A., (2005) ‘Natural Ventilation and Low Energy Cooling of Large, Non-domestic buildings – four case studies’, The International Journal of Ventilation, 3 (4), March, pp. 283-.

-  Short, C.A. and Cook, M.J., (2005) ‘Design guidance for naturally ventilated theatres’, Building Services Engineering Research and Technology, Hodder Arnold, 26 (3), September, pp. 259-270

-  Short, C.A., (2004) 'A typology of design strategies for low energy, efficient, deep plan public buildings in various climates’, World Architecture, in: L. Hao ed. Tsinghua, Beijing

-  Short, C.A., Lomas K.J., Woods, A., (2004) Design strategy for low energy ventilation and cooling within an urban heat island’, Building Research and Information, 32 (3)May - June, pp. 187-206

The Professor of Architecture (1970)
President of Clare Hall
Director of Studies for Peterhouse
Professor Alan  Short

Contact Details

01223 332958/764155