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Department of Architecture



I am an architect (BArch, MSc) and cognitive scientist, holding a PhD in cognitive science from ETH Zürich. Broadly speaking, my interdisciplinary research and teaching seeks to develop, critically evaluate, and creatively experiment with methods of evidence-based co-design in architecture to promote health and well-being. My current research takes an empirical approach to realising how evidence-based simulation tools affect early co-design processes of complex environments. Towards this end, I both develop state-of-the-art, evidence-based and simulation-powered co-design tools, and conduct behavioural design experiments to assess their effect on design communication between stakeholders, conflict resolution, design creativity and performance outcomes.

My PhD research has laid the cornerstone to much of my present research. Through a combination of behavioural experiments in virtual reality and cognitive agent modelling, I developed and validated predictive simulation models of wayfinding behaviour in complex multilevel environments. The tools I developed were applied across a plethora of domains, from healthcare, to retail, transport and urban megastructures. To realise my core mission of bridging science, pedagogy, and praxis I hold a visiting researcher position at the urban design team at Foster + Partners in London, and formerly at the Future Cities Laboratory in Singapore, while also teaching evidence-based design at ETH Zürich since 2019.

I am available for supervision and interdisciplinary or industry collaborations.


● SNSF (Swiss National Science Foundation) Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Architecture, University of Cambridge. University College London (UCL), Bartlett School of Architecture.

● Lecturer, ETH Zürich, Chair of Cognitive Science, Department of Humanities, Social and Political Sciences.

Contact Details

● Cambridge:

● UCL:

● ETH Zürich:

Social media:

Google Scholar






● Evidence-Based Design in Architecture

● Simulation-powered co-design in architecture and urban design

● Wayfinding by architecture

● Spatial cognition

● Active buildings and cities

● Behavioural experiments in virtual reality

● Cognitive agent modelling and simulation

● Choice Architecture

● Architectural design pedagogy

● Design cognition

Current Research Projects

● Simulation-Powered Co-Design for Resilient Built Environments (March 22-March 24), as part of a Post.Doc Mobility grant by the Swiss National Science Foundation, Switzerland. In collaboration with Prof. Koen Steemers and Prof. Kerstin Sailer (The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL).

● cogARCH: Linking Cognition and Architecture (June 21-August 22), as part of an ETH innovedum grant, in collaboration with Prof. Christoph H lscher (Chair of Cognitive Science ETH Zürich)


Key publications: 

Journal articles

● Gath-Morad, M., Melgar, L. E. A., Conroy-Dalton, R., & H lscher, C. (2022). Beyond the Shortest-Path: Towards Cognitive Occupancy Modelling in BIM. Automation in Construction, 135, 104131.

● Mavros, P., Conroy Dalton, R., Kuliga, S., Gath-Morad, M., Robson, S., & H lscher, C. (2021). Architectural Cognition Cards: a Card-Based Method for Introducing Spatial Cognition Research and User-Centred Thinking into the Design Process. Architectural Science Review, 1-18.

● Gath-Morad, M., Thrash, T., Schicker, J., H lscher, C., Helbing, D., & Aguilar Melgar, L. E. (2021). Visibility Matters During Wayfinding in the Vertical. Nature Scientific Reports, 11(1), 1-15.

● Dubey, R. K., Khoo, W. P., Gath-Morad, M., H lscher, C., & Kapadia, M. (2020). AUTOSIGN: A Multi-Criteria Optimization Approach to Computer-Aided Design of Signage Layouts in Complex Buildings. Computers & Graphics, 88, 13-23.

● Schaumann, D., Pilosof, N. P., Gath-Morad, M., & Kalay, Y. E. (2020). Simulating the Impact of Facility Design on Operations: a Study in An Internal Medicine Ward. Facilities. 


● Aguilar, L.*, Gath-Morad, M.*, Grübel, J.*, Ermatinger, J., Zhao, H., Wehrli, S., ... & H lscher, C. (2022). Experiments as Code: A Concept for Reproducible, Auditable, Debuggable, Reusable, & Scalable Experiments. arXiv preprint arXiv:2202.12050.

● Dubey, R. K., Gath-Morad, M., Sohn, S. S., Xue, D., Thrash, T., H lscher, C., & Kapadia, M. (2022). Cognitively Grounded Floorplan Optimization to Nudge Occupant Route Choices. Available at SSRN 4003119. 

Conference papers

● Gath-Morad, M., Baur, R., & H lscher, C. (2022). Towards an Evidence-Based Simulation Toolkit for Architectural Design Pedagogy. In EDRA53 Greenville HEALTH IN ALL DESIGN: PROMOTING HEALTH, EQUITY, SUSTAINABILITY AND RESILIENCE THROUGH ENVIRONMENTAL DESIGN.

● Grübel, J.*, Gath-Morad, M.*, Aguilar, L.*, Thrash, T., Sumner, R. W., H lscher, C., & Schinazi, V. (2021). Fused Twins: A Cognitive Approach to Augmented Reality Media Architecture. In Media Architecture Biennale 20 (pp. 215-220).

● Gath-Morad, M., Aguilar, L., Dalton, R. C., & H lscher, C. (2020, May). COGARCH: Simulating Wayfinding by Architecture in Multilevel Buildings. In Proceedings of the 11th Annual Symposium on Simulation for Architecture and Urban Design (pp. 1-8).

● Gath-Morad12, M., Zinger, E., Schaumann, D., & Kalay, N. P. P. Y. E. (2018). A Dashboard Model to Support Spatio-Temporal Analysis of Simulated Human Behavior in Future Built Environments. in depth, 12, 13.

● Schaumann, D., Gath-Morad, M., Zinger, E., Pilosof, N. P., Sopher, H., Brodeschi, M., ... & Kalay, Y. E. (2016, May). A Computational Framework to Simulate Human Spatial Behavior in Built Environments. In SimAUD 2016 Symposium on Simulation for Architecture and Urban Design.

Book Chapters

● Gath-Morad, M. (2022, April). Towards Cognitive Urbanism: Employing Choice Architecture to Design Active Cities. In FUTURE CITIES – CITY FUTURES. Emerging Voices for the [(Post-)Pandemic] City. Delft Press.

● Gath-Morad, M., Schaumann, D., Zinger, E., Plaut, P. O., & Kalay, Y. E. (2016, May). How Smart is the Smart City? Assessing the impact of ICT on cities. In International Workshop on Agent Based Modelling of Urban Systems (pp. 189-207). Springer, Cham. 


● Veddeler, C., Kuijper,J., Gath-Morad, M., Van Der Wal, I. (2022, April). FUTURE CITIES –CITY FUTURES. Emerging Voices for the Post-Pandemic City. TU Delft OPEN Publishing.

Visting Fellow