fbpx Doctoral thesis defence: Ute Christina Groba | The Oslo School of Architecture and Design


Doctoral thesis defence: Ute Christina Groba

Ute Christina Groba will defend her PhD thesis "Timber Tales: A Qualitative Study of Timber Materiality in Housing Projects" at AHO on 29 June 2021. The defence will be in English. 

Title of the trial lecture: Lovable Composites? Properties, Perceptions and Values of an Artificial Material


Defence: 14.00
The defence will be held digitally over zoom. 

Register for the disputation
The disputation will take place in zoom webinar. To be able to participate as an audience you need to register. After registration, you will receive a link. This link will be active 15 minutes before the disputation is scheduled. 
Register for the disputation

PhD thesis
Read the thesis online here


Qualitative aspects are underrepresented in the common argumentation for an increased use of wooden construction materials and in prevailing life cycle analyses. In addition, professional views are dominant, while the users’ expectations and experiences receive little attention. This thesis aims to foster a more holistic approach to sustainability; it addresses how architects and residents employ, experience and value wooden building materials in housing projects, arguing that buildings that are loved last longer and thus contribute to both ecological and social sustainability.

In three ‘timber tales’, this research prompts a reimagination of the qualities and values that contribute to more loveable built environments. An overview of architectural theory related to materiality traces generalized approaches to designing with timber. The contextualized realities of recent multi-apartment housing projects in Norway and Central Europe are investigated through semi-structured qualitative interviews with seven internationally recognized timber architects and 27 residents, contrasting the experts’ intentions with the users’ perceptions. The results include findings that reveal an untapped potential and the mutual benefits of improved communication between architects and users as well as participatory design processes. 

ug-portrait-2_web.jpgAbout the candidate: Ute Christina Groba (née Schmidt) is an architect, researcher and educator with a special interest in the theoretical and practical facets of wooden building materials and in user-centred design approaches. She studied architecture at RWTH Aachen in Germany and at ETSAM in Spain and holds an architectural degree (Dipl.-Ing.) from RWTH Aachen (2005). Groba has worked as an architect in Germany and in Norway and has taught at universities in both countries. She is currently affiliated with AHO’s Master of Architecture programme where she teaches studio courses with a focus on timber construction.

Main supervisor: Professor emeritus Marius Nygaard, AHO
Co-supervisor: Professor Martina Keitsch, NTNU

Adjudication committee:
  • First opponent: Peter Andreas Sattrup, senior adviser - sustainability, Danish Association of Architectural Firms, Copenhagen
  • Second opponent: Professor David Leatherbarrow, University of Pennsylvania School of Design, Philadelphia
  • Third member and coordinator: Professor Mari Hvattum, AHO

Date: 29. June, 2021
Time: 2:00 pm

Venue: Online