Dr Aurel von Richthofen is a researcher, architect and urban designer. He leads the practice aurelVR that entered numerous international competitions and worked on several private commissions. As senior researcher Aurel leads the Education Research programme at the Future Cities Laboratory (FCL) in Singapore. His current research investigates cities as dynamic and complex systems with the project 'Semantic Urban Elements'.


aurelVR is a trans-disciplinary practice of architecture and urban design. Our design approach is based in scientific evidence. We develop our own analysis and design tools that draw from data and computer science. We script and code at all stages of design to explore design spaces and to communicate to people and machines. We collect our design knowledge in design ontologies and use semantic web technologies. We strive for sustainable, responsible, and fair architecture and urban design and we aim to practice it.


Next to architectural and urban design projects aurelVR produces books on specific topics of architecture and urban design, design education, design computation and urban geography.


We develop and use digital tools for analysis, design, communication, and education. Our tools harness data and technology both critically and productively. These tools address the analytical, generative, simulation, visualisation and communication domains of design processes.

School Vevey

School Vevey is a design for an secondary school in the town of Vevey on the shore of lake Geneva including three sport halls, student restaurant, library, auditorium and 70 class rooms.

House Like Her

The House Like Her – an artist studio and home – is located by the sea south of Muscat along the magnificent coastline of the Indian Ocean between Quriat and Sur. Linked by the new coastal high-way to the capital the location offers the serenity and unspoilt beauty unique to Oman.


The research project Semantic Urban Elements explores new computational methods to harness urban knowledge graphs and semantic urban design.


The research on Urban Oman and the Arab Gulf examines the consequences of urbanisation triggered by rapid economic and demographic growth in Oman and the Arab Gulf. The research is structured in three parts: ‘Arab Gulf Cities in Transition: Towards New Spatialities’; ‘Urban Oman – Trends and Perspectives of Urbanisation in Muscat Capital Area’; ‘Spatial Diversity and Sustainable Urbanisation in Oman’.


The research project 'Architecture and Urbanisation With/Out Water' investigates the material, tectonic and social dimensions of architecture in its relationship towards water.


The research on Education aims to transform the interdisciplinary research findings into communicable, teachable and applicable outcomes for urban design by the development of so called 'Urban Elements’ and the development of Engagement Formats.


Rittel’s and Webber’s definition of ‘wicked’ problems – as opposed to 'tame' problems – form the base of my teaching pedagogy that I coin “Wicked Pedagogy”.

Warsaw Rotunda

Warsaw Rotunda is a renovation and a tactical urban space project at once. The design takes an existing building, strips its facade and turns its inner space into an observation platform. The reversal of a closed hermetic space into an open public lantern reclaims a central place in Warsaw for the public.

New Bouwkunde

New Bouwkunde is a radical design for a new school of architecture at Technical University of Delft. The program called for more than 2000 spaces. These were organized algorithmically and optimized for spatial efficiency. Study, project and research within a school of architecture are normally shaped by an intimate relationship of scholars and students within a tight educational community. Not at Delft where the sheer number of more than 5000 students of architecture outgrow any sense of personal scale.