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.

aurelVR is a practice of architecture and urban design. We are a team of architects, urban designers, scientists and programmers that share a common enthusiasm for design, tools, and space. Our inspiration comes from the societies and cities we live in. We draw upon an extended network of colleagues and partners located across wide geographical regions – from Europe to Asia and America – and from various trans and inter-disciplinary backgrounds – computer science, social science, arts, engineering; academia, industry and government.

We develop our own analysis and design tools that draw from data and computer science. This allows us to explore so called ‘design spaces’ of architecture and urban design. We understand growing aspects of design as multiple-criteria decision-making problems with sometimes conflicting goal definitions. Out tools help us, our partners and clients to navigate these design spaces. We use parametric design software to give form to, and visualise our design solutions. We script and code at all stages of design. This process explicates design methods and expedites design processes. We collect our architectural and urban design knowledge in a growing catalogue of Architecture and Urban Elements. We build up design ontologies that we link using semantic web technologies and artificial intelligence. Just as we speak to people by bringing design closer to their worlds we speak to machines by translating our design into code to run fabrication robots, 3D printers and laser-cutters.

aurelVR entered multiple international architectural and urban design competitions. We focus on public buildings such as schools with proposals for Crissier and Vevey in Switzerland as well as hotels and parks. We worked on several private commission for instance the renovation of an apartment in 580 Park Avenue, New York, the design for an Omani artist in the House for Her or the design of House Frehn close to Berlin. aurelVR also offers consultancy in urban and regional planning as well as software development for computational design.

We bridge these worlds by establishing a common ground of shared vocabulary, methods, data. Our design approach is based in scientific evidence. We strive to make the design processes explicit and as transparent as possible. This allows us to learn from previous work and to engage with diverse stakeholders and to include all in the design process. Finally, we are accountable for what we propose: We strive for sustainable, responsible, and fair architecture and urban design and we aim to practice it.

Present and former collaborators of aurelVR include:

Kaveh Arbab, Rushabh Parekh, Mohammed Nazmy, Andy Pittman, Josh Lowrance, Thomas Pearce, Tom Pompeiani, Tanja Kulminska, Carlos Ramos da Silva, Sergei Mikhailenko, Haitham Al Busafi, Michaela Schweizer, Magdalena Kupfersberger, Thomas Hurrell, Alessia Pegorin, Riccardo del Fabbro, Estrella Sanz Alonzo, Yiwen Zhang, Marta Kluk.



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'.

School Crisser

School Vevey is a design for an elementary school in Crissier, a small village in the Swiss Romandie. The design includes eight class rooms, a sports hall and related administrative spaces.

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.

Haus Frehn

Haus Frehn is a countryside home South of Berlin for a couple with separate guest house. The site is located in the scenic Spreewald of Brandenburg in a predominantly rural setting.

Portfolio 2009-2013

This portfolio collects three lines of investigation explored simultaneously and mutually re-enforcing the work produced by aurelVR during 2009-2013: Research, Teaching and Practice. Research on urbanization in Oman and the Gulf marks a new field of investigation of design processes and spatial organization beyond form. Teaching expands in the same direction using digital tools to support design and research. The design part, finally, collects various projects done with aurelVR in Berlin and Oman.