Hans-Christian Wilhelm

Hans-Christian Wilhelm profile picture

Senior Lecturer Wellington School of Architecture


Teaching in 2020


Diplom-Ingenieur Architektur, Technical University Darmstadt (Germany)
Registered Architect (ARB, UK)

Hans-Christian (Dipl.-Ing. Architect ARB (UK)), completed his postgraduate education with an engineering degree in architecture (Diplom-Ingenieur Architektur) from Technical University Darmstadt (Germany) in 2002. He then worked as a design and project architect in internationally leading firms, including Antonio Citterio and Partners (Milan) and Foster+Partners (London), where he was an Associate Partner. Working on projects ranging from retail and offices to housing and healthcare, he gained in-depth experience on design and construction, including aspects of sustainability, accessibility and pre-fabrication. At Foster+Partners he was the project architect for CircleBath hospital, the company’s first hospital, which won the RIBA Award (South West) and the Building Better Healthcare Awards 2011 for the Best Hospital Design.

After returning to Germany in 2009, he set up his own architectural practice in Munich, working on a range of small and medium scale residential projects, both new build and refurbishments. In collaboration with industry and academia, he developed innovative prototypes for modular furniture.

At the same time, he started an academic career at Technical University of Munich, where he was working at the Chair of Architectural Design and Building Envelopes, conducting teaching and research on sustainable, high performance building envelopes. From 2013 to 2015 he was also an adjunct professor for building physics and building technology at Bremen School of Architecture. In February 2017, he was appointed Senior Lecturer in Sustainable Architecture at Victoria University of Wellington, where he teaches building materials, construction design and furniture design. His areas of research include housing, building performance and construction, with a focus on innovative materials and fabrication techniques. Hans-Christian also connects academia and professional practice with innovative projects aligned with his design research agenda.

Publications and presentations

Please see ORCiD for further details of publications.

Recent publications

Wilhelm, H.-C. (2018) Corviale Megastructure: Narratives of Utopia and Roman Realism, Fabrications, 28 (3), 331-354


Wilhelm, H.-C. (2018) Investigating design and construction opportunities for Medium Density Housing on hillsides using concrete pre-fabrication. In P. Rajagopalan and M.M. Andamon (eds), Engaging Architectural Science: Meeting the Challenges of Higher Density, 52nd International Conference of the Architectural Science Association 2018, 28 November-1 December 2018, (pp.109-112). RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia

Recent presentations and exhibitions

Wilhelm, H.-C. (2017) What makes Zero Heroes: A transcontinental view on buildings and energy. In New Zealand Green Building Council Green Room Conference, Wellington, New Zealand

Wilhelm, H. (2017). Modular lightweight furniture with integral fasteners using post-tensioning. In MaD for the Future 2017: A national Conference for Innovation in Manufacturing and Design. Auckland.

Twose, S. J., & Wilhelm, H. -C. (2017, October 30). Curious encounters: Coffee-led design investigations into furniture and hotels (No. Of Pieces: 40+) [Exhibition]. Thistle Hall Community Exhibitions, Corner Cuba & Arthur Streets, Wellington, Aotearoa, NZ

Previous publications

Corviale, Rom. In Phoenix 2016 (2), 50-56

Neue Füße für Corviale. In Bauwelt 2016 (18), 8-12

Piazza Garibaldi in Neapel. In Bauwelt 2015 (42), 14-22

Baukastenprinzip. In Bauwelt 2014 (47), 22-27

Im Ponti Rossi von Neapel. In Bauwelt 2014 (05), 16-25

Norman Fosters Klinik. In Bauwelt 2010 (26-27), 32-35

Salone Internazionale del Mobile 2006. In Bauwelt 2006 (19), 2-3

in Mailand. In Bauwelt 2006 (14), 28-31

Salone Internazionale del Mobile. In Bauwelt 2005 (19), 2

Die Geschichte der Messe. In Bauwelt 2004 (40-41), 22-27

Salone Internationale del Mobile – Mailand. In Bauwelt 2004 (20), 3

Häuser für Kernspinresonanz-Spektroskopie in Buch – Heinle, Wischer & Partner, Berlin. In Bauwelt 2003 (45), 5

Architekturjahrbuch Bayern 2003. In Bauwelt 2003 (43-44), 20

Architektur in Hamburg – Jahrbuch 2003. In Bauwelt 2003 (38), 23

Wonderwall. Masamichi Katayama Projects (Shigekazu). In Bauwelt 2003 (38), 25

Teaching and supervision

Previous teaching

Adjunct Professor (Lehrbeauftragter) at Bremen School of Architecture, Bremen, Germany

Building physics and building technology (2013-15, lecture series and integrated design studio on building physics, building technology, climate responsive design and construction)

Lecturer fixed term (Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter) at Technical University Munich, Chair of Architectural Design and Building Envelopes, Munich, Germany

Lecture series and seminars (selection)

Exploring research into building envelopes (2016)

Building envelopes and building climatology (2012-16, co-taught with Daniele Santucci)

Building envelopes and sustainable refurbishment strategies (2011-13, co-taught with Michaela Hoppe)

Design research (selection)

Scuola a Roma: refurbishment and extension of a 1960s school in Rome. (2012, co-taught with Tina Wolf, Werner Lang, Patricia Schneider)

Climate skins for monument preservation (2011, co-taught with Tina Wolf, ca. 10 participants)

Textile building skins (2010-11, co-taught with Tina Wolf)

Modular experimental housing (2010, co-taught with Tina Wolf)

Invited teaching and workshops

Back to Earth digital fabrication workshop: Making children‘s furniture using construction waste material. (2018, co-instructor, Chu Hai College of Higher Education, Hong Kong)

Architecture to furniture: Explorative designs for lightweight furniture-structures and digital fabrication techniques. (2017, sole instructor, CEPT University, Ahmedabad, India)

Master thesis supervision at Victoria University of Wellington

Morris,S. (ongoing). Peri-Fusion: An integrated agriculture and densified housing model for New Zealand’s peri-urban zones.

Wellwood, J. (ongoing). Vulnerable Territories: Adaptive planning for coastal climate change.

Dalgety, P. (ongoing). Whanganui heritage: Preserving the past.

Baines, L. (ongoing). The Natural Urban Habitat: Synthesizing Greenery and Residential Density.

Goodger, J.R. (2018). HOMELESS. Self-build Housing for Wellington’s Transitionally Homeless. (co-supervised with Adele Leah)

Peacocke, G.F. (2019). Craft, Detail & Quality.

Dunn, H.M. (2019). Quality Assembly: designing to offsite fabrication for medium density living in New Zealand.

Mackie, B. (2019). Regenerational Residence.


Asam, S., Alejos, S. & Wilhelm, H.-C. (2011). KnitSkin: An auto-responsive textile building envelope for adaptive shading. Techtextil 2011 Student Award "Textile Strukturen für neues Bauen", 1. rank category "Sustainability and Surface".

Steidele, C., Militz, F. & Wilhelm, H.-C. (2011). Facelift: Refurbishment and extension of a high rise in Stuttgart. Bauhaus Solar Award 2011

Professional practice

Projects in independent professional/creative practice (selection)

Creative Exhibition and Community Centre at Oriental Bay, Wellington/Te Whanganui-a-Tara (2018, concept design and competition entry)

Two multi-storey dwellings, new build and refurbishment with heritage conservation requirements in Wiesbaden, Germany, 480m² and 1250m² GFA (2012-15, preparation and brief, concept design, developed design, building application granted)

S. Immacolata e Michele church refurbishment and extension in Volla, Naples province, Italy (2013-15, preparation and brief, concept design, appraisal of existing fabric)

Semi-detached house, refurbishment and new extension in Bad Soden, Germany, 250m² GFA (2012, preparation and brief, concept design, appraisal of existing fabric)

Projects in employed professional practice (selection)

CircleBath hospital, 6.200m² GFA (2006-09, all work stages through to completion, design and build, project architect and design team lead. For Foster+Partners, London)




Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 21.000m² GFA (2005-06, concept design external and internal stone facades, entrance areas, concept and developed design of fixed furniture elements. For Foster+Partners, London)


CircleBath hospital (Foster+Partners)

Building Better Healthcare Awards 2010, award for Best Hospital Design

BCIA British Construction Industry Awards 2010, category: Building Project £3million – £50million

FX International Interior Design Awards 2010, category: Best Public Space

RIBA award (South West)

Research interests and projects

Hans-Christian’s research connects aspects of structure, material and manufacturing processes for the purposes of sustainable design in architecture and the built environment. The connection between design and physical properties needs to be explored at different design scales: his research areas encompass large design scales (focus habitat and innovative housing models, housing design and construction in past and present) as well as small design scales (focus building construction, construction detailing, jointing and fabrication).

The tension between pre-fabrication and spatial flexibility, the challenge of designing and engineering joints between components exists in furniture and buildings alike. In practice, emerging digital design tools, new construction materials and methods co-exist with established craft methods. This broadens the range of choices for designers and increases the complexity for decision making. Hans-Christian’s research aims to generate benefits in performance and functionality for design-led problems, using innovative materials and manufacturing techniques.

Research projects funded by grants

Wilhelm, H.-C. (2019). Design and construction options for comfortable and affordable social housing in New Zealand. Grants by Salvation Army Social Housing, Cement and Concrete Association of New Zealand, Victoria Summer Research grant

Wilhelm, H.-C. (2018). Investigate design options for Medium Density Housing typologies suitable for hillsides and explore optimum use scenarios for concrete components in a mixed material palette. Grants by Cement and Concrete Association of New Zealand, Victoria Summer Research grant

Wilhelm, H.-C. (2013). Metal fitting system for removable mitre connections/ Beschlagsystem S45 für lösbare Gehrungsverbindungen. Grants by Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy/BMWi, ID-No./ Förderkennzeichen: 03SU32A003

Wilhelm, H.-C. (2015). Metal shelving system S45 – elegant and flexible without tools/ Metallregal-System S45 – elegant, flexibel und ohne Werkzeug. Grant by Bavarian Ministry of Economic Affairs and Media, Energy and Technology/Bayerisches STMWI, ID-No./ Förderkennzeichen: 2014-2713-ST-01/1

Inventions and patents

Wilhelm, H.-C. (2012). Mitre connections for furniture/ Gehrungsverbindung für Möbelplatten. Registered Patent. German Patent and Trade Mark Office/DPMA ID-No. 10 2012 103 596.2

Wilhelm, H.-C. (2015). Polygonal framing for furniture/ Polygonaler Möbelrahmen. Patent application. German Patent and Trade Mark Office/DPMA ID-No. 10 2015 112 820.9

Wilhelm, H.-C. (2015). Modular quick connecting furniture/ Modulares Steckmöbel. Registered Utility Model. German Patent and Trade Mark Office/DPMA ID-No. 20 2015 008 665.9


Teaching in 2020