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Interdisciplinary Design for the Built Environment

A part-time Master's course from the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership

Studying at Cambridge


Dr Sebastian Macmillan PhD RIBA

Dr  Sebastian Macmillan, PhD RIBA

Sebastian is the retiring Course Director of the IDBE.


Sebastian Macmillan is a Chartered Architect who trained at the University of Liverpool before going on to undertake a doctorate in design research supported by the Science Research Council (now the EPSRC) at the Royal College of Art. He spent a decade in practice where he worked on a variety of commercial, domestic and public buildings, before becoming a founder partners of Eclipse Research Consultants, a small independent research consultancy undertaking commissions for a variety of mostly public sector built environment organisations. He continues to be an active partner in the firm, and is also an Associate at Cambridge Architectural Research Ltd, which like Eclipse is a university spin-off firm.

He joined the Department of Architecture in 1996 and won funding for a number of research grants from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) to study design and decision making in the built environment. He went on to be seconded for two years as EPSRC's Sector Programme Manager for Construction (1999-2001), and was later appointed Consortium Manager for the EPSRC-funded £3m 4-year project Carbon Reduction in Buildings working with colleagues at University College London, University of Loughborough and the Universities of Sheffield, Reading and Manchester.

He was appointed IDBE Course Director in 2006.

Sebastian has published extensively in the areas of environmental management of buildings, low and zero carbon building design, interdisciplinary design and integration, leadership and effective teamwork, and the added value of good design. His books include Interdisciplinary Design in Practice (Thomas Telford, 2001), Designing Better Buildings (Spon Press, 2004), and The Value Handbook (Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment, 2006). He has also published a number of academic papers, good practice guides and industry publications often in support of UK government initiatives in architecture and the built environment and in construction industry reform, such as Sustainable buildings need integrated teams, which was launched in the House of Commons in March 2009.

His other responsibilities include:

  • Member of the EPSRC Peer Review College.
  • External Examiner, Strategic Management of Projects, The Bartlett Graduate School, University College London.
  • Academic Adviser, Faculty of Architecture Planning and Surveying, University of Technology MARA, Malaysia.
  • Former University Moderator, RIBA Part 3 Professional Practice, University of Cambridge.
  • Former Chair of the Research & Innovation Committee, RIBA.
  • Former member of the Research Assessment Exercise panel for Built Environment (1996 and 2001).

More details can be found here.

Research Interests

  • The value agenda in building design
  • Construction industry reform
  • Energy use in buildings
  • Carbon reduction
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