Computational Design

About RCD

In a world where designs and designers are being pushed to their limits, conventional engineering assumptions are no longer enough. With the rapid advance of computational techniques and processing power, it is now possible to explore solutions which could not have been imagined before.

Ramboll Computational Design was set up to harness the power of the computer as a design tool with the aim of developing digital techniques which enable us to challenge traditional typologies and evolve the new economic solutions for the built environment.

The inspiration for our work is nature and in particular how nature creates efficient solutions which are perfectly adapted to their environments. By writing our own computer code which replicates biological processes, we can start to apply this power to solving engineering problems.

With the application of our in-house code and skills in the interrogation of geometry, we have been able to rationalise complex projects across the world saving time and cost and creating new forms to overcome difficult technical challenges. In this approach the solution emerges from the bottom up and the resulting structural arrangement is one which is completely suited to the forces acting upon it.

Sponsorship of academic research is integral to our development of cutting edge techniques and new approaches to computational design. Our own in-house research has also led to new fields of interest such as digital masterplanning, where technology is being applied to understand and design entire cities.

The RCD Team

Stephen Melville

As well as contributing to the design delivery of our engineering projects, Stephen leads the Ramboll Computational Design Team which is dedicated to the research and application of digital tools for building and masterplan design. Stephen wrote a weekly blog for Building Design and is a member of the Bristol Urban Design Forum and RIBA education panel. He is also a part time tutor at the Oxford Brookes School of Architecture and has also tutored or lectured at TU Delft, Texas, Copenhagen, Bristol, Northumbria, Westminster and Cardiff Universities.


John Harding

John is a current doctoral candidate in computational design at The University of Bath. His research is in parametric modelling, multi-objective optimisation and the application of complex systems theory in the design process. Recent advances in computing modelling and analysis have involved rethinking the relationship between architect and engineer, particularly at the concept design stage. His practical application of computational design theory to real world projects has led John to collaborate with various architectural practices during his research.

mark_low resMark Pniewski

Mark is a chartered engineer specializing in the multidisciplinary field of façades. Mark combines the foundation of his engineering degree from Cambridge with an appreciation of aesthetics. He is enthusiastic about creative, practical design and collaborating with other disciplines to deliver buildable solutions. Mark’s ability to apply and clearly communicate his knowledge of engineering with sketching is complimented by his competence in computational design.


kristjan_low-resKristjan Plagborg Nielsen

Kristjan possesses a Master’s Degree in Architectural Engineering, during his studies developing a design guide for parametric modelling of courtyard roofs, including parameters as indoor climate, energy consumption, structural design and manufacturing. Working in Paris, Copenhagen and London he has gained international experience, collaborating successfully with internationally-recognised architects. He has worked on various project scales, from World Cup Stadiums, high-rise office towers, to small-scale art-pieces and temporary pavilions.


Will Pearson

Will joined RCD in 2013 and is also currently finalising his MPhil in the field of Digital Architectonics at the University of Bath. He has great interest in the application of computing to the areas of structural engineering and architectural design. Since joining RCD, Will has played a major role on a number of projects including The Ongreening Pavilion completed in 2014.