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Birger Sevaldson




Birger Sevaldson [dipl NCAD MNIL PhD] is professor at the Institute of Design at AHO – Oslo School of Architecture and Design and a principle researcher in OCEAN design research association.

He is an academic and designer working in a broad field of design and architecture. He has been in private practice since 1986. His practice spans from architecture, interior to furniture and product design including design of lighting armatures and boat design. It also includes experimental architecture and several art installations in collaboration with the composer Natasha Barrett on the context of OCEAN.

Birger Sevaldson has been developing concepts in design computing and his doctoral thesis from 2005 is based on 15 years of research into this field. He has been collaborating in OCEAN design research association since 1997 and the experimental design projects resulting from this collaboration have been published worldwide. The research into digital design developed into a wider interest in the design process and especially design processes for uncertainty, unforeseen futures and complexity. This research grew out of the digital research which initially engaged in time related design, where time was explored as a design material. Later this approach was further developed and new concepts for systems thinking in design emerged. He has defined Systems Oriented Design as a designerly way of systems thinking and systems practice.

Birger has been lecturing and teaching in Norway, Europe, Asia and USA and has held a visiting professorship at NACD in Oslo and has been a visiting critic at Syracuse University School of Architecture, USA. He is currently visiting professor at the University College of Ålesund, Norway. He was collaborating in the start-up of the academic design journal FORMakademisk and is in the editorial board of the journal. He has been in a number of international evaluation committees amongst them the evaluation committee for Danish design research under the Ministry of Culture of Denmark, and the evaluation committee for a science master for the Higher Education and Training Awards Council (HETAC), Ireland, and the evaluation committee for the EID project by the Swedish energy authorities. Birger is member of the council of the Design Research Society.

Birger has held several positions amongst them, leader of the National Council for Design Educations in Norway, Vice Rector of Oslo School of Architecture and Design and director of OCEAN Design Research Association and the committee for NORDES 2011. He is currently the curator of the Gallery AHO.


AHO Doctorates in Design|Alpine Circularity: Regenerating Mountain Communities through Systems-Oriented Design|Design Research Mediation|Digital Creativity|DOT|H-SEIF: Human Systems Engineering Innovation Framework|METODA|Prototyping services for policy-learning|Relating Innovation and Complexity in Offshore Ship Bridge Design|Systemic design in complex contexts|Systems Oriented Design|Ulstein Bridge Concept

Publications (26)


Conference paper

Systems-Oriented Design as a Democratic Process Design Technique

This paper introduces a discussion about Systems-Oriented Design (SOD) as a democratic design technique. Hence, we have sought how to design processes that enable democratic design processes and possibly design for democracy. We have analysed student praxis and project turn-ins produced at a SOD course Design for Democracy at the Oslo School of Architecture and Design (AHO) 2016 – 2018... Read »



Redesigning Systems Thinking

The resent movement of Systemic Design seeks for new synergies between Design and Systems. While the usefulness of systems approaches in design has been fairly obvious, this paper argues that many core concepts in design are beneficial in systems thinking. This seems reasonable when it comes to the concept of Design Thinking... Read »


Conference paper

Systems Oriented Design in Maritime Design

Systems Oriented Design (S.O.D.) is the designerly way of systems thinking. It is tuned towards working with the dynamics of human activity systems and its interactions with technology rather than constructing technological systems. The complexity in modern high end ship building has increased on several fronts... Read »

Conference paper

Systems-oriented Design and Sustainability

This paper introduces a new perspective on systems thinking in design related to sus- tainability. We argue that designers need to look at sustainability in an integrated man- ner where technical, economical and social aspects are embedded in an ecological ho- listic view. Sustainability is not just another requirement in the design process but needs to form the foundation for all design work... Read »


”Getting Going” – Research by Design

Research by Design is the theme of this first special guest edited issue of FORMakademisk. In this issue we look into a growing domain of design research that takes up relations between practice and theory that are pertinent for inquiry in the interdisciplinary approaches and frameworks that are often central to research in design (Rust et al. 2005)... Read »


Rich Design Research Space

This paper introduces and discusses a Rich Research Space as an inclusive methodological framework and scaffold for research-by-design. The Rich Research Space especially addresses the issue of richness in design processes and design-led research... Read »


Conference paper

Waterfront development with Web mediation

The term ‘unreal estate’ is coined to refer to online mediations of projected and planned urban developments, especially luxury domestic residency. A related website is studied as a mediation of co-ordinated artifacts and assembled persuasion. The site is also examined as a mediating artifact through which multiple representations are co-articulated... Read »



Developing Digital Design Techniques: Creative Design Computing

Industrial designers, architects, graphical designers and others have slowly adapted to the new digital design tools. Most of this process of adaptation is about modifying traditional techniques to benefit from digital technology. But digital technology offers the possibility to rethink the design process even to a degree where our conception of visual creativity is questioned... Read »


Ways of Working

This essay presents an attempt to conceptualise and categorise how computers can be used in creative design processes. It focuses upon new experimental design techniques that have emerged from the use of graphical computers and powerful off-the-shelf software. The material that is investigated stems mostly from the author’s own practice and teaching and the teaching of associated colleagues... Read »

Conference paper

The Renaissance of Visual Thinking

The resent development of graphical 2D and 3D design tools has led to a new state of visualisation in the design process. A whole range of visual representation-forms have emerged and gained increasing importance and influence on the design process, and hence the final result. From this follows that visual thinking is more important than ever... Read »


Conference paper

Research on Digital Design Strategies

To fully benefit from the potential of computer technology in the design process it is necessary to rethink design methodology. New design strategies have to be developed from scratch, strategies which are specially designed to engage the potential of computer technology as well as to address the general problem of complexity within the interplay of urban systems... Read »