Layla van Ellen

PhD Candidate at the Hub for Biotechnology in the Built Environment, Newcastle University, UK


Layla is passionate about the transition towards a sustainable built environment both on a theoretical and technical level, exploring long-term futures using extreme environmental contexts (such as Space Architecture) and new (bio)technologies to the advantages of the users -to re-think our relations with our ever evolving context. During her masters, she developed an affinity for researching and developing new materials to facilitate a more sustainable built environment. For example, she manufactured and built recycled plastic sunshade prototypes but also went into the lab to experiment and developed a new ice composite as part of her “Building on Mars: use of ISRU for a sustainable habitat” thesis research.

After her studies, she worked as a building consultant at ARUP Amsterdam and at ZRi The Hague where she learned practical aspects of indoor comfort and safety. She learned how to close the loops at a campus level and component level whilst working as sustainability consultant with the Campus Real Estate department and as young researcher within the Climate Design + Sustainability department at the Faculty of Architecture at TU Delft. She is currently finishing her PhD with the Hub for Biotechnology in the Built Environment (HBBE) and her research aims to develop new strategies to scale up biotechnologies for the built environment using the vision and framework of Rhythmic Buildings she developed.

2021 – present: Co-founder Bio-Futures for Transplanetary Habitats

2018-2019: Researcher on Circular Economy and Critical Raw Materials, Climate Design + Sustainability, TU Delft (NL)

2018-2019: Sustainability Consultant at Campus Real Estate, TU Delft (NL)


2019 – 2023 (expected): PhD in Architecture. Thesis title: Rhythmic Buildings – towards living, adaptable architecture.

2015- 2018: Master of Sciences in Building Technology, TU Delft (NL)

2011- 2015: Bachelor of Sciences in Architecture, Urbanism and Building Sciences, TU Delft (NL)

2011: Athenee Royal de Vise Math and Sciences (BE)