Dr Matthew Fox

Dr Matthew Fox

Lecturer in Built Environment

School of Art, Design and Architecture (Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Business)



Dr Matthew Fox is an architect, lecturer, and researcher in sustainable architecture at the University of Plymouth. Matthew’s research interests include earth construction, thermography, living wall systems and transient thermal investigation. 

Some of Matthew’s research projects have included participating in:

  • CobBauge. In the field of earthen construction, Matthew is currently working as a researcher on the CobBauge project, which is a European Interreg funded project aimed at developing an optimised version of traditional cob that can meet current standards / regulations for thermal performance. 
  • DeViz. Funded by Creds, the DeViz project where thermal imaging was used to engage contractors’ mid-construction to understand how builders can be educated and motivated to minimise building defects formed during the construction phase. 
  • Living Walls. Working through the Low Carbon Devon project. Measuring the thermal benefits that can be gained from adding an external living wall façade to existing buildings. Working with plant and earth scientists to optimise the plant, substrate and living wall system to improve the thermal insulation and cooling properties of living walls.
  • Hospital Ward Temperatures. Monitoring the changes in patient bed space temperatures within an orthopaedic hospital ward. This data was then compared with patient core body temperatures to investigate the impact of changing environmental temperatures on patient health and recovery.
  • eViz. Undertaking thermal imaging inspections of over 300 homes in the south west to understand how residents could be motivated to undertake home improvements. Work from this project led to the influence of a city wide thermal imaging initiative by the City of Vancouver in Canada. 

Alongside his academic work, Matthew also works as a practicing architect for Fox Ecological Architects. His work as an architect specialises in low energy design using natural building materials. 

A recently completed architectural commission has been the UK's first CobBauge building, which was constructed on the campus of the University of Plymouth. This building has put into practice the research developed during the Interreg CobBauge project and paves the way for future CobBauge buildings.

Matthew teaches undergraduate students at degree and master's level. His teaching focus is on:

  • Architectural design and management
  • Building Thermography
  • Building Performance Evaluation (BPE)
  • Innovative natural building materials


Dr Matthew Fox holds the following qualifications:

BA (Hons) Architecture, Diploma in Architecture, MSc Energy Efficient and Sustainable Buildings, PhD Environmental Building, AFHEA Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

Matthew is also a registered practicing architect.

Professional membership

Dr Matthew Fox holds the following professional memberships:

ARB, the Architects Registration Board

BINDT the British Institute of Non Destructive Testing - Category 2 Thermographer

AFHEA, Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy



Teaching interests

Dr Matthew Fox has a range of teaching interests, which include:

  • Building Performance Evaluation (BPE). In particular thermal imaging and in-situ methods of thermal measurement.
  • Natural Building materials. Especially timber and earth construction.
  • Low energy sustainable architecture.
  • Healthy buildings

Matthew teaches the following undergraduate modules:

  • Module lecturer, BLDG408 - Architectural Design (Year 1)
  • Module lecturer, BLDG405 - Built Environment Project 1 (Year 1)
  • Module lecturer, BLDG609 - Built Environment Project 3 (Year 3)
  • Teacher on BLDG403 - Environmental Building Science and Technology (Year 1)  
  • Teacher on BLDG612 - Dissertation project (Year 3) 



Research interests

Dr Matthew Fox works on a range of interdisciplinary research projects and has published widely on topics related to sustainable architecture in international journals and conferences.

Areas of research interest include: 

Thermography, Architecture, Building Performance Evaluation (BPE), Environmental building design, Natural building materials, Earth construction, Healthy buildings, CobBauge.

Other research

The CobBauge project has won the following awards:

  • European Regiostars Awards 2019 - Award category: “Connecting Green, Blue and Grey”.
  • RISE Awards 2022 - Research, Innovation, Sustainability, Enterprise award for “Field and Laboratory Research”.
  • University of Plymouth Vice Chancellor awards 2022 - Award for Sustainability

Nominated awards

  • CIOB Awards - Sustainability Award



Key publications

Key publications are highlighted


Goodhew, S., Carfrae, J., Hood-Cree, K., Fox, M., Boutouil, M., & Streiff, F. (2019). Building with earth: How we are working to revive an ancient, sustainable building technique. Construction Research and Innovation, 10(4), pp. 105-108. doi:10.1080/20450249.2019.1700077 Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1080/20450249.2019.1700077

Touati K, Le Guern M, El Mendili Y, Azil A, Streiff F, Carfrae J, Fox M, Goodhew S & Boutouil M (2023) 'Earthen-based building: In-situ drying kinetics and shrinkage' Construction and Building Materials 369, , DOI Open access
Lunt PH, Fuller K, Fox M, Goodhew S & Murphy TR (2022) 'Comparing the thermal conductivity of three artificial soils under differing moisture and density conditions for use in green infrastructure' Soil Use and Management , DOI Open access
Fox M & Murphy T (2022) 'Understanding the thermal benefits of retrofitting ‘living walls’ to existing buildings' Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers - Civil Engineering 175, (2) 53-53 , DOI Open access
Fox M, Morewood J, Murphy T, Lunt P & Goodhew S (2021) 'Living wall systems for improved thermal performance of existing buildings' Building and Environment 207, , DOI Open access
Goodhew J, Pahl S, King K, Sanders M, Elliott P, Fox M, Boomsma C & Goodhew S (2021) 'Engaging People with Energy Efficiency: A Randomised Controlled Trial Testing the Effects of Thermal Imaging Visuals in a Letter Communication' Sustainability 13, (6) 3543-3543 , DOI Open access
Goodhew S, Boutouil M, Streiff F, Le Guern M, Carfrae J & Fox M (2021) 'Improving the thermal performance of earthen walls to satisfy current building regulations' Energy and Buildings 240, , DOI Open access
Goodhew S, Carfrae J, Hood-Cree K, Fox M, Boutouil M & Streiff F (2019) 'Building with earth: How we are working to revive an ancient, sustainable building technique' Construction Research and Innovation 10, (4) 105-108 , DOI Open access
Goodhew S, Duthie J, Shirreff H, Riddlestone P, Metcalfe J, Latour J & Fox M (2019) 'Hospital Ward Temperatures Related to Hypothermic Risk in Orthopaedic Patients' Building Research and Information: the international journal of research, development and demonstration , DOI Open access
Fox M, Goodhew S & De Wilde P (2016) 'Building defect detection: External versus internal thermography' Building and Environment 105, 317-331 , DOI Open access
Fox M, Coley D, Goodhew S & De Wilde P (2015) 'Time-lapse thermography for building defect detection' Energy and Buildings 92, 95-106 , DOI Open access
Fox M, Coley D, Goodhew S & de Wilde P (2014) 'Thermography methodologies for detecting energy related building defects' Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 40, 296-310 , DOI Open access
Conference Papers

Goodhew, S., Carfrae, J., Strieff, F., Boutouil, M., Owen, K., & Fox, M. (2019) The development of an insulating structural cob composite wall. . Paper presented at the Earth USA 2019. The 10th International Conference on Earthen Architecture & Construction, Santa Fe, New mexico, USA.

Goodhew S, Fox M, Carfrae J, Boutouil M & Strieff F (2022) 'An Investigation into the Potential Use of TDR Measurement Systems to Accurately Assess the Moisture Content at the Center of Completed Earthen Walls' Terra 2022 13th World Congress on Earthen Architectural Heritage Open access
Goodhew J, Goodhew S, Fox M, Alencastro J & Killip G (2021) 'Visualising defects via thermography (DeViz): a combined technological, behavioural and quality systems approach to achieving near zero defect buildings' 989-998
Goodhew S, Carfrae J & Fox M (2020) 'CobBauge -A hybrid walling technique combining mechanical and thermal performance' LEHM 2020 0-/-1/20201-/-1/2020Publisher Site Open access
Garmston H, Fox M, Pan W & De Wilde P (2013) 'Multi-storey building retrofit with a focus on the Façade selection process: A UK commercial office case study' 81-90
Fox M, Coley D, De Wilde P & Goodhew SMR (2012) 'COMPARING TRANSIENT SIMULATION WITH THERMOGRAPHY TIME SERIES' First Building Simulation and Optimization Conference Loughborough 9-/-0/2012Open access
Presentations and posters
Fox M, Goodhew J, Boomsma C, Goodhew S & Pahl S Fox M, Goodhew J, Boomsma C, Goodhew S & Pahl S 'Lessons on visual feedback from the eViz Project: The evidence for using thermal images as a visual intervention' Open access


Additional information

Work as a practicing architect:

Plummerswood PassivHaus. Location near Cardrona, Scotland. Completed 2012 while working for Gaia Architects in Edinburgh.

This dwelling was one of the first certified PassivHaus dwellings in Scotland at the time. It was constructed from brettstapel, which is a form of massive timber construction that was manufactured in Austria. Brettstapel comprises of planks of softwood fixed together using diagonal dowels of hardwood. The brettstapel used for this house was Diagonaldübelholz, which came prefabricated from Sohm Holzbautechnik in Austria. Plummerswood PassivHaus was awarded the architectural excellence award by the Scottish Home Awards 2012. 

Plymouth University CobBauge Building. Located on the Plymouth University campus. Completed 2022 by Fox Ecological Architects.

This was the first building in the UK to be constructed from the innovative CobBauge material. Completed in 2022, this building served as a test facility to train future CobBauge builders and designers in the material. This building is currently used as a meeting room and conference facility by the Sustainable Earth Institute (SEI), and is being monitored using a comprehensive range of sensors to understand how a CobBauge building performs in a real life setting. 

Glentress Visitor Centre. Location near Peebles, Scotland. Completed 2011 while working for Gaia Architects in Edinburgh.

This facility was for the Forestry Commission Scotland (FCS) to provide regional office space for staff, visitor centre for the Tweed Valley Forest Park, cafe and centre for mountain biking within the forest. As part of this project, a comprehensive re-modelling of the landscape was undertaken as part of an enabling works package. Following this, 4 separate buildings were constructed using natural materials and low energy design principles to sit within the newly created naturalistic landscape. Completed in 2011, Glentress Visitor Centre was nominated for the 2011 Andrew Doolan awards.