head shot of Luis

Luis Santos

College of Architecture and Environmental Design
Assistant Professor
Contact Information


Luis Santos is an architect and researcher concerned in creating bridges between architectural practice and research on building performance and simulation, generative design and indoor environmental quality. He collaborated with several design studios in Lisbon, Portugal, where he was responsible for the design of energy-efficient buildings.

He holds a Master of Architecture from Instituto Superior Técnico - University of Lisbon (IST-UL). He continued to pursue his research endeavors in a Ph.D. at UC Berkeley – College of Environmental Design. His doctoral dissertation at Berkeley presents new modeling methods for goal-oriented design procedures based on thermal and daylight simulations. His work explores new digital approaches to generate effective surrogate building models for thermal and daylight simulations and to implement heuristics that simplify search procedures in building optimization and analysis.

Algorithmic and Generative Design are important components of Luis’ work. Since 2009, he collaborates with the Algorithmic Design for Architecture (ADA) group based at INESC-ID at IST-UL, particularly in developing interfaces between whole-building energy software and domain-specific programming languages for architecture. Recently, at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Grid Integration Group, he developed PyBEM, a small, python package for early-stage building energy simulation.

Lately, his research interests are focusing on developing tools for visual comfort assessments and the quantification of the non-visual effects of daylight in building occupants, as well as, using machine learning techniques to streamline performance-based design methods.

Luis is also an environmental design consultant. He collaborated with Loisos+Ubbelohde, an architecture firm based in Alameda, CA, specializing in daylight in buildings and building energy simulation and monitoring. He also provided sustainable design consultancy for different types of projects both in Europe and in the United States.


Master of Architecture,| Instituto Superior Técnico - University of Lisbon |, Ph.D. Candidate, UC Berkeley


(Re)Generative Design | Performance-based Design | Building Performance Optimization | High-Performing Building Envelopes | Sustainable Design | Daylighting | Visual Comfort | Algorithmic Design | Net-Zero Energy Buildings


  • L. Santos, S. Schleicher, and L. Caldas | “Automatic simplification of complex building geometry for whole-building energy simulations.” | Building Simulation Conference | 2019
  • C. Belém, L. Santos, and A. Leitão | “On the Impact of Machine Learning. Architecture Without Architects?” | CAAD Futures Conference | 2019
  • L. Santos, and L. Caldas | “Assessing the Glare Potential of Complex Fenestration Systems: A Heuristic Approach Based on Spatial and Time Sampling” | Passive Low Energy Architecture (PLEA), vol.1 pp. 446-451 | Hong Kong | 2018
  • L. Santos, A. Leitão, and L. Caldas | “A comparison of two light-redirecting fenestration systems using a modified modeling technique for Radiance 3-phase method simulations” | Solar Energy, vol. 161, pp. 47–63 | 2018
  • L. Santos, S. Schleicher, and L. Caldas | “Automation of CAD models to BEM models for performance-based goal-oriented design methods” | Building and Environment, vol. 112, pp. 144–158 | 2017
  • L. Caldas and L. Santos | “Painting with light: An interactive evolutionary system for daylighting design” | Building and Environment, vol. 109, pp. 154–174 | 2016
  • A. Leitão, L. Santos, and J. Lopes | “Programming languages for generative design: A comparative study” | International Journal of Architectural Computing, vol. 10, no. 1, pp. 139–162 | 2012
  • L. Santos, J. Lopes, and A. Leitão | “Collaborative digital design: When the architect meets the software engineer” | 30th eCAADe Conference: Digital Physicality | Prague, Czech Republic | vol. 2, pp. 87–96 | 2012
  • L. Caldas and L. Santos | “Generation of Energy-Efficient Houses with GENE_ARCH: combining an Evolutionary Generative Design System with a Shape Grammar” | 30th eCAADe Conference: Digital Physicality | Prague, Czech Republic | v.1, pp. 459-470 | 2012