The Association


Nordisk Arkitekturforskning/The Nordic Association of Architectural Research (NAF/NAAR) is an independent, non-profit association of architectural researchers from universities and schools of architecture in the Nordic countries. Its primary function is to facilitate the research collaboration of its members and their exchange and dissemination of research results. The association has two main objectives; the production of a journal with high scientific standards and the organization of annual symposia on research issues of significance for its research community. Through its research symposia, its proceedings publications and its peer-reviewed scientific journal The Nordic Journal of Architectural Research (NJAR), NAF/NAAR sets a standard for the scientific and artistic level of architectural research produced in the Nordic countries. NAF/NAAR represents a pluralist approach to research in the area of architecture, urban planning, and landscape architecture, supporting academic freedom and scientific independence. It welcomes researchers ranging from PhD to senior researcher level, providing them with critical mass and an engaging and supportive research community.

A NAF/NAAR symposium is held once a year. These symposia are important platforms for critical reflection on architecture and architectural research in the Nordic countries. Ensuring their dynamic and democratic format they are conceptualized and organized in collaboration with various partners and each year hosted by a different university or school of architecture. Each year the symposium focuses its discussions on a topic or theoretical framework representing the current research interest of NAF/NAAR and its collaborating partner. The plug- in structure of NAF/NAAR symposia allows for crossover collaborations between research institutions, and it stimulates individual researchers to explore new research contexts and cultures within the larger research community of NAF/NAAR.



The history of the association and its journal can be divided into six different phases:

Conceptualized in 1987 by researchers in Gothenburg, Stockholm, and Lund, the association began as a purely Swedish project. It was managed by the Department of Architecture at Chalmers University of Technology, and Professor Jerker Lundequist was by law responsible for its journal. The association – then known as The Association of Architectural Research – was founded in response to the growing need of Swedish research communities at universities and schools of architecture for a unifying platform. It was the first independent association in the Nordic countries to formalize discussions on architectural research, its research questions, theories, and methods.

In 1992, another seminal year in the history of NAF/NAAR, the association became a truly Nordic association with a board consisting of members from Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and Finland. The association changed its name to The Nordic Association of Architectural Research, and its journal was given its present name The Nordic Journal of Architectural Research (NJAR) and a signature layout.

In 1995, a new board was selected for the association. This was dominated by members from Norway and had Professor Birgit Cold from NTNU as its president. This change signifies a third important phase in the history of NAF/NAAR. The objective of the new board was to transform NAF/NAAR into a common Nordic project for architectural research communities in the Nordic countries. From the mid-1990s onward, NAF/NAAR symposia began to be organized on a regular basis, offering researchers critical mass and lectures by invited international keynote speakers.

The history of NAF/NAAR entered its fourth phase when, in 1999, the NJAR peer review system was developed and professionalized. Associate Professor Pia Bille became editor-in-chief of NJAR, and the journal moved from Sweden, the Department of Architecture at Chalmers University of Technology, to Denmark, i.e. to Aarhus School of Architecture. Bille was editor-in-chief from 1999 to 2005. In her time as editor, the journal developed into a top-ranked scientific journal on an international level. During the same period, Professor Niels Albertsen, also from Aarhus School of Architecture, became president of NAF/NAAR, followed by Dr. Katja Grillner from KTH, Stockholm, in 2000, Dr. Lena Villner from KTH, Stockholm, in 2002, Dr. Eivind Kasa from NTNU, in 2004, and Associate Professor Peter Thule Kristensen from KADK, in 2007.

In 2006, NJAR moved from Denmark to Norway when Eivind Kasa took over the responsibility as editor-in-chief of the journal. This shift, which represents another significant phase in the history of the association, was symbolically marked by a new layout for the journal.

The year 2010 represents the beginning of a sixth phase in the association’s history. 2010 was the year when NJAR became a digital journal and NAF/NAAR began developing its website. Following an ever-increasing interest from researchers to publish in NJAR, the editorial work of the journal had grown significantly. In 2011 not only one but three new editors-in-chiefs were consequently selected: Professor Claus Bech-Danielsen, from Aalborg University (2010-17), Dr. Madeleine Granvik , from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (2010-), and Dr. Anni Vartola, from Aalto University, School of Art and Design (2010-2016). Dr. Jonas Andersson at The Swedish Agency for Participation and Trond Haug, Head of Publications at SINTEF, were made responsible for the NAF/NAAR website and its maintenance, and they began the extensive work of digitalizing and archiving all previously published issues of NJAR; a job they successfully completed in 2015. 

The above initiatives were all instigated during the presidency of Associate Professor Magnus Rönn from KTH, Stockholm, who was elected president of NAF/NAAR in 2010. Anne Elisabeth Toft, Associate Professor at Aarhus School of Architecture, became president of NAF/NAAR in 2015 with an ambition to turn NAF/NAAR into an even stronger, more far-reaching association and brand.  

In 2016 NAF/NAAR founded its own publishing house: Nordic Academic Press of Architectural Research. NAAR/NAF publications embrace the highest academic standards, and books published by Nordic Academic Press of Architectural Research are peer-reviewed following the same rigorous double-blind peer-review system, which is used for NJAR.

In 2017, two new NJAR editors-in-chief were selected: Daniel Koch, PhD at KTH Royal Institute of Technology, School of Architecture, and Magnus Rönn. In 2020, Madeleine Granvik was followed by Marius Fiskevold, Associate Professor at NTNU, and in 2021, Daniel Koch was followed by Sten Gromark, Professor at Chalmers University, School of Architecture.

NJAR is ranked at a top level internationally, not only in Denmark and Norway but also in Finland, making it, to date, the only scientific journal in architectural research in the Nordic countries ranked at the prestigious top level 2. It was accepted for inclusion in Scopus – the largest abstract and citation database of peer-reviewed literature – in 2021.



Working committee:
President: Anne Elisabeth Toft, Aarhus School of Architecture
Vice President: Magnus Rönn, Chalmers University of Technology

Lars Brorson Fich, Aalborg University
Turid Borgstrand Øien, SBi/Aalborg University
Deputy: Henrik Reeh, Copenhagen University

Eivind Kasa, NTNU
Marius Fiskevold, NMBU
Deputy: Elin Børrud, NMBU
Leif Daniel Houck, NMBU
Trond Haug, SINTEF

Ranja Hautamäki, Aalto University
Deputy: Johanna Lilius, Aalto University
Anu Soikkeli, OULU University
Deputy: Henrika Pihlajaniemi, OULU University
Minna Chudoba, TAU
Deputy: Iida Kalakoski, TAU

Daniel Koch, KTH/A
Andrew Butler, SLU/Uppsala
Petra Thorpert, SLU/Alnarp,
Deputy: Anders Larsson, SLU/Alnarp,

Leif Östman, Novia University
Helena Teräväinen, Aalto University