Dr. Johan Granberg

Associate Professor


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  • 2009-2012 PhD at RMIT Melbourne  
  • 2002-03 Knowledge in design, PhD seminar Chalmers School of Architecture in Gothenburg, (Chalmers)
  • 1995 ”Palimpsest of Rome” PhD Workshop Chalmers
  • 1995 School of Architecture, Helsinki
  • 1992-96 School of Architecture at Chalmers Tekniska Högskola (diploma M Arch 99)
  • 1991-92 Architecture School at Pratt Institute, New York
  • 1984-87 Engineering at Wenströmska in Västerås


With a portfolio of work from 5 continents, Johan Granberg is a true world citizen of design. Johan has been engaged with the discipline of design since 1987: as an engineer, an architect, an educator, and a curator. He holds a Masters of Architecture from Chalmers School of Architecture in Gothenburg.

Johan combines his assistant professor role at VCUQatar with the reality of architectural practice under his own name J. Granberg Design. Founded in 2001, the office has sought and executed a number of projects ranging from furniture design, exhibit design and graphic design to architecture and urban design.

In addition to Johan’s built work, he has been exhibited internationally, received recognition for his participation in international competitions and is a frequent lecturer and critic at design schools and conferences worldwide. He is currently completing a PhD at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology.

Johan has held the Hyde Chairof Excellence in Architecture at University of Nebraska (2005-06) and was awarded the Rome Prize at the Swedish Institute of Rome (2006-07). In Spring 2005, he was invited by the foreign ministry of Finland to curate and design the Finish-Swedish design exhibition “Transformation” and in 2008 he curated the international design conference “On-Bamboo 08” in Lae, Papua New Guinea.

Research Interests

Johan’s research focuses on questions of how society and culture are held together, particularly on Making and Fabrication:

  • What is involved in the cultural act of making?
  • What relationships emerge by various-object-making and how can we see these relationships in the making of society as a holistic unit?
  • What didactic systems emerge around the act of making?
  • How do technologies and material impact the act of making?
  • How are design schools applying acts of making into the curricula?

Johan has an anthropological design approach and, by his work, seeks to expand his research from various syntheses: art/science, theory/practice, material/ideas, concept/product, producer/user, tradition/innovation. These interests take the form of design laboratories that have investigated a variety of topics such as digital fabrication, material specific processes, the chair and the act of sitting in Western culture, objects generated from traditional eating, and the cultural act of the restaurant cue.

Teaching Experience

  • 2009- Assistant Professor at VCUQatar, Doha Qatar
  • 2008 Visiting Scholar at RMIT, Melbourne, Australia
  • 2007-08 Lecturer II at Unitech, Lae, Papua New Guinea
  • 2005-06 Visiting Professor at University of Nebraska-Lincoln, USA
  • 2005 Co-Teaching the course “Structures for Un-known Use” Chalmers
  • 2004-05 Visiting Instructor, Art and Technology, IT University of Gothenburg
  • 2004 Visiting Professor at Lebanese American University, in Beirut (Arch and ID dep.)
  • 2003 Coordinator for the course “Landscape, Culturescape, Townscape” at Chalmers
  • 2001, 02, 03 Visiting Professor at Pratt institute, New York, USA (summer seminar)
  • 2002, 03 Coordinator, Summer Seminar in New York, School of Design and Crafts in Gothenburg
  • 2001-03 Assistant Professor at School of Design and Crafts in Gothenburg

Previous Professional Experience

  • 2001- : Practice under J Granberg Design, architecture and design
  • 2002-04 : Part of Serum Design Studio
  • 1999- 2001 : Head of Department, Design Studio, Eckerud, Linköping
  • 1997- 98 : Architect, Account Manager, Anders Falk Arkitektkontor AB i Linköping
  • 1996 : Architect, at FFNS Arkitekter, Karlstad
  • 1996 : Architect, Brink Arkitekter,  Örebro
  • 1994 : Engineer, Brink Arkitekter i Örebro
  • 1987- 92 : Engineer, AKI arkitekter i Västerås


  • 2005 : "Transformation" exhibit catalog (Editor)


“ Making of the Exotic”

  • 2012 : Lecture at the International Interior Design Club, VCU, Richmond

“ Design as Systems of Knowledge”

  • 2011 : Public Lecture, the Education City Liberal Arts / Social Sciences Research Forum, Doha, Qatar, invitation by peer review,

“On Makings”

  • 2010 : Invited lecture, Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar
  • 2009 : Keynote talk at the 21st C Bamboo, the Architectural Association. London


  • 2009 : Public Lecture VCUQatar

“The Player Piano”

  • 2006 : Hyde Chair Lecture, University of Nebraska Lincoln

“The Take on the Take-on”

  • 2008 : Keynote talk at the U.Design Conference, Monterrey, Mexico
  • 2008 : Public lecture at RMIT, Melbourne
  • 2005 : Hyde Chair Lecture, University of Nebraska Lincoln

“The Cultural Act of the City”

  • 2005 : Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm

“In-habitation” (the take on some of my projects)

  • 2003 : Chalmers school of architecture
  • 2003 : Pratt institute, summer seminar

”Interfaces and the Search of the Secluded Middle”

  • 2002 : Gallery “Passagen in Linköping
  • 2002 : Semcon
  • 2002 : Swedish Architecture Association “Mobeus Konferensen”
  • 2001 : School of Architecture Chalmers, innovative design

”The looking through, the looking through, the window”

  • 2001 : Pratt institute, summer seminar

”Student Housing”

  • 1997 : Keynote address at the “Future of Student Housing Conference”, Norrköping


  • 2014 : Dressing Up, Going Out, Eating In’ Exhibition Doha, Qatar – Katara Art Center (With Della Reams, Rana Rwaished and Jeanin Hill)
  • 2012 : The Didactic Theater, PhD exhibition, Pin-up Gallery Melbourne, Australia
  • 2011-12 : The Non-linear Table (with Della Reams) Faculty Focus 2010 VCUQatar gallery Doha, Qatar
  • 2010-11 : The Piecemeal Meal, Faculty Focus 2010 VCUQatar gallery Doha, Qatar
  • 2009-10 : The Br[e]aking Maling Chair, Faculty Focus 2009 VCUQatar gallery Doha, Qatar
  • 2008 : On-Bamboo 08 (Melbourne)
  • 1997 : ”Paper” (4 Young Architects), gallery Maneten Göteborg
  • 1995 : Competition Proposal, Nordic Embassy Complex in Berlin, The Modern Art Museum, Stockholm

Funded Research Projects and Grants

  • 2012 : Qatar National Research Priority Grant, The Art Souk, a study of how to implement artist communities in Qatar
  • 2007 : Grant to study Design Build, University of Technology of Papua New Guinea
  • 2006 : Prix du Rome (Istituto svedese di studi classici a Roma)
  • 2005 : Hyde Chair of Excellence in Architecture (UNL)
  • 2002 : “Possibility of concrete”, housing competition, Stockholm (honoree mention)
  • 2002, 03 : Grants for studying design education in an international context Jubileumsfonden
  • 1995 : Housing project, Sundsvall (2nd price student competition)
  • 1995 : Small housing project, Gävle (3rd price student competition)
  • 1994 : Housing competition Bo 96 (2nd student competition, Cth)
  • 1992 : “Sörbyängen” Urban design competition (in team 1st price)                  

Professional Service

  • 2011 : Chair for the biannual design conference Tasmeem Doha 2013 – Hybrid Making, Qatar
  • 2008 : Chair, curator and coordinator for the conference/workshop “On-Bamboo”                                                                                              Unitech, PNG
  • 2005 : Curator and Designer for the Finnish and Swedish exhibition “Design as a Mean of Transformation” 
  • 1995-1997 : Board member of the Swedish Architecture Association
  • 1997 : Invited critic to: Colombia University, New York Pratt institute, New York, Chalmers School of Architecture in Gothenburg, the Architectural Association in London, University of Brighton, Innovative IT, Carnegie Mellon
  • 1997 : Invited to hold workshop at Chalmers School of Architecture in Gothenburg, the University of Monterrey, Mexico