Programme: Architectural History - PhD/MPhil

Start date: Sep 2019

Research title: Sebastiano Serlio’s Architectural Principles in Britain, 1600-1750

Nick Mols is a PhD Candidate based in the Edinburgh School of Architecture and Landscape architecture and is a PhD affiliate at the Edinburgh Centre for Data, Culture and Society. Nick’s research interests include early modern treatises, architectural mathematics, digital humanities and drawing history in a global context. Nick combines conventional art historical methods with the remote-sensing technology Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) to investigate architectural drawing, proportion and representation by using computer-aided design (CAD). Nick is a qualified architect and architectural historian who studied at the Universities of Antwerp and Oxford and was a practising architect prior to his PhD.

Nick’s thesis “Sebastiano Serlio’s Mathematical Principles in Britain, 1600-1750,” assesses the British reception of the architectural treatises of the Italian painter-architect Sebastiano Serlio (1475-1554). Serlio made use of novel woodcut technology creating a ‘genus’ of illustrated treatises by combining text, scale and image which informed architectural prints for centuries. Serlio’s architectural mathematics are investigated by combining vector-based LiDAR with CAD to analyse proportional lines and vectors. The thesis on the Renaissance print revolution informs how contemporary architectural agencies evolve in synergy with the current digital and data revolutions. 


  • “Sebastiano Serlio’s Early Modern Emulation as Contemporary Representation,” Contour Journal of the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, (forthcoming 2019).
  •  “Theory and Practice: Gibbs’s Rules for Drawing and the Radcliffe Camera,” The Georgian Group Journal, vol. 27, (December 2019, in press): 79-90.
  • “Sebastiano Serlio’s Spatial Representation through Linee Occulte,” Thinking 3D Items in Focus, (September 2019),