Through Nested Phoenix, we aim to provide the new generation of simulation engine that enables bottom-up, high resolution material stocks and flow analyses and life cycle assessments of the built environment.

Most existing models are either top-down, or lack the architecture/construction/landscape architecture knowledge to provide detailed models of buildings, infrastructure assets and greenery in cities. We want to combine expert built environment knowledge with advanced object-oriented python programming to provide the research community and the actors of the built environment with a robust, flexible, comprehensive and transparent model to help humanity tackle the climate emergency and operate within the planetary boundaries.

Nested Phoenix capitalises on the broad expertise of its team members and their international insights to provide models at the forefront of science. It is currently funded by the Belgian Fund for Scientific Research (F.R.S. - FNRS).


Nested Phoenix is the sequel to the original model developed by André Stephan during his PhD, completed in 2013. Since then, it has taken many shapes and forms and involved a range of collaborators from different countries, including Australia, Belgium, Switzerland and Chile and involving university partners as well as UN-Habitat. The name Nested Phoenix was adopted in 2017 at the Melbourne School of Design of The University of Melbourne and has been used ever since.

What's in a name?

The name Nested Phoenix reflects the nested nature of the model, replicating the built environment. It encapsulates materials, into elements, into assemblies, into buildings, into precincts, into cities. The phoenix part of the name is aspirational. We would really like buildings to be like the mythical bird, i.e. live 500 years and be reborn from their own ashes at the end, in a circular economy paradigm.

The word Phoenix is also a personal tribute from the lead researcher to Ikki, the Phoenix Bronze Saint in the epic manga Saint Seiya from the eighties. Finally, for the keen observer, the wings of the Phoenix are the Cedar of Lebanon, a tree that lives millennia and grows in the birthplace of the lead researcher.