The School of Architecture is committed to design and research that has impact in the world, and to the model of the architect as public intellectual, able to formulate critical positions on the challenges confronting the built environment and the role of the architect in relation to them. In both research and pedagogy, the School advances the theory and practice of critical design at all scales: from the interior to the city. In keeping with an institution that values innovative practice, as well as academic research, design-led research is integrated with more conventional text-based enquiry.
MPhil and PhD students join us as fellow researchers, some working directly to the School’s research themes, others pursuing their own research interests, from the subversion of the UK planning system to the aesthetics of Italian transport infrastructure. Supervisors are drawn from the School’s staff, from the College and from industry in response to the diversity of subjects, and there is competitive funding available for prospective students.
Current Staff Research
David Burns’ research intersects architecture, image studies, and politics. His practice examines architectural conventions of repetition, redundancy, and reflection through site-specific architectural interventions. He is currently a PhD candidate at the Centre for Research Architecture at Goldsmiths, University of London, where his research ‘Spatial Politics of Refusal’ examines the confluence of Aboriginal and indigenous land rights struggles, migration policy, and the mining industry in Australia. Click here for full profile.
Adrian Friend's practice-led research is founded on the belief that the architects’ future authorship resides in the design and patenting of components that are easily transported and assembled by unskilled communities. In questioning the traditional role of the architect as the author of an architectural project, Friend seeks to initiate a multiple authorship with clients and other disciplines all of whom contribute to a construction ethic based more on the ‘workshop’ as the site of production. He is currently looking at the art of assembly and authorship through component, design-led, community-instigated kit building, and furthering our understanding of Industry 4.0, system-build construction practice, currently tested in the RCA Live Project programme. His research is moving towards accepting that one day all buildings will be kit-build components made in community workshops and assembled by community needs. Click here for full profile.
Dr Maria Giudici
Dr Maria Shéhérazade Giudici’s research examines the way in which public space and infrastructure have been strategised in the modern European city as a way to construct the ideal citizen of a mature nation-state. The ‘space between buildings’, the void that makes the city a shared domain, has been therefore her main object of inquiry for the first part of her academic career together with a broader investigation of what she terms the Natural City, that is to say, the post-political city. In the last few years, however, this same interest towards the project of subjectivity has shifted on the scale of architecture proper, first with research on the architecture of sacred spaces (Rituals and Walls, co-edited with P. V. Aureli and published in 2016 by AA Press) and later with Giudici’s current interest in housing.
Giudici is currently writing and lecturing on the Home Front as the place where reproductive labour is choreographed and, at the same time, hidden by the rhetoric of domesticity. As such, her recent work has been mainly concentrated on issues of gender and typological development. Giudici considers the three scales as intimately interconnected and while the latest developments can be formulated as a feminist critique of architecture, she see this critique as part of a broader investigation on the relationship between architecture and its political instrumentality in constructing specific forms of life. Click here for full profile.
Dr Jon Goodbun
Rather than a single research area, Jon Goodbun operates within a more complex research ecosystem. Areas of interest include Critical Urban Ecologies, Marxism, dialectics, Gregory Bateson, cognition and space. Click here for full profile.
Dr Harriet Harriss
Harriet Harriss's teaching, research and writing are largely focussed upon pioneering new pedagogic models for design education, particularly those that respond to specific community challenges: as captured in her most recent publications, Architecture Live Projects: Pedagogy into Practice (Routledge, 2014); and Radical Pedagogies: Architecture & the British Tradition (RIBA Publishing, 2015). In 2015 Harriet was awarded a PhD entitled ‘Community-engaged learning for the acquisition and application of ‘practice-ready’ architectural knowledge’. Previously, Harriet won a public funding commission (NESTA) to establish and co-direct Design Heroine Architecture (DHA); a niche practice that focused on public participation in architecture and co-created both innovative and responsive spatial projects and design research publications. DHA also specialised in developing 'participation prototypes’, for a diverse range of public and private sector clients.
Harriet was awarded a Clore Fellowship (2016/17), which selects 25 individuals from across the cultural sector with a view to developing their leadership potential. She is co-editor of, A Gendered Profession: The question of representation in place-making, (RIBA Publications, Oct 2016) which examines ways to address the lack of diversity within today’s architecture practice environment. Click here for full profile.
Dr Platon Issaias
Platon Issaias’s research interests explore architecture in relation to the politics of labour, law and social reform. His PhD thesis (TU Delft) investigated the recent history of planning in Athens and the link between conflict, urban management and architectural form. Platon’s research and design work has been published on many occasions, publications include DOMUS, Quaderns and the catalogues of the Greek entries in the 13th and the 14th Venice Architectural Biennale. He is the co-author of the book The City as a Project, published in 2013 by Ruby Press, Berlin, edited by Pier Vittorio Aureli. Click here for full profile.
Dr Sam Jacoby
Sam Jacoby’s research interests focus on four areas. Firstly, architectural urbanism as a design and research practice operative across different scales that examines and instrumentalises collective outcomes of cultural, social, political, historical and economic forces. Secondly, the means available to architecture and urban design to analyse and develop related formal and social diagrams, especially through complementary typal and typological forms of reasoning. Thirdly, architectural history and theory, in particular discourses on disciplinary knowledge production, design pedagogies and design methods. Finally, the interactions between design experimentation, theoretical research and critical writing, or methodologies connecting formal production (practice) and knowledge production (theory). Click here for full profile.
Dr Adam Kaasa
Dr Adam Kaasa is an urban sociologist and his research asks social and political questions about the city foregrounding architecture and design. He is particularly interested in the post-war architectural production, in public space and its contemporary transformation, and in architecture as a process beyond built form. He has expertise in Latin America, particularly Mexico and Brazil, and in the UK. Theoretically he is guided by post and de-colonial theories, feminist and queer theories that work against prevailing Eurocentric histories of architecture and those legacies in pedagogy and practice. His work aims to ask questions about the role of architecture and design in an era of acute global inequality, superdiversity and migration, and endemic neoliberal structures of life. Current projects include The Architecture of Capital, looking to how architecture and design confronts structures of late neoliberalism; Migrating Architecture, looking at how ideas circulate and the power relationships involved; and Theatrum Mundi, a global network of people from the visual and performing arts, and the built environment disciplines investigating urban culture in the twenty-first century. Click here for full profile.
Dr Godofredo Pereira
Godofredo Pereira’s research is focused on two main lines of enquiry: the Underground Frontier and Collective Objects. The Underground Frontier deals with spatial and territorial conflicts within the planetary race for underground resources. It has a particular focus on geo-architecture and the political projects associated with resource extraction in Latin America. The research on Collective Objects addresses the role of architecture in the formation of collective identities, with a focus on semiotic, anthropological and psychoanalitical theories of part- and partial objects. These two strands of research have informed both his teaching and a series of parallel research projects. Click here for full profile.
Dr Fernando Rihl
Fernando Rihl’ s research engages with a phenomenological and anthropological approach to architecture. It explores the identity of a place by investigating how design solutions in architecture can be climate and culture responsive. Culture is explored by examining specific contemporary tribal behaviours in society, questioning and playing with traditional architectural archetypes, while space is examined from a sensorial and phenomenological analysis. Rihl’s research also examines daylight and visual perception, dealing more precisely with quantity versus quality of light in interior spaces – exploring the link between data and the modeling of objects by the analysis of a gradation of shadows with a series of objects. Rihl also works with the postgraduate department of architecture in Brazil PROPAR/ UFRGS (Programa de Pós Graduação em Arquitetura UFRGS- Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil), developing a research project on public spaces in Brazil. Click here for full profile.
For full details of cross-college entrance requirements, research proposal requirements and portfolio requirements (if applicable), see Cross-College Requirements.