Studio Global Praxis students engage in collaborative workshop in Cairo

In February 2015, Studio Global Praxis went on a research trip to Cairo, Egypt to engage in a workshop with Cairo-based design and research practice CLUSTER – Cairo lab for Urban Studies, Training, and Environmental research.

Building on our ethos around the relationship between architecture and society, Studio Global Praxis experiments with architecture and urban design as they intersect with critical theory and a live engagement with the processes of urban change. This year, the focus of our work has been on exploring how design intervenCairo-03tions can support alternative modes of thinking and practicing ‘urban regeneration’ in three sites: Sheffield’s city centre; the Euston area in London; Downtown Cairo. For each site, students have developed mapping explorations and design proposals contributing to the work of local practitioners, researchers, and community activists, in dialogue with local students from a variety of backgrounds relating to urban development and design.

Our Cairo partnership fed into this broader line work and took the form of a collaborative workshop titled: Mapping Relationscapes. The workshop, involving Sheffield and Cairo based planners and designers, discussed collaborative modes of spatial practice, based on an investigation of the uses and appropriations of passageways in Downtown Cairo. The 5-day workshop included 21 students from thCairo-01e Sheffield MArch, MA in Urban Design and MA in Architectural Design programmes, and 18 students from a range of Universities in Cairo. The workshop aim was to test methods of mapping the social relations underpinning spatial production in the city centre, while simultaneously exploring passageways as key sites in the redevelopment of Downtown.

Workshop activities were complemented by a range of visits to key sites across the city, including Tahir Square and the Egyptian Museum, Old Cairo, Islamic Cairo, and the Giza pyramids. Further information and images on the workshop can be found here.

New international partnership with of University of Padova

Students from the MA in Architectural Design (MAAD), undertaking the Cities in Transition studio, will have the opportunity to work with students from the Masters in Building Engineering/Architecture at the University of Padua. A number of initiatives are planned and will be led by Dr Nadia Bertolino (Sheffield School of Architecture) and Professor Luigi Stendardo (University of Padova).

During Semester 2 the students in Sheffield and Padova will deal with the same project site in Italy and will investigate similar research issues focused on the architectural regeneration of vulnerable territories, once dedicated to productive activities and large-scale trade.

Professor Luigi Stendardo will come to Sheffield to join MAAD studios’ reviews and introduce the project site in Italy to the Cities in Transition studio. Two days of intense studio work will follow where students are required to give a preliminary understanding of the design context.

The University of Padova will host Sheffield  students for a 2-day workshop. They will produce a site survey along with the Italian students and work in teams to give a public presentation about their place reading and any research related issues aSSoA MAAD students involved in the initiativerising.

We will have a final workshop in Sheffield, hosting the Italian students and teachers to make a comparative review of the different design proposals.

Cities in Transition studio 

University of Padova

University of Padua Design Studio

University of Padua Design Studio

SSoA’s Tatjana Schneider Guest Professor at HafenCity University

The Sheffield School of Architecture’s Tatjana Schneider has been invited to work as a Guest Professor at HafenCity University, Hamburg, Germany.

Tatjana will lead the department of History and Culture of the Metropolis until March 2015. As part of her role, she will deliver lectures to students of Urban Planning, Urban Design and Culture of the Metropolis and will run a project as part of the Urban Design Master Programme.

Tatjana will give a special talk on 29 October on the topic ‘Wir können auch anders – about the possibilities of doing otherwise”

Presentations by Ten Chinese Visiting Scholars


Ten Chinese visiting scholars, hosted by the Sheffield School of Architecture, Department of Town and Regional Planning, and Department of Landscape, presented their research on 21st and 28th March 2014 in the Arts Tower. This is the first time that so many Chinese visiting scholars showed their research as well as their university/department. These academics come from Harbin Institute of Technology, Harbin Institute of Technology Shenzhen Graduate School, Xi’an University of Architecture and Technology, Chongqing University, Wuhan University and Tsinghua University. A wide range of topics are covered, from green infrastructure to flexible sports building design, which are related to many problems China is facing during the fast development process. Issues in research, teaching and practice are covered. After each presentation, interesting discussions were made between Sheffield staff/students and the visiting scholars.

Marcus Westbury at SSoA

SSoA is delighted to have Australian urbanist and broadcaster Marcus Westbury visiting the school this week. To kick things off, Marcus was interviewed by BBC Radio Sheffield on Tuesday morning, along with a number of SSoA students.

If you missed the broadcast, you can listen to it here (starts at 1hr 37.30).

In the evening on Tuesday 11. February, he will be giving a lecture at 6pm in the Octagon Centre entitled ‘Iterative Cities: Renewal and Revitalisation from the bottom up’.  Tickets for this lecture can be reserved here.

On Wednesday 12. February, Marcus will also be participating in our Whole School Event – ‘Designs on Our City’, which will consist a diverse range of workshops taking places in empty shops and other buildings in Sheffield city centre (see the previous news item for further details).


Marcus Westbury successfully led a pioneering project to bring derelict buildings back into use in Newcastle, Australia’s City of Steel. His scheme turned the area into one of Lonely Planet’s top ten tourist destinations in the country. His Renew Newcastle scheme, which has since been replicated in cities around the world, sees landlords offer boarded-up business units to a range of creative tenants free of charge – filling empty shops at the same time as showcasing their potential.

During his visit to Sheffield, he will meet University staff and Sheffield City Council chiefs to discuss how a similar idea, by working with partners including the University, could breathe new life into Sheffield’s shopping streets.

Professor Vanessa Toulmin, Head of Engagement, organised the visit as part of The Engaged University initiative. She said: “Marcus’ work in Newcastle, Australia, is an inspiration to all creative cities that believe through partnership – inspirational leadership and enabling people to come together – they can transform where they live. I’ve asked Marcus to come and share his experiences to demonstrate that in a global community, each locality can learn from each other. By working with our partners in the city, The Engaged University can help bring this together.

He will speak about his project during a public lecture at the University’s Octagon Centre at 6pm on Tuesday 11 February, take part in a city-centre walkabout with Sheffield’s creative community on Thursday 13 February and join a question and answer session with Council politicians and officers on Friday 14 February.

Further information about Marcus Westbury can be found here.

Environmental Analysis simplified – a workshop by [uto]

A workshop and lecture by Ursula Frick and Thomas Grabner that will take place next week, Monday January 27 and Tuesday January 28, organized by Dr. Tsung-Hsien Wang.

This workshop will introduce progressive means of performing environmental analysis, considering analysis not as a static evaluation but as a dynamic aspect of the design process. We will explore this through the use of GECO, which allows a live linkage between Rhino/Grasshopper and Autodesk® Ecotect® Analysis.

[uto] Ursula Frick and Thomas Grabner are architects and specialists in computational design with several years of practice and teaching experience . They graduated with a degree in Architecture, at the University of Innsbruck, Austria advised by Patrik Schumacher.

They have lectured and taught design studios worldwide at the AA | Architectural Association, PennDesign | University of Pennsylvania, SCI-arc | Southern California Institute of Architecture, TKU | Tamkang University Taipei, and AAG10 Vienna, among others.

The collective [uto] was founded in 2007. Their research focuses, along with the generation and analysis of complex geometries, on the development of formal strategies specific at the relationship of part-to-whole. They have been recognized for their development of digital tools, namely PhysX, Geco, Flowlines, MeshPaint and MeshEdit, which seek to improve workflow in a parametric environment.

Rocco Yim lecture at SSoA

Rocco Yim will be visiting SSoA on Wednesday 13. November at 5pm to deliver a lecture on ‘Reconnecting Cultures‘. Rocco’s talk will be introduced by Emeritus Professor Bryan Lawson.

The lecture will take place in 16.03 on the 16th floor of the Arts Tower. It is free to attend and is open to all SSoA students, alumni and visitors.

Guangdong Museum, Ghangzhou, China


Architecture is the embodiment of culture. Culture stems from the past, but it is not just about tradition or heritage. Culture actually deals with the present.  It is about contemporary living and current attitudes, tempered by the past, towards space, material, perception of beauty and balance of values. All of which are essential ingredients in the making architecture, if such architecture is to be authentic and relevant.

As an art, architecture is unique in that it is tied both to a place and to its time.  In this regard Asia is a place with disparate cultural and physical landscapes where modern and tradition cultures co-exist, and in her more cosmopolitan cities like Hong Kong, values from diverging times and places converge and collide.  I believe a unique architecture would only result from the resolution of such values, rather than a single-dimensional pursuit of the stylistic / technical agenda, and if architecture is indeed to be authentic and relevant, it should address, through individuals borne of this place and age, such diverse cultural phenomena like density, connectivity, community, materiality, spatiality and identity.


Rocco Yim was born and educated in Hong Kong.  After graduating from the University of Hong Kong he joined the firm of Spence Robinson for two years before starting his own practice in 1979, which eventually evolved into a partnership with Messrs Patrick P W Lee and Bernard M B Hui in 1982.

Since winning a First Prize Award for the L’Opéra de la Bastille international competition in 1983, his works have consistently been awarded both in Hong Kong and overseas.  Recent accolades include ARCASIA Gold Medals in 1994 & 2003, Chicago Athenaeum Architectural Awards in 2006 and 2011, Kenneth F. Brown Award in 2007 and World Architecture Festival category winner in 2010.

Rocco is a regular invited speaker in local and international symposia.  His works have been published in various regional and global journals, and have been exhibited four times in the Venice Biennale over the last decade.

He is currently on the Advisory Council for the HKU Department of Architecture, Adjunct Professor in HKU SPACE, a Museum Adviser to the LCSD and a member of the IAF Council of International Advisors for the University of Southern California. He was conferred an Honorary Doctor of Social Sciences by the University of Hong Kong in 2013.

Rocco’s work was published in The City in Architecture in 2003, Being Chinese in Architecture in 2004 and Presence 2012.

More details and projects can be found on Rocco Design Architect’s website.

An exhibition of the work of Rocco Design Architects will open at the WORK Gallery, 10A Acton Street, London WC1X 9NG on Thursday 14. November and run until 14. December. A new monograph Reconnecting Cultures is being released to coincide with this exhibition.

Bamboo Construct at MOCA Shanghai, China

Fionn Stevenson visits University of Tokyo

SSoA Head of School, Professor Fionn Stevenson has been invited to join the Vice Chancellor and other delegates from the University of Sheffield for a high level University-to-University Symposium with the University of Tokyo on Wednesday 9th October.

The title of her lecture is: Resilient City Regions: from place-making to urban infrastructures. She will be discussing research work from the University that covers Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Town and Regional Planning as well as Civil Engineering. A key aspect of the lecture will be the role of resilient design in relation to climate change and the regeneration of cities, with a clear focus on positive social engagement.  ’This is a key opportunity for the School to forge links with our colleagues, alumni and friends in Japan, and I will be promoting the value of international collaboration between our School and others in relation to our key areas of research‘, said Professor Stevenson.

More details are available here:

2nd Romanian Convention of Architecture and Design

Professor Peter Blundell Jones gave a keynote paper entitled ‘Reflections on Architectural Competitions’ at the 2nd Romanian Convention of Architecture and Design, organised by The University of Architecture and Urbanism Ion Mincu and held at the Parliament Palace, Bucharest from the14-16th May.  Honorary doctorates were awarded to Daniel Libeskind and Dominique Perrault, and among other speakers were Benedetta Tagliabue, Masayuki Kurokawa, Arturo Vittori and Andreas Vogler.  The group was also invited to a dinner by Prince Radu and visited the open air museum founded in 1935 next to the Elisabeta Palace by his grandfather.

See our paternoster on the BBC One Show

The BBC One Show’s visit to the Arts Tower was screened last night and we can now reveal that the paternoster won the Arts Tower lift race by a considerable margin.

What other school of architecture offers such choice and diversity of vertical circulation?

You can watch the BBC One Show feature here (from 14.55 mins onwards).


(Images ©BBC 2013)