Professor Stevenson visits Mexico City

Head of School, Professor Fionn Stevenson, is currently visiting Mexico City to take part in a series of events and talks at local universities. Fionn is being hosted by the postgraduate unit of studies in Architecture at The National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM)

Beginning her trip with a visit to UNAM, Fionn will deliver a talk on ‘Sustainable Housing: Resilience and Social Learning’. She will talk to students and staff about why providing sustainable housing that is also resilient is a key challenge in the 21st Century. This talk will cover the results of a recent two year research case study of a highly innovative housing development in the UK, highlighting key lessons for design, construction and engagement with the residents.

Fionn will also run a one day workshop with UNAM students on ‘Building Performance Evaluation’ which will involve an introductory lecture, group exercise, site visit and tutorial. This workshop will introduce the basic concepts and principles of Building Performance Evaluation and Usability. A case study will be explored to show what can be done to ensure that usability and comfort is promoted throughout the building lifecycle from briefing through design to commissioning and occupancy.

Other activities include a visit and talk at Monterrey ITSEM School of Architecture. Fionn will also host prospective students and Sheffield School of Architecture alumni in an evening of informal networking held at UNAM.

Sheffield alumni to lead the next phase of Park Hill flats redevelopment

Developer Urban Splash has selected Mikhail Riches to design the next wave of housing at its Park Hill estate in Sheffield. Annalie Riches is a graduate of the Sheffield School of Architecture and went on to form the practice with David Mikhail.

They won the commission in a challenging competition, where they were given a flat in Park Hill and invited to ‘live and breathe’ the iconic building. Their response was inspired by the traces of former residents, the graffiti and customised flats, where residents had painted the reveals of their balconies different colours.

Their approach was to retain all of the parts of Park Hill that work; the concrete frame, brickwork and party walls. The flanks of the balconies are coloured: to improve light levels into the flats; allow new residents to recognise their own flat within the whole, and enhance the sculptural qualities of the existing façade.

Park Hill is an iconic Grade II* Listed (the largest Listed structure in Europe) landmark on the Sheffield skyline atop one of the city’s seven hills immediately to the east of the mainline railway station and city centre.

Mikhail Riches are one of the School’s Collaborative Practices in which MArch students spend the first of their two year masters course working in practice, returning to University education in the final year. This means that students will overlap a year of studies with their professional experience which aims to shorten the time taken to professional qualification.

Find out more about MArch in Architecture: Collaborative Practice (RIBA Part 2)

Find out more about Mikhail Riches

Inspiring the next generation of women in engineering

Dual Structural Engineering and Architecture graduate, Catherine Rankine, has shared her inspiring career story as part of the Women in Engineering campaign.

The campaign is being organised by the Faculty of Engineering and aims to show that engineering is a fantastic career choice for both men and women. Women are currently unrepresented in the discipline and the faculty aims to break preconceived notions of what engineering is and to showcase our excellent Women in Engineering at The University of Sheffield.

Catherine is a Structural Engineer at Arup. She graduated two years ago and one of her projects has been the design of the Leadenhall Building in London.

Catherine said “I went to the University of Sheffield and I studied Engineering and Architecture together which is why I particularly chose that course as I couldn’t decide between the two. I knew that I wanted to do something with buildings but I couldn’t decide what. I now work for Arup, which is a multi-disciplinary architecture and engineering practice so now I get to do both so I’m really glad I stuck with it and studied both.”

Read Catherine’s story

Women in Engineering campaign

Celebrating the success of our class of 2015 masters students

Congratulations to all our postgraduate taught masters students who graduated last Thursday (14 January 2016).

Students graduated from the MA in Architectural Design, MA in Urban Design, MSc in Sustainable Architecture Studies, MSc in Digital Design and Interactive Built Environments and MA in Conservation and Regeneration.

At the ceremony an honorary degree was awarded to Bob Adams. Bob is a distinguished architect-planner and a former member of staff in the University’s Faculty of Architectural Studies who was instrumental in setting up the Department of Urban Studies and Planning.

Following the ceremony we welcomed the graduates to a reception in the School.

View the pictures

Our graduates join a global community of alumni. We maintain a strong network allowing our students, staff and alumni to benefit from one another.

SSoA Alumni


Sheffield alumna elected speaker of UAE Federal National Council

Last week (18 November 2015) Sheffield alumna Dr Amal Al Qubaisi (PhD Architecture 2001) made history by becoming the first woman in the Arab world to be elected as President and Speaker of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Federal National Council (FNC).

The Federal National Council is located in Abu Dhabi and is the federal authority formed to represent the general Emirati people of the UAE.

Dr Al Qubaisi has served with the FNC since 2006, when she was the first woman elected to the council. Since then she has continued her historic rise, becoming the first female deputy speaker, and in 2013 the first woman to chair a meeting of the council.

In the recent election Dr Al Qubaisi ran unopposed to become the Speaker. On accepting the role of President and Speaker Dr Al Qubaisi told Gulf News:

“I am honoured to be the first woman elected to be speaker of the FNC. This is a testament of the country’s support of its people to achieve political ability. I would like to dedicate this nomination to Her Highness Shaikha Fatima Bint Mubarak, Chairperson of the General Women’s Union, Supreme Chairperson of the Family Development Foundation and Chairwoman of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood and the women of the UAE,”

On the news of Dr Al Qubaisi’s election Miles Stevenson, Director of Alumni and Donor Relations said:

“We are delighted to hear the news that Dr Al Qubaisi has been elected as speaker of the Federal National Council, and on the behalf of all at Sheffield I would like to pass on our congratulations. It is wonderful to see a Sheffield alumna receiving the respect of her peers, and achieving such a distinguished position.”

Professor Fionn Stevenson, Head of the Sheffield School of Architecture where Dr Al Qubaisi studied, added:

“I offer my sincere congratulations to our University of Sheffield School of Architecture alumna Dr Amal Al Qubaisi on becoming the first woman in the Arab world to be elected as President and Speaker of the UAE Federal National Council. Our School has a proud tradition of supporting women’s voices around the world and enabling our architecture graduates to make a difference.”

Dr Al Qubaisi completed a PhD in architecture at Sheffield in 2001, having studied for her Bachelors degree at UAE University. Prior to her political career Dr Al Qubaisi was a distinguished architect with a focus on preserving the architectural heritage of the UAE. She has been responsible for saving some of the country’s most historical sites, a number of which are now protected by national and international law. As a member of the FNC she plays a major role in the UAE, as well as being a leading advocate for women’s issues in the UAE.

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SSoA graduates feature in Blueprint’s Ones to Watch

Two Sheffield School of Architecture graduates were among the winners who have been selected by Blueprint Magazine as ‘Ones to Watch’.

Samuel Kapasa and Polina Pencheva graduated from the MArch in Architecture in June 2015. Both students worked in Hull and developed ideas around flooding resilience, ageing communities and reuse of existing infrastructure as part of studio Intergenerational Architecture.

“Sheffield School of Architecture has long enjoyed a reputation for engaging with the ‘real’ across pedagogy and research. One graduate studio of the MArch programme embraced the reality of ageing in their final year studio called Intergenerational Architecture, led by Satwinder Samra and Ronan Watts.”

Blueprint magazine enlisted a team of architects, designers and critics to scour the UK to find the “very best of the graduate work on offer this year”.

Emmett Scanlon, part of the team of judges, explains:

“Samuel Kapasa made a scheme of mixed living homes that offers both assisted and independent living scenarios, elegantly planned and visualised in a watery landscape.

Polina Pencheva made a remarkably formally sophisticated scheme to combine a variety of functions and uses at the St Andrew’s Dock Assembly.

Overall the ambition of the studio was laudable, rooted in the real, hoping for the best, reminding us that architecture belongs to all of us, designer and user alike, and architects clearly benefit from remembering that.”

Read about all the graduates selected

Polina Pencheva - St. Andrew’s Dock Assembly

Polina Pencheva – St. Andrew’s Dock Assembly


Samuel Kapasa – The Beautiful Inevitability of Ageing and Flooding


Sheffield alumni awarded top architecture prize for Britain’s best new building

Two Sheffield alumni were among the winners of the UK’s most prestigious prize for architecture: the RIBA Stirling Prize. Simon Allford (BA Architecture 1983, Dip Architecture 1984) and Paul Monaghan (BA Architecture 1983) are graduates of the Sheffield School of Architecture, and are currently directors at Allford Hall Monaghan Morris (AHMM) who were recognised for their transformation of Burntwood School.

The award was made during  a televised ceremony at RIBA Headquarters following a unanimous decision from the judges which named the Burntwood School project as a ‘clear winner’ as it demonstrates the full range of the skills that architects can offer to society.

RIBA president Jane Duncan said: “Burntwood School shows us how superb school design can be at the heart of raising our children’s educational enjoyment and achievement.”

The judges added: “Burntwood sets a standard in school design that every child in Britain deserves.”

Schools should be more than just practical, functional buildings, Paul Monaghan, director of AHMM, said. “Good school design makes a difference to the way students value themselves and their education, and we hope that Burntwood winning the RIBA Stirling Prize shows that this is worth investing in.”

Burntwood School was one of the last projects under the Building Schools for the Future Scheme which the government ended in 2010.

Simon Allford and Paul Monaghan are graduates of the Sheffield School of Architecture. They still maintain strong links to the School and University and are a partner practice on the School’s MArch in Architecture: Collaborative Practice route. This innovative new programme blends practice based experience with academic research and learning. In the first year of the course students will overlap a year of studies with their professional experience in a partner practice, which will potentially shorten the time for students to reach qualification.

The RIBA Stirling Prize is the UK’s more prestigious architecture prize. Every year it is presented to the architects of the building that has made the greatest contribution to the evolution of architecture in the past year.

Housing co-op aims to provide a quality alternative in student housin


In a bid to put more power into the hands of students, the new Sheffield Student Housing Cooperative (SSHC) will provide the opportunity for housemates to collectively manage their property while reducing associated rental costs.

University of Sheffield graduates, Rosie Evered, James Risner and Roy Clutterbuck, are founders of the SSHC which is the first of its kind in Sheffield. This month, five students are due to move into a property with cheaper rent, no letting fees and no landlords.

Housemates will pay £69 a week and will also be responsible for managing the property. The housemates act as landlord and tenant so set rent, manage finances, make democratic decisions including how it is furnished and decorated. SSHC ultimately control the property but when residents move in they become a member, giving them more power to control how they live.

What started as a Rosie’s MArch in Architecture dissertation project has taken three years to become reality. Rosie explains:

“We were interested in thinking about approaches to housing tenure, considering that rental and private ownership aren’t necessarily the only options. The idea came from a feeling that a lot of housing stock for students was poorly maintained, and potentially over priced for its level of quality. A not for profit alternative solution could help improve the quality and environment of the student areas, whilst giving students more control over their accommodation. My dissertation researched the feasibility of the idea, for example; if it would work financially in Sheffield, where similar ideas had been set up and if people would be interested in living there.

We hope to prove that this is a viable alternative to mainstream tenure, this one is just the beginning, and we hope to see a lot more not for profit housing solutions available in the future.

Students are a very transient group, moving on year to year, this is typically difficult to deal with in a housing co-operative. Our model tries to deal with this by including management strategies, which will maintain the co-ops longevity.”

The organisation is not for profit so any income goes into paying the mortgage and keeping up with general maintenance. The trio of founders have spent the last year handing over the cooperative to housemates who will move in at the start of term. Rent will be in line with that of private landlords but housemates will avoid additional fees. The mortgage is held with The Phone Coop who purchased the property and lease to SSHC. Once it has its own financial record SSHC aim to buy the property.

Four SSoA students win RIBA Yorkshire Awards

Four of our exceptional students have been recognised in the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Yorkshire Student Awards for their outstanding, imaginative and well resolved schemes.

The 2015 RIBA Yorkshire Student Awards celebrate and reward the talent and excellence of the region’s architecture students. Winners were announced at the prestigious RIBA Yorkshire awards ceremony held Thursday 23 April 2015 in Leeds. Undergraduate and Postgraduate work from architecture students at various universities in the region were entered into the awards which were judged by a panel of industry leaders.

There are two entry classes for the awards. We submitted design projects by our top two Part 1 and Part 2 students and this year all of our entries won an award.

Part 1 (undergraduate)

Silver Winner: Stefania Tsigkouni – ‘Urban [Re]Generator, Northern Quarter, Manchester’

Gold Winner: Cameron Clarke – ‘Alzheimer’s Plant Science Centre, Liverpool’


Part 2 (postgraduate)

Bronze Winner: Joanna Beal – ‘The Heeley Energy Hack Farm’

Silver Winner: Neil Michels – ‘Civic School’


Emma England, Director RIBA Yorkshire said

“The standard of work this year was very impressive with some highly ambitious, accomplished and challenging projects which shows that these students are at the top of their game.  2015 has seen some of the best pieces of drawing and model making we’ve had in the competition.  I was especially pleased to celebrate the student’s success alongside that of the RIBA Yorkshire Awards, by bringing both schemes together at the dinner in Leeds.  We hope that this will help foster links between students and the wider architecture profession.”

The RIBA Yorkshire Student Awards 2015 were presented by David Smith, Chair of the WYSA (West Yorkshire Society of Architects), who sponsored the awards. Members of the judging panel were Peter Cartwright, Cartwright Pickard, Ben Elliot, Northumbria University, Mark Hodson, Hodson Architects and Liz Peck, Director of LPA Lighting and President Elect of the Society of Light & Lighting, chaired by David Saxby of 00 Architecture.



Alumni success at RIBA North West Regional Awards

Congratulations to all those who were recognised at the RIBA North West Regional Awards on Thursday 16 April. Our Alumni featured strongly at the event which took place in Manchester, picking up the following awards:

  • Tony Skipper and Matt Burl (John McAslan + Partners) for Lancaster University Engineering Building, Lancaster, which also won the North West Sustainability Award
  • Andrew Groarke (Carmody Groarke) for Maggie’s Merseyside, Wirral, which also won the North West Small Project Award
  • Sue Emms (BDP) for St John Bosco Arts College, Liverpool, which also won the North West Client of the Year Award
  • Neil Dawson (Snook Architects) for Westmorland private house, Liverpool
  • Simon Branson (MUMA) for the Whitworth Art Gallery reworking and extension, Manchester, which also won the North West Building of the Year Award

The winners of the RIBA Regional Awards 2015 are currently being announced as part of a series of events across the country.