Architecture lecturer part of research project investigating public perception of low carbon building materials

A multi-disciplinary team of 6 researchers (two each from the University of Leeds, University of York and University of Sheffield) have been awarded research funding to investigate public perception of low carbon building materials. The research will start in May 2016 and is supported by The White Rose University Consortium, a strategic partnership between 3 of the UK’s leading research universities, Leeds, Sheffield and York. Sofie Pelsmakers, co-investigator from the Sheffield School of Architecture will collaborate with Danielle Densley TingleyJannik Giesekam (University of Leeds) and Karen Parkhill and Carolyn Snell from the University of York and the project will be lead by Katy Roelich at the University of Leeds. The project will explore public perception of low carbon building materials, including direct benefits and co-benefits and will aim to identify how public policy and designers could use this evidence to overcome existing barriers to the use of low carbon materials and accelerate their uptake. The project will start in May 2016 and last for 12 months.

SSoA lecturer awarded WUN funding to work with Sydney University

Sofie Pelsmakers, lecturer in environmental design, was awarded travel funding by the World University Network (WUN), with contributions from the department and Sydney University to research the “Effect of uninsulated floors on occupant thermal comfort and compensating energy use”. Sydney University have a state-of the art and unique Internal Environmental (IEQ) Lab, headed by Professor Richard de Dear and which will be adapted to allow the research to take place in August 2016. Other projects awarded funding can be found here.

Sheffield student recognised in top RIBA awards

Niamh Lincoln has received a Commendation in the Dissertation Medal category at the 2015 Royal Institute of British Architecture (RIBA) President’s Medals Ceremony.

Niamh graduated from Sheffield School of Architecture’s MArch in Architecture in June 2015. Her dissertation ‘tempelhof – articulating the void’ presents a very particular form of public space, as a 386-hectare vacuum in the city of Berlin.

Niamh said “It is a great honour to be commended at the RIBA President’s Medals for a piece of work that I took such pleasure in writing. I would like to particularly thank Florian Kossak for his extensive knowledge and support throughout the writing of my dissertation as well as my thesis tutor Carolyn Butterworth for her constant encouragement during my most crucial year of study.

The focus that SSoA places on research and theory drew me back to the university post Part 1. I already look back at my time at the school with great fondness, thank you for five truly inspiring years.”

This is an outstanding achievement for Niamh, making her dissertation one of the best out of the entries received from around 320 Universities in 65 countries.

The ceremony was held at the RIBA in London on the 2nd December with Niamh receiving her award from RIBA president Jane Duncan. The President’s Medals are regarded as the most prestigious student awards in architectural education. They are awarded annually, by a panel of respected international academics and practitioners, to students nominated by schools of architecture worldwide.

RIBA President Jane Duncan said:

“Congratulations to our deserving medal winners who have fought-off tough competition from around the world and truly excelled with their innovative, challenging and thought-provoking projects. It’s an honour to present these awards to the future trailblazers and current innovators of the architecture profession.”

RIBA Press release

Find out more abour the RIBA President’s Medals


tempelhof – articulating the void


SSoA Lecturer Sofie Pelsmakers is one of the UKGBC Rising Star 2016 judges

The UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) and PRP Architects have recently launched the Rising Star Award 2016. The award is an opportunity to nominate a colleague or peer who has made a real difference to the sustainability agenda and shine a light on their achievements.

Sofie Pelsmakers was highly commended for the Rising Star 2013 award for her book “The Environmental Design Pocketbook” and has been invited as one of the 2016 judges.

Nominations are open until 11 February 2016 and you can read more about the award and process for nominations here.

Rising Star Award 2016

Nominations for Rising Star Award 2015

The Rising Star Award was launched in 2013, in memory of Mel Starrs, a prominent built environment practitioner and Associate Director at PRP, who sadly passed away in 2012.

Read more about Mel Starrs

Read more about the Rising Star Award

MSc in Sustainable Architecture Studies eligible for Shared Commonwealth Scholarship

From the 20 November 2015 the University will be accepting applications for this year’s Shared Commonwealth Scholarship. We are pleased to announce that the MSc in Sustainable Architecture Studies programme is an eligible course, with one award available to an international student from a Commonwealth developing country.

Each award offers:

  • A full tuition fee waiver
  • Maintenance for University accommodation and a monthly stipend
  • Flights to and from your home country

The award will be given to a student with a strong academic background beginning their postgraduate study at the University in September 2016. The closing date for applications is 11 March 2016 and all eligible offer holders will be emailed with information about how they can apply for the scholarship.

The MSc in Sustainable Architecture Studies course builds on our commitment to social and environmental responsibility in the design and production of the built environment.

We are a recognised by the Royal Academy of Engineering as a Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Building Design. This programme will inspire and enable students to pursue innovative research and design strategies for the built environment

Further details about the award and the list of Commonwealth countries that are eligible

MSc in Sustainable Architecture Studies students taking part in materials visits

MSc in Sustainable Architecture Studies students taking part in materials visits

PhD student chosen as finalist for Young Lighter of the Year

Zeynep Keskin has been selected as a finalist in the Society of Light and Lighting’s (SLL) Young Lighter of the Year competition. The four finalists will present their work at the LuxLive exhibition on 19 November with the winner announced during the LUX Awards that evening.

The competition is in its 21st year and provides ‘a high profile opportunity to help promote younger members of the lighting profession.’ Entries are open to those actively working in any aspect of the industry. The awards allow the young lighters to illustrate their knowledge and research on a lighting subject, hone their presentation skills, and raise their profile within the industry.

Zeynip’s PhD work is being supervised by Professor Steve Fotios and focuses on investigating the effect of daylight availability on seating preference in open-plan spaces

Further information

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.

International award for lighting research

Professor Steve Fotios has received the Waldram Gold Pin: Distinguished Services Award for Outstanding Contribution in Applied Engineering. The award is from the Commission Internationale de l’Éclairage (CIE), the international organisation devoted to advancing knowledge and providing standardisation to improve the lighted environment.

Steve Fotios is Professor of Lighting and Visual Perception in the School of Architecture where he leads research of lighting and its impact on people, their ability to see and how they feel. Two key themes of the Lighting Research Group are lighting for pedestrians and bias in research procedures.

He is lead investigator for two £1M EPSRC funding awards on lighting for pedestrians. The MERLIN project (Mesopically Enhanced Road Lighting: Improving Night-vision) concluded last year and Professor Fotios has recently secured funding for MERLIN-2.

The aim of MERLIN is to gather empirical evidence of the lighting conditions that enable pedestrians to walk safely, and to feel safe, so that a cost-benefit analysis of road lighting can be properly informed. The project has led to new guidance on the colour of road lighting and MERLIN-2 will involve working with UK, US and international bodies to specify how much light is needed. It could have a significant environmental impact by identifying unnecessary energy consumption by street lights.

Professor Fotios’s prestigious award is given only once every four years and is a rare distinction. The award was made in part for his work on two recent CIE publications:

  • CIE report 212:2014. Guidance Towards Best Practice In Psychophysical Procedures Used When Measuring Relative Spatial Brightness. Commission Internationale De L’Éclairage, Vienna, 2014. ISBN 978-3-902842-51-0.
  • CIE report 206:2014. The Effect of Spectral Power Distribution on Lighting For Urban And Pedestrian Areas. Commission Internationale De L’Éclairage, Vienna, 2014. ISBN 978-3-902842-33-6.

Professor Fotios founded the annual LumeNet PhD research workshop to promote discussion of methodology at an early stage in a PhD students’ work. With strong support from VELUX these workshops hav taken place every year since 2011 (Lausanne, Sheffield, Copenhagen, Berlin) with the 2015 daylight-focussed academic forum taking place in London in September and LumeNet 2016 taking place in Ghent, April 2016.

Find out more


CIE2015 Conference

Lighting Research Group


Sustainable Growth

LightingWhite_orange These images show streets in the Walkley area of Sheffield where, as an outcome of Professor Fotios’ research, they are changing from orange (sodium) to white light.

Art Riot: Leeds inspired grant success for MArch student

Sophie Ellis, Y5 March student, has been awarded a grant from the Leeds City Council for her Art Riot project. Sophie has been working on a paid internship over the summer with Group Ginger Architects where she has been working on the project.

Sophie explains “During my internship with Group Ginger over the summer I have been working on the initiation of an “Art Riot” on the South bank of Leeds. This involves a series of art appropriations that enliven and establish a new link into the city, as part of a cultural greening strategy.

The project has now been awarded a grant from the Leeds City Council; Leeds Inspired. In early September, I will be meeting with members of the architectural collective, Raumlabor in Berlin to gain further knowledge in the design and implementation of temporary use in urban areas. This body of work provides the research for my MArch dissertation on the role of temporary use in post-industrial cities.”

Sophie is working alongside Group Ginger with Leeds Sustainable Development Group, The Tetley and Concourse to finalise the design of three installations to initiate an Art Riot and establish an area of immediate cultural intervention within the Southbank of Leeds. The artworks should be in place by year end 2015.