Nadia Bertolino to speak at UCL Urban Lab Event


On Thursday 2nd July, Nadia Bertolino will give a talk along with Dr Ioanni Delsante (University of Huddersfield) about the role of the creative industry to re-activate urban  spaces, with a special focus on the contemporary Chinese experiences of spatial transformations for artistic purposes.

The seminar is organised by the UCL Urban Lab and it seeks to initiate a dialogue concerning the reflexive relationship between culture and place in China from multiple disciplinary perspectives.


M50 artists residences and studios, Shanghai, 2010. Photo by Ioanni Delsante

Nadia and Ioanni will introduce an overview of some relevant case-studies of creative districts in Shaghai and Beijing, characterised by different spatial conditions. They will showcase Tianzifang and 1933 Abbatoir as best practice of architectural and urban “recycle” through the delivery of a complex programme. The M50 in Shanghai and 798 in Beijing will be mentioned as samples of a different approach, mainly based on the urban transformation through the balance of existing and new spaces dedicated to creative purposes.

Full programme available here



Tianzifang creative district, 2010. Photo by Nadia Bertolino


Research aims for right light at night

Our researchers are aiming to find the optimum level of street lighting for pedestrians as part of a new three-year study.

The study, led by Steve Fotios, Professor of Lighting and Visual Perception in the  School of Architecture, could also have a significant environmental impact by identifying unnecessary energy consumption by street lights.

Named MERLIN-2, the study follows on from Professor Fotios’ four-year ‘Mesopically Enhanced Road Lighting: Improving Night-vision (MERLIN)’ project which concluded last year, and has been awarded a grant of £454,085 by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

Researchers will first identify what matters to people when they are walking at night as part of the study. Eye tracking technology will be used to analyse pedestrians walking outdoors after dark to reveal the critical objects of attention and how far ahead they would like to see them.

Experiments will also be carried out to explore how lighting affects a person’s ability to evaluate the intentions of other people and to detect potential trip hazards, and how lighting affects perceived safety.

Professor Fotios said: “We made good progress in understanding of what is important to pedestrians, how this is affected by lighting, and of methodology during the first study.

“However, there is currently insufficient knowledge of what ‘good lighting’ is. While the public generally respond favourably to increasing light levels, there must be consideration to the energy consumed by the lighting and that at some point, increasing the light level does not increase the visual benefit of lighting.

“Reducing light levels offers a rapid route to reduction in energy consumption and hence in the greenhouse gasses associated with electricity generation. Reducing levels also decreases the amount of light reflected to the night sky, and lowers the impact of nocturnal lighting on wildlife and human health.”

There are approximately 7.1 million lighting points in the UK and it has been estimated that lighting one kilometer of UK residential road for one hour generates around 1.7kg of CO2. Through the development of optimised lighting based on this research, significant practical and environmental benefits could be achieved.

‘Things You Can’t Do In School’ Event

In May this year we were pleased to take part in the ‘Things you can’t do in School’ event organised by the Faculty of Social Sciences Outreach Team.

The event was for Year 7-9s from around the Sheffield City region. The pupils were invited to come into the University and sample subjects they’ve either never heard of or studied before.

We were joined at the event by the Sheffield Methods Institute, Management School and the Department of Politics. There were around 70 pupils in total and the architecture sessions proved popular with 3 groups attending.

The feedback from the architecture sessions was extremely positive. The pupils worked in small groups and were asked to consider what their community needs, and then design a temporary structure to house that activity.

You can view photos from the day here


New Visiting Professor brings a wealth of experience in sustainable architecture studies

We are pleased to announce that Signe Kongebro had been newly appointed as one of our Visiting Professors. Signe brings a wealth of expertise and will be closely linked with the MSc in Sustainable Architecture Studies Programme.

Signe is a trained architect and as partner in Henning Larsen Architects she is responsible for converting new knowledge and innovation into new business areas. Further, Signe manages Henning Larsen Architects’ Sustainability Department, which develops visions and design tools in the field of sustainable design.

Signe possesses a profound knowledge of sustainable building and masterplanning as well as the development of resource-conserving design. Her strong dedication to sustainable design has grown from her active participation in several interdisciplinary projects and her careful study of the basic properties of architecture and design.

Find out more about Signe

Welcome to Castlegate and a celebration of the oldest part of the city of Sheffield

The Castlegate Festival

June 20-21 2015, Sat: 10-5, Sun: 11-4

Castle House, Exchange Place Studios and the streets around

Over the course of two days this festival hopes to highlight Castlegate’s historical importance by hosting a range of activities brought together by a group of individuals and organisations who either reside in or have a love of the area.

The Castlegate Festival will bring its streets and buildings to life over a weekend of performance, street parties, activities and tours of the area. Here are some of the activities and events our School is involved in:

A Future for Castlegate


Matt Pearson: ‘Heart of the Machine, Castlegate’

Over the last year, 60 masters students from Sheffield University School of Architecture have been producing research and design proposals for Castlegate. This exhibition showcases some of that work including ideas for Castle House, The Old Town Hall, the Castle Market and many other sites. The students have been working closely with local organisations, businesses and people, and these proposals are grounded in a close understanding of the area. Proposals have developed that are ambitious and innovative, speculating on a future for Castlegate that is resilient, sustainable and community-focused.


‘ReMake Castlegate model at Exchange Place Studios

Re-Make Castlegate

Re-Make Castlegate is a project developed in partnership with Live Works and Yorkshire Artspace to explore the past, present and future of Castlegate with local people.

We will be inviting visitors to help us work with a large model of Castlegate, to express your memories, opinions and ideas for the area. Castlegate will be re-made by many hands, revealing the area’s diversity, idiosyncrasies and potential.

Castle Market Demolition Time-Lapse

Over the coming months Live Works will be documenting the demolition of Castle Market through the production of a time-lapse film and the story so far will be running throughout the weekend in Castle House.

The weekend is organised by The Engaged University, Yorkshire Artspace and Live Works.

Further information

Welcoming a new member of the team: Sofie Pelsmakers to add expertise in sustainability

We are pleased to announce that in the new year we will be welcoming Sofie Pelsmakers to the School as a new part of our academic team. Sofie will join us in October 2015 and she will also lead the MSc in Sustainable Architecture Studies.

Sofie Pelsmakers is a chartered architect and environmental designer with more than a decade of hands-on experience designing, building and teaching sustainable architecture, including at the University of East London where she lead a masters programme in sustainable design. Sofie is currently finishing her doctoral research at the Bartlett, UCL’s faculty of the Built Environment, where she also leads a low energy housing retrofit module.

Sofie is co-founder of Architecture for Change, a not-for-profit environmental building organisation and author of The Environmental Design Pocketbook (Riba Publishing), which was commended by the RIBA for ‘Outstanding Practice-located Research’(2012) and was ‘Highly Commended’ for the UKGBC/PRP ‘Rising Star award’ 2013.

You can follow Sofie on twitter @SofiePelsmakers and she blogs at

Sofie says: “I am delighted to be joining an outstanding and influential team of architects, lecturers and researchers at SSoA and I look forward to working with students and colleagues at a school which has a tradition of creative exploration underpinned by a strong social and environmental ethos.”

“I anticipate to develop my current doctoral research on heat-loss and retrofit of ground floors in Victorian houses. Together with contributing to the school’s research and teaching aims, I look forward to supporting students’ explorations of environmental context as a generator of architectural design.“

Professor Fionn Stevenson explains “I have known about Sofie’s ground-breaking work in relation to environmental design for a number of years and am delighted that she has decided to bring her exceptional talent to our School. Sofie’s values are well aligned with the ethos of the School in relation to social engagement and sustainability. Her research will add an invaluable dimension to our work in the ‘Home‘ research group on how to maximise the design and quality performance of housing. I have no doubt her inspirational teaching approach will greatly enhance our MSc Sustainable Architecture Studies programme which she will be leading.”