Professor Robert Brown
Professor of Architecture
School of Art, Design and Architecture (Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Business)
- Cultural identity and architecture
- Urban regeneration
- Community development
- Architectural pedagogy
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Robert Brown is Professor of Architecture, Master of Architecture Program Leader and Master of Architecture Design Studio Leader, and served as Head of Architecture from 2011 - 2016. He is recognised as an accomplished and innovative teacher. He is consistently nominated by his students in the University's STAR Awards for Teaching Excellence, with his students regularly winning prizes in design competitions. He has lectured and been a guest tutor and critic nationally and internationally at 20 different schools of architecture, including: the Arab Academy (Egypt), the Architectural Association, Cardiff, Carleton (Canada), East London, Innsbruck, Kobe (Japan), Putra (Malaysia), Suzhou (China), Tongji (China) and Westminster universities. He has also been a visiting professor at Pavia University (Italy), Jiangnan University (China) and the City University of Macau (China). He has served as an external examiner or educational advisor at 9 different schools of architecture, including currently at the Arab Academy (Egypt), the University of Kent and University College London. He is also a member of the RIBA Validation Panel, and was on the RIBA Education Committee from 2014 - 2021. He has also published on architectural education and consistently is invited to review journal publications on pedagogy, and has been a member of the University of Plymouth's Pedagogic Research Institute and Observatory Steering Group.
Chartered Architect, Architects Registration Board, UK
Registered Architect, State of Illinois, USA
Senior Fellow, Higher Education Academy
2005- BT Studio - Private practice and consultant work
2001 - 2005 Max Lock Centre, University of Westminster, London: Research Assistant for urban design / planning consultancy group
1996 Housing International, Pune, India: Secondment to Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority; Collaboration with Shelter Associates on social housing projects
1989 - 2001 Levitt Bernstein Associates, London: Position: Associate, Specialising in social housing / urban regeneration / community consultation
1986 - 1989 Tigerman McCurry Architects, Chicago, Illinois: Project architect / designer on housing, commercial and institutional projects
1984 - 1985 Bradley & Bradley Architects, Rockford, Illinois
2002 - University of Plymouth Chartered Architect, Architects Registration Board, UK
1997 - 2002 University of East London
1997 - 2002 University of Westminster
Visiting critic / lecturer at: Aoyama Gakuin University (Japan), Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Marine Transport (Alexandria), Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Marine Transport (Heliopolis), Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Marine Transport (Smart Village), Architectural Association Summer School (Khartoum), Cardiff University, Carleton University (Canada), Gdansk Technical University, Jiangnan University (China), Kobe University, Riga Technical University, Saveetha College of Art and Design (India), Suzhou University, Tama University of the Arts (Japan), Tongji University (China), University of Central England, University College for the Creative Arts (Canterbury), University of East London, University of Innsbruck, University of Putra (Malaysia), University of Westminster
Master of Architecture, University of Illinois
Bachelor of Science in Architectural Studies, University of Illinois
National Certificate in Tenant Participation, Institute of Housing
Royal Institute of British Architects
Roles on external bodies
I co-lead with colleague Dr. Mat Emmett the Master of Architecture Design Studio. Project work in the studio addresses contested sites in the context of live urban regeneration projects. In these projects we work collaboratively with the local community (e.g., community based organisations, local authorities, social enterprises), private practices and developers, and other disciplines within the university (e.g., Fine Arts, Medicine). This work explores the potential of dialogic urban programs which enable synergies across difference. Over the past four years M Arch students have won nine prizes in the international Creative Conscious Awards, including two Golds, 4 silvers, 2 bronzes and 1 Honourable Mention. Further recognition of student work includes: RIBA Silver Medal shortlist (2018) and Bronze Medal shortlist (2005); European Architectural Medals - Best Diploma Projects - Shortlisted (2017); 3D Reid Prize - Honourable Mention (2011); and Building Design Graduates of the Year (2009). Work in the studio has included collaboration with overseas schools, including the Arab Academy (Egypt), City University of Macau, Gdansk Technical University and Riga Technical University.
In addition to Design Studio teaching I have taught History and Theory modules at both BA Arch Year 1 and Master of Architecture. Coursework in the former has pursued a critical examination of people, place and tectonics as generators of design thinking; in the latter coursework has investigated considerations of: cultural groundings of architectural language; critical thinking and pedagogy; and urbanism.
Staff serving as external examiners
I am interested in a dialogical understanding of, and the potential of dialogue in the context of:
Socio-Cultural Identity in relation to Place; interests include the resilience of cultural identity in the context of change, and the role of ritualized behaviour in our relation to place.
Urbanism; interests include community participation, community resilience, dialogical urbanism and urban regeneration.
2001- 2005 University of Westminster, London: Research Assistant Department for International Development (UK) funded research on community development in Eastern / Southern Africa
Research degrees awarded to supervised students
As DoS - completed (2):
‘Environmental Facilities System in the Historic District of Macao.’ (with City University of Macau)
‘Towards an Articulation of Architecture as a Verb - Learning from Participatory Development, Subaltern Identities and Textual Values’.
As DoS - current:
‘Casting a Lie to the Land: Ritual, cultural landscape and connectivity to rivers’
‘Sustainable Development of Chinese Historic Districts’
As 2nd Supervisor - completed:
‘Petit Trianon and Marie Antoinette: Representation, Interpretation, Perception’.
As 2nd Supervisor - current:
‘Interrogating local spatial syntax; Ope as dialogue between propinquity and spatial signification in a coded urban environment.’
‘Institutionalization of the Global South’s Experience in Urban Planning Education.’ (as co-supervisor with Dr. Nancy Abd El-Moneim, Arab Academy of Science, Technology and Marine Transport - Smart Village)
Grants & contracts
Creative Associates Award (2021)
HEIF Funding for International Collaboration in KE (2021)
Daiwa Foundation, with T. Terazono (2014)
Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation, with T. Terazono (2014)
University of Plymouth Research Award (2010)
TQEF Research-Informed Teaching Award, Higher Education Funding Council of England, with A. Evans (2008)
Centre for Education in the Built Environment (2006)
Daiwa Foundation (2005)
Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation (2005)
Japan 21 Foundation (2004)
Teaching Fellowship Award, University of Plymouth (2003)
Quality in Learning and Teaching Award, University of East London (2002)
RIBA Trust Research Award, with D. Moreau (1999)
Creative practice & artistic projects
2010 'The Purposes of Drawing', invited group exhibition, May, Cube3 Gallery
Brown, R., (forthcoming). ‘Bachelard, Besson and Bakhtin: A dialogical discourse on the potential of intimate space’, Space & Culture.
Brown, R., et. al., 2022. ‘Community Campus as Threshold: a space of dialogue for academia and the community’, Journal of Dialogue Studies, 9, pp. 70 – 96.
Brown, R. and Warwick, P., ‘2019. Civic Learning in Conversation: The common ground of difference’, “Dialogical Pedagogies”, special issue of Thinking Skills and Creativity (31); doi: org/10.1016/j.tsc2019.01.003.
Latham, Z., and Brown, R., 2018. ‘Shenzen’s Urban Villages: Dialogical cultural landscapes and resilient rituals’, Socio.Hu, 6; doi: 10.18030/socio.hu.2018en.51.
Long, Z., Guogiang, S, Yao. W, Brown R., Tian C., and Chenyu W., 2018. 'Urban Form, Growth and accessibility in Space and Time: Anatomy of Land Use at the Parcel-Level in a Small to Medium-Sized American City, Sustainability, 10 (12), 4572; doi: 10.3390/su10124572.
Brown, R. and Clark, P., 2013. ‘From Boudieu to Friere - By way of Boal, Field, Vol. 5 No. 1, November [Online] Available at http:www.fieldjournal.org/index.php?page+issue 5.
Brown, R., 2011. ‘The City as Palimpsest: Towards the Sustainable City’, in Towards a Sustainable City: Piecemeal vs. Grand Planning, special issue of Open House International, Vol. 36 No. 2, pp. 24 – 35.
Brown, R., 2011. ‘You Can't Go Home Again: The place of tradition in "Firefly's" dystopian-utopia and utopian-dystopia', in Traditional Dwellings and Settlements Review, Spring, pp. 7 – 18. Cooke Prize (Honourable Mention) for outstanding research by the International Association for the Study of Traditional Environments (University of California, Berkeley).
Brown, R., 2008. 'Redefining the Edge', in N. AlSayyad, ed., Reinventing Traditions for the Modern World – Traditional Dwellings and Settlements Working Paper Series, Vol. 21, pp. 1 – 24.
Brown, R., 2007. ‘Learning through Ritual’, in Transactions, Vol. 4, No. 1, April, [Online], Available at www.cebe.heacademy.ac.uk/transactions, pp. 55 – 75.
Brown, R. and Theis, M., eds., 2005. Community Asset Management, special issue of Open House International, Vol. 30 No. 2.
Brown, R., 1998. ‘Design Games: Community Participation in Urban Design’, Urban Design Quarterly No. 65, January, pp. 39 – 41.
Brown, R., 1997. ‘Personalisation Made Easy: Use of the Computer to Facilitate Personalisation by the Individual User in User-participatory Design’, in Open House International, Vol 22 No 1, March, pp. 24 – 33.
Brown, R., Kalra, R., and Theis, M. 2005. The Rough Guide to Community Asset Management, London: MLC Press.
Brown, R., (forthcoming). ‘Authenticity / Dwelling / Everyday / Film / People / Place / Settlement / Space / Tectonics’, in D. Maudlin and M. Vellinga, eds., The Encyclopaedia of Vernacular Architecture of the World. London: Bloomsbury.
Brown, R., (forthcoming). From Campus to Community, from Community to Campus – some lessons from the south for a dialogical (joined-up) reworking of northern public space’, Learning Resilience from the Global South: Re-conceptualising informalities as an urban planning and design paradigm. (Book approved by publisher; chapter to be submitted)
Brown, R. 2015. ‘The Schmitt Problem – Some perspectives for a praxis of inclusive disjunction’, in K. Nawratek, et. al., eds., Radical Inclusivity. Barcelona: dpr barcelona.
Brown, R., 2014. ‘Transgressing Origins - Dialogical narratives in contemporary Japanese architecture’, in D. Littlefield and L. Rice, eds., Transgression - AHRA Critiques: Critical Studies in Architectural Humanities. London: Routledge, pp. 137 – 154.
Brown, R., 2013. ‘Emplacement, Embodiment and Ritual: Some considerations from shikii wo matagu for our understanding of place and identity’, in S. Bandyopadhyay and G. Garma-Montiel, eds., The Territories of Identity: Architecture in the Age of Evolving Globalisation. London: Routledge, pp. 31 – 41.
Brown, R., 2012. 'A Critique of Origins, or, the Case of Palimpsest', in M. Miles and J. Savage, eds., Nu-topia – a critical view of future cities. Plymouth: University of Plymouth Press, pp. 10 – 25.
Brown, R. and Maudlin, D., 2012. 'Concepts of Vernacular Architecture', in G. Crsyler, H. Heynen and S. Cairns, eds., The SAGE Handbook of Architectural Theory. London: Sage, pp. 340 – 355.
Brown, R., 2011. 'The Elusiveness of Culture', in P. Beacock, et. al., eds., Engaging in Architectural Education. London: London Metropolitan University, pp. 49 – 53.
Brown, R., 2011. ‘Mapping the Unmappable, Knowing the Unknowable’, in C. Ulrik Anderson and G. Cox, eds., Public Interfaces. Aarhus: Aarhus University, pp. 8 – 9.
Brown, R., 2010. 'Andrejsala is not an Island - Joined-up approaches to the layered city', in U. Bratuskins, et. al., eds., Architecture and Planning - The Scientific Journal of Riga Technical University. Riga: Riga Technical University.
Brown, R., 2008. 'My Kind of Town - A study in representing the city', in R. Lucas and G. Muir, eds., Sensory Urbanism Proceedings 2008, Edinburgh: The Flaneur Press, pp. 20 – 27.
Brown, R., 2006. ‘The Need to Be Critical’, in J. Odgers, F. Samuel and A. Sharr, eds., Primitive – Original Matters in Architecture, Abingdon: Routledge, pp. 121 – 124.
Brown, R., 2004. ‘The Social Environment of Learning’, in Enhancing Curricula, A. Davies, ed., London: University of the Arts, pp. 217 – 236.
Brown, R., 2002. ‘Communicating Desire’, in C. Gandelsonas, ed., Communicating for Development, London: ITDG Publishing, pp. 98 – 111.
Brown, R. and Moreau, D., 2001. ‘Between Myth and Reality: The self-image of the architect’, in N. Caglar, ed., Re-Integrating Theory and Design, Leuven, Belgium: EAAE, pp. 117 – 125.
Brown, R. and Moreau, D., 2000. ‘Through the Looking Glass’, in Research By Design, Delft, the Netherlands: DUP Satellite, pp. 145 – 148.
Brown, R. and Moreau, D., 2000. ‘The Search for a New Paradigm for Practice and Education’, in S. Scrivener, L. Ball, A. Woodcock, eds., Collaborative Design, London: Springer-Verlag, pp. 477 – 484. (Awarded Best Paper Presentation at Collaborative Design Conference, Coventry University, 2019).
Brown, R. and Moreau, D., 2000. ‘Seeing the World through another Person’s Eyes’, in D. Nicol and S. Piling, eds., Changing Architectural Education, London: E & FN Spon, pp. 49 – 57.
Brown, R. and Warwick, P., 2022. ‘Community Campus: Fostering Joined-up Resilience’, invited speaker, Future Plymouth.
Brown, R. and Warwick, P. 2022. ‘Urban Dialogues’, invited speaker, Improv Design Lecture Series, University of Putra.
Brown, R., 2021. ‘Finding Self in the Other - Cultural identity, dialogism and Japanese-ness in Western Architecture’, invited lecture, Oxford Brookes University.
Brown, R., 2021. ‘Community Campus as Threshold: a new point of dialogue for academia and the community’, Dialogue with and among the Existing, Transforming and Emerging Communities Workshop, Journal of Dialogue Studies.
Brown, R., Dong, A., and Latham, Z., 2021. ‘The Dialogics of Tulous: a simultaneous presence and embrace of difference across cultural landscape, heritage and space’, Just Environments, Environmental Design Research Association Annual Conference.
Brown, R., 2021. ‘From Campus to Community: A new mode and space of operation for academia,’ Available at: https://www.plymouth.ac.uk/news/pr-opinion/from-campus-to-community.
Brown, R., 2019. ‘Macau is not an Island – dialogical space in Macau’, Culture in Urban Space – Urban Form, Cultural Landscapes, Life in the City Conference, Macau.
Brown, R., 2019. Invited lecture: ‘Going with the flow – sustainable cities and dialogical responses to climate change’, Students for Global Health, University of Plymouth.
Brown, R. 2018. ‘Beyond Bladerunner – A dialogic of the everyday in Macau’s Fictional Landscape’, European Association of Urban History Conference ‘Urban Renewal and Resilience’, Roma Tre University.
Brown, R., 2018. Invited paper: ‘Battling the Waves – The need for some camouflage’, Macau International Conference on Marine Administration, Utilization and Development, Special Regional Administrative Government of Macau.
Brown, R., 2018. Invited lecture: ‘Making Home’, Feasts for the Future, AHRC and Regen workshop on future communities, University of Plymouth.
Brown, R., 2018. ‘From the Mobile Studio to the Edgeless University: A manifesto for a dialogic, sustainable pedagogy’, Sustainability in Higher Education Conference, University of Plymouth.
Brown, R., 2017. ‘Bakhtin, Coin Street, Firefly and Neighbourliness’, Festival, Architecture & the City – the AHRA 14th Annual Conference, Birmingham City University.
Brown, R., 2017. ‘Working with Difference – Possibilities for a dialogical architecture’, Bakhtin in the Post-Revolutionary Era – the XVI International Bakhtin Conference, Fudan University, Shanghai.
Brown, R., 2017. ‘Bachelard, Besson and Bakhtin: A dialogical discourse on the potential of intimate space’, Future Imperfect Conference, Plymouth University.
Brown, R., 2016. ‘Éxploring the Potential of a Dialogical Architecture – Urban Landscape and the Coin Street Example’, Re-Invigorating the Vernacular Symposium, City University of Macau.
Brown, R., 2016. Invited lecture: ‘Body, Space and Memory’, Arts Institute Public Lecture Series, University of Plymouth.
Brown, R., 2015. ‘Finding Self in the Other – Japanese-ness in Western Architecture’, Architecture of Alterity Conference, Edinburgh University.
Brown, R., 2013. Invited lecture: ‘Multipli-city: working with the potential of convergence and divergence’, School of Architecture, Pavia University.
Brown, R., 2013. Invited panel member: Architectural Theory in an Expanded Field Symposium, University College London.
Brown, R., 2013. Invited lecture: ‘Escape from New York - The abuses of disorder and the need for (some) order’, Interface Lecture Series, University of Plymouth.
Brown, R., 2012. Keynote lecture: ‘It’s Not What You Think – A dialectic of affordance and sensibilities’, Spatial Thinking 2 Conference, Innsbruck University.
Brown, R., 2012. Invited lecture: ‘All My Screen Heroes Have Been Architects’, RIBA Festival of Architecture (Southwest), Picture House Cinema, Exeter.
Brown, R., 2011. Invited lecture: ‘Secret Labour – Legitimacy and Creativity’, Presenting Le Corbusier – Aspects of the Life, Work and Influence Symposium, University of Plymouth.
Brown, R., 2011. ‘(Re)Inventing Tradition – sensibility and habitus in the architecture of Japan’s new generation’, Fixed Conference, Plymouth University.
Brown, R., 2010. Invited paper: ‘'The Elusiveness of Culture – some questions on intercultural interaction’, SCHOSA Annual Conference.
Brown, R., 2010. Invited lecture: ‘A Dialectic of Inside and Outside’, After the Post-Socialist City Symposium, Gdansk Technical University.
Brown, R. and Clark, P., 2010. 'Performance and Palimpsest: Reconstructing National Identity in the Landscape of Riga, Latvia', Architecture, Design and Nation Conference, Nottingham Trent University.
Brown, R., 2010. 'Palimpsest - A challenge to authenticity and authority in architecture', The Cultural Role of Architecture Conference, Lincoln University.
Brown, R., 2009. Invited lecture: ‘3 Cities, 3 Ports, 1 Paradigm’, Contesting the City Symposium, University of Latvia.
Brown, R., 2009. 'Simultaneous Situational Ambiguity', Architectural and Phenomenology Conference, Kyoto Seika University.
Brown, R., 2007. ‘Fighting it out over Utopia’, Utopian Studies Conference, University of Plymouth.
Brown, R., 2005. ‘Ritual Practices’, Territorial Practices Conference (ASCA Regional Conference), Clemson University.
Brown, R., 2005. ‘The Dancer, the Architect, the Designer and the Shrine’, UIA 2005, Istanbul.
Brown, R., 2005. ‘Be Careful What Lessons You’re Learning’, Design History and Studies Conference, Istanbul Technical University.
Brown, R. and Moreau, D. 2002. ‘Finding Your Way in the Dark’, Shared Visions Conference, Brighton University; ‘Finding Your Way in the Dark’ [Online] Available at www.palatine.ac.uk/files/846.pdf.
Brown, R. and Moreau, D., 2001. Environment-behaviour studies and its absent place in architectural education', Architectural Education Exchange 2001, Cardiff University.
Brown, R. and Moreau, D. 2000. 'Teaching, Perceiving, Communicating', Architectural Education Exchange 2000, Sheffield University.
Brown, R. with A. Gillick, 2021. ‘Vernacular Architecture, Marginal Voices and Identity’, A is for Architecture, Available online at: https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/bob-brown-vernacular-architecture-marginal-voices-and/id1588790585?i=1000538190980.
Brown, R., 2021. ‘Competing Visions of Modernity’ (moderator), Japan Foundation, moderator.
Brown, R., Laird, R., and Sumner, M., 2001. Involving Tenants in the Design Process. London: The Housing Corporation.
Reports & invited lectures
2013 Invited panel member, Architectural Theory in an Expanded Field Symposium, University College London 'Simultaneous Situational Ambiguity', Architectural and Phenomenology Conference, Kyoto Seika University.
2010 'The City as Palimpsest - A tactical manifesto', invited lecture at Carleton University.
2009 '3 Cities, 3 Ports, 1 Paradigm', Contesting the City Symposium, University of Latvia.
2005 'The Life of Buildings', invited lecture at Cardiff University.
2004 'Be Careful What Lessons You Think You Are Learning', invited lecture at Cardiff University.
2013 'AAE 2013', Association of Architectural Educators Conference (Referee panel)
Urban Dialogues Network at https://www.plymouth.ac.uk/research/urban-dialogues
Centre for Coastal Communities at https://www.plymouth.ac.uk/research/coastal-communities
Centre of Sustainable Futures Sustainable Education Leaders Forum at https://www.plymouth.ac.uk/students-and-family/sustainability/sustainability-education/meet-the-team