Tom Woolley

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Tom Woolley is a British professor of Architecture.


He worked in the West of Scotland and then at the Architectural Association in London and became known for his campaigning work on community architecture and design participation.[1] He established the community architecture practice "Support" in London and was also a founder of the community technical aid movement and the Association for Community Technical Aid Centres (ACTAC). He was a contributor to the radical architecture magazine "ARSE".[2] He was also active in the New Architecture Movement and contributed to the magazine "Slate." His first published article was in Anarchy edited by Colin Ward.

He is one of the founder members of the “Renewable Building” (The Association for Sustainable Building products), Natureplus UK, Living Building Initiative Ireland and EASCA. He and Rachel Bevan has recently built a demonstration low energy hempcrete house in County Down. Current funded research includes a £1 million Technology Strategy Board project in innovative insulation materials with Bangor University and a scoping study on sustainable housing funded by Invest Northern Ireland.

Academic work[edit]

He now lives in County Down, Northern Ireland. He was Professor of Architecture at Queens University Belfast from 1991 to 2007, but now works as a freelance educator and environmental consultant for Rachel Bevan Architects.[3] He has recently worked as Visiting Professor of Architecture at the Centre for Alternative Technology Graduate School of the Environment where he helped to establish a Part 2 course in sustainable architecture and has also been Professor of Sustainable Rural Architecture at the Countryside and Communities Research Institute, University of Gloucestershire. He is currently Visiting Professor at the University of Central Lancashire where he has helped to establish a new school of Architecture.

Advisory work[edit]

He is a member of the Ministerial Advisory Group for Architecture (Northern Ireland)[4] He also spent four years as chair of the Northern Ireland Building Regulations Advisory Committee. He is an associate member of the Energy Institute. Woolley represented unattached architects (i.e. not members of the RIBA) for a number of years on the old Architects Registration Council of the UK and more recently on the Architects Registration Board.[5]

He is a regular speaker to voluntary and non-government organisations, self-build and community groups and the Energy Institute. He undertakes research and consultancy work for the EU, Government bodies and for a number of trade bodies in the construction industry.

Published work[edit]

He has published on community participation, housing and green architecture. He was editor of the "Green Building Digest" and "Green Building Handbook"[6] and author of "Natural Building" [7] and joint author of "Hemp and Lime Construction".[8] The Green Building Handbook won the Chartered Institute of Building Gold Medal for publishing.

Early life and personal life[edit]

Woolley was born in Stretford Lancashire and grew up in Manchester and Cheshire. He studied Architecture at Edinburgh University from 1964 to 1970. He registered as an architect in 1971.

He is a member of the British Humanist Association. He is vice chairman of the Northern Ireland Co-operative Party. He is a member of Scientists for Global Responsibility National Co-ordinating Committee. He is a keen organic vegetable gardener and is a member of WWOOF Ireland and WWOOF UK. He plays the violin in the Studio Symphony Orchestra in Belfast.