School of Architecture, Oxford Brookes University

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School of Architecture
Oxford Brookes University
Oxford Brookes, School of Architecture.jpg
TypeSchool of Architecture
Parent institution
Oxford Brookes University
Head of SchoolProf. Matt Gaskin
School of Architecture, Oxford Brookes University

The Oxford School of Architecture was founded in 1927.[1] Forming part of the Oxford City Technical School, this became the Oxford College of Technology in 1956, the Oxford Polytechnic in 1970 and Oxford Brookes University in 1992.[2] Now called the School of Architecture in the Faculty of Technology, Design & the Environment, it is one of the largest architecture schools in the UK, with around 600 students and 70 staff. The school has become one of the most competitive architecture schools, ranking in the top 50 Architecture schools in the world in the 2015 QS World University Rankings.[3]


The school was formed in 1927 when a small group of enthusiastic young architects decided that Oxford needed a school of architecture. They formed the club to promote this and asked the University of Oxford to start the school. This was declined as no funds were available. This was the time of the General Strike of 1926. So they approached the new principal of the then School of Technology, Arts and Sciences, John Henry Brookes, who agreed to found the school, named the Oxford School of Architecture. There were three students, two women and one man. One woman left after the first year to get married, but the school grew to one of the largest in the country.[4] The department also have a society called the Doric Club founded the same year as the school itself in 1927.[5]

The school[edit]

According to the RIBA, the department is 'a thriving school, attracting high-quality students and offering innovative and diverse programmes which benefit directly from its associated research institutes/centres'.[6]

The school operates mostly open plan studio spaces, with students from all years sharing working space. A digital studio was designed by Niall McLaughlin Architects[7] and new studio space provided subsequently followed a similar design. The School of Architecture building was refurbished and extended by Winchester-based firm; Design Engine Architects with the scheme completing in 2012.[8]

The school's courses are validated by the Royal Institute of British Architects.[9]

Specialist study[edit]

Centre for Development and Emergency Practice. CENDEP was awarded the Queen's Anniversary Prize[10] and is well known for its programme for humanitarian practitioners.[11] CENDEP provides an academic setting for the study of cities, humanitarianism and refugees. Singer and activist Annie Lennox is patron of the Master's Course in Development and Emergency Practice.[12]

Oxford Architecture Society[edit]

The school has a student-run society called the Oxford Architecture Society also known as 'OxArch'. It hosts a variety of guest lectures, workshops, competitions, films and socials throughout the academic year.[13]

OSA Magazine[edit]

Launched in 2014 and published three times a year, the student-led OSA magazine offers a platform for students to publish original and edited articles and projects related to the theme of each issue. The magazine was founded by post-graduate students Rob Dutton and Lauren Kehoe. Subsequent editors include Adrian Alexandrescu (2015–2016), James Barrell (2016–2017), Sonia Tong (2016–2017), Jing Zhi Tan (2017-2018), Kate Ridgway (2017-2018), Maria Mavrikou (2017-2018) and Robert Antony Cresswell (2017-2018). The magazine is printed using the risoprint at activist printers Greenprint Oxford. The magazine is kindly supported by Robin Partington and Partners and Assael Architecture.[14]

Heads of School[edit]

  • John Stevenson (?-2003)[15]
  • Mike Jenks (2003–2005)[16]
  • Mark Swenarton (2005–2010)[17]
  • Matt Gaskin (2010–present)[18]

Notable staff[edit]

  • Prof. David Greene (Archigram)[19]
  • David Grindley[20]
  • Prof. Rajat Gupta – Professor of Architecture and Climate Change[21]
  • Prof. Nabeel Hamdi — Author, humanitarian and winner of UN Habitat’s Scroll of Honour[22]
  • Andrew Holmes — Artist[23]
  • Prof. Mike Jenks — Emeritus Professor, Co-founder of OISD[24]
  • Prof. Paul Oliver MBE – Vernacular encyclopaedia[25]
  • John Stevenson – Deputy Head of Architecture and Head of Design (Architecture)[26]
  • Christopher Nash – Managing Partner of Grimshaw Architects

Notable alumni[edit]

  • Yasmeen Lari – First woman architect in Pakistan and advisor to UNESCO
  • Graham Stirk – Partner of Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners practice of Richard Rogers[27]
  • Prof. Nabeel Hamdi — Author, humanitarian and winner of UN Habitat’s Scroll of Honour
  • Charlie Luxton — Broadcaster/architectural designer
  • Dr Hugo Slim — Author and chief scholar at the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue in Switzerland and former trustee of Oxfam
  • Jason Bruges
  • Kevin Rhowbotham – Author and teacher, former head Dip. Arch at Architectural Association, London
  • Bryan Lawson – Author of several books regarding design theory (How Designers Think and The Language of Space) and Dean of the Faculty of Architectural Studies at Sheffield University
  • Siki Im – Architect, Fashion Designer
  • Kirk Wane Gant, AIA



  1. ^ "School of Architecture". Oxford Brookes. Retrieved 16 March 2012.
  2. ^ "Timeline". Oxford Brookes. Archived from the original on 28 April 2012. Retrieved 16 March 2012.
  3. ^ "World University Rankings by Subject 2015 – Architecture / Built Environment". QS Quacquarelli Symonds Limited. 2015. Retrieved 12 August 2015.
  4. ^ [1]
  5. ^ "Doric Club". Oxford Brookes. Retrieved 16 August 2013.
  6. ^ RIBA report
  7. ^ Project: Digital Studio and Architecture School,Oxford Brookes Archived 20 August 2008 at the Wayback Machine, Niall McLaughlin Architects, 2002.
  8. ^ Abercrombie\ Oxford Brookes University, Design Engine Architects, 2012. Accessed 1 June 2017.
  9. ^ "UK Schools of Architecture with courses validated by the RIBA" (PDF). Royal Institute of British Architects. 30 September 2013. Archived from the original (PDF) on 13 May 2015. Retrieved 31 August 2015.
  10. ^ CENDEP web page Archived 4 April 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ Centre for Development and Emergency Practice – Organization Contacts – Professional Resources –
  12. ^ Annie Lennox Archived 27 May 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 5 January 2014. Retrieved 23 January 2014.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  14. ^
  15. ^ Oxford Brookes University (2002). BE Volume 1 – 2002. Oxford: Oxford Brookes University, pp.3.
  16. ^ Oxford Brookes University (2003). BE Volume 3 – 2003. Oxford: Oxford Brookes University, pp.2 .
  17. ^ Architects' Journal (2005). Swenarton to head Oxford Brookes. Architects' Journal, 24 March 2005.
  18. ^ Architects' Journal (2005). University home > School of Architecture > Staff > Mark Swenarton. University of Liverpool. Accessed 1 June 2017
  19. ^
  20. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 31 December 2013. Retrieved 16 March 2012.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^ SOAS, University of London
  26. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 31 December 2013. Retrieved 16 March 2012.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  27. ^

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°45′17″N 1°13′22″W / 51.7546°N 1.2228°W / 51.7546; -1.2228