A new Director of Research is set to take Lancaster University’s School of Architecture in an international direction and to help build a leading global destination for aspiring architects.
Having spent the last 15 years at Manchester School of Architecture (MSA), Professor Richard Brook, a registered architect and architectural historian, sees his new role at Lancaster as a commitment and investment in the School’s culture, its external relations and its international standing, as well as providing stimulating new challenges and opportunities.
Hailing from Chorley, award-winning Professor Brook is a great advocate for the region.
“I really believe in the North West as a cultural force and an economic power,” he says.
“And, within that, Lancaster University’s School of Architecture is a very different place with a very specific offer. Its proximity to the Lake District, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and National Park, offers incredible possibilities to explore novel material technologies amidst highly protected landscapes.
“The openness of campus and its spacious, green environment presents wonderful opportunities for live building projects already developed through the Summer School events of the past few years.”
At Lancaster Professor Brook, is responsible for authoring and leading the architectural history and theory programmes and directing the development of the School’s research.
“I view this role as Director of Research as an opportunity to make a serious and lasting commitment, building on the national and international networks I have established, as one that is enticing and energising,” he says.
Building on the School’s already strong research culture, with a full complement of research active staff, Professor Brook will lead the development of multi-disciplinary special interest groups allied to the design research laboratory ImaginationLancaster.
“In my own research I partner with heritage organisations, charities and statutory bodies, using novel digital means to bring history to life through a strong record of public engagement,” he explains.
“As an architectural historian, my work focusses on the post-war period, of which I take a holistic view.
“As such, my work examines the architecture, landscape, planning, urbanism and infrastructure of the period, their interwoven ideas and how they were influenced by successive government administrations and their policies.
“I want to connect teaching and research in ways that capitalise on Lancaster’s quality as a research-intensive university to create unique programmes that respond to the global challenges of our times.
“The School’s existing focus on future practice, digital crafts and the climate emergency are perfectly aligned with its geographical location, research expertise and international networks.”
Professor Brook, who qualified whilst working for BDP, an international firm of architects and engineers with their roots in Preston, entered academia as a lecturer at the University of Liverpool.
At the MSA he held a succession of leadership roles before his appointment as Professor of Architecture and Urbanism – experience that he is keen to apply to the young School at Lancaster as he joins this month.
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