Inspiring architecture for a changing world at Lancaster University

Lancaster University's new School of Architecture senior team (from left to right): Dr Ana Rute Costa, Professor Ruth Dalton and Des Fagan
Lancaster University's new School of Architecture senior team (from left to right): Dr Ana Rute Costa, Professor Ruth Dalton and Des Fagan

Lancaster University is to establish the first School of Architecture for the current, rapidly changing world, says its new professor and pioneer Ruth Dalton, who joins the School in November.

Speaking after the announcement of her new role as the Inaugural Professor of Architecture at Lancaster University, Professor Dalton says Lancaster will inspire a new generation of architects with an original conception of architecture.

She terms this conception ‘radical creativity with a conscience’.

“The issues currently faced by modern architects - future cities and rapid urbanisation, changing societal and family structures, new materials, the role of design in creating more liveable cities and sustainable communities - can only be tackled by highly creative and innovative, but also socially embedded, solutions,” she explains.

The new school will be open to ‘rethink things from scratch’, building upon Lancaster’s past as a radical, new university.

Professor Dalton adds: “What will set Architecture at Lancaster apart will be a research-driven agenda and an engagement with authentic, local projects as ‘testbeds’ for research and practice.”

The new Architecture team also includes award-winning academic and architect Des Fagan, previously the leader of the Institute of Architecture at UCLan, whose research interests are in future methods of practice. He started as the new Director of Architecture last month.  

Qualified architect Dr Ana Rute Costa is the third member of the new team. She brings experience in practice, research and teaching including design and collaboration on projects of different scales from housing to public buildings and urban plans.

Professor Dalton is currently Professor of Building Usability and Visualisation at the University of Northumbria at Newcastle and former Head of their Architecture and Built Environment Department.

She is a licensed architect with practice and design studio teaching experience, a leading member of the international Space Syntax community and world-leading expert on overlap between architecture and spatial cognition.

She is widely known as the level designer of the crowdsourced navigation game/app Sea Hero Quest, played by 4.3M people.

Prior to working in academia, she worked on several award-winning architectural projects for Foster + Partners.

Des Fagan will continue as an Independent Advisor and member of the Architectural Registration Board (ARB) Committee that prescribes all UK courses of architecture, alongside his new responsibilities at Lancaster.

Prior to working in academia, he worked on several international award-winning projects, including Project Architect for the London Olympic Village and Glasgow Transport Museum for Zaha Hadid Architects, winner of European Museum of the Year.

He comments: “This is an exceptional opportunity to bring fresh thinking to the next generation of architects, optimising place, craft and technology whilst engaging with key stakeholders in industry and smart city strategies.”

Dr Ana Costa qualified as an architect at Porto University in Portugal (FAUP). She is a member of ARB UK and Ordem dos Arquitectos, Portugal and holds a PhD in Educational Sciences.

She previously taught at FAUP, Norwich University of the Arts and Birmingham City University, where she was Deputy Programme Director for the BA (Hons) architecture.

The BA (Hons) Architecture course will open for applications for October 2020 entry from September 2019.

It is anticipated the Masters of Architecture will open for applications for October 2021 entry from September 2020, subject to full validation by Lancaster University.

The University is seeking prescription of both courses by the Architects Registration Board (ARB) and recognition by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA).

Find out more here about the BA (Hons) Architecture course:

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