Design, Theory and Practice (DTP)

About us

The Design, Theory and Practice (DTP) group undertakes design research produced inside and outside the discipline of architecture in order to facilitate the advancement of architectural research as a creative practice. The group explores the relationship between the theory and practice of design-based research in architecture.

Members of the group undertake research using methods typically used in architectural design as well as methods from other disciplines including: 

  • architectural drawing/ modelling/ prototyping
  • painting and non-architectural drawing
  • film making; photography
  • creative writing
  • digital fabrication. 

The research focuses on places and buildings in a variety of contexts around the world and aims to be grounded in the communities that participate in it.

Black and white illustration

Related courses

Research impact

Interior of building

The research done in the Design, Theory and Practice group informs professional practice and explores the relationship between theory and built form. The projects are wide ranging and look at a broad spectrum of topics, including:

  • therapeutic environments
  • live projects
  • digital fabrication
  • cultures of practice.

Using an evidence-based approach, and in collaboration with charities, local communities, industry partners and governments, the research has resulted in the improvement of the nature, efficacy and inclusivity of architectural environments in contexts as diverse as cancer centres, courtrooms, local neighbourhoods and arctic environments. 


Marcel Vellinga

Professor Marcel Vellinga

Professor of Anthropology of Architecture

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Name Role Email
Professor Jane Anderson Programme Lead for Undergraduate Architecture
Mr Justin Chapman Lecturer
Mr Joël Chappell Senior Lecturer
Ms Ruth Cuenca Senior Lecturer
Hannah Durham Lecturer
Ms Christina Godiksen Head of School
Mike Halliwell Lecturer in Architecture and Making
Adam Holloway Lecturer
Mr Karl Kjelstrup-Johnson Programme Lead - Apprenticeships
Mr Owen Pearce Lecturer
Dr Andrea Placidi Senior Lecturer and Subject Coordinator for Interior Architecture
Dr Daria Ricchi Senior Lecturer in Architecture
Dr Emma Rowden Senior Lecturer
Mr Ralph Saull Senior Lecturer
Mr Toby Shew Senior lecturer, M.Arch.D Design Lead
Mr Toby Smith Senior Lecturer
Mr Scott Sworts Post-Graduate Programme Lead
Mr Jon Tollit Associate Lecturer
Professor Marcel Vellinga Professor of Anthropology of Architecture


Active projects

Project title and description Investigator(s) Funder(s) Dates

Supporting Online Justice

Covid-19 has forced radical changes upon the justice system with many trials taking place online from participants' homes, with no one being present in a physical courtroom. Through consultation with court users and the design of new online orientation content, this project addresses the lack of online support designed to prepare members of the public for appearing in court from their own home and to guide them around these new virtual spaces.

Dr Emma Rowden ESRC From: November 2020
Until: April 2022

Completed projects

Project title and description Investigator(s) Funder(s) Dates

Maggie’s Cancer Centres

The research team focus on the Maggie’s Centres buildings, their internal organisation and social interaction in order to assess the positive therapeutic impact of architecture in the context of a cancer support programme that aims to empower patients beyond traditional hospital settings.

Dr Andrea Placidi From: September 2017
Until: March 2022