learning architecture


a PhD in live projects and architectural education

About the author

James Benedict Brown was born and raised in East Anglia. He went to school in Cambridge and Winchester before studying for a BA in Architecture at the University of Sheffield (2001 – 2004), thereby achieving RIBA Part I.

From 2004 – 2006 James lived and worked in Northern Ireland and Canada, firstly as a student architect for a large commercial design practice in Belfast and subsequently as an administrative assistant in Montréal, Québec. Returning to Sheffield in 2006 to study towards a Masters degree in Architecture (M.Arch), James qualified for RIBA Part II. This included a semester at the Ecole nationale supérieure d’Architecture de Strasbourg and a brief period of employment in London. During this time he also participated in two live projects at Sheffield, including the 2006 Inconspicuous Yellow Office – an investigation into live projects and alternative architectural practice (pdf).

James graduated with his Masters in Architecture in 2008, his thesis design project proposing a museum and research facility of international frontiers built within the historic fortifications of the English/Scottish border town of Berwick-upon-Tweed.  His written dissertation, prepared during and after his semester in France, investigated the potential of comics and sequential art as a means to design and represent the built environment. That project utilised a blog as a research tool, and it remains online at nowordsnoaction.wordpress.com

The PhD thesis was completed in May 2012 and passed with minor revisions in September of that year. James now lives in Norwich with his wife (a dramaturg and playwright) where he is Lecturer in Architecture at Norwich University College of the Arts. He tweets in an unofficial capacity as @jbenedictbrown and writes occasionally for Building Design.