learning architecture


a PhD in live projects and architectural education

Prize winning onions

Sadly, these onions are not from our allotment. Photographed over the weekend during a weekend retreat to read some Pevsner and Banham and to re-acquaint myself with sunlight.

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This weekend, I was not reading at all.

Apologies, but my usual habit of posting details on my weekend reading plans came to nought this week. After a few days down south, we headed directly to the Isle of Arran for camping, eating, drinking and inhaling midges. Normal service has now resumed, although my legs are still itchy as hell…

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It’s all about timing


Two weeks ago (after months and months of not giving any) I gave two presentations in one day. Above is a slide from the first, a formal meeting on campus illustrating how I see myself working over the next three years. Below is a slide from the second, my first pecha kucha delivered in London, illustrating where I do much of my work. Both presentations went better than I had been expecting.


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PhD life: Norfolk asparagus

The asparagus season has started in England, and while at home in Norfolk over the weekend we celebrated the arrival of this wonderful crop. Dishes tried so far have included asparagus lasagne (don’t knock it until you’ve tried it), asparagus and eggs for breakfast and (perhaps my favourite) simply steamed asparagus served with melted butter and fresh garlic.

Sadly I’m back in the city now, and have yet to see such thick purpley-green stems in any of the shops.

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The same week that our first basil seeds start to germinate and poke out through the potting compost, I receive confirmation that I can commence studies towards a PhD. Automatically I begin to look at these delicate green basil seedlings and make some fairly predictable connections. I wonder if they feel the same amount of excitement and trepidation?

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About the project

learning architecture is an academic blog of James Benedict Brown, previously a doctoral candidate in architectural pedagogy at the School of Planning, Architecture and Civil Engineering at Queen's University Belfast, Northern Ireland. James passed his viva in September 2012 and graduated the following December.

About the author

James Benedict Brown has worked and studied in England, Northern Ireland, France and Canada. Following the completion of his PhD at QUB, he was appointed Lecturer in Architecture at Norwich University of the Arts. A short bio is here.

About the supervisors

The project is supervised by Prof. Ruth Morrow and Keith McAllister. Prior to his appointment at Qatar University in 2009, Prof. Ashraf Salama also supervised the project.


Click here for the bibliography to date.


Click here for a selection of peer-reviewed and non-peer-reviewed writing.


Click here for a glossary-in-progress of key terms used in the project.

Conference diary

Conferences and seminars of interest to the project.


All images are used for illustrative purposes only, and the copyright remains with the artist and/or creator. Please contact me if I have misappropriated an image or incorrectly credited it.


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