Architecture lecturer wins RIBA House of the Year

Architects Hayhurst and Co, founded by lecturer Nick Hayhurst, have won the prestigious RIBA House of the Year 2023 for a house inspired by nature. 

The award, presented by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), recognises the best example of UK one-off house design.    

The winning house, Green House, in a conservation area in Tottenham, London, was praised by the jury as being airy, cosy and bold but also respectful of its neighbours. 

The RIBA House of the Year 2023 jury comprised: Dido Milne, Director of CSK Architects, Bev Dockray, co-founder of Coppin Dockray Architects, Jessam Al-Jawad, Director and co-founder of multi-disciplinary architecture studio Al-Jawad Pike and Albert Hill, co-founder of The Modern House and Inigo. 

Staff and students representing the Gell-P and DEPLOY! projects sitting with five at the back and three people in the front

Last minute checks for research teams as countdown for weightless flights begins

Researchers practice for zero gravity flight to put ground-breaking experimental devices through their paces

The University of Brighton teams, including Aerospace Engineering MEng student Erin Saltmarsh, will have just 20 seconds at a time to run tasks in weightless conditions.

During each flight the plane will climb to an altitude of 7,500m before the aircraft goes into a 3000m high roller coaster climb and fall during which weightlessness will be experienced for about 20 seconds. This will happen 30 times in each of the three planned flights. Not surprisingly teams will be given anti-nausea jabs prior to the flights. Staff and students from the Schools of Architecture,Technology and Engineering, School of Sport and Health Sciences, Centre for Regenerative Medicines and Devices and Advanced Engineering Centre representing the Gell-P and DEPLOY! Projects gathered to go through a series of tightly choreographed tasks in preparation for the flights at the end of the month.

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Headshot of Dr Idil Aydin engineering lecturer

Meet Dr Idil Fenercioglu Aydin

Idil Aydin is course leader for the Aerospace Engineering courses at the University of Brighton. Her area of expertise is in experimental aerodynamics, and she loves teaching students about the physics of flight, flight dynamics and aircraft design.

My subject and my experience
I’ve been fascinated by aviation and space since I was young. I studied Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering at Istanbul Technical University and started workings as a research assistant during my post graduate studies. This role involved actively supporting teaching in the supersonic wind tunnel and low-speed fluid dynamics facilities.

Subsequently, I earned my Master’s degree in Aerospace Engineering and embarked on a research role in a DLR project at the RWTH-Aachen Shock Wave Laboratory before I returned to ITU to pursue my Aerospace Engineering PhD in experimental aerodynamics.

Following my Post-Doc position at the University of Bath, I had the privilege of teaching orbital mechanics at the Turkish Air Force Postgraduate Academy, while also holding a regular teaching position at ITU, where I conveyed my practice-based knowledge in compressible aerodynamics and experimental methods in fluid dynamics to my students.

What I love about teaching and about Brighton
Teaching and mentoring have always been integral parts to my role, and I derive immense satisfaction from these aspects of my career.

My journey led me to the University of Brighton, where I was captivated by the vibrant engineering research culture and the opportunity to continue my passion for teaching and research.

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Meet Dr Goran Soldar

Goran Soldar is course leader on our Computer Science BSc(Hons) degree.

My journey into teaching
Many years ago, when in secondary school (equivalent to sixth form in the UK), I studied the programming languages, such as FORTRAN 4 and COBOL, that were the computer languages for the computer systems then.

After completing sixth form I went to university and studied Computer Science and Information Systems, which equipped me with the knowledge and skills for software development. Since then, my work always has been in the IT industry, working on various projects.

The best thing about teaching is the ability to pass your knowledge to students and see them succeed in their professional career.

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Meet Jennie Harding

Jennie Harding is the course leader for our Software Engineering BSc(Hons) degree at Brighton.

My career path and journey into teaching.
I was training as a nurse and left to have a child. When I returned to work I worked for supporting housing, supporting clients based on alarm call response and was intrigued to see the database system that enabled call handlers to responds to an alarm and also call next of kin or career, access information about GPs, medications, call history amongst other things.

This seemed to solve so many of the problems that I’d seen in hospitals around discharge care, for example people remaining in hospital when there was no medical need. I was hooked on how well-thought-out systems can help people. So I changed my plan from completing my nurse training and took a computing degree instead.

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Rachel Forss with Marco Bernagozzi

Brighton researchers take to zero gravity to improve lower limb wound treatment in space

Brighton researchers will analyse pioneering lower limb test kit in zero gravity to learn more about wound healing in space and improve diagnosis here on Earth.

Led by Rachel Forss from the School of Sport and Health Sciences and the Centre for Regenerative Medicines and Devices, the research team will conduct experiments on a parabolic flight in April 2024 from the Novespace centre in Bordeaux to assess how weightlessness impacts the circulation to the lower leg. 

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Hannah Wood

Meet Dr Hannah Wood

Hannah Wood is a Principal Lecturer in the built environment subject area, focusing specifically on construction and project management. Hannah’s experience in the construction industry began in topographical surveying, moving into construction engineering and management.

My career path and journey to teaching

My interest in engineering and construction goes back to my childhood, my father was a topographical surveyor and I used to spend a lot of my school holidays accompanying him to work which I always enjoyed.  Initially I was planning on studying to be a civil engineer, but after attending some university open days and finding out more about the industry I decided that Construction Management would be the best fit for me.

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Sanaz Fallahkhair

Meet Dr Sanaz Fallahkhair

Dr Sanaz Fallahkhair is a Principal Lecturer in Human Computer Interaction. Sanaz’s research interests include human-centred development of new technologies that incorporate studies of user’s experiences, cognition and collaboration in designing a novel intelligent systems delivered via multiple platforms: mobile devices, interactive television, tag-based technologies, wearable technologies, and robotic interactions.

Why I wanted to get into teaching

I always been interested in understanding the universe in scientific, and artistic perspectives. It may sound controversial but to me the combination of science, art and humanity together can only triumph. Exploring a potential of novel technologies into designing something useful, usable and accessible was my aspiration when started to purse career into software engineering through my UG degree and later to PG and PhD.

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Duncan Baker-Brown

Meet Duncan Baker-Brown

Duncan is a part-time Principal Lecturer and Climate Literacy Champion based at the University of Brighton. He is a qualified Chartered RIBA Architect who has practised, researched, and taught around issues of sustainable design, the Circular Economy and closed-loop systems for over 25 years.

My career path and journey to teaching

When I was younger I wanted to be either a gamekeeper or work for Greenpeace. My mum said that she thought one day the only natural spaces in the UK would be the nature reserves, which slightly terrified me, so I was always aware of environmental issues.

I was always really good at art – my uncle was an architect and it was him that got me interested in architecture –  I worked with him at his practice in London.

After I’d studied a postgrad in London I came down to Brighton where I was given the space to do what I wanted, which in 1990 was to look at sustainable design and the way I could merge the environmental activist in me with the designer. Brighton uni has allowed me to do that for 30 years, so it’s been incredible.

In 1993 me and another student from Brighton entered the RIBA’s House of the Future competition which we won, and I was invited back to teach in Brighton in 1994. Architecture is on one level a vocational pursuit but there’s no better way than being involved in an academic environment where you are doing research as you’re having to explain your ideas in a very rigorous way. And with teaching, having students asking questions really keeps you on your toes!

How I combine my professional life with teaching

I’ve always enjoyed collaborating. My practice worked on the Greenwich Millennium Village for a few years, we were teaching and also running the Innovation Task Force for the Greenwich Peninsula envisioning what urban sustainability would look like.

In 2008 we took part in a Channel 4 TV show called the House that Kevin Built which was a live version of Grand Designs. We had to design and construct a prefabricated house made primarily out of organic carbon locking materials in only six days. It was the UK’s first A* rated low energy dwelling and it was 90% carbon locking materials. But the frustrating thing was students weren’t involved, so we had this idea to do a rebuild of it at the University of Brighton as a school project.

We changed it and with totally different material sources and the emphasis of it. The design and construction process involved professionals and students as young as fifteen – with over 360 students, plus over 750 school kids. Whatever module they were doing around design, technology, construction, professional practices, they were achieving their module credits by being involved with the design and construction of this live project, which the Guardian newspaper named the Waste House. It is a two-story teaching facility on campus which is also an ongoing research project and laboratory.

I’m really passionate about social justice and climate justice

I’ve just come back from COP27 where I was speaking, and that was the number one issue there which is why we had success with the ‘loss and damage’ funding decision for climate change impact on the Global South.

Understanding the real social and environmental impact that your decisions as a designer make, is what I’m really passionate about. When you think about where things come from – you need to find out if child/ forced labour is involved in the extraction of the copper you are going to use for example.

Advice I’d give to prospective students

You’ll be working quite hard and a lot of the way we teach at Brighton is studio orientated, so you’ll be working with a lot of people. Designing buildings is complex and hugely exciting but you need to learn to work as part of a team.

The great thing about architecture is that you could be designing a door knob or a city -the scale of projects can really be very diverse! And you can bring your own passions that might be outside the built environment into it – for me it’s been 35 years of doing lots of different jobs under the banner of architecture. I couldn’t decide what I wanted to do as I liked art, design, science, nature and architecture is a big enough umbrella – you can bring lots to it.

What I love about teaching is that it’s intellectual exercise that keeps you fit – you realise how unfit you are in that world after a day or two teaching!

Cliff Dansoh profile shot

Meet Dr Cliff Dansoh

How did you choose your subject?

I have spent most of my life in industry. Having started in the Royal Navy and then through a range of consultancy roles I have been lucky enough to experience a variety of diverse types of engineering and ways of getting things done. This journey has impressed upon me the merits of not only being technically competent, but:

  • Having the vision and creativity to establish what needs to be done; and
  • The implementation skills, competencies and behaviours to have the best chance of actually achieving the end.

      What are you most proud of in your career?

      I worked for London Underground in a variety of consultancy roles over several years. On the rare occasions these days that I travel on the London Underground, I have a spark of pride when an S Stock train comes into view having spent 3 years as part of the team that bought it into service.

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