Internal walkway graphic

Finalist in Urban Design Group National Student Competition

Congratulations to Architectural and Urban Design MA student Rafa Grosso Macpherson, who is a finalist in the Urban Design Group’s national annual student competition.

Rafa’s concept design is based on the need to tackle the climate and biodiversity emergencies, starting by retaining existing structures and surfaces in an effort to reduce embodied energy from demolition and new building. But it is also an honest celebration of the industrial heritage of the 20th Century, many times forgotten and replaced with ‘anywhere developments’. One of the drivers for this concept design was to activate the derelict site with a network of destinations and hubs that will provide a function to residents, workers and visitors. Overall, the concept design tries to remain realistic but aspirational of a better future for people that feels connected to their place and the landscape.

Researcher to present healthcare carbon reduction plans to MPs and policymakers

University of Brighton researcher Julia Meister will showcase her ground-breaking work to MPs and Peers as a finalist in this year’s STEM For BRITAIN competition.

Julia is studying for a PhD in Computing in the University’s School of Architecture, Technology and Engineering, and is among a group of rising young scientists, engineers and mathematicians chosen as finalists in this year’s STEM For BRITAIN competition, which will take place at Westminster on 6 March.

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Photo of Jordan Whitewood in a wheelchair in a forest

Meet the Brighton activist fighting for disability justice in architecture

Architectural researcher and educator Jordan Whitewood-Neal is leading research, conversation and action for disability justice in building design. 

As Disability Awareness Month begins, University of Brighton architecture graduate Jordan Whitewood-Neal is leading a think tank at London School of Architecture, calling for the retrofit of buildings to better support disabled and ageing communities. “The architectural discipline has in the last few years finally begun to address race and gender inequities, but disability always trails behind,’ he said in a recent interview with the Royal Institute of British Architect’s RIBA Journal.

Having recently completed a master’s degree at Brighton, Jordan has been picked out by RIBA as one of its 2022 Rising Stars. “We can already see him making a difference to the way disability is talked about in projects and within the profession,” said Eleanor Young, one of the judges on the RIBA panel.

Describing himself as an activist as well as researcher, Whitewood-Neal has also co-founded the disability research collective Dis/, drawing on his own experiences as a wheelchair user. Teaming up with James Zatka-Haas and Anna Curzon Price, Dis/ grew out of an event at the London Festival of Architecture in which physically disabled and neuro-diverse creatives shared their experiences of navigating cities – stories Whitewood-Neal said usually remained “completely untold”.  

By leading research and conversation alongside driving action for disability justice in architectural education and practice, he hopes to raise the profile of disabled people within the profession. “A fundamental issue in architectural practice is a scarcity of disabled architects and designers,” he said. 

Dis/ aims to pair disabled architectural researchers with disabled people from outside the profession to talk critically about the city and the architectural needs of people with disabilities – and the struggles many needlessly face. Jordan sees this as not only spurring a consideration of disability as a critical part of the design process, but also a way to challenge the perceived homogeneity of disability – which too often looks no further than installing ramps. 

Jordan said: “After finishing my Masters in Architecture at the University of Brighton I was offered the chance to continue my studies there and expand on my ideas on the Architectural Research MRes. Since starting the course, I have presented my work at various conferences and events as well as undertaken projects including developing a design studio brief titled Retrofit as Reparation that I will be co-leading at the London School of Architecture.

“My research project on the MRes, tutored by Ben Sweeting and Tilo Amhoff, gave me an opportunity to explore novel research methods, alongside more conventional forms of archival research. This research has led to wider work campaigning for more inclusive architectural teaching, as well as founding Dis.”

Follow Jordan Whitewood-Neal on Twitter: @Jordan_WN_

Female Interior Design MA student cutting fabric in the studio

How winning an award at uni boosts my career

Winning a design prize was very satisfying and a real boost for my career. I’m Trish and I’m studying Interior Design MA. In this blog, I’m going to explain how I did it and why it makes a difference to my future.

What is the award and who runs it?
Will + Partners is a studio in London that specializes in architecture, interior design and graphic communications. Their design philosophy is to create environments that shape people and to initiate and collaborate with clients and designers to give rise to inspiring spaces.

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Photo of Damilola Ogunbiyi at a lecturn giving a speech

United Nations appoints Brighton graduate

A University of Brighton alumna has been appointed United Nations Special Representative for Sustainable Energy for All.

Damilola Ogunbiyi, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Nigeria’s Rural Electrification Agency, has also been selected as Co-Chair of United Nations-Energy which promotes “coherence within the UN family of organisations in the energy field”.

The appointments were announced by UN Secretary-General António Guterres.

Sustainable Energy for All is an international organisation launched by the then Secretary-General of the UN, Ban Ki-moon, to “help mobilize achievement of universal energy access, improve energy efficiency, and increase the use of renewable energy”.

The University of Brighton awarded Ms Ogunbiyi a Project Management for Construction BSc(Hons) in 2001 and a Project Management for Construction MSc the following year.

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