School of Architecture, Planning & Landscape

Staff Profile

Daniel Mallo

Lecturer in Architecture

Background

Daniel is a lecturer in architecture and registered architect. Originally from Spain, he graduated from the Madrid School of Architecture (ETSAM) in 1998 and gained working experience in the architectural practices of Florian Beigel (Architecture Research Unit, London Metropolitan University, 1999-2001) and Herzog & de Meuron (Basel, 2001-2004). In 2004, he co-founded, ec-architects, a research-led studio concerned with socially engaged spatial practice and material investigation in conditions of scarcity.

In 2008, Daniel was appointed lecturer in architecture at Newcastle University. This granted the opportunity of establishing links between research, teaching and practice whilst expanding the scope of his work on temporary urbanism and design participation. Together with Armelle Tardiveau, Daniel has led participatory projects with a variety of UK and international institutions, including Creative Partnerships Cumbria, Art Gene, the Natural History Society of Northumbria and the SPINDUS research project led by KU Leuven (Belgium). Currently he collaborates with local charities and communities in the North East of England.

His on-going research on Co-production explores the potential of design activism as a vehicle for the intensification of democratic practices in public space and a catalyst of new socio-material relations.

Research

Areas of research:

Temporary Urbanism as a socially engaged practice:

Temporary urbanism is attracting worldwide attention and has been praised for its capacity to transform socio-political and physical spaces, while at the same time it has been criticized for its tacit instrumentality as vehicle for the progressive gentrification of the urban environment. This research aims to contribute to the efforts of theorizing temporary urbanism by focusing on a socially engaged form of urban activism through design. We suggest that temporary interventions can be generative in making spatially embedded struggle visible and opening up opportunities that interlink the physical and socio-political spheres.

The Fabrications(s) of Temporary Urbanism:

Operating at the fringes of building regulations, activist-led constructions are entrusted with an exceptional freedom to use and to creatively misuse off-the-shelf, recycled and salvaged materials. This research focuses on the materiality, skills and construction techniques of such interventions, and evaluates the potential impact of an alternative open-source framework of technical literature with view to intensify the culture of such practices at a much wider scale.

Design participation:

Over the last decades, participatory design has been acclaimed for its capacity to achieve a higher level of involvement of users in significant decisions that affect their everyday life and working environment. Yet, growing concerns about the oversimplified and somewhat contested views of what participation entails highlight the too often disguised instrumentality of the consultation process and the lack of power of participants. This research builds on recent contributions from the participatory design literature that highlights a shift in the focus of the participatory impulse towards the social and political, in particular participatory approaches that open-up aspirations, mediate political concerns and ultimately contribute to the empowerment of participants.

Co-Production:

Co-production can be understood as a shift of citizens’ engagement in the place making process from debate into action. This research situates Co-production within the reconfiguration of urban space and focuses on the empowerment process whereby citizens not only contribute to decision-making but also become responsible stakeholders, thus ensuring post-project sustainability and co-management of the new environment. A series of interviews of stakeholders engaged in the making of Fenham Pocket Park (a case study developed by the authors in Newcastle upon Tyne) sheds light on the transformative process operated and demonstrates how a great variety of skills and abilities mobilsed over time foster a strong, resilient and mutually supportive community.

Authored paper in refereed journals

Tardiveau, A., & Mallo, D. (2014). Unpacking and Challenging Habitus: An Approach to Temporary Urbanism as a Socially Engaged Practice. Journal of Urban Design, 19(4), 456-472.

Chapter in edited book

Mallo, D. & Tardiveau, A. (2013) Gateshead Action: De rol van toe-eigening en actieve interpretatie in de zoektocht naar ruimtelijke kwaliteit (Gateshead Action: the role of appropriation and emancipation in search of spatial quality) in Handboek ruimtelijke kwaliteit. het Spindus-project: praktische methoden voor de beoordeling, implementatie, en evaluatie van ruimtelijke kwaliteit edited by Van den Broeck, P. et al. Brussel: ASP, 167-173  [In Flemish, English version entitled Manual for Spatial Quality. Consulting the Genius of Places, forthcoming].

Funded research

2015_ University of Newcastle, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Application to the H&SS Bid Preparation Fund – Funding awarded £4,400. Research staff involved: Geoff Vigar (PI), Daniel Mallo, Armelle Tardiveau (APL) with Rob Comber and Clara Cirvellaro (Culture Lab)

The primary focus of this research is to develop a bid to the cross-council (AHRC-led) Connected Communities programme. Building on the results of the Consultancy project at Cobalt Park, our intention is to deploy an enhanced version of our previous research study. We will use ethnographic techniques to develop and record our findings, with a particular focus on digital and offline technologies to enhance stakeholder participation in the research and develop future visions for the Park and its possible transformation.

2014_University of Newcastle, ESRC Impact Acceleration Account, Co-Production Fund – Funding awarded £9,900. Research staff involved: Geoff Vigar, Daniel Mallo, Armelle Tardiveau together with Rorie Parsons (ESRC-funded PhD student), Bryony Simcox (stage 3 Architecture student) and Clara Cirvellaro (PhD student, Culture Lab).

The project entitled “Sustrans DIY Streets (Fenham): creating and evaluating inspirational participation” emerges from the expertise of Sustrans and APL/ Culture Lab in community engagement and participation in the design of public realm. By using a combination of methods, we seek to overcome the limitations of engagement practice. We employ a methodological framework based on inspirational participation focused on the creation of temporary urban settings that help activate dialogue and imagination. We will then devise a framework for the long-term evaluation of the project, which focuses on the development of social and community capital (evaluated in the longer term as a case study by ESRC-funded PhD student Parsons).

Funded consultancy

2014_ Participatory-design study for Cobalt Business Park, “Cobalt Wide and Wild” by Geoff Vigar (PI), Armelle Tardiveau, Daniel Mallo and Abigail Schoneboom. The consultancy included three participatory workshops, an exhibition and a consultancy report. Funded by Cobalt Business Park: £9,300.

The research aims to obtain subtle and complex data about how people feel and use Cobalt Park. Therefore we privilege data collection methods such as observational field notes and semi-structured interviews to capture intimate snapshots of park users. Our study was informed by a review of relevant academic literature.

Teaching

Teaching

Since 2008, Daniel has been teaching design at undergraduate and postgraduate level including Architecture, Urban Design as well as Architecture and Urban Planning programmes. Past responsibilities include Stage 3 coordination (2008/9, 2011/12, 2012/13, 2013/14, 2014/15) and Stage 6 coordination (2009/10, 2010/11). In addition, he has been acting DPD for the MA in Urban Design and Module Leader of Urban Design and Architecture and Urban Planning modules. Current teaching includes:

ARC3001: Architectural Design, Stage 3 BA Architecture. Design studio leader

APL 3001: Alternative Practice: Co-Producing Space, Stage 3 BA Architecture and Urban Planning. Module leader

ARC3060: Dissertation supervisor. Key areas of supervision: temporary urbanism, participation, design activism, material re-use.

Engagement projects situated within the curriculum

Daniel’s research and practice are also embedded and play an important role in his teaching. Over the years, together with Armelle Tardiveau, he has led a series of engagement projects situated within the curriculum. In particular, students have worked in live projects with communities, built temporary interventions as well as contributed to community building. This collaboration has led to research case studies and more importantly to the empowerment of students, some of whom have pursued the path of socially engaged design as career path. Live projects include:

2013_ ARC3001 Architectural Design, stage 3 BA Architecture, “Pallet Pavilion” at the 2013 British Science Festival. As part of British Science Festival 2013 a group of stage 3 architecture students designed and built the ‘Pallet Pavilion’, a showcase for ecological relationships and urban biodiversity. Project developed in partnership with the Natural History Society of Northumbria and funded by Newcastle University’s Ignite grant scheme (£5,000).

2012/13_ ARC8058/68 Linked Research, stage 5/6 MA Architecture, “Gosforth Park Nature Reserve, towards an educational facility”. MArch students carried out a series of workshops with Year 7 school children of Longbenton Community College in order to develop, together with education specialists, new approaches to outdoor teaching and an architectural brief for a new education and research facility in Gosforth Park Nature Reserve. Project funded by Newcastle University Central Engagement (£3,600). In partnership with the Natural History Society of Northumbria and Long Benton Community College with the support of the Research Centre for Learning and Teaching (CfLaT) at Newcastle University.

2011/12_ ARC8058/68 Linked Research, stage 5/6 MA Architecture, “Gateshead Action Research”. With view to seek the mobilisation of disenfranchised and disempowered tenants in a social housing estate, a group of MArch students conceived and organised a series of actions with view to transform a disused outside space into a community hub. Funded by the SPINDUS research project led by KU Leuven (Belgium) (£3,000) and APL Engagement Committee (£1,500)

Publications