School of Architecture, Planning & Landscape

Design Office (do)

Design Office

The Design Office is an architecture and urban design consultancy run by the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape.

What do we do?

We are experienced in providing design and consultancy services to a range of clients from individuals to organisations and corporations.

We focus on research-led practice and practice-led research. This means that our work draws from the accumulated expertise of our leading school and the distinctive research abilities of our team. Beyond the reach of conventional architectural and urban design consultancies, we are distinctively placed to devise research-led solutions for unusual situations and special challenges.

We are used to working with our clients and collaborators to understand the unique requirements of every project and devise the input that’s appropriate at the time that it’s needed.

Our expertise relates directly to the School’s research themes and research centres. We also pursue work that connects these themes and extends them into new areas.

Increasingly, universities are interested in opportunities to transfer knowledge, to engage with communities and generate research ‘impact’. The Design Office is a vehicle for the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape to pursue these ends.

How do we do it?

All research begins by formulating the problem. We actively engage with clients and user groups to understand your needs, and we enjoy working with a wide variety of individuals and groups. We develop an appreciation of the parameters and variables of any problem. Our strategic solutions are based on evaluating and extending existing knowledge.

We produce sketch designs, strategic solutions and detail designs in relation to our research expertise. We have experience in working with existing buildings, on sensitive sites and in difficult locations. We are also able to:

  • advise on existing designs and plans
  • provide specialist advice on sustainability
  • carry-out post-occupancy evaluation of buildings
  • provide informed project facilitation and briefing services

The Design Office can set student projects which address aspects of particular urban design and architectural design problems (in those circumstances which also suit students’ educational priorities) and then make further proposals which develop the outcomes. The aim of this is to enhance the outcome and the experience of design for all concerned: students, clients, building users, consultants, researchers and others.

We provide full architectural and urban design consultancy services, informed by the research of the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape. However, we are not a conventional professional practice; it is not our intention to compete with existing practices for work on an everyday commercial basis. Instead we seek out those special projects that contain the special research challenges, which we are specially equipped to help with, beyond the capabilities of commercial practice. We are also interested in pursuing collaborations with existing design firms.


For further information please contact:

Adam Sharr
Professor of Architecture


Kim McCartney
Research and Consultancy Manager