School of Architecture, Planning & Landscape

Staff Profile

Dr Neil Burford

Reader in Architecture


Neil Burford is a Reader in Architecture in the Department of Architecture, Planning and Landscape (SAPL) at Newcastle University. I am a professionally accredited architect with over 20 years of experience in education having developed my career at the University of Dundee and prior to this in professional practice. I joined SAPL in 2017, and have since taken up the roles of Director of Technology, Co-Director (with Katie Lloyd Thomas ) of the Architecture Research Collaborative (ARC) and Stage 2 studio leader (with Christos Kakalis). My work has involved combining creative practice with research into lightweight structures and sustainable housing. 


During the early part of my career I led a research group in Lightweight Structures with contribution from architects, engineers and material scientists. The Unit’s work involved the design and fabrication of a number of novel, award winning mobile and temporary building prototypes, development of self-assembly building systems and snap-fit connections using advanced composite materials. My current research is in nearly zero energy buildings and in the development of alternative adaptable/flexible housing typologies for autarkic communities. I recently conducted a study for ClimateXChange and Scottish Government (with Onyango, Moyo and Wright) assessing the impact of GHG emission reduction policy in new buildings in Scotland. While at the University of Dundee, I initiated (with Rodley, Reynolds and Jones) an interdisciplinary project with industry to design and build the UK’s first Zero-Emission Building Laboratory at the University Botanic Gardens, Dundee. This was conceived to test practical solutions for energy balancing concepts in a prototype building using LZCGT’s, energy storage and intelligent building controls. A new area of work (with Christos Kakalis and Ivan Marquez Munoz): Conquering Dragons: New Structural Chronologies of Sustainable Alpine Huts is investigating new approaches to off-grid, remote mountain huts in the Western and Central Alps and perceptions of comfort.  Further information on this project can be found on our Instagram account at #alpine_hut_project and at



I have experience in teaching across all years of the undergraduate and postgraduate courses in architecture. My research and practice have been supported by postgraduate teaching and PhD studies. I ran MacroMicro©, a research-led MArch Live Projects Unit between 2007 to 2017 (with Thurrot until 2012 and then Robertson 2012-2017), which undertook community-based design projects and live build for communities on the Isle of Eigg, Knoydart Peninsula and the National Trust for Scotland. The MSc in Design and Construction of Zero-Carbon and Ultra-Low Energy Buildings was established in 2012 which received 4 years of Scottish Government funding to upskill and upscale industry and the professions in ultra low energy building design. I received the Royal Institute of Architects In Scotland, ‘Scottish Design Tutor Award’ for teaching excellence in 2013-2015.


  • Burford N, Jones R, Reynolds S, Rodley R. Macro Micro Studio: A Prototype Energy Autonomous Laboratory. Sustainability 2017, 8(6), 500.
  • Onyango V, Burford NK, Wright FE, Moyo D. The Effectiveness of Greenhouse Gas Emission Policies in Scottish Local Development Plans. Dundee, UK: University of Dundee, 2016. IQ2-2015.
  • Burford NK, Smith FW. Developing a New Military Shelter System: a technical study. Building Research & Information 1999, 27(2), p. 64-83.
  • Burford NK, Kakalis C, Marquez Munoz I. CONQUERING DRAGONS: Structural Chronologies of Alpine Architecture. In: Martin Beattie, Christos Kakalis and Matthew Ozga-Lawn, ed. Mountains and Megastructures: Neo-geologic landscapes of human endeavour. 2019. In Preparation.
  • Zhang J, Burford NK, Cheng B, Feng S, Zou F, Wang J, Wang Y. Analysing the problems of building energy efficiency in China, and resolution method exploration, experimentation. International Journal of Engineering Sciences & Research Technology 2018, 7(6), 209-240.
  • Burford NK, Robertson C. Earth, Density and Form: The Role of New Housing Models in Building Sustainable Rural Communities. In: PLEA 2018. 2018, Hong Kong: PLEA.
  • Burford NK, Wright FE, Onyango V. LZCGT impact on GHG reductions in Scotland's new domestic buildings. Energy Policy 2019, 129, 34-52.
  • Burford NK, Robertson C, Rodley D. HYBRID ADAPTABILITY: Zero-Emission Lifetime Homes in the Remote Rural. In: PLEA 2018. 2018, Hong Kong: PLEA.
  • Burford NK, Reynolds S, Rodley D, Jones R, Ahmed K. Prototype low-energy studio in Dundee Botanic Gardens. In: Scottish Renewables Solar Conference and Exhibition. 2016, Edinburgh.
  • Reynolds S, Rodley D, Burford N. Prototype Energy Autonomous Studio in Dundee, Scotland. In: 6th International Conference on Sustainable Energy and Environmental Protection. 2013, Mirabor Slovenia.
  • Burford NK, Pearson AD. Ultra-Low-Energy Perspectives for Regional Scottish Dwellings. Intelligent Buildings International 2013, Vol. 5, No. 4.
  • Burford NK, Pearson AD, Smith FW. Defining the Energy Efficiency Design Envelope for Regional Scottish Passivhaus Dwellings. In: 16th International Passivhaus Conference, Hanover, Germany. 2012.
  • Burford NK, Thurrott J, Pearson AD. Minimum Energy Maximum Space: Higher Density Attached Family Housing. Open House International 2011, Vol. 36, No. 3.
  • Burford NK, Thurrott J, Pearson AD. Between Town and Country: New Concepts in Sustainable Rural Development . In: Second International Conference on Sustainable Architecture and Urban Development, SAUD 2010. 2010, Aman, Jordan.
  • Burford NK, Smith FW, Gengnagel C. The Evolution of Arches as Lightweight Structures: A History of Empiricism and Science. In: Third International Congress on Construction History. 2009, Brandenburg University of Technology, Cottbus.
  • Burford NK, Gengnagel C. A Very Rapidly Deployable Canopy System. In: Kronenburg, R. & Klassen, F, ed. Transportable environments 3: theory, context, design and technology. 2006, pp.p. 158-171.
  • Burford NK, Gengnagel C, Smith FW. Tensile Restrained Arches. Stahlbau 2006, 75, 8.
  • Burford NK, Gengnagel C. Transformable Structures for Mobile Shelters. In: Adaptables 2006: International conference on the design and engineering of adaptable buildings structures. 2006, Delft.
  • Burford NK, Gengnagel C. A Morphology of Mobile Shelter Systems. In: Shell and spatial structures from models to realization. 2004, University Montpellier II, Languedoc Roussillon, Montpellier, France: International Association for Shell and Spatial Structures.
  • Burford NK, Gengnagel C. A very Rapidly Deployed Canopy System. In: 3rd International Conference on Portable Architecture and design. 2004, Toronto.
  • Burford NK, Gengnagel C. Mobile Shelter Systems: two case studies in innovation. In: Shell and spatial structures from models to realization. 2004, University Montpellier II, Languedoc Roussillon France: IASS Symposium.
  • Baglin P, Wilkinson K, Burford NK, Smith FW. ARIES – A Demountable Canopy. In: Space Structures 5. 2002, London: Thomas Telford.
  • Burford NK, Smith FW. Bend It, Shape It: Creating an Arched Structure from a Linear Pultruded Section. In: Composites and Plastics in Construction. Rapra Technology Ltd, 1999.
  • Burford NK, Smith FW. Developing a New Military Shelter System: a study in collaboration and innovation. Building Research & Information 1999, 27,1.
  • Burford NK, Fish DCE, Smith FW. Lightweight Military Shelter. In: R. Kronenburg, ed. Transportable Environments – Theory, Context and Design. E&FN Spon, 1998, pp.pp156-164.
  • Burford NK, Fish DCE, Smith FW. Lightweight Military Shelter. In: Portable Architecture. 1997, Royal Institute of British Architects: RIBA.