School of Architecture, Planning & Landscape

Staff Profile

Professor Prue Chiles

Professor of Architectural Design Research


My work seeks to strengthen connections between people and design and on the reciprocal relationships between people, place, teaching, creativity and architectural design. I combine architectural practice with research and teaching. At the core of my work is a conviction that a research attitude to architectural design, combined with strategic sustainability in its widest social and environmental sense, is critical in any successful creative project or beautiful building.

In 2002 I initiated the Bureau-design research (Bdr) at the University of Sheffield, a unique research consultancy/project office, designed to raise the profile of architectural design in the building process both within and outside a university context. We carried out more than 60 funded projects gaining an international reputation for participatory practices, research consultancy and knowledge transfer; particularly for our work on neighbourhood design, designing learning environments, and new futures for the North of England. The same team, Howard Evans and Leo Care myself, with others, forms the architectural practice (Prue Chiles Architects - that has facilitated research-based practice in our built work. We have completed a number of innovative buildings/projects over the last 10 years, including a “Classrooms of the Future” and a bowling pavilion funded by Sport England. The projects have been widely exhibited and published in the Architectural Press and won RIBA Regional Awards including in 2014 the small project of the year award for the Yorkshire region. The practice work was recently profiled in Thames and Hudson’s 2013 “Architects Sketchbook’.

Administration and professional roles include Director of Architecture at the University of Sheffield School of Architecture 2008-2010 and a key client role in the highly successful refurbishment of the listed modernist Arts Tower, at the University.
I am a founding member of the Interdisciplinary and Inter-institutional Visual Culture Network.

I am committed to various advisory roles for both Central Government and Regional Agencies, I am on the faculty of the British School at Rome encouraging young architects to broaden their design and research skills in the heady atmosphere of Rome. I am Chair of Trustees for the community-led design charity Glass – House.



Current research projects:

  1. Research into Learning Environments – commissioned book on school design by Birkhauser (in press –May 2015)
  2. New and Sustainable futures – Co-I of large interdisciplinary co-produced solar futures project, EPSRC funded
  3. Co-production and participation – an AHRC collaborative PhD award(£54,000) to consolidate and research Bdr’s collaboration with our partner Glasshouse (nationally renowned community-led regeneration agency)
  4. Domestic Space – PI/Co I in Large ESRC/AHRC connected communities Project, Imagine. Looking at new futures at Park Hill.


As a teacher I have been a passionate advocate of educating students in both inspirational conceptual knowledge and experimentation and practical skills both challenging and relevant to contemporary society and to the changing architectural profession. As well as history and theory and design studio in 1999
I set up and developed up the acclaimed student-led Live Project Programme in Sheffield linking this closely to introducing participation and creative techniques of engagement into the MArch curriculum.
This and the Bdr work set within wider contemporary themes is subject to a book “Participatory design and regeneration; case studies, tools and ideas for building locally in a global world.” to be published in 2016

I enjoy all aspects of teaching and have a number of PhD students mainly carrying out PhD’s by design or creative practice.