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York appoints Professor Lorraine Farrelly to lead the new Department of Architecture and the Built Environment

Posted on 28 June 2023

Lorraine Farrelly has been appointed as the Founding Professor and Head of the new Department of Architecture and the Built Environment at the University of York.

Professor Lorraine Farrelly

Professor Farrelly will join York in September, leading the new department as it focuses on sustainable, solutions-based and environmentally responsible design.

The department, which will open for BArch and MArch students in September 2025, will eventually see up to 500 students enrolled.

Research collaboration

Lorraine is currently Professor of Architecture at the University of Reading, where she has been Head of Architecture since 2016 when she set up that new School.

She chairs the Standing Conference of Heads of Schools of Architecture (SCOSA) representing 56 schools across the country, and she oversees the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) new courses group, which advises and reviews new programmes and curriculum development.

Professor Farrelly said: “Architecture schools are always about place and the City of York’s heritage, combined with the reputation of the University’s expertise, will offer a brilliant context for teaching and research collaboration. 

“What also really interested me about this role is setting up the new department to respond to the University’s mission - being for public good.

"I’m looking forward to helping develop a curriculum where responsible design considers society first, and where architects and built environment professionals really connect with their communities in the design of our sustainable cities and public spaces.”

Outstanding architect

Vice-Chancellor Professor Charlie Jeffery said: “Lorraine is such a fantastic appointment and her distinguished career speaks for itself. She is an outstanding architect, with a proven track record when it comes to establishing a new school of architecture. I very much look forward to welcoming her to York.”

York’s new department will be part of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, collaborating with other research and teaching strengths across the University from computation and environment and geography, through to heritage and social policy.

Community groups

Professor Ambrose Field, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Global Strategy, who is leading on establishing the new Department at York, added: “Lorraine is the perfect match for York, especially with her current research about listening and consulting local communities on the future of their towns and cities.

"Such thought-leadership around how we partner with community groups will really supercharge our curriculum for our students, and inspire new collaborations in our research.”

The University aims for the course to be ARB-accredited and is in discussions with the registration board to eventually become the UK's 64th accredited architecture school. The aim is for all courses to be validated by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA).


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