Critical Subjects:

Spring Architecture & Design School

Think critically, design differently


Nicholas Boys Smith, founder, Create Streets; chair, Office for Place

Nicholas is a writer, director of Create Streets, Commissioner of Historic England and a research fellow at the University of Buckingham on Urban Design.

The driving force behind Create Streets is the belief that terraced housing is better for the wellbeing of the occupant than the tower block. He was made chair of the Building Better Building Beautiful Commission, which sought to promote high-quality design in new-build neighbourhoods.

He is the author of “No free parking: The curious history of London’s monopoly Streets” and has written for the Spectator, Evening Standard, Sunday Times, and the Telegraph.

Twitter: @boys_nicholas


Helen MacNeil, Architect, Principal at HA! Honest Architecture and Associate at Shedkm

As project lead for the Circus Street mixed use development in Brighton, Helen oversaw the design and construction of 142 homes, 450 student rooms, office, retail and dance space. The regeneration project was named the AJ100 Building of the Year in 2022.

Central to her work is her belief in social value, access for all and wellbeing; recently being appointed an associate of the Quality of Life foundation.

She is the principal of Honest Architecture and founder of HA! a series of free speech dinners for the architectural industry.

LinkedIn: Helen MacNeil


Catherine Croft, director, 20th Century Society

In addition to her responsibilities as Director of C20 Society, Catherine is editor of the C20 magazine. Prior to this appointment she worked as a building inspector for English Heritage in London and the Midlands, as well as a caseworker for the Victorian Society.

Catherine has lectured internationally on building conservation, her specialism being the conservation of concrete, which she teaches at West Dean College for the IHBC.

She is the author of “Concrete Architecture”, contributor to Historic England’s “Practical Building Conservation” and has written for Building Design, the Architect’s Journal and the Guardian.

Twitter: @CatherineCroft


Tiffany Jenkins, sociologist and author

Tiffany is a writer, cultural commentator and honorary fellow of the University of Edinburgh in the Department of Art History.

She is the author of “Contesting human remains in museum collections: The crisis of cultural authority” and “Keeping their Marbles: How the treasures of the past end up in museums – and why they should stay there”, which examines the controversies around the repatriation of artefacts and the questions of who owns culture and how to rectify historical injustices.

She has previously been a visiting fellow at the LSE and director for Arts and Society at the Institute of Ideas and has written for the FT, the Guardian and the Spectator, is the culture editor for Sociology Compass and a columnist for The Scotsman. She is currently working on her next book, titled “Strangers and intimates: The rise and fall of private life”.

Twitter: @tiffanyjenkins


Charlotte Gill, artist and journalist

Charlotte is an artist and freelance journalist, currently writing for The Sunday Telegraph, The Mail on Sunday, The i, and The Critic on topics such as politics, feminism and psychology. She has written widely on housing and transport issues, and is currently finalising an album of electronic music.

Twitter: @C_C_Gill


Ike Ijeh, journalist, author of Designing London and 50 Greatest Architects

Ike is a practicing architect and author. He is also head of housing, architecture and has written a number of books on architecture. As a prominent award-winning UK architecture critic for over 10 years, Ike has also sat as a judge on a number of prestigious national architecture awards including the Architect of the Year Awards, Building Awards and the Carbuncle Cup. He is also founder of London Architecture Walks, London’s original architectural guided walks provider, and has taught extensively on architecture in his capacity as a visiting lecturer to schools and universities in the UK, US, Denmark and France.

He is also a committed campanologist and proud member of the Middlesex County Association and London Diocesan Guild of Church Bell Ringers.

Twitter: @ikeijeh


Lord Moylan, Conservative peer, chair of the House of Lords Select Committee on the Built Environment.

Daniel Moylan has served as deputy leader of Kensington and Chelsea Council, deputy chairman of Transport for London under Boris Johnson and chairman of the London Legacy Development Corporation during the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. He was made a peer and entered the House of Lords in 2020. He chairs the Lords Built Environment Select Committee.

He has expressed strong opposition to the Online Safety Bill on account of its consequences for freedom of speech and privacy.

Twitter: @danielmgmoylan


Alastair Donald, convenor of Living Freedom.

Alastair is the associate director of the Academy of Ideas and co-convenor of the 2019 Battle of Ideas festival. He is the convenor of the boi’s annual Living Freedom residential school for young people to explore the meaning and ideals of freedom in the twenty-first century.

Alastair has worked in the UK and internationally to develop festivals, exhibitions and curated programmes. He is author of “The Scottish Question”, published as part of the series Letters on Liberty and co-editor of two books,”The Lure of the City: from slums to suburbs”, and “The Future of Community: reports of a death greatly exaggerated”. He is co-director of Future Cities Project and a founding member of mantownhuman.

Twitter @MaximumCities


Patrik Schumacher, principal, Zaha Hadid Architects

Patrik Schumacher has led Zaha Hadid Architects since March 2016. He joined Zaha Hadid in 1988 and was seminal in developing Zaha Hadid Architects to become a 450-strong global architecture and design brand.

Patrik Schumacher studied philosophy, mathematics, and architecture in Bonn, Stuttgart, and London and is an academician of the Berlin Academy of Arts. In 1996 he founded the Design Research Laboratory at the Architectural Association in London where he continues to teach.

In 2008 he coined the phrase Parametricism as the new epochal style for the 21st century. In 2010/2012 he published his two-volume theoretical opus magnum “The Autopoiesis of Architecture”. Patrik Schumacher is widely recognized as one of the most prominent thought leaders within the fields of architecture, urbanism, and design. His latest book is “Tectonism” about the evolution of the new architecture for the 21st century.

Twitter: @patrik_schu


Sandy Starr, deputy director, Progress Educational Trust

Sandy Starr is deputy director of the Progress Educational Trust (PET), a charity that advances public understanding of science, law and ethics in the fields of genetics/genomics, assisted conception and embryo/stem cell research. Sandy also serves on the Oversight Group of the project Governance of Stem-Cell-Based Embryo Models, led by Cambridge Reproduction.

Sandy has addressed MPs in the UK Parliament on the subject of human embryo research, and has given a TEDx talk about genomics. He is author of the pamphlet AI: Separating Man from Machine, and he has also written about AI in relation to the life and legacy of Ada Lovelace.

Web: Sandy Starr


Timandra Harkness, writer, broadcaster and presenter.

Timandra’s is author of “Big Data: does size matter?” and currently writing her second non-fiction book. She is a regular writer and presenter on BBC Radio 4, including FutureProofing, How To Disagree, Steelmanning and Political School. Her BBC documentaries include “Data, Data Everywhere”, “Divided Nation”, “What Has Sat-Nav Done To Our Brains”, and “Five Knots”. She was also resident reporter on all eight seasons of social psychology series “The Human Zoo”.

Timandra formed the first comedy science double-act in the UK with neuroscientist Dr Helen Pilcher. Since then she’s written and performed scientific and mathematical comedy across the world. Her solo show Take A Risk previewed at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Timandra is a graduate fellow of the Royal Statistical Society, and a founder member of their Data Ethics and Governance Section.

Twitter: @TimandraHarkness


Christos Passas, director, Zaha Hadid Architects

Christos is a director at Zaha Hadid Architects and has been involved in many of the practice’s seminal projects such as the Rosenthal Centre for Contemporary Art in Cincinnati; the MAXXI: National Museum of 21st Century Art in Rome; and the Sheikh Zayed Bridge in Abu Dhabi. He is currently working on the Trojena ski resort at Neom in Saudi Arabia.

Over the years, Christos has worked closely with Zaha Hadid and is one of the practice’s Design Leaders. During his 25+ year tenure in the office he has co-authored a number of seminal projects for the practice, such as the design of the Phaeno Science Centre project in close collaboration with Zaha Hadid built in 2005 in Wolfsburg, Germany, which was shortlisted for the Sterling prize in 2006 and awarded the 2006 RIBA European Award.

More recently, he co-authored projects such as the OPUS and Melia’s Me Hotel in Dubai, the highly sustainable urban intervention of Eleftheria Square, a project that brings together urban design and architecture while interweaving layers of archaeology and tradition.

Through his engagement with ZHA, Christos has developed a series of visionary projects with an innovative outlook aiming to bridge the gap between Ecology and Technology, formulating a research agenda for the habitat of the future in the years to come.

LinkedIn: Christos Passas


Jee Liu, co-founder, Wallace Liu

Wallace Liu is an architecture and landscape design company with an international reputation for its innovative and creative approach to the adaptive reuse of buildings and landscapes. Jee led on the Chongqing Industrial Museum, a building set within the remnants of the historic Chongqing Steel plant. She is also a visiting lecturer at the Royal College of Art in London.

Jee was born in Shandong province, Eastern China, and since 2009 has lived and practiced in both the UK and China. She was a co-founder of DoCoMoMo China, an offshoot of the international modernist heritage conservation body, and is a visiting lecturer at Leicester School of Architecture. Jee has published widely and lectured at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London and the USC American Academy in China.

Instagram: jee_liu


Jide Ehizele, The Railway Consultancy
Jide is a consultant to The Railway Consultancy, a member of the Transport Statistics Users’ Group, which provides national and international information in the fields of railway planning, operations, economics and management. He has written articles on rural poverty alleviation in Africa, Chinese influence on infrastructure in Africa as well as the Northern Powerhouse rail franchise. He writes for Construct Africa and The Equiano Project, (the ideas forum that focuses on race, culture and politics) and has led many discussions on strategic Nigerian railway development.
Linkedin: Jide Ehizele


Palak Jhunjhunwala, co-founding director of beyonddesign

Palak is an advocate of design innovation and sustainable design. She has a keen understanding of individual users and is sensitized to a diverse range of contexts through her education and professional practice in UK, India and other locations. Her practice is user-focused and involves collaborative approaches such as codesign.

Palak aims to push agendas such as diverse representation in the construction industry, sustainable innovation and mental well-being through her practice. She is a passionate innovator and collaborator and has an expertise in design, offsite delivery and complex developments. She is a member of BAME in Property and works actively to positively inform towards EDI in the industry. She has previously been involved in teaching and mentoring programs in India and UK.

Linkedin – Palak Jhunjhunwala


Martyn Perks, designer

Martyn is a digital media consultant (advising large-scale companies and public-sector organisations on business and technology trends and workplace technology), a journalist, and events organiser. Martyn writes, speaks and produces debates about a wide variety of issues, including design, innovation, privacy, free speech and the impact of technology on society. He is the co-author of the radical Big Potatoes: The London Manifesto for Innovation.



Austin Williams, director, Future Cities Project

Austin Williams is course leader in the post-graduate diploma programme in Architecture and Professional Practice at Kingston School of Art in London and Honorary Research Fellow at XJTLU University, Suzhou, China where he lived from 2011-2017. He was previously the Technical Editor of The Architects’ Journal, and China correspondent for The Architectural Review.

He is the director of the Future Cities Project, and the author of China’s Urban Revolution and New Chinese Architecture: Twenty Women Building the Future.

Williams founded the mantownhuman manifesto featured in Penguin Classics’ 100 Artists Manifestos and was the author and illustrator of RIBA series of books, Shortcuts: essential guides for building designers. He hosts the Professional Practice Podcasts.

Twitter: @Future_Cities


Ferhan Azman, director, Azman Architects

Ferhan has been running her award-winning architecture and furniture design practice for over 20 years with clients in London, New York, Nice and Istanbul. Her work has been recognised in the Architecture Foundation’s next generation award index of best practices, while clients choose her for her clear-minded creativity and trademark approach. Ferhan Azman is also a visiting lecturer at the Architectural Association.



Paul Crosby, head of Part 3, Architectural Association

Paul Crosby has been the Head of Professional Practice Part 3 at the Architectural Association for over 7 years. He has held senior positions in firms such as David Chipperfield Architects, Zaha Hadid Architects and Martha Schwartz Partners.

In 2018, he was a member of the consultative group of the RIBA Ethics and Sustainable Commission. His research interest is in the management and ethos of design studios while he also advocates for fostering a closer relationship between academia and practice. He has recently published “The Evolving Story of the Architect” (co-authored with Eleanor Jolliffe), which traces the role of the architect throughout history..

LinkedIn: Paul Crosby


Piers Benn, Philosopher and author

Piers is a philosopher with research interests in medical ethics, philosophy of religion and the philosophy of psychiatry. He is also a visiting lecturer at Heythrop College London and Fordham University New York and has lectured at St. Andrews, Leeds, Imperial College and King’s College.

He has written articles for both academic and mainstream journals and has many media appearances. His books include “Ethics (Fundamentals of Philosophy)“, “Commitment” and “Intellectual Freedom and the Culture Wars”.

Twitter: @Piers Benn


Penny Lewis, University Dundee / Wuhan joint architecture programme

Dr Penny Lewis leads the University of Dundee and University of Wuhan joint degree in architecture programme. She studied architecture and practiced in Manchester before becoming an architectural journalist. From 2001-2007 she was editor of Prospect, the Scottish Architecture magazine and has contributed to architectural magazine such as AJ, AT and Blueprint as well as national newspapers. She completed a PhD on Ecology and the Architectural Imagination in 2019 and edited “Architecture and Collective Life” for Routledge, published in 2021.

Twitter: @pennyruthlewis


Eleanor Jolliffe, Architect and freelance writer

Eleanor Jolliffe is an architect and freelance writer. She is an Associate at Allies and Morrison and was awarded the 2023 Rome Scholar in Architecture at The British School at Rome. Eleanor has a regular column in Building Design, and has been published in the Architects’ Journal, Architectural Review and the Saturated Space research group at the Architectural Association. She recently co-authored Architect; The Evolving Story of a Profession, with Paul Crosby, published in 2023 by RIBA Publishing.

Twitter: @e_jolliffe


Paul Finch, programme director, World Architecture Festival and former chairman, CABE

Paul Finch is a distinguished British architectural journalist, critic, and editor, notably serving as the former chairman of CABE. Renowned for his impactful role at the Architects’ Journal, he has significantly influenced architectural discourse. As the program director of the World Architecture Festival, he continues to promote and champion excellence in the field. His prolific writings and editorial leadership showcase a lifelong dedication to advancing architectural principles, making him a respected figure shaping the industry narrative.

LinkedIn: Paul Finch


Alan Dunlop, founder Alan Dunlop Architects, artist and writer

Alan Dunlop is a distinguished architect, leading a boutique practice specialising in sensitive responses to client needs. With expertise in diverse projects, his award-winning career has produced sensitive designs for challenging briefs.

An accomplished draughtsperson and artist, his drawings, including those from the Lockdown Sketchbooks for which he won the RIBA Journals’ Eye Line drawing prize in 2020, have gained international recognition. As an educator, he holds multiple visiting professorships and has contributed significantly to architectural accreditation in China.

Instagram: alandunloparchitect


Karl Wallasch, fire engineer, and director, TrigonFire Ltd

A chartered engineer with more than 15 years’ experience, Karl gained his qualifications in civil and structural engineering at the Bauhaus University in Weimar, Germany.

Previously a Technical Director at a multi-disciplinary engineering firm, he gained unparalleled experience in multiple sectors including private apartments, council-led social housing schemes, luxury residential, retail, commercial/office, student accommodation and hotels, as well as high-rise and mixed-use developments.

Karl has established himself as a respected fire safety professional by developing innovative fire safety solutions for new, existing, listed and heritage buildings. He is currently President of the Society of Fire Protection Engineers UK Chapter and a tutor at the Bauhaus.

Linkedin: Karl Wallasch


Zhanet Mishineva, Project Architect and MArch tutor

Zhanet is a Project Architect at Clive Chapman Architects, working on projects in commercial, residential and community sectors; currently leading the design, specification and on-site management for the retrofitting of sustainability systems at over 10 sites (120 units) incorporating Listed Buildings and Buildings of Townscape Merit in Conservation areas.

Zhanet is a Cardiff University and Kingston University graduate. She is currently a MArch tutor at the Welsh School of Architecture, providing students with guidance in their academic work and in practice.

In 2019, Zhanet volunteered to build a school in a remote village in Zambia – an award-winning project by CAUKIN Studio. She also volunteers at The Battle of Ideas and writes for INVOLVED magazine on culture, art and urban design.

LinkedIn: Zhanet Mishineva


David Harrison, Architect

David is a Chartered Architect at McDaniel Woolf, where he specialises in the repair, renovation, conservation and beneficial reuse of historic buildings.

He trained at the Cass, the Royal College of Art and Kingston Universities; and is currently working on a number of Grade I and II listed properties alongside a smattering of undesignated heritage assets across London.

LinkedIn: David Harrison