The Bartlett School of Architecture

Mr Matthew Butcher

Mr Matthew Butcher

Senior Lecturer

The Bartlett School of Architecture

Faculty of the Built Environment

Joined UCL
1st Feb 2010

Research summary

My research seeks to explore the relationship between architecture and other disciplines – in particular art practice and performance art. Recently the research has sought to utilise the history of innovative responses to the environment, seen in the history of art and performance, as a means to consider and develop an architecture that responds to rising sea levels, climate change, and inhabitation of coastal sites. Within this framework my design research – manifesting as built structures, events, drawings, texts and scaled models – explores spaces and forms that are performative in that their material state changes, or is perceived to change, in relationship to conditions such as the environments in which they are located, or through the actions of the people who inhabit them.

 My research has gained significant attention and eminence both nationally and internationally and has been exhibited at the Victoria and Albert Museum (London, 2012 ), The Prague Quadrennial (Prague, 2011), and in Guimarães, Portugal, as part of the city’s programme as European Capital of Culture 2012. When exhibited at the V&A the work was seen by over 126,000 people. I have also received commissions from major public institutions and organisations including the Royal Academy of Arts (London, 2014), the Architecture Foundation (London, 2011) and Sadler's Wells (London, 2010). My work has also been published and written on extensively including in articles in The Observer (April 2016), Architecture Today (Apr 2016, Sep 2012) and Art Review (Sep 2012). 

Teaching summary

I have been teaching architecture and design to undergraduate and postgraduate students since 2007. I have run design studios at the University of Nottingham, Nottingham, University of Greenwich, London and Chelsea College of Art, London.  Currently, at the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL, I am teaching a Masters level design studio, Unit 12, on the MArch Architecture course with Professor Jonathan Hill and Elizabeth Dow. 

Central to the teaching ethos I have developed since 2007, and in particular within the context of the student work of Unit 12, is an on-going response  to concerns that students’ relationships with the history of the discipline of architecture is diminishing. To counteract this we have created a design methodology that asks students to explore a historical architectural style, or movement, as a starting point for their own contemporary design proposals. Within this methodology students must assess the aesthetic, theoretical and historical contexts of their individual case studies to see if there is a resonance with a contemporary context. Through this analysis, individual design agendas emerge. This methodology can be seen as a counterpoint to traditional structures for design curriculums, which teach history parallel to design.

In addition to this theme, the design studio generates ongoing discussions around what architecture’s relationship to a specific context might or should be, whether this is political, social or physical. Also emphasized within the pedagogy of the studio is the need for students to define and develop specific and individual methodologies of architectural representation. This is achieved through the progression of their project.

Although each year the design studio has a particular theme, it is critical that the design studio helps students develop, and expand, their individual design agendas – either within or outside of the particular unit agenda.  And, that the emphasis expressed by the studio can be seen as a starting point for students distinct projects.


University College London
Other Postgraduate qualification (including professional), Diploma of Architecture | 2004
University College London
First Degree, Bachelor of Science (Honours) | 2000


Matthew Butcher Bio,

Matthew Butcher is an academic, writer and designer. His work has been exhibited at the V&A Museum, London; Storefront for Art and Architecture, New York; The Architecture Foundation, London and the Prague Quadrennial, Prague. Recent projects and exhibitions include ‘2EmmaToc/Writtle Calling’ a temporary radio station in Essex,  ‘Flood House’ a floating architecture developed in collaboration with Jes Fernie and Focal Point Gallery in Southend and The Mansio, a retreat for writers and poets that travelled sites across Hadrian’s Wall in the summer of 2016 which was nominated for the 2017 Architects Journal Small Projects Prize. Matthew is also the editor and founder of the architectural newspaper P.E.A.R.: Paper for Emerging Architectural Research and Senior Lecturer in Architecture at the Bartlett School of Architecture; where he is also Director of the Undergraduate Architecture Programme.   He has contributed articles and papers for journals including Conditions, Architecture Research Quarterly (ARQ), the RIBA Journal and Architecture Today.

For more information please see: http://matthewbutcher.org