Miss Mollie Claypool
Lecturer in Architecture
The Bartlett School of Architecture
Faculty of the Built Environment
- Joined UCL
- 1st May 2014
I am Co-Director of Automated Architecture (AUAR) Labs at The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL. My research is concerned with the cultural (social, political, economic) consequences of increasing automation in architectural production. I consider automation as a holistic means to look at architectural production from design through to the assembly and inhabitation of buildings. I have been a leading voice in emerging discourse on what is referred to as ‘Discrete Architecture’, developing a theoretical approach called ‘Discrete Automation’. Discrete Automation critiques of earlier generations of digital architects, radically rethinking the very parts that make up buildings by considering every element as a piece of data that can be computed. This enables the design of new frameworks around architectural production that may anticipate full-automation, eg. an ‘architecture for automation’. I co-authored the 2019 book Robotic Building: Architecture in the Age of Automation (Detail Edition). My approach is combined with post-capitalist, post-work and feminist theories that outline more equitable and inclusive frameworks for design production, as well as a body of work in housing production.
As Co-Director of AUAR Labs I work in highly collaborative settings, serving as PI or Co-PI in diverse, interdisciplinary research teams. I take a grassroots, bottom-up, activist approach to work with the communities most affected by increasing automation: local people that need homes, and the manual labourers, skilled workers, and craftspeople whose jobs are at risk due to automation. My research centres the lived experiences of these communities in the built environment using an engaged-scholarship approach, ‘levelling up’ the tools and technologies available within those communities and enabling knowledge exchange to be mutually beneficial, sustainable and scalable.
I am currently co-leading (with Fiona Zisch, Harriet Harris and Phoenix Perry) the development of an international network of architecture, arts and cultural organisations entitled ‘Collaborative Futures’ for the development of a hybrid virtual platform for collaborating on cross-disciplinary architectural research and education that puts at its centre concerns around care, consent, equity and inclusion.
I am Managing Editor of Prospectives Journal (journal.b-pro.org) from 2018, where I have spearheaded the launch of an innovative open-access online journal dedicated to the promotion of innovative historical, theoretical and design research on computation/automation in architectural design and fabrication.
I teach the history and theory (H&T) of digital design, computation and automation in architecture, enabling students to explore the impact of the digital technologies that they utilise in their design work in terms of (1) the historical development of digital design and fabrication tools; (2) the consequences of these tools on building practices and cultures; (3) broader questions around the implications for the wider public, particularly around issues of social justice and EDI. I have significant experience in teaching in this area at postgraduate level in both H&T and design, as well as extensive, but more generalist experience teaching undergraduate courses in H&T. My teaching utilises political, feminist and activist theories and knowledge to shed light on design and spatial issues, drawing from my experience as both an activist and design practitioner. This technique enables students to understand and critique the social, political and economic consequences of these tools on disciplinary and cultural conceptions of labour and practice. I see this intersection between theory, design and practice as an original contribution to teaching, as well as a pedagogical mechanism for empowering future generations of critical thinkers, designers and leaders.
In my area of expertise I have coordinated 5 modules, taught at least 2 modules a year since 2012 and supervised over 150 postgraduate and undergraduate theses (10,000 words) since 2012 in MArch Architectural Design (2015-present, MArch Urban Design (2012-2015), MArch Architecture (2018-present) and BASc (Hons) Arts & Sciences (2018-present). For 6 years I taught a design Unit 19 in MArch Architecture (ARB/RIBA Part 2) that directly aligned with my area of expertise. I have held senior leadership roles in the BSA as Co-Programme Director of the undergraduate BSc (Hons) Architecture (ARB/RIBA Part 1) programme from 2014-2018. I regularly review student design work in other architecture schools internationally as an invited critic (such as Sci-Arc, Pratt Institute, and RMIT), and my expertise informs other institutional development of digital design pedagogy, for example as an External Practice Partner for the new MSc in Computational Architecture at UWE. My writing sits on the reading lists of syllabi internationally, for example at Rice University.
I am an architecture theorist, designer, educator and practitioner at The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL. My approach draws from my expertise in the history, theory and design of automation in architectural production and from my work in practice. I am concerned with the cultural consequences of automation, particularly in regards to equity, inclusion and access in design production. I am co-author of Robotic Building: Architecture in the Age of Automation (Detail Edition 2019). I am committed to bringing mainstream audiences into specialist subject areas, which has led me to author reports and texts for broader audiences such as my commissioned report The Digital in Architecture: Then, Now and in the Future (SPACE10) and 2017 commissioned book This is Gaudi (Lawrence King Publishing). My 2019 keynote lecture ‘Discrete Automation’, attracted 1,000+ listeners at The Conference. I have given over 50 keynotes, invited lectures or peer-reviewed paper presentations internationally and am an active member of my discipline internationally as a book reviewer, peer reviewer and editorial board member.
I am Director of Automated Architecture (AUAR) Ltd (automatedarchitecture.io) and Co-Director of AUAR Labs at The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL where I have been a Lecturer since 2015. At BSA I am Theory Coordinator in MArch Architectural Design, a postgraduate post-professional programme in B–Pro, and am Managing Editor of Prospectives, a new open-access journal published by B–Pro at BSA (journal.b-pro.org). I previously ran Unit 19 in MArch Architecture Part II from 2012-2018, and was Co-Programme Director of BSc (Hons) Architecture (ARB/RIBA Part I) from 2014-2018.
Previously, I was a member of permanent faculty at the AA School of Architecture, teaching in History & Theory Studies and MArch Architecture and Urbanism (Design Research Laboratory). I have studied at Pratt Institute, AA School of Architecture, and am currently fully-funded PhD candidate at BSA supervised by Prof Mario Carpo and Prof Barbara Penner. In addition to my work in architecture, I work as a birth activist, doula and trade unionist. I am one of the UCU Reps for BSA.