The Bartlett School of Architecture

Dr James O'Leary

Dr James O'Leary

Associate Professor

The Bartlett School of Architecture

Faculty of the Built Environment

Joined UCL
1st Dec 2011

Research summary

My research explores the inter-relationship between human beings and the spatial systems we inhabit, and the work spans the fields of architecture, art, film and performance, with particular focus on the way that inter-disciplinary practices can impact on the arena of architectural design, representation and spatial production. Specific interests include semiotic, interactive and reflexive systems in architecture; performative and site-specific practice in fine art and narrative construction and mediation in film and video. I am also interested in the representation and documentation systems deployed across these fields as part of their creative process.  Notable recent works are:  'This is the Interface' (Royal Academy, London 2017) 'Light Vessel Automatic' (Performing Architecture, Tate Britain, London 2013), and 'Edge City' (Lisbon Architecture Triennale, 2013).  Recent publications include 'Falling' published by Copy Press in 2015 and Field Poetics published by Ma Bibliothèque in 2018 (both co-authored with Dr. Kristen Kreider).  I am a member of the ‘Understanding Conflict’ Research Cluster at the University of Brighton, where I am a current recipient of an AHRC TECHNE doctoral award to research transformational architectural approaches to the contested spaces of the ‘interface areas’ of Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Website: www.peacewall-archive.net

Research Interests: Contemporary Art & Architecture, Situated Practices, Narrative Spaces, Urban Memory, Contested Space.

Teaching summary

I am currently the Programme Director on the MA Situated Practice Programme.

UCL Programme Page: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/bartlett/architecture/programmes/postgraduate/ma-situated-practice

Website: www.situated-practice.net


University College London
Other higher degree, Master of Architecture | 2005
University College London
Other Postgraduate qualification (including professional), Diploma of Architecture | 2001
Kent Institute of Art and Design
First Degree, Bachelor of Arts (Honours) | 1996
Dublin Institute of Technology
Other Postgraduate qualification (including professional), Diploma of Architecture | 1993


I am an architect and installation artist. I am currently Associate Professor and Programme Director of MA Situated Practice. Over the past twenty years I have worked in design-led architecture practices in Ireland, the U.S. and the U.K. including - Hopkins, MasaStudio, SoftRoom and Theis & Khan and held positions in academia at Chelsea College of Arts and the Royal College of Art. In 2004, I established (with Kristen Kreider) the London-based practice Kreider + O’Leary.  We collaborate to make performance, installation and time-based media work in relation to sites of architectural and cultural interest.  Since 2003, we have worked collaboratively to construct work in prisons, churches, military sites, film locations, landscape gardens and desert environments, as well as in more traditional gallery venues across the UK, Europe, the US, Australia, and Japan. Our work has been shown at venues including Tate Britain, Whitechapel Gallery and the Royal Academy of Arts as well as in the Lisbon Architecture Triennale and the Istanbul Biennial. Our book Falling was published in 2015 by Copy Press, Field Poetics was published in 2018 by Ma Bibliothèque, and we are currently working on a large-scale project, Ungovernable Spaces, engaging with five sites of community and resistance globally.