UCL News


Spotlight on Dr Yeoryia Manolopoulou

19 July 2012

This week the spotlight is on Dr Yeoryia Manolopoulou, Senior Lecturer, Director of Architectural Research, UCL Bartlett School of Architecture What is your role and what does it involve? I am the Director of Architectural Research at the UCL Bartlett School of Architecture.

Yeoryia Manolopoulou Having taken on this role recently, I find myself privileged to work with an exceptionally innovative group of researchers in different areas of architectural scholarship and design production.

The School has a world-leading research profile and was ranked first in the architecture and built environment submissions to the 2008 RAE. It draws on the outstanding work of its staff and its experimental teaching ethos, as well as on the Bartlett's broader position as a major centre for international research.

My role involves instigating new projects that will invigorate our research culture, sustain our leading profile and strengthen our collaborations with external partners on an international level.

I mentor and support research-active staff for their projects and lead Architecture's REF submission for 2014. I aim to foster creative links between more established and younger research staff, our vibrant community of PhD students and the part-time staff and specialist consultants who interact daily with the Bartlett.

I also teach Unit 17, one of the longest established design units in the MArch Architecture programme, and act as PhD supervisor for students who undertake practice-led and interdisciplinary research in architecture.

How long have you been at UCL and what was your previous role?

I came to the Bartlett as a postgraduate student in 1996. I first did the MArch Architectural Design and then pursued a PhD by Design, which looked at the value of chance as creative idea and technique across architecture and the arts.

I completed my thesis in 2003, being the second person in the country to submit a design-led PhD in Architecture. This was a key period for the School's research culture and the broader scene of architectural research in the UK because it was the first time that architectural design was formally recognised by the university as a research activity.

My doctoral research led to my book, Architectures of Chance, which will be published by Ashgate at the end of this year.

I started teaching Unit 17 in 1999 on a part-time basis and took a lecturing post in 2003. I was the main tutor and co-ordinator of the interdisciplinary design module of BSc Architectural Studies between 2004-2009.

I was Coordinator of the MPhil/PhD Architectural Design programme between 2004-2011, acting as Director of this programme in 2008-2009.

What working achievement or initiative are you most proud of?

I am interested in exploring the gap between university-located research and the broader field of design culture and production. I would like to see more building designs added in our already diverse research portfolio, either experimental or critical in nature, but which contribute directly to the environment and social life.

With this aim in mind, I am proud of a recent and productive exchange that I established between the Bartlett and the Greater London Authority for the design of new pavilions, commissioned by the Mayor's office, for the London 2012 Olympics.

Five temporary architectural installations, designed by Bartlett staff and supported by internationally-recognised engineers and specialist fabricators will be unveiled in the heart of the capital next week.

As an international hub of design, London provides unique opportunities for experimentation.

For me, these temporary and quick to build projects are an excellent testing ground for new ideas. They demonstrate the staff's interest in bringing their design thinking to the forefront of making meaningful places and buildings.

What is your life like outside UCL?

I co-direct AY Architects, a design-led architectural practice with an interest in research. We have a diverse portfolio of projects, including one of the five temporary architectural installations for London 2012, currently under construction on Parliament Square.

We have also just completed a new building for the Montpelier Nursery in Kentish Town, which we instigated and designed but also managed on different levels and fundraised for.

My role in this project was multi-faceted; I was not only one of the architects, but one of the parents (with three kids having attended this nursery) and have been a Trustee and active Management Committee member of Camden Community Nurseries for three years.