Who got that job?

June 9, 2006

Simon Guy, professor of architecture and head of Manchester University's Architectural Research Centre

Job advertised in The Times Higher, 2005

Simon Guy's reputation for encouraging interdisciplinary research in architecture and a long-standing interest in sustainability make him a good choice for Manchester University's Architectural Research Centre.

He started his working life as a BBC engineer before moving into academia to study for a degree in humanities followed by a masters in contemporary culture.

"In looking at sustainability in architecture, I've found that there are multiple ideas of sustainability and many diverse approaches," he said.

"What I believe is important is to encourage multiple expressions of sustainability, even though this flies in the face of collective responses from Government.

"We also have to challenge attitudes. For example, the latest tall bank in Frankfurt by Norman Foster is claimed to be sustainable and energy-efficient," he said. "I'm not going to say if I agree with that.

Technology does play a role in sustainability, but is the hi-tech approach always best? Low-grade technology can be good too."

Professor Guy has appointed an environmental psychologist and a sociologist to work with him on developing teaching and research for the new centre, created after a major investment in architecture by the university in 2004.

He has also joined a group called Manchester Knowledge, which brings together public and private-sector players to look at issues current in Manchester. "I'm excited at the prospect of feeding in my research as a social scientist and connecting the theoretical to the applied," he said.

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