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Manchester Architecture Research Group

Humanities Bridgeford Street Building, The University of Manchester

About

Our agenda is driven by the growing realisation of architecture as a social practice and the highly political, cultural and contested nature of the outcomes of architectural production.

We understand architecture as a broad social, cultural and technical network that exceeds the work of architects or buildings as objects. We are interested in creative explorations of the inter-relationship between the processes and products of architectural practice.

Our work is motivated by current conditions and ongoing developments in architectural design to explore the complex processes and the professional practices, formal and informal, within and through which the built environment is conceived, used, shared, contested, mediated, adapted, and changed.

We have developed an innovative agenda around social studies of architecture, drawing on interdisciplinary approaches to architecture and urban development. Since our inception, we have been at the forefront of developing and promoting interdisciplinary approaches to understanding architecture, in particular through our expertise in inventively using archival methods, Actor-Network-Theory, ethnographic and anthropological techniques, digital mapping and complexity theory to explore the social, economic and political consequences of architectural design.  

Our research projects are diverse, and vary greatly in theme and scope, ranging across buildings and cities, temporary and permanent, formal and informal, historical and contemporary, North and Global South, with concern for social inclusivity, the user, the citizen, as well as the designer, the policy maker, the media and so on.

Yet, across this diversity, they share an emphasis on situated knowledge and the practices of design professionals and users, the processes of city-making, network dynamics, and technical and design innovations. Drawing on a practice-oriented research philosophy, the work developed here at MARG is unique in both the UK and the world.

Our research projects sit within the following strands:

  • Architecture, Politics and Networks of Expertise
  • Design, Climate, and the Anthropocene
  • The Architectures of Temporality; Event Architecture