Cass Projects

Image credit: Channon King

Cass Projects (The Projects Office) provides a supportive, professional environment that allows students and staff to undertake consultancy commissions and research projects, as well as providing project management support to live projects carried out by students as part of their coursework.


Cass Projects

Cass Projects was founded in 2004 as ASD Projects and is now a Faculty-based unit directed by Anne Markey. Its success has evolved through the development of an approach, a methodology and range of outputs that together frame a research project in its own right.

Cass Projects has made a significant contribution to the live projects dimension of the Faculty’s research profile. It has established a specific approach to the collaboration between pedagogy and research, and the professional aspect of practice. Its portfolio engages with complex issues relating to health, education, sustainability and culture.

Cass Projects is a RIBA-registered practice. Inspired by the Architecture Research Unit (ARU) led by Professors Florian Beigel and Philip Christou (the first such embedded architecture practice at the University) and some of the working methods of Architecture of Rapid Change and Scarce Resources (ARCSR) under Professor Maurice Mitchell, it has a particular remit. In order to foster collaborative and participatory projects, it is positioned between the European professor-led research studio and the American model of Design-Build.

Cass Projects does not run a single design studio or specialist MA programme, nor is it a conventional architecture office: it has developed a way of doing live projects, that is, in real time with actual players producing concrete results in a professional framework whilst fully engaging the creative potential of teaching and research. Cass Projects both initiates live projects and responds to demand, whether from individuals or groups within the Faculty or from external bodies, clients or user groups.


Anne Markey – director
Jen Ng
Danielle Hewitt
Vanja Bazdulj
Ottavia Alieri
Minna Virkki

Links & Contacts

The Aldgate Project

Follow us on Twitter @CassProjects

For more information or to make an enquiry, contact Anne Markey.


Writing the brief

What brings the three parts of the Cass Projects research method together is the process of brief-writing. Anne Markey formulates collaborative briefs that rework the conventional boundaries between expert and non-expert, insider and outsider, thus encouraging a more inclusive playing field and more empowered players. This has a bearing on the way problems, opportunities and initiatives are identified as well as how they are approached and resolved. This approach has similarities to the interactive brief writing techniques developed by Mark Brearley and the student-involving techniques developed in Architecture of Rapid Change and Scarce Resources' (ARCSR) work by Maurice Mitchell. It might be described as a model of sustained and embedded impact rather than approaching impact as a resultant.

Markey's approach shares a design-as-research orientation with Architecture Research Unit (ARU) but uses the professional structure of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) practice more explicitly and as an integral part of the method. A direct equivalence can be drawn between the discipline of research and the discipline of being professional in the case of live projects. For example, the discipline of professional status can be used to institute a working environment subject to contracts, ethical practice, performance criteria, health and safety and so forth. It creates the potential to build a critical bridge between pedagogy and practice. The disciplinary apparatus can thus work as equivalent to a conventional research environment, but one geared to embedding research within practice. A professionally enacted research project produces a different outcome to an outcome derived from applied research.


With the National Schools Ideas Project, this approach facilitated a collaboration between a number of Schools of Architecture around a common theme in order to develop a diversity of outcomes. This model of a collaborative brief has also been used to deliver a number of other projects described here such as the International Architecture Student Festival where the “players” have been international Schools of Architecture and local authorities and communities the beneficiaries.

Download example Collaborative Research Brief

Cass Projects portfolio

This booklet documents the work that Architecture Studio 3 has done to explore the use of a shipping container to provide a shelter for canoeing club ‘The Sharks’ in Hayes.



Ottavia Alieri

Project Assistant, Cass Projects

At the Projects Office Ottavia is a graduate intern assisting with projects and events, carrying out graphic design, event management and project management.

Vanja Bazdulj

Projects Coordinator, Cass Projects

Teaching in 3D studio Harvest (Furniture and Product Design) with Peter Marigold and Christopher Emmett.

Danielle Hewitt

Cass Culture Research Coordinator

Cass Culture Research Coordinator

Anne Markey

Director of Cass Projects

Anne Markey has over twenty years experience of working as an architect at senior level.

Jen Ng

Projects Co-ordinator, Cass Projects

At the Projects Office Jen is working with Architecture, Design and Fine Art studios to curate, instigate and develop community art and architecture projects for the office.

Dr. Bo Tang

Research Coordinator & Studio 7 Tutor

Bo Tang was awarded her PhD in January 2014, and is the first PhD Architecture student to complete her PhD at The Cass.

Minna Virkki

Project Assistant, Cass Projects

At Cass Projects office she is assisting with student experience, event and exhibition organising, producing communications and marketing material, development and maintenance of faculty website content, as as well as assisting with live projects and consultancy commission support.

Recent news from The Cass

On the water in Hayes

Studio 3 go kayaking.

Architecture students from Studio 03 continue working in Hayes.

Recent Film Successes

News from London, Italy and LA

Current students visit London Film Festival and Cass Alumni find success abroad.

Open Field: Louise Sayarer

31 October – 3 December 2016

Second residency announced in new fine art residency programme at The Cass.

Unseen Radiohead portraits

Exhibition by photographer and The Cass technician Sebastian Edge includes unseen portraits of Radiohead.

Tak Tak Tak – Built

Fundraising campaign success

Calais Kids Space for unaccompanied children completed by Tak Tak Tak team.

Fuzz photography exhibition

4 - 6 November 2016

A photographic show by Cass alumni that presents work somewhere between completely true and completely false.

Cavespace in Pimlico

Crowdfunding for new project and gallery space

Fine Art BA alumna Karen Turner is crowdfunding for Cavespace.

Discovering Collections, Discovering Communities

10 to 12 October 2016

Senior Lecturer, Gina Pierce, will be presenting a paper at the Discovering Collections, Discovering Communities Conference at the Lowry Centre in Salford this month.

Young talent recognised

Winner to be announced 28 October

Cass student Shenpei Ha is shortlisted in the international Young Talent Architecture Award (YTAA).

Festival success for The Cass

17-24 September 2016

Hundreds attend exhibition of work by Cass design graduates and alumni for London Design Festival 2016.

Film production collective head to Poland

Find out how to support the project

Final year Cass Film students are crowdfunding their graduation film set in Poland.

Stirling Prize 2016

Sucess for Cass Tutor's Practice

The gallery designed for Damien Hirst by The Cass tutor Peter St John's practice Caruso St John has won the prestigious Stirling Prize 2016.

Cass tutor's practice is shortlisted for the Stirling Prize

The gallery designed for Damien Hirst by The Cass tutor Peter St John's practice Caruso St John is shortlisted for the prestigious Stirling Prize 2016.

The Cass at Photomonth

October and November

Cass staff, students and alumni participate in east London's international festival of photography.

Hayes Canal Festival 2016

25 September 2016

Cass Projects and Architecture Studio 3 present Cass work at the Hayes Canal Festival