Sandra Denicke-Polcher

Deputy Head of the School of Architecture

Sandra Denicke-Polcher  

Sandra Denicke-Polcher has been deputy head for Architecture at The Cass since 2013 and has been teaching the Live Projects Studio 3 at London Met since 2000. She is the enterprise and short courses co-ordinator for Architecture and responsible for the School’s international links with MARCH in Moscow and for the Brazil Programme in São Paulo.

Sandra graduated with Dipl.-Ing. at TU Berlin in 2000 and with the AA Diploma at the Architectural Association School of Architecture in 1998. She studied in Berlin, Lyon and London.

Through teaching, Sandra explores the opportunities and challenges of engaging with live projects as part of the university-based architectural education. With an emphasis on public projects, initiated by students and tutors, her work identifies the complex relationships between architectural education and practice. Live projects include Crossing CulturesMade in Hayes, The Aldgate Project, Outdoor Stage in Kronberg, Germany and others.

Her research into pedagogy is evident through regular contributions to conferences and publications. In 2017, Sandra has been awarded the University Teaching Fellowship of London Met. Her research explores how design teaching can be enhanced by client involvement, where students’ learning takes place cross different year groups and from the involvement with stakeholders and communities, and where the tutor becomes a co-constructor of knowledge. 

Sandra acts as external examiner and has been an external panel member for course validations at other universities, as well as a jury member on international competitions. Her past roles at London Met include course leader for the Professional Diploma in Architecture – RIBA2 and course leader for Architecture BA (Hons). She has also been a module leader for various undergraduate modules in the School of Architecture.

In private practice Sandra is a founding partner of Studio 3 – Architecture + Urbanism, and of public works. Her projects include the urban regeneration project at the Waterfront of Geesthacht, Germany, from 1999 to 2005 (awarded first prize for exemplary building in the public realm, Germany). She has been working on projects in the UK, Germany and Iran (UN Habitat, Nairobi).


Projects and research 

Live Project Crossing Cultures, Italy (2016 – ongoing): collaboration between The Cass and the Comune di Belmonte Calabro; working with undergraduate and postgraduate students to develop proposals for the regeneration of the mountain village, initiated by students and graduates (La Rivoluzione delle Seppie), involving local stakeholders and refugees; exploring design process in collaboration with Cass Animation.

Crossing Cultures (September 2017) presented at AAE conference Architecture connects, Oxford Brooks University (co-authored with Jane McAllister).

Live Project Made in Hayes, London (2013 – ongoing): combines a multidisciplinary project (art, jewellery and silversmithing, architecture and spatial planning) with teaching architecture design modules into a holistic community project. Exhibited in London during The Cass Summer Shows (June 2013 – present) and included in the online exhibition catalogues and Cass Yearbooks 2015/2016/2017. Events have been published in Hayes Gazette (13 February and 16 May 2013) and work has been exhibited locally (Botwell Green Library, Hayes). The work has been developed in collaboration with Cass projects (Jen Ng) and Studio 3 students. Collaborators: David Brough (Hayes Town Partnership), Grow Heathrow, Hillingdon Play Association, local residents of Austin Estate, Office MP John McDonnell and The Sharks Wild Water Racing Club.

Studio 3 students won the RIBA North West London Society of Architects (NWSLA) Student Award in 2013, 2014 and 2015 for their entrepreneurial work in Hayes. 

Presentation of Made in Hayesat Higher Education Academy (HEA) Annual Conference (July 2017).

Architecture of Multiple Authorship: Beyond the Academic Year (September 2015), paper for Architecture and Resilience on the Human Scale Conference, University of Sheffield, published in conference proceedings, ISBN 978-0-9929705-4-3, p. 77; to be published by Routledge as chapter in: Architecture and Resilience: A Series of Interdisciplinary Dialogues

Rethinking Architectural Education – The new EU Directive and the Role of Live Projects (September 2014), symposium chair and panellist at 2nd Annual AAE Conference 2014 – Living and Learning, University of Sheffield. Published in conference proceedings, ISBN 978-0-9929705-2-9, pp. 122-125. 

As the coordinator for the São Paulo-London exchange with Escola da Cidade in Brazil, Sandra is co-organiser of an annual event to discuss Urban Change at the Cass, which produced Unevenness, Diploma Unit 3 in São Paulo, 2013/14, London Metropolitan University, ISBN 978-0-9-63532-5-2. 

Architecture of Multiple Authorship: new models for student externships  (May 2012), paper for the Architecture Live Projects International Symposium, Oxford Brooks University (co-authored with Torange Khonsari). 

Live Project Outdoor Stage in Kronberg, Germany (2009-2012): Combines architecture project (all RIBA Work Stages) and teaching into a holistic community project. Exhibited in Kronberg, Germany, as part of a community consultation process and in London, UK, during the Summer Show (June 2011, included in exhibition catalogue 2010). Reviewed in one of Germany’s leading newspapers Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, extensively published in the local press. Reviewed in Intercultural Interaction in Architectural Education (ISBN 978-0-9563-532-1-4, p. 77). The project produced a fanzine, “Kultur im Park 2010, Ideen-Werkstatt 5.-12. July 2009”, a set of postcards (1000 packs x 20 cards), distributed locally to advertise the project and produced a blog for community involvement. Collaborators: Kulturinitiative Kronberg, Planning Department of Stadt Kronberg im Taunus, Germany, and the citizens of Kronberg.

Live Projects at London Metropolitan University (March 2011), paper for Live Projects Colloquium at Queen's University, Belfast.


Made in Hayes - Mobile Hut in Hayes 2013

Made in Hayes - Mobile Hut in Aldgate

Made in Hayes - Meeting the Clients, 2015

Outdoor Stage in Kronberg - opening event 2011

Outdoor Stage in Kronberg – evening performance

The Aldgate Project - pop-up hairdresser’s shop 2012

Mobile Room for London - model

Geesthacht an die Elbe! - Outdoor Theatre 2002

Geesthacht an die Elbe! - Cor-ten steel flood gate

Golden Gate, Liverpool - Live Project 1997

Mobile Room for London – final Live and Work construction 2009

Crossing Cultures, Field trip 2017

Crossing Cultures, Summer workshop 2016