Architecture author wins prestigious prize

An academic from The Cass has won a top prize at the Urban Design Awards 2012.

Date: 13/03/2012

An academic from The Cass has won a top prize at the Urban Design Awards 2012. 

Professor Maurice Mitchell, who runs a Diploma Studio, won the prestigious Urban Design Publisher Award for his book, ‘Learning From Delhi: Dispersed Initiatives in Changing Urban Landscapes’. 

The book, which was co-edited by doctoral student Bo Tang and research assistant Shamoon Patwari, focuses on new and innovative approaches to architecture in rapidly urbanizing environments, where change is often required but resources scarce.

The book is based on over a decade of project work carried out by London Met staff and students in India. 

Professor Mitchell said: “It is very helpful to receive this award as it brings wider recognition to the programme of ‘design as research’ steadily carried out by London Met in the slums of northern India since 2001. 

“The book was built on the extensive work of both undergraduate degree and post graduate diploma students of architecture, research assistants and PhD students, to formulate a way of working and thinking in our rapidly urbanising world.

“The book and the live projects recorded in it bear witness to a way forward which is increasingly relevant for the meaningful employment of our graduating professionals.” 

Maurice has been at London Met for over twenty years, joining the University in 1990 when it was then the Polytechnic of North London.

His early career included extended periods of work in the shanty towns of Ghana and three years working for the Southern Regional Government of Sudan as Regional Building Materials Advisor. He has also been involved with, and published on, typhoon resistant construction in Vietnam. 

Maurice published his first book, ‘Culture, Cash and Housing’, in 1992. It explores the lessons learned from the experience of Voluntary Service Overseas. 

Maurice was invited to be a guest editor of a special edition of the Open House International journal. His edition on the subject, Architecture of Rapid Change and Scarce Resources, was published in June 2008.

Maurice’s Diploma studio undertakes an annual field trip in which students engage proactively with a rapidly changing under-resourced local situation, devising imaginative responses to specific cultural and technical issues. Work undertaken by the studio in Kosovo is recorded and discussed in his book, ‘Rebuilding Community in Kosovo’ (2003). 

For the last eight years the studio’s focus has centred on design within marginal settlements in India (Gujarat 2002, Meerut 2003, Delhi 2004-5 and 2007-9, Agra 2006).

Such projects provide invaluable experience for London Met students and reflect the quality teaching and development opportunities available.

Maurice’s latest success, which is shared with Bo and Shamoon, is just another example of the innovation and expertise that continues to push architectural and spatiel design forward, ensuring that it continues to be a leader in its field.