Dr Frances Holliss

Dr Frances Holliss is an Architect and has been a member of staff at the School of Art, Architecture and Design since 1988. Dr Holliss is a Emeritus Reader in Architecture. 

Photograph of Frances Holliss

More about Frances Holliss

Dr Frances Holliss is an architect who has taught widely across the School of Art, Architecture and Design in Architecture courses and is now Emeritus Reader in Architecture. She has been researching the architecture of home-based work since 2001, is widely published and speaks internationally on the subject. Holliss was a member of the advisory group to Lord Whitty’s 2011 independent inquiry into the affordable housing crisis, was a Trustee with arts charity [SPACE] from 2007 to 2011 and contributed to the 2014 Farrell Review of Architecture and the Built Environment. She has received funding from the DAIWA Anglo-Japanese Foundation, EPSRC, AHRC, Newlon Housing Trust and, in 2021, the UK government’s Strategic Priority Fund.

Her book Beyond Live/Work: the Architecture of Home-based Work was published by Routledge in 2015. The following year she was invited to contribute to both the Venice Architectural Biennale and the International Architectural Biennale of Rotterdam. In 2019, she collaborated with Paul Kuitenbrouwer and Eireen Schreurs, from the Delft Architectural Studies on Housing in the book Home Work City: living and working in the urban block (nai101).

Frances is also a member of the Workhome Project, a not-for-profit organisation that was set up in April 2020, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic to advocate for good design for home-based work, to influence policy-making, and inspire and support communities in making this change. It promotes a bottom-up understanding of the tolerance, flexibility and creativity needed to make future cities and economies more resilient. In 2020, the Workhome Project submitted to the APPG on Housing and Social Mobility Inquiry into Housing and Employment, and to the Suburban Taskforce.


Frances Holliss’s research interests revolve around the architecture of home-based work worldwide. Her doctorate identifies the building that combines dwelling and workplace as a specific type ("workhome") with considerable contemporary relevance in the context of a rapidly growing global home-based workforce.

Her research investigates both the history of this dual-use building type and design for this working practice. She has a particular interest in the social and spatial impact of covert home-based work, including the blue-collar workhome and home-based work in UK social housing.

Holliss’s research also explores the way cities across the world are designed and organised to support or discourage this working practice, the impact this has on their inhabitants and the life of the city, and how cities of the future may better accommodate this working practice.

Areas of expertise

The architecture and urbanism of home-based work.



Research portfolio

 The Workhome… a New Building Type?
Frances Holliss The Workhome a New Building Type


 The Workhome… a New Building Type?
Frances Holliss The Workhome a New Building Type 2


 Designing the Workhome: From Theory to Practice
Frances Holliss Designing the Workhome From Theory to Practice


 Towards the Affordable Workhome: home-based workers in social housing
Frances Holliss Towards the Affordable Workhome


 Space, Buildings and the Life-worlds of Home-based Workers: Towards Better Design
Frances Holliss Space Buildings and the Life

Making streamers c1900 

 From Longhouse to Live/work unit: Parallel Histories and Absent Narratives
Frances Holliss Parallel Histories and Absent Narratives

Triple doorbell at Maison de Verre, 1928