The Projects Office

The Projects Office is a supportive, professional environment that provides project management support to live projects and work-related learning experience which is carried out by students as part of their coursework. We also enable students and staff to undertake consultancy commissions and research projects.

Artwork, Image credit: Channon King

Image credit: Channon King

About Us

The Projects Office was established in 2004 to provide professional support for students and staff of the School of Art, Architecture and Design at London Metropolitan University. We are committed to supporting students, academics and practitioners from the Art, Architecture and Design Schools in their live projects and work placements.

We bridge the worlds of pedagogy and practice by providing students with access to the broad University network of professional contacts and stakeholders, favouring projects with a clear social purpose, and co-ordinating carefully chosen work placements. 

Formerly known as ASD Projects, we were founded as a Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Chartered Practice within London Metropolitan University to provide a professional context to academic projects. Projects continues to provide students with real-world experience in both individual and collaborative projects; engaging with professionals, communities and companies.

Completed projects include Agra School, Kingsmead School, Toynbee Hall Chair and Textiles, Hayes Project, Kronberg stage and Calcutta Roof Garden.

Recent work placements include Fosters, Woods Bagot, Casson Mann, Aedas and Conran & Partners.


Jen Ng
Owain Williams
Kieran Wardle
Bo Tang

Links and contacts

The Hayes Project
The Aldgate Project
Rip it Up And Start Again 

Follow us on Twitter @PO_LdnMetArts

For more information or to make an enquiry, contact Owain Williams or Kieran Wardle

Writing the brief

What brings the three parts of the Projects research method together is the process of brief-writing. The team 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.

Projects' 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



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