Professor Christian Frost expands School role


Oscar Naddermier Professor of Architecture at Birmingham School of Architecture and Design, Christian Frost is due to expand his role at the School, becoming the Director of Research alongside his current position as Director of History Theory and Cultural Context.

School additions and changes

The expansion comes in time for the start of the 2016/17 academic year and joins a number of changes in the academic team at the School, including the acquisition of Jemma Browne, Lecturer in History Theory and Cultural Context and Nick Irvin, Lecturer in Design Management amongst others. Professor Christian Frost said:

“With my colleagues within the School I hope to develop an architectural research seminar group which creates a bridge between the practical knowledge we already possess with stronger research methodologies and outputs and, following on from this, the development of specific research degrees linked to our professional activities—particularly live projects.”

Preparations and challenges

Preparations for the coming year sees Frost already starting to develop the body of researchers and resources for research at the School.

However, fresh perspectives inspired by this appointment present a series of “challenges”. Professor Frost added:

“The main challenge of the role will be how to get staff and students to understand and articulate the work they already undertake as research. The faculty as a whole is already looking at this. I will be trying to tailor these broader faculty initiatives to suit the design disciplines within the School.

“Once we have done this we will be able to clarify our research position in a way that better reflects what we already do. This is not an exercise in turning everyone into academic architects and designers but more to do with redefining the activities of architects and designers academically.” 

Developing university research 

The significance of a successful career in practice in relation to contributing towards and enhancing university research is an area that Professor Frost wants to develop.

“Throughout my career as an academic I have found it frustrating that my career as an architect, working in the UK and abroad, building large complex buildings, counted for little within university research systems. I aim to look at this issue within Birmingham School of Architecture and Design in order to find ways to encourage more students to consider reading for an MPhil or PhD as a part of their professional, as well as academic, development.

“With the next REF (Research Excellence Framework) scheduled for 2020-21 we have time to develop the research culture of the School into something that is relevant to the way we see architecture and design as a whole.”

The journey

Professor Christian Frost studied at the University of Cambridge, qualifying as an architect in 1990. With over a decade of experience in practice spanning both the UK and abroad, he then decided to become a full-time academic in 2001. Frost became the Oscar Naddermier Professor of Architecture in 2013.  

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