Alessandro Columbano


Alessandro is a lecturer at the Birmingham School of Architecture. He is also leading Co.LAB, a collaborative organisation within the school that integrates teaching with practice through live projects, design, research and consultancy.

Prior to joining the university, Alessandro has worked in architectural and research practices in Manchester and London, with experience in evidence-based design and historical refurbishments. He graduated from the Manchester School of Architecture with a distinction in both postgraduate architecture and MA Urbanism prior to working as an independent artist.

As anviere, a self-identified design guise, he has developed a portfolio of site-specific installations and artworks commenting on the subversive qualities of our physical environments.

Alessandro brings these characteristics forward to his teaching as an academic and researcher; taking an active role in the discussion of architectural pedagogy, urban theory and the contemporary vernacular. These are applied by engaging the influential sphere of the school upon the physical network it has created within the city.

Current Activity
Research interests and expertise

Evolving interests can be categorised into two broad cultural themes; contemporary vernacular language and the statistical override of data upon more humanistic values to urban regeneration.

The architectural language of periodic styles is defined through a combination of culture and technology. The technological limits permit exploration of identity and tradition.

Can digital technology be representative of culture in this same manner as craft based heritage? Advanced digital modelling is overly concerned in defining a new language. Heritage informs this through reference and reaction. Do new digital forms follow historic precedents?

Alessandro’s research tries to address this through designed explorations embracing historical architectural vernaculars manipulated through advanced digital software and machinery.

His interest lies in exploiting production of forms to comply with legislative policy on architectural preservation. The classification of heritage proves a cultural necessity. Representation, whether virtual or physical, needs to address its own relevance in the context of our nostalgic tendencies.


Current projects

Co.Lab: developing an innovative teaching-practice organisation within the school of architecture.

FAB LAB BHM: establishing a Fab Lab working space with the Accord Housing group and Zero Zero Architecture. This includes setting up a network of professionals, communities, and institutions including BIAD, within the Birmingham region to become part of the facility.

Other recent projects

Hayes Bridge: a live project investigating the feasibility of running through a complete design-to-construction process with undergraduate students. Funding support from St. Modwens Environmental Trust.



Columbano, A. (2010) Precedent feature in Architectural Modelmaking, N.Dunn, Lawrence King publishing.

Columbano, A. (2010) 'The RP Architectural Model' in Jacaobson, D. Rennie, A. Bocking, C. (ed) Rapid Design, Prototyping and Manufacturing, MJA Print, Bucks.

Journal articles

Columbano, A. (2010)' The pedagogy of using a RP Arch Model', VPP Journal, no. 4.

Other media

Columbano, A. (2008) ' Copy Gothic. Experimental Architecture Units', Blueprint magazine, Sept.

Conference papers

Columbano, A. (2011) 'Assumptions', Emerging Group 2, London.

Columbano, A. (2011) 'Copy Gothic: New Architectural Language in Print' Impact 7, Monash University Australia.

Columbano, A. (2011) 'Perception, Expectation, Observation, Response', Emerging Group 1, London.

Columbano, A. and Dring, M. (2011) 'The RP Architectural Model', RDPM, Lancaster University.

Columbano, A. (2011) 'The Remote Studio', CEBE Studio Culture 6, University of Nottingham.

Columbano, A. and Jefferies, T (2011) 'Cultural Amnesia', Aesop, University of Liverpool.

Group exhibitions

Wave. Art of Architecture exhibition, The Public, West Brom, 2012

Janus I + II. Past and Present exhibition, Occupy My Time gallery, London, 2012

A Cosier Cell. Police & Thieves, Old Police Station gallery, London, 2010

Konijn Island. MAS Imagine Coney Exhibition, MAS Urban Centre Gallery, New York, 2009

London’s Bridge. London Bridge 800 Festival, London, 2009


Columbano, A. (2011) 'Ashenden', London Short Film Festival, The Guardian: Filmblog.

Columbano, A. (2010) 'Konstiga London', Expressions Magazine (Swe), 10 Apr.

Other practice

Set Production, Together We're Heavy. The Cock Tavern, London 2010

Plywood habitat. ‘commendation’ for Design 21 & FSC, 2009

London’s Bridge. ‘commendation’ London Bridge 800 Festival, London, May 2009


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