Head of School
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Matthew is Associate Professor and Head of Birmingham School of Architecture & Design. He is an architect and academic with expertise in making places and communities. He is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and a Design Council Expert.
A graduate of the Welsh School of Architecture (WSA), Matthew worked at the Young Architect of the Year Award finalists Design Research Unit Wales (DRU-w) and Allford Hall Monaghan Morris Architects before founding his practice, Coombs Jones. He held academic positions at the Welsh School of Architecture and the University of the West of England (UWE) before joining BSoAD in 2019 as Director of Technical Studies. Matthew developed the innovative BA(Hons) Design for Future Living degree in Collaboration with the educational charity MOBIE before becoming Head of School in 2021.
Matthew’s expertise is in practice-led research. His research focuses on the role of design in creating thriving and resilient towns and high streets. He completed a practice-led PhD exploring place specific approaches to the development of rural towns and he has expertise in community-led place planning. In his recently published book ‘Transforming Towns: Designing for Smaller Communities’ (RIBA Publishing, 2020), he explores the role of architects and designers in transforming our towns to help them thrive. He has developed these themes through artist residencies, events and workshops, co-design activities, architecture, urban design, university-community collaborations, community-led planning and academic research and teaching.