A qualified RIBA registered architect, Passive House designer and Senior Lecturer, Graham’s practice-based research is interdisciplinary and explores methods of collaborative and contemporary participatory working in the production of inclusive architectures; the process of design; and the development of contemporary, sustainable technologies in construction.
Graham brings expertise from more than 20 years working in practice to his teaching and research contribution on the school's architecture courses at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. He has been a Senior Lecturer at the University of Brighton since 2014. Graham became an accredited Fellow of the Higher Education Authority (FHEA) in 2020.
Graham studied architecture at the University of Manchester (BA) and the Bartlett, UCL (Dip Arch, ADPP) before joining Allies and Morrison Architects in 1997. Graham qualified as a certified Passive House Designer in 2021. Graham has taught at Brighton since 2013, first as a visiting lecturer (2013-2014), before being appointed as a Senior Lecturer (2014-present). While in practice, Graham taught at the University of Portsmouth (2011-2012) before coming to Brighton.
Graham teaches the following on the BA(Hons) and MA Architecture courses: Undergraduate design studio lead (2014-2020) and contribution (2021-present); Technology second and third years (2019-present) and first year module lead (2021-present); Professional Practices at both undergraduate (2017-present) and postgraduate (2015-2018) levels.
He co-founded Perring Architecture and Design in 2003, working extensively within the New Forest National Park and co-designed the award winning, collaborative Exbury Egg project with artist Stephen Turner. In addition to practising both in large and small scale design offices, Graham worked with the International Development charity Article 25 (2010-2011) alongside rural communities in West Africa and led on the design of a new secondary school campus in Burkina Faso.
Graham’s research activity stems from his breadth of practice-based experience with wide ranging methods of collaborative and participatory engagement in the process of design. Graham completed a postgraduate degree Building and Urban Design in Development (MSc) at the DPU Bartlett School, UCL in 2013. His thesis explored factors and conditions affecting built-in resilience in the post-disaster reconstruction context and its relationship with people-led bottom-up participatory processes which look beyond physical outcomes. Building on his scholarly work, Graham has co-directed collaborative ‘live’ projects with students at Woodland Enterprise Centre, Flimwell (2015); Brighton and Hove Allotment Federation at Craven Vale and Whitehawk Hill (2016); and as part of an AHRC funded research project investigating Urban Commons (2019-20).
Approach to teaching
Undergraduate design studio:
There is complexity surrounding the significant role that buildings play in shaping how we live and experience life. The studio aims for clarity, whether written into briefs or in individual conversations, in order to support these conversations with students. The studio invites students to consider less about what a building is and more about what it does, in order to focus thinking towards particular uses and conditions of occupancy.
It is important that students develop skills of detailed observation, investigation, research and thoughtfulness about place and people (in order to develop a position of being informed), from which they can generate specificity in their drawings and models. Students are asked to maintain logbooks which are a visual record of their research journey through the year. The studio encourages students to produce predominantly by hand and through models and made objects in order to force this level of engagement. The briefs are written to encourage students, through their own research, to generate a detailed reading of territory through the eyes of another, thereby developing a key design skill about understanding place from ‘another’s perspective’.
There is also value in outcomes which are not planned or designed (this comes from being in the real practice of architecture). Often unintended things happen in creative processes. The studio allows for this and encourages students to enjoy working with creative freedom as they work through the iterative design process. I value the approach that says “don’t think too much before doing, but don’t do too much without reflecting.” (Hamdi, 2012)
Selected talks, workshops and exhibitions
Graham Perring, “Wastes and Strays: The Past Present and Future of English Urban Commons”, contributor to 3-year AHRC funded interdisciplinary research and design-make project with Newcastle University, Exeter University, Sheffield University and Portsmouth University, exhibition and workshop events Newcastle, Bristol, Norwich, 10th May-7th June 2022, University of Brighton.
Graham Perring, Glenn Longden-Thurgood and Lucy-Ann Gilbert, “Brighton Pavilion of the Commons”, workshops at: School of Architecture and Design Lab Week, 2-6th March 2020, Interior Architecture, University of Brighton
Graham Perring, “Projects and Participatory Processes (the thing about people): Exbury Egg to Brighton Allotments”, presentation at: Staff Lecture Series, 27th March 2018, University of Brighton.
Graham Perring, “(re)public brighton: Valley Gardens”, presentation at: Tangible & Intangible Commons, 13th June 2017, University of Brighton.
Hub Shelter - Experimental Practice collaboration live project with BA Architecture graduates & AP Architecture, for Brighton and Hove Allotment Federation, at: Craven Vale and Whitehawk Hill Allotments, Brighton.
Graham Perring and Kate Cheyne, “Village Workshop to Village Factory: The need for progressive rural manufacture, materials, crafts and construction”, presentation at: Rurality Network and ARENA, 27 – 28th February 2015, University of Westminster
Fuel store - Experimental Practice collaboration live project with BA Architecture graduates & AP Architecture, at: Woodland Enterprise Centre, Flimwell.
Master, University College London
1 Oct 2012 → 1 Oct 2013
Award Date: 1 Oct 2013
University College London
Award Date: 1 Oct 1999
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