Photo of Sebastian Messer
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Personal profile

Biography

Sebastian studied architecture at the Mackintosh School of Architecture, Glasgow School of Art, at the UCL Bartlett School of Architecture, and took his professional examination at the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape, Newcastle University. Following this, he worked full-time in architectural practice while also teaching part-time at Birmingham City, Newcastle, and Northumbria Universities before joining Northumbria University full-time as a Senior Lecturer.

Sebastian is programme leader for the Master of Architecture (RIBA Part 2) course. With Stephen Roberts, Sebastian oversaw the introduction of ‘vertical studios’ in 2018-9, and with Jiayi Jin, he led the Performing Architectures studio, reimagining the High Street condition. From September 2020 he instigated the Material Poetics studio to investigate provenance, assemblage, and entropy in the Anthropocene.

Sebastian has been an External Examiner at La Facultad de Arquitectura, Urbanismo y Artes (FAUA-UNI), Lima, Peru. He currently shares the RIBA North East council role of Advocate for Education and Research with Matthew Margetts (EDable Architecture), and he represents architecture in the Northumbria Practice Research Group.

His recent works have been in collaboration with artist, Jessica Dolby (BALTIC Centre of Contemporary Art, 2021), and with Steve Newby, fullblOwn Ltd., and architect Taylor Grindley (Kielder Art & Architecture, ongoing).

Research interests

Sebastian’s teaching and research are collaborative and interdisciplinary. His PhD, the first in Practice Research submitted to the Faculty of Engineering and Environment, drew on 10 year’s participatory work with groups of young people about their uses of The City, in collaboration with Mike Jeffries (Geography, Northumbria University), Jon Swords (University of York), Christine Egan-Fowler (Newcastle Royal Grammar School), the Holy Biscuit Gallery/ Shieldfield Art Works, as well as numerous curators and artistic directors, artists, past and current MArch students, arts and heritage organisations, and schools in the North East of England.

Sebastian co-founded archiGRAD to undertake ‘live’ and self-instigated projects in the wake of the 2008 Atlantic Banking Crisis. Between 2010 and 2013 he mentored 120+ graduates from architecture and related disciplines in 30 projects.

His research is concerned with Spatial Practices, both the role of the architecture profession and the ‘lived’ experience of the everyday; narrative design; design fictions and imaginaries; and Practice Research. He defines his own career role as an architect whose mode of practise currently is principally through academia.

MArch students’ dissertations Sebastian has supervised are concerned with the Right to the City; the nature of heritage; ruins and ruination; science fiction, dystopias, and imaginaries; and often use participatory and visual research methods.

Sebastian has supervised three PhDs – one to completion as second supervisor, and one as principal supervisor is ongoing. He welcomes PhD applications for both Practice Research and by dissertation.

Education/Academic qualification

Architecture, PhD, Northumbria University

9 Nov 20143 Mar 2021

Award Date: 4 Aug 2020

Architecture, BArch (Hons), Glasgow School of Art

19911996

Award Date: 30 Jun 1996

Education, PCAPL, Northumbria University

20082010

Architecture, PGDip, Newcastle University

19992000

Architecture, PGDip, University College London

19961998

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