Staff / Helen Aston
0161 247 6963
After graduating from Hull School of Architecture, Helen then studied at Kingston School of Architecture and Landscape where she was subsequenty employed as a lecturer and senior researcher within the Green Audit Research Group and the Sustainable Design Research Group from 1997 until 2003. Alongside teaching and researching she established iballaston architecture in 1997 with her husband.
Helen joined the MSA as an Associate Lecturer in 2005 and became full time in 2007. She is currently head of BA1 and shares a BArch unit (MSA_P) with Stefan White. MSA_P participates in community engagement within and around Manchester.
Helen is interested in the gendered territories of our cities, and the way in which architectural practice sites itself within this environment. She has explored this through her own thesis project proposing the regeneration and the re-exposure of the sex industries in Soho, research into the space and manipulation of the female form, as a researcher at the Women's Art Library, and through her own architectural practice. Development of the architectural brief, client consultation techniques and design games are all tested within her practice and her BArch teaching in MSA_P. Helen is currently involved in mapping those gendered territories through the use of craftivism.
She also researches the manifestations of the everyday in British Suburbs (its artefacts, activities and users), and with her extensive collection of household ephemera she proposes alternative models for suburban living.
Since 1997 I have run a small architectural practice – iballaston architecture, formed in order to draw on and develop our experiences to date. This has resulted in a number of small community and housing projects being undertaken, one in particular being the 5th Urmston new Scout HQ. I am currently preparing a small book discussing the design and consultative processes we have undertaken.
_provides a working platform for the development of our ideas and principles
_currently has a community project on site
_undertakes innovative consultation approaches
_has developed a series of design games for all client age groups
_helps others to build
it doesn't just end at the walls
It doesn't just end at the walls explores the artefacts, activities and users of a sustainable suburban deram. It aims to understand and challenge established views of British Suburbia and the future relationships with sustainability.
research with bedzed
BEDZED HOUSING SCHEME, 1999 (INCOME £40,000): Project managed the live research, development and design project in association with the Peabody Trust, Bill Dunster Architects, and the Bio-Regional Development Group. The research project offered design proposals for eco-kitchens through minimisation of and locally sourced materials, proposed a business plan for car-pools, and explored ways of minimising energy consumption through researched ventilation strategies.
ResearchA selection of recent research outputs.
Aston, H., 2000. Project House 2000, Kingston University and Wates Built Homes, 1998.
Aston, H., 1998. Postcards from Whitby, Royal Institute of Architects, London, July-September 1998.
Aston, H., 2002. 'Future Sustainability Teaching and Learning', Sustainability and Architectural Education Conference, Royal Institute of British Architects, June 2002, in CEBE website.
Aston, H., 2002. 'Red, Amber, Green: 75 Years of Communicating Sustainability', Sustainable Urban Design Conference, Kingston University, February 2002.
Aston, H., 2001. 'From Green Fingers to Green Goddess', British Interwar Suburbs, Dorich House Symposium, Kingston University and Design Historians Society, May 2001.
Aston, H., 2001. 'The Business Case for Sustainable Property', Construction Confederation Annual Conference, Construction Confederation, London, March 2001.
Aston, H., 2001. 'Why green is the new pink or why architects wear black', CUDE 2001 Conference, Cardiff University, September 2001, in CEBE website.
Aston, H., 2000. 'Reacting to the Ground Force', CUDE 2000 Conference, Sheffield University, April 2000, in CEBE website.
Aston, H., 2003. 'the wider architectural forum'.
Aston, H., 2001. 'Sustainability Special Interest Group', Sustainability and Architectural Education.