Becky Sobell is programme lead for the Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA) course. She joined the Manchester School of Architecture in 2009 and has worked across landscape architecture and architecture education at all levels.

Becky is atelier lead for ‘Some Kind of Nature’ MSA atelier. SKN attends to the entangled fate of organisms and engages with contemporary discourses and strategies around the climate crisis to acknowledge the impact of homo sapiens on the physical, chemical, and biological systems of the planet. Interdisciplinarity is at the core of SKN’s pedagogy, and that collaborative ethos extends to more-than-human actors, redefining engagement with the environment as a multi-voiced or polyphonic narrative.

In landscape architectural practice Becky worked in Liverpool with BCA Landscape on multiple national award-winning projects. She has experience as a horticulturist in the USA and the UK, and co-ran the not-for-profit nursery at Hulme Community Garden Centre in Manchester. She has a BA Hons. in linguistics from the University of Manchester, and a postgraduate degree in Landscape Architecture. She led ‘MSA Live’, MSA’s annual programme of collaborative student-led live projects, for 4 years between 2018 and 2021.

Research projects include: ‘Unearthing Hidden Traces, Telling New Stories’, a collaboration with Professor Tim Edensor, and the Our Town Hall Project Team to investigate untold aspects of Manchester’s Town Hall discovered during its renovation. ‘Hardrock Revision’, a trans-disciplinary residency in the USA, and ‘The Ute Ulay Project’, mapping the historic landscape of an abandoned silver mine in remote Colorado.

Becky has co-supervised one PhD to completion, and been internal examiner for another. She has held external examiner posts for the BA in Landscape Architecture at the University of Sheffield; for the Graduate Diploma, Postgraduate Diploma and Masters in Landscape Architecture at Birmingham City University; and for the undergraduate Landscape Architecture and Garden Design at Writtle UC. She is currently external examiner for BA Landscape Architecture at The University of Greenwich.

Projects Gallery

Angel Field

A contemporary renaissance garden, Angel Field tells a narrative of development of mankind. Walking from the origins pool in the wild wood, through the orchard to a theatre garden; you will find morsels of prose and poetry linked to the site.

RIBA Northern Network Awards, Winner: Project of the Year 2011
Roses Award 2011
Civic Trust Award 2011

In the Orchard of ‘Dappled Things’ Country Life [UK] Project Article. September 2010

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Cockermouth Market Place

The Georgian Market Place in the ancient town of Cockermouth is re-enlivened with a series of bespoke design interventions. Each bollard, manhole cover, and some of the paving slabs tell local stories unearthed during extensive historical research, and conversations with local people.

Landscape Institute Award 2009
NW Tourism Award 2009 – Public Space Award

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Drift Park

A seafront park inspired by the meeting of coastal processes and the interventions used to control them, brings back Rhyl’s heritage in the form of colourful planting and a beachcombing experience.

Civic Trust Award 2009 & Special Award for Hard Landscaping
Best Place Making, National Roses Silver Design Award 2008,
Landscape Institute Award, November 2008, Highly Commended.

Project Publications:
A Fresh Start for the UK’s Seaside. (2009) In ‘Landscape Design’ Magazine (China)
The tide appears to be turning. (2008) In ‘Landscape’ journal of the Landscape Institute.
Beach Plumb. (2007) In ‘Touchstone’ journal of the Royal Society of Architects in Wales
International Design Scout [Germany] Project Feature, Feb. 2010 Stone Circle – Drift Park Lighting [pp 22 - 25]

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Garden of Light

This glittering, opulent courtyard inspired by the architecture of the grade 2* listed building, contains the world’s first outdoor chandeliers.

Best Residential Development April 2006, The Daily Post and Echo Property Awards.
Best Place Making and Best Low Cost Project, National Roses Design Awards 2006.

Avant Gardeners Exhibition. The University of Applied Arts Vienna. June 2008

Project Publications:
Richardson,T. (2008) Avant Gardeners: 50 Visionaries of the Contemporary Landscape. London: Thames & Hudson.

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Hardrock Revision

Residency team member, July 15th - August 15th 2011.
Organised by Colorado Art Ranch. Funded by Colorado Art Ranch & MIRIAD.

A transdisciplinary collaboration to envision future uses for the Ute Ulay Mine. This project was of an art-science collaboration with seven artists, and seven scientists, resulting in a symposium to present the team’s collaborative recommendations in a public forum.

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NORTHLIGHT student residency

NORTHLIGHT was a collaborative residency for students from the Manchester School of Architecture and University of Manchester, School of Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering.

Becky worked with InSitu socially engaged artists, and Dr Matin Gillie from the University of Manchester to consolidate creative landscape, architectural and engineering ideas for a new headquarters for InSitu.

This was a live project, and the results will feed into the detailed designs for the site. Funded by Arts Council England.

It was based in Brierfield in Lancashire, and ran from 20.6.16 - 1.7.16.

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The Fairytale of Burscough Bridge

The design celebrates the fascinating history of the area, expressed in a unique and contemporary style which was inspired by the simplicity and functionality of the canal and railway architecture, combined with the flamboyant spirit, colour, songs and traditions of the canalboats and the people who worked on them.

Landscape Institute Award, November 2008
RTPI Award, November 2008

BCA Landscape & Smiling Wolf, (2007). The Fairytale of Burscough Bridge. Chapel Gallery, Ormskirk Jan/Feb 2009
BCA Landscape & Smiling Wolf, (2007). The Fairytale of Burscough Bridge At: RENEW Rooms, Liverpool. Sep/Oct 2008.
Avant Gardeners Exhibition. The University of Applied Arts Vienna. June 2008

Project Publications:
O’Rourke, J. ed. (2009) PLACEmaking 2009: celebrating quality and innovation in urbanism. RUDI in association with the Academy of Urbanism.
Richardson,T. (2008) Avant Gardeners: 50 Visionaries of the Contemporary Landscape. London: Thames & Hudson.
Public Realm Built on Myth. Architects’ Journal (2008)
No bloody fairies here. The Drum Magazine (2009)

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The Ute Ulay Project

The Ute Ulay is an historically important inactive silver mine in a large wilderness area near Lake City, Hinsdale County, Colorado. There are proposals to develop it. The masterplan will provide a counterplan for the project, and will identify key elements. The initial part of the project ran from Feb 4th to April 14th 2012, and was based in Lake City, Colorado.

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Sobell, HR., Jefferies, T., Huneck, K., Kaushal, V., Macbeth, P., Jurack, B., 2015. Manchester Urban Pioneers, ELBERSHALLEN, DÖDTKOMM DÖDTERSTR. 10 HAGEN, 10/10/2015.

Sobell, B., Fries, H., Hoke, B., Lewandowski, J., McLeod, A., Moyer, L., Wysong, L.,, 2011. Hardrock Revision Collaborative Vision, Moseley Art Center, Lake City, Colorado, USA, 15-20th August.

Sobell, B. Thomson, A., Rhodes, S., 2009. The Fairytale of Burscough Bridge, Chapel Gallery, Ormskirk, 16 July - 14 September.

Sobell, B., Thomson, A., Rhodes, S., 2008. Avant Gardeners, Vienna Botanical Gardens Conservatory, Vienna, Austria, 1-15 June.

Sobell, B., Thomson, A., Rhodes, S., 2008. The Fairytale of Burscough Bridge, RIBA, RENEW Rooms, Liverpool, 15 - 25 September.

Sobell, B., 2007. All Go Digital, The Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing, PR China, 15 - 30 May.

Sobell, B., 2007. Made in Manchester, Chinese Profile Art Museum, Xiamen City, PR China, 12 - 26 October.

Sobell, B., 2007. Manchester – Our Tradition is Innovation, The Art Museum, Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts, 8 - 18 November.

Sobell, B., 2005. 18 Modern Originals, Centre for the Urban Built Environment, Manchester, UK, 16 - 29 July.


Sobell, HR., 2018. 'Northlight: The Garage. InSitu headquarters: Building in Briersfield, Lancashire', Briersfield, Lancashire.

Book Chapters

Sobell, B., Cureton, P., 2012. 'Representing Landscapes'. In Amoroso, N. (eds.) Representing Landscapes: A Visual Collection of Landscape Architectural Drawings, pp. 16-21, Routledge.

Sobell, B. and Cureton, P., 2012. 'Thinking Drawing: image typologies for processes in landscape architecture'. In Amoroso, N. (eds.) Representing Landscapes, 3, 16-21, Routledge: Oxon & New York.

Journal Articles

Edensor, T., Sobell, B., 2021. 'Keeping the family silver: the changing meanings and uses of Manchester's civic plate', Journal of Material Culture, 26 (3), pp. 280-297.

Sobell, H., Edensor, T., 2021. 'Keeping the family silver: the changing meanings and uses of Manchester's civic plate', Journal of Material Culture, 26 (3), pp. 280-297.

Conference Papers

Sobell, HR., Hudson, J., 2016. 'Designed wildness: Unlocking the potential of urban wastelands', The Future of Wild Europe, University of Leeds, 12/9/2016 - 14/9/2016.

Sobell, B., 2012. 'A mine in formation', International Federation of Landscape Architects Congress, Cape Town, South Africa, 5/9/2012 - 7/9/2012, in 49th World Congress of the International Federation of Landscape Architects, IFLA 2012, pp. 362-377.

Sobell, HR., 2012. 'Manpower: Making Landscape in the Rocky Mountains', European Council of Landscape Architecture Schools Conference, Warsaw, Poland, 19/9/2012 - 22/9/2012, in The power of landscape peer reviewed proceedings of ECLAS 2012 conference, at Warsaw University of Life Sciences - SGGW ; [Warsaw, 19-22 September, 2012], pp. 357-357.

Sobell, HR., Cureton, P., 2011. 'Thinking Drawing: image typologies for processes in landscape architecture', European Council of Landscape Architecture Schools Conference 2011, University of Sheffield, UK, 7/9/2011 - 9/9/2011.

Sobell, H.R., Thomson, A., 2010. 'Influence and Identity: Articulating the Future', The 6th annual World in Denmark: As Found, University of Copenhagen, Denmark, 17/6/2010 - 19/6/2010.


Fries, H., Hoke, B., Lewandowski, J., McLeod, A., Moyer, L., Sobell, B., Wysong, L., 2011. 'Hardrock Revision Collaborative Vision', Hardrock Revision Symposium, Lake City, Colorado, USA., 15 August.

Other Outputs

Sobell, H., 2018. 'Unfolding: New Dimensions in Architectural Pedagogy.'.

Sobell, HR., 2016. 'NORTHLIGHT: The Garage'.

Sobell, B., 2012. 'The Brief and Other Ridiculous Ideas'.

Research project details