I lead the humanities units in MSA, teaching in each year of the BA in Architecture as well as 5th Year of MArch.  Humanities at MSA are designed to give students the opportunity to both gain a grounding in the discipline of architecture and to pursue their own interests; we aim to help you to learn research skills in order to develop these interests with rigour. Humanities encompasses architectural history and theory alongside other related fields such as philosophy, art, and the social sciences. We are committed to a cross-disciplinary approach in architecture, drawing out the interconnectedness of the built environment. We are committed to the process of decolonising our curriculum in humanities; for too long, architectural pedagogy has been focused on wealthy, white, male perspectives, and our aim is to de-centre this perspective, to reconsider the ‘canon’ in architecture as a more open construct.  We can understand architecture differently by being more inclusive.

In BA1, I teach Architectural Histories and Thinking Through Drawing, both ways of reconsidering architectural history - firstly through the discussion of architectural drawing itself and using drawing to explore history; secondly through thematic lectures cutting across architectural history in different ways.  In BA2, I teach Inscribing the City where we engage with architectural theory through discussions of urban contexts.  The wider responsibilities of architecture and architects are placed under scrutiny as a way of navigating architectural theory.  In BA3, I lead an elective in The Anthropology of Home where methods of Graphic Anthropology are used to deconstruct the most familiar spaces alongside theories and concepts from the social sciences.

In MArch, I teach in  Research Methods.  For the RM1 workshop, I continue to present Filmic Architecture, where the relationship between cinema and the built environment is explored through a series of guided studio tasks towards a design and short film.  I will also be leading a smallgroup of students through topics related to inscriptive practices, in the workshop Hard and Disagreeable Labour, investigating architectural drawing and similar ways of knowing.

Academic and professional qualifications

PhD in Social Anthropology (University of Aberdeen); Towards a Theory of Notation as a Thinking Tool.  (Supervisor Prof. Tim Ingold, 2006).

MPhil by Research in Architecture (University of Strathclyde); Filmic Architecture: an exploration of film language as a method for architectural criticism and design. (Supervisor Prof. Per Kartvedt, 2002).

Previous Employment

Senior Lecturer in Architectural Studies, University of Manchester (2014-2019).

Head of Architecture Department, University of Manchester (2015-2018).

Senior Lecturer in Architecture, Manchester Metropolitan University (2010-2014).

Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Cultures of Legibility (AHRC), University of Edinburgh (PI: Prof Stephen Cairns & Prof William Mackaness, 2009).

Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Multimodal Representation of Urban Space (AHRC/EPSRC Designing for the 21st Century), University of Strathclyde (PI: Prof Wolfgang Sonne, Prof Gordon Mair & Dr Ombretta Romice, 2007-2008).

Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Inflecting Space: correlating the attributes of voice with the character of urban spaces (AHRC), University of Edinburgh (PI: Prof Richard Coyne & Prof Peter Nelson, 2005-2006).

Academic service (administration and management)

Head of Architecture Department, University of Manchester (2015-2018).

Undergraduate courses

BA (Hons) in Architecture

Humanities 1

Thinking Through Drawing (Course Leader)

Histories of Archtiecture (Coordinator)

Humanities 2

Inscribing the City (Course Leader with Stephen Walker)

Humanities 3

Anthropology of Home (Elective Leader)

Postgraduate teaching

MArch in Architecture

Research Methods 2 - Workshops.

I lead the Filmic Architecture workshop in the MArch.

Filmic Architecture returns for it’s sixth iteration in 2020-21. This year, the workshop will encourage students to explore rather less conventional works of cinema for their assignments, examining the potential of works from outside of the mainstream of Euro-American film as analogues for thinking about architecture.

Students are asked to select a director/film-maker and to conduct a series of graphic experiments with the work. A series of tasks are set: reverse-engineer a storyboard from a selection of scenes; draw the plans of key locations; diagrams of montage and movement within the film, examinations of soundscape and narrative structure, questions of spectatorship and the pro-filmic event. Students are introduced to a wide range of film theories and practices, discussing the potential of narrative and characterisation in architecture as well as the overlaps between cinematic and architectural theories.

Students are asked to design a house for their director, and to make a short film of this house.

The theme for this year’s work is on the home, representations and understandings of domesticity in film.  How can architecture learn from and contribute to the sense of home in film?

I also lead a second RM workshop named Hard and Disagreeable Labour in the second term.  This workshop develops research into the nature of architectural drawing and other inscriptive practices with a series of investigations into why we draw, what we might consider drawing, and how those drawings communicate to others.

Postgraduate supervision (completed/in progress)


Paul Cureton, 2010-2013: Drawing in Landscape Architecture: Fieldwork, Poetics, Methods, Translation and Representation.  (First Supervisor).

Charalampos Politakis, 2010-2013: The Human Body as. Building: Architectural Colossi and their Metaphors.  (Second Supervisor).

In Progress:

David Johnson, 2017- Architecture and the Thing Itself (First Supervisor at UoM, now Second Supervisor)

Salma Soliman, 2018- The Push of Gravity: Designing for an Enhanced Human Body Movement (First Supervisor at UoM, now Second Supervisor)

Judith van Den Boom, from 2021- Understanding Design Through Kinship (Second Supervisor)

Erika Conchis, 2021- Designing Resonance (Second Supervisor)

External examiner roles

External examiner for the MA in Architecture at London Metropolitan University.


April 2005: Gestural Artefacts: Notations of a Daruma Doll. part of the group exhibition curated by Dr Wendy Gunn: ‘Fieldnotes and Sketchbooks: challenging the boundaries between descriptions and processes of describing.’ Aberdeen Art Gallery.

April 2005: Digital Weavings and Narratives of Learning. Contributor to the group exhibition curated by Dr Wendy Gunn, Lighthouse Centre for Architecture, Glasgow.

June 2005: Getting Lost in Tokyo. Solo exhibition and research seminar. Centrespace Gallery, Visual Research Centre, Dundee Contemporary Arts.

June 2005: Notational Walk. Workshop for ‘Gangrel Bodies,’ curated by Jim Colquohoun Peacock Gallery, Aberdeen.

September - October 2005: Primary Source. Presentation of ‘Getting Lost in Tokyo’ as part of an exhibition of artists’ books, Warwick University Library exhibition room.

September 2006. Vocal Ikebana Sound installation featuring the work of the Inflecting Space AHRC project. Matthew Gallery, University of Edinburgh.

January 2008. Sensory Urbanism. Curatorship of exhibition related to conference. Architecture Gallery, University of Strathclyde.

September 2009. Cultures of Illegibility in Gotong Royong City: International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam. Contributor and Sub-curator of Reciprocity Theme. NAi, Rotterdam.

June 2014. Graphic Anthropology of Namdaemun Market, Seoul with Morag Fyfe (photographer). Part of ‘Speculative Ground’ exhibition, ASA2014 Conference, University of Edinburgh.

October 2014. Extracts from a Graphic Anthropology of Namdaemun Market, Seoul. 8 original drawings exhibited as part of ‘Describing Architecture’ exhibition, City Assembly House & Powerscourt Townhouse, Dublin. http://www.describingarchitecture.com

June 2015. A Taxonomy of Lines. Live drawing and exhibition of 24 original drawings exhibited as part of ‘Translating Entropy’ exhibition with anthropologist Jennifer Clarke. Gallery Turnaround, Sendai. http://turn-around.jp/sb/log/eid452.html

September 2015. Graphic Anthropology of Namdaemun Market, Seoul & Graphic Anthropology of Sanja Matsuri, Asakusa, Tokyo. 42 original drawings exhibited as part of group exhibition curated by Elizabeth Hodson for ‘Beyond Perception 15’ at SRAC Aberdeen.

May 2017a. A Graphic Anthropology of Sanja Matsuri, as part of 'The Unfinishing of Things’ curated by Marc Higgin, University of Aberdeen.


May 2017b. Bird Stair (after Walter Murch) Sound Installation alongside Liz Hallam's (University of Oxford) ‘Locked Rooms Experiment: a fast installation' at the Anatomy Rooms, Marischal College Aberdeen.

May 2017c. What is Architecture: 50 Years of 131 Rottenrow. One of 50 alumni of Strathclyde University’s school of architecture to celebrate 50 years of the department & building. Exhibition of student work alongside current projects. SWG3 Studio Warehouse, Glasgow.

September 2020. Illustrating Anthropology. Royal Institute for Anthropology. https://illustratinganthropology.com/ curated by Jennifer Cearns & Laura Haapio-Kirk.

Projects Gallery


A selection of books I have written, edited, or contributed a chapter to.


Research Interests

My primary research is into architectural anthropology.  Rather than conduct ethnographic studies of architectural practice, my concern is to see both disciplines as equivalent to one another and to contribute to a graphic anthropology where drawings, sketches, notations, diagrams, maps and other inscriptive practices can reveal more about a social and architectural context.

I am developing this through a long engagement with Japanese urban festivals such as Sanja Matsuri and Gion Matsuri, where temporary and mobile pieces of architecture re-make the city.  Understanding the multiple appropriations and re-uses of space during the festival which collapses the existing social order to reveal normally hidden elements - the city is at its most urban in these moments.

This is allied to my interest in architectural drawing itself, understanding the processes by which it makes the world knowable.  By understanding drawing as a form of perception, we can open up practices to focus the attention on aspects such as the senses, movements through space, and geometry.

I continue to also work on research into film and architecture, developing work on the concept of montage in architecture, the relationship between production design and locations with architectural theories, and ways to use cinema to think about the built environment.

Invited Papers


Lucas, R. 2014. Sensory Urbanism: developing design methods for all our senses in architecture and urban design. Keynote speaker at EBRA 2014, Guangzhou, China.

Lucas, R. 2015. Why a Drawing is not an Image (and why that may not be a problem). Invited Plenary Speaker. Beyond Perception 15, SRAC, University of Aberdeen. September 2015.

Lucas, R. 2017. Score and Script: Revisiting Nelson Goodman at Sanja Matsuri. Invited Keynote Speaker. 14th AHRA (Architectural Humanities Research Association) International Conference: Architecture, Festival and the City. November 2017.

Invited Discussions

Designing for All the Senses: How to Draw (on) Experience in Design Invited speaker, Seoul National University of Technology, South Korea, October 2011.

Drawing Parallels: lines of conversation in design and architecture. With Mike Anusas. Invited speaker, IKKM, Bauhaus University. July 2014.*

Drawing as Observation: Orthographic Drawing as Organised Perception. Invited Workshop: KFI Lab, University of St Andrews. October 2014.*

Revisiting the Retroactive Manifesto in Seoul. Invited speaker, ‘Rolling Around like Gorillas on the Incline: Opening the Imaginary in Architecture and the Arts'. Tate Liverpool. October 2014.*

Architectural Anthropology. Architectural Institute of Japan, Culture & Environment Group inaugural symposium. Tokyo Institute of Technology. May 2015.*

Why a Drawing is not an Image (and why that may not be a problem). Invited Plenary. Beyond Perception 15, SRAC, University of Aberdeen. September 2015.*

Graphic Anthropology. Co+Labo Radovic, Keio University, Tokyo. May 2017.

Sensory Notation. for “Multi-Sensory Approach to Ageing-friendly Design in High-Density Contexts” at National University of Singapore. March 2018.*

Notations of Architectural Anthropology. Architectural Institute of Japan, Culture & Environment Group symposium. Tokyo University. May 2018.*

Embodied Urbanism & Architecture of Movement Co+Labo Radovic, Keio University, Tokyo. May 2018.
A Graphic Anthropology of Sanja Matsuri. Invited Talk, Architectural Ethnography, ETH Zurich. November 2018.*

Research Methods for Architecture: Interdisciplinary Research. Invited Talk, Queens University Belfast. January 2019.*

Lessons from Socially Produced Architecture: a Graphic Anthropology of Namdaemun Market. Invited Talk, University of Strathclyde. February 2019.*

Script + Score: A Graphic Anthropology of Sanja Matsuri. Invited Talk, Mackintosh School of Architecture, Glasgow School of Art. February 2019.

Drawing Parallels. Invited Talk, Co+Labo Radovic, Keio University, Tokyo. May 2019.

Knowing Things. Invited Workshop, Whitworth Gallery, Manchester. May 2019.

The Unfinished in Architecture, Design and Planning. Invited participant, Open University, London. June 2019.*

The Ephemeral Architectures of Sanja Matsuri. Invited Talk, Celebrate! Commemorate! Parade! Festival Economy Then and Now. University of Cologne. June 2019.*

Drawing Parallels. Invited Talk, University of Edinburgh, October 2019.*

Why I Draw. Invited Talk, Klis Case Workshop, Meiji University, Keio University, University of Split, September 2020.**

A Graphic Anthropology of Sanja Matsuri. Arquitectura y Etnografía, UDLA Santiago de Chile, September 2020.**

A Graphic Anthropology of Sanja Matsuri, Invited Talk, Architecture, Space & Society Centre, Birkbeck University, October 2020.**

Conference organisation

Conference Organisation

Convenor of Sensory Urbanism in January 2008 at the University of Strathclyde.

Panels Convened

Lucas, R. 2012. Anthropology, Ethnography, & People-Environment Studies. One-session panel at IAPS 2012. University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, June 2012.

Lucas, R. 2014. Towards an Architectural Anthropology. Three-session panel at IUAES2014, Chiba, Japan.

Lucas, R. 2018a. Drawings Of, Drawings By, and Drawings With. Six-session panel at Royal Anthropological Institute Conference at SOAS/British Museum, “Art, Materiality & Representation”. July 2018.

Lucas, R. 2018b. Geometry and Anthropology. Three-session panel at Association of Social Anthropology conference, University of Oxford “Sociality, matter, and the imagination: re-creating Anthropology”.  September 2018.

Lucas, R. 2018c. Hard and Disagreeable Labour. Laboratory at Association of Social Anthropology conference, University of Oxford “Sociality, matter, and the imagination: re-creating Anthropology”. September 2018.


The Architecture of Gion Matsuri
May 2019 - May 2020
Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation Small grant, £2,000

Knowing from the Inside: Architecture, Art, Anthropology & Design (KFI)
June 2013 - May 2018
University of Aberdeen, Advisor & Associate Researcher to Project
European Research Council Advanced Grant £25,000 (of €2,434,878)

Anthropology of Geometry
April 2017, January 2018
University of Manchester / University of Aberdeen
Journal of Development Studies & Global Development Institute / ERC (KFI - above) £2,250 Workshop Grant + £3,000 Matched funding from KFI

The Morphology and Ethnography of the Urban Marketplace in South Korea
January 2012 - June 2014
Manchester Metropolitan University
MIRIAD Research Project £6,920


Lucas, R., 2020. 'Anthropology for Architects: Social Relations and the Built Environment', Bloomsbury Visual Arts.

Lucas, R., 2020. 'Drawing Parallels Knowledge Production in Axonometric, Isometric and Oblique Drawings', Routledge.

Browne, J., Frost, C., Lucas, R., 2018. 'Architecture, Festival and the City', Routledge.

Lucas, R., 2016. 'Research Methods for Architecture', Laurence King Publishing.

Lucas, R., 2016. 'Taking a line for a walk: Walking as an aesthetic practice'.

Book Chapters

Lucas, R., 2022. ''A house for...': Experiments in Filmic Architecture'. In Ingold, T. (eds.) Knowing from the Inside Cross-Disciplinary Experiments with Matters of Pedagogy, pp. 141-164, Bloomsbury.

Lucas, R., 2021. 'Architecture'. In International Encyclopedia of Anthropology, Wiley.

Lucas, R., 2020. 'Drawing as Being: Moving beyond ways of knowing, modes of attention and habits'. In Visual Research Methods in Architecture, Intellect (UK).

Lucas, R., 2020. 'On Drawing: Transmission from the Lifeworld to Paper at Namdaemun Market'. In Surface and Apparition The Immateriality of Modern Surface, Bloomsbury Publishing.

Lucas, R., 2020. 'Threshold as Social Surface'. In Anusas, M., Simonetti, C. (eds.) Surfaces Transformations of Body, Materials and Earth, Routledge.

Lucas, R., 2019. 'The Discipline of Tracing in Architectural Drawing'. In van Leeuwen, T. (eds.) The Materiality of Writing A Trace Making Perspective, Routledge.

Lucas, R., 2018. 'Threshold and Temporality in Architecture: Practices of Movement in Japanese Architecture'. In Bunn, S. (eds.) Anthropology and Beauty From Aesthetics to Creativity, Routledge.

Lucas, R., 2016. 'Inscriptive Practice as Gesture'. In Sheil, B., Migayrou, F., Pearson, L., Allen, L. (eds.) Drawing Futures: Speculations in Contemporary Drawing for Art and Architecture, UCL Press.

Lucas, R., 2016. 'Taking a Line for a Walk: Flânerie, Drifts, and the Artistic Potential of Urban Wandering'. In Ways of Walking Ethnography and Practice on Foot, Routledge.

Lucas, R., 2014. 'The Sketchbook as Collection: a Phenomenology of Sketching'. In Bartram, A., El-Bizri, N., Gittens, D. (eds.) Recto Verso: Redefining the Sketchbook, Routledge.

Lucas, R., 2014. 'The sketchbook as collection: A phenomenology of sketching'. In Recto Verso: Redefining the Sketchbook, pp. 191-205.

Lucas, R., 2009. 'Gestural Artefacts: Notations of a Daruma Doll.'. In Fieldnotes and Sketchbooks Challenging the Boundaries Between Descriptions and Processes of Describing, Peter Lang.

Ingold, T., Lucas, R., 2007. 'The 4 A's (Anthropology, Archaeology, Art and Architecture): Reflections on a Teaching and Learning Experience'. In Ways of Knowing Anthropological Approaches to Crafting Experience and Knowledge, Berghahn Books.

Journal Articles

Lucas, R., 2012. 'The instrumentality of Gibson's medium as an alternative to space', CLCWeb - Comparative Literature and Culture, 14 (3).

Lucas, R., Romice, O., 2010. 'Assessing the multi-sensory qualities of urban space: A methodological approach and notational system for recording and designing the multi-sensory experience of urban space', Psyecology, 1 (2), pp. 197-211.

Lucas, R., Romice, O., 2010. 'Assessing the multi-sensory qualities of urban space: A methodological approach and notational system for recording and designing the multi-sensory experience of urban space', Psyecology, 1 (2), pp. 263-276.

Lucas, R., 2009. 'Designing a notation for the senses', Architectural Theory Review, 14 (2), pp. 173-192.

Lucas, R., 2008. 'Getting lost in Tokyo', Footprint, 2, pp. 91-104.