Kate Cheyne leads the Academic Programme for Architecture at the University of Brighton.
She has been a registered architect with the ARB since 1998 and is a Chartered member of RIBA. She jointly set up London based, award-winning practice, Architects In Residence A.I.R.
Kate uses detailed understanding of building usage and responsive materials to develop architectural solutions that are tailored for specific use and also flexible.
Theoretically focussing on the materiality of space and the balance between temporality and permanence, Kate has brought improvements to building practice in rural and earthquake-threatened environments. .
Kate Cheyne is the Academic Programme Leader for Architecture at the University of Brighton. She has been a registered architect with the ARB since 1998 and is a Chartered member of the RIBA. She jointly set up London-based, award-winning practice, Architects In Residence (A.I.R.) having studied architecture at the Macintosh School of Architecture and The Bartlett, UCL.
Spatial storylands: research through narrative and practice
In a cycle that allows practice and theory to be mutually informative, Kate has developed architectural building systems that are flexible to both the site and the fluctuating needs of the end users. Through a careful analysis of place and its usage, attention can be paid to the interesting, complex and unexpected ways in which people occupy and experience spaces. Kate Cheyne takes steps to decypher behavioural patterns of individuals when in public and to examine how physical constructs affect this. In this way she explores the potential to increase a shared intimacy of place and sociability in the built environment.
Through the project ‘spatial storylands’, her research explores the materiality of space and the balance between temporality and permanence of any structure. This starts from using stories to reveal how we inhabit places so that we better understand the existing and future condition of any proposal. It evolves into the development of materials that can read the changes to a building externally and internally, aiming towards potentially becoming an instrument to tune a structure and building environment to its context - physical, social and cultural.
Her interest in how we respond to the continual changes in our surrounding environment have led to a collaboration with Di Mainstone, an artist and fashion designer specialising in interactive costumes. Starting from writing a story, they have designed a Digital Garden where, through manipulating embedded technologies, people are able to change the garden, crafting their own augmented reality. They are currently looking for a site and funding mechanism to build the garden.
Developing materials and fabrication
This complements Kate’s investigation of the potential of innovative architectural materials and fabrication, through which she aims particularly towards rural manufacture for the construction industry. She adapts traditional techniques and materials into new digital technologies with the objective of deepening the link between production and the local landscape and inform a contemporary local architectural vocabulary.
Kate is also working to design and compile a digital encyclopaedia of fabrication techniques and applications within the rural craft and manufacturing industries. This will inform local planning policy and the production of design guidelines to support community interests in rural regions and new development relevant to place.
Architecture for under-developed areas
Kate has worked in various practices in London, Israel and Sri Lanka on housing, healthcare and community led projects. She sits on the board of NGO Development Workshop, and spent 2 months in Haiti after the earthquake, designing a transitional school incorporating Safer Construction methods and components of Disaster Resistance.
Alongside DWF, (an NGO with 30 years of experience of working with some of the poorest communities in the world, developing local capacities within the construction industry to improve lives and livelihoods), she has helped to design building models in Haiti which provide training and technical assistance to enable local people to build more safely and sustainably and so to cope with environmental challenges and natural disasters. They are looking at the shared issues between current European practices in sustainable construction and alternative methods of construction in the developing world, looking to better understand the social impact on local communities and economies that choices in materials, construction methods and manufacturing processes make.
As part of an inter-disciplinary team ‘Seismic Shifts’, Kate Cheyne is collaborating with nano-technologists and structural engineers aims to develop a proof of concept for a new intelligent textile for use in earthquake zones to sense movement and warn of potential structural failure.
Architecture in education
She is part of an annual collaboration with Glenn Longden-Thurgood and Tony Roberts to design and build the ‘End of Year Pavilion’ with the students. Each year they take a locally sourced material and explore its possible development as a construction material. In 2011 they developed chalk as a rammed wall, alongside Roland Keeble, an expert in rammed earth. In 2012 they are exploring bending green timber from local coppiced woods alongside David Saunders from the Woodland Enterprise Centre.
Professional practice: Architecture In Residence (A.I.R.)
Her architectural practice, A.I.R, developing a tailor-made architecture, has combined diverse multi-disciplinary teams and cutting edge methods of fabrication.
In 1997 A.I.R. won the competition to deign a new-build café/restaurant as part of a multi-million pound regeneration scheme planned for Rotherham, S. Yorkshire as well as winning the Off-site category 2007 Wood Awards for Camarthen Place, a bespoke prefabricated solid timber housing scheme. In 2008 they were listed for Young Architect of the Year Award.
Cheyne, Catriona and McDougall, Kirsty (2017) Seismic Shifts: A Structural Health Monitoring Textile Journal of Textile Design Research and Practice, 5 (1). pp. 1-24. ISSN 2051-1787
Cheyne, Catriona (2015) Fieldwork: uncovering cultural landscapes In: 2nd Annual AAE Conference 2014 Living and Learning, The University of Sheffield, UK, 3-5 September 2014.
O'sullivan, Frank, Meade, Terry, Longden-Thurgood, Glenn, Cheyne, Kate and Robertson, Susan (2012) Defined by Job Description? In: Rogers, Paul, ed. Interiors education futures. Contemporary insights . Libri Publishing, Faringdon, Oxfordshire, UK, pp. 85-102. ISBN 9781907471520
Academic Grants & Awards
Juries, Committees and Editorial Boards
2010 – current