Stephen Ryan is a registered architect, lecturing and researching in architecture at the University of Brighton.
His architectural practice has been focused on the renovation and rebuilding of houses, while his research considers references to "light" in architectural discourse and the relative qualities and values of darkness.
Ryan studied at the University of Edinburgh and currently leads Studio 14 on the undergraduate architecture course.
Stephen Ryan's architectural practice has generally been focused on the renovation and rebuilding of houses, for a number of private clients. The concern with each project has been the development of spatial possibilities in the restrictive circumstances of site, fabric, and budget. Latterly the practice has developed to encompass self-build with research and application of building techniques and skills.
The combined pursuit of both academic and architectural practice inform Ryan's research interests. In architectural practice his current research is concerned with the design of architectural space; particularly the way in which space is generally understood - modern space being seen as universally light and undifferentiated; darkness eliminated for reasons of economy - continuous production and consumption; and psychology - fear. Space is predominantly discussed in terms of light, without reference to the qualities and values of darkness, yet while society's aspirations currently run counter to the values of dark space, the decline of cheap energy is likely to demand that by necessity its positive qualities are reviewed.
Stephen Ryan's research illustrates ways in which this rethinking could be undertaken and how architecturally dark space might be strategically deployed and celebrated. Outcomes from this research are applied in architectural practice through design and building projects. This architectural practice is limited to small-scale projects, albeit with the ambition of producing the highest quality of architecture - incorporating and involving issues of beauty, poetics, ethics, attention to material and the craft of building; sustainability being a the natural consequence of such an approach.
Architectural practice in turn informs Stephen's teaching practice, contributing to project initiatives, updating understanding of the subject and enabling teaching across courses, in a wide range of subject areas. Additional interests and preoccupations have led to a number of academic projects in architecturally related areas, for example, 'soundspacesound', 'landmarks', and 'excursions in immensity: the shape of a walk' - ongoing research and practice in environmental art and in particular, walking as an artistic practice.
Stephen Ryan's pedagogic research examines the ways in which teaching and learning can remain effective in a situation of a greatly increased student and limited resources - both personnel and physical - the ambition being to retain an effective productive, dynamic studio culture where the large size of the group acts as a positive factor. Research includes the investigation of comparative situations and circumstances both within and outwith architectural education with correspondent application potential. Outcomes from this research are applied in current teaching practice.
Ryan completed his studies at the University of Edinburgh and became a registered architect in 1986. Experience in architectural practice was gained working with several distinguished architecture and design practices, in both London and Edinburgh. Self-employed as an architect since 1988, he has undertaken a wide variety of architectural projects in collaboration, consultation, and in his own practice.
Ryan's teaching experience was gained at the University of Edinburgh 1991-92, on a part-time basis, developing to a full-time post at De Montfort University Leicester 1993-98, and the University of Brighton from 1998 to present. He has taught in a wide variety of roles and areas and currently leads undergraduate Studio 14 as part of the BA (Hons) Architecture course. Additionally he is a visiting critic and lecturer at various schools of architecture.