Skip to main content
Professor Oriel Prizeman MA (Cantab) AADip PhD (Cantab)

Professor Oriel Prizeman

MA (Cantab) AADip PhD (Cantab)

Personal Chair

+44 (0)29 2087 5967
Room 1.39, Bute Building, King Edward VII Avenue, Cardiff, CF10 3NB
Available for postgraduate supervision


Prior to my PhD, my background was in private practice and this experience informed the framing of the MSc in Sustainable Building Conservation which I launched at Cardiff University in 2013. My research uses digital models to investigate re-readings of design intent, environmental histories and current interpretations of public space. I have an eagerness to develop digital tools for conservation that can better mediate the complexities of addressing differing or even conflicting interests. I have worked extensively in the area of early twentieth century Public Library buildings and collaborated on three projects in India each of which broadly seek to establish digital fora for the discussion of complex issues relating to heritage and its ongoing public use. Recently I have been working on participatory digital tools for the documentation of historic harbours.


I am Director of the Centre for Sustainable Building Conservation  and programme lead for the MSc Sustainable Building Conservation

I am currently Principal Investigator ESRC/IRC funded project Harbourview. From 2016-21 I was PI for the AHRC funded project: Shelf Life: Re-imagining the Future of Carnegie Public Libraries and from 2018-21 I was Co-Investigator for Professor Adam Hardy’s AHRC funded project: Tamil Temple Towns; Conservation and Contestation.


I took my first degree and PhD at the University of Cambridge and my Diploma and RIBA part 3 at the Architectural Association in London. I worked at Branson Coates Architecture and Michael Hopkins and partners as a student. I set up my own practice in Cambridge in 1996 as a sole practitioner specialising in the repair and adaptation of listed houses, completing 28 built projects. I taught design studios intermittently at the University of East London, the University of Cambridge and at the Royal College of Art.

In 2006 I was awarded an AHRC PhD studentship under a project led by Prof Koen Steemers and Mary Ann Steane at the Martin Centre in the Faculty of Architecture and History of Art at the University of Cambridge. I completed this in 2010 and returned to practice. My first book, Philanthropy and Light was published in 2012 and is based on my thesis. I was appointed Director of Studies for Architecture at Gonville and Caius College Cambridge in 2011 and then moved to Cardiff in 2012 to take up a full time academic post.

Through establishing the MSc Sustainable Building Conservation at Cardiff in 2013, I have made ERASMUS collaborations with the Conservation Masters programmes at Roma Tre University, Politecnico di Milano and the National Technical University of Athens. 

I was an elected board member of the US based Association for Preservation Technology 2015-17. I have also been engaged as an expert advisor to the Heritage Lottery Fund (Grants for Places of Worship, Wales) and to UNESCO for a World Heritage nomination. Since 2014 I have been awarded funding for research from the AHRC, the ESRC and EPSRC as well as from Historic Environment Scotland, Historic England and Cadw. 

Honours and awards

Academic awards

2006                AHRC PhD studentship University of Cambridge, under “Designing with Light in Libraries”  led by Prof Koen Steemers and Mary Ann Steane

1993                Scholarship to the Architectural Association

Awards in Practice (Oriel Prizeman Ltd):

2011          Practice Nominated for Architecture Foundation / Danish Architecture Exchange

2010         Cambridge City Council David Urwin Sustainability award shortlisted: 19 Newton Road 

2009         RIBA East “Spirit of ingenuity” Shortlisted: 15 Latham Road / Design award

2005         RIBA East “Spirit of ingenuity” Shortlisted “Ship in a Bottle 11 Grange Road / Design award

2003         RIBA East “Spirit of ingenuity” 2003 Runner up: English Heritage conservation award – Manor Cottage Haslingfield

Professional memberships

SPAB         Member since 1996 

ICOMOS    Member since 2009

SAHA         Member Society Architectural Historians of America since 2009

APT            Member 2013-20

CIPA           Since 2013 

2016-20      RIBA Accredited Specialist Conservation Architect

2011-16      RIBA Accredited Conservation Architect

1999-2020  RIBA Chartered Member and ARB Registrant


Academic positions

2012- present Welsh School of Architecture, Cardiff University Professor, (previously Senior Lecturer then Reader), Director of Postgraduate Research Studies, Course Leader and developer: MSc Sustainable Building Conservation course IHBC accredited & RIBA approved, launched Sept 2013

2011-12 University of Cambridge: Gonville & Caius College: Director of Studies: Architecture

2005-2006, &1996-8 University of Cambridge: Faculty of Architecture and History of Art: 1st year tutor

2002-2005 Royal College of Art MA Architecture and Interiors: Studio Master ADS1

1996-2000 University of East London Dept of Architecture: 0.25FTE Senior Lecturer Diploma / BSc

Speaking engagements

Public Lectures

2019 2019 Talk to “Happy Older People” community group about Lister Steps (West Derby or Tuebrook) Library in Liverpool 16.10.2019 at Life & The Library in L13

2015. Pubilc philanthropy: access not ownership - Rowan Moore and Oriel Prizeman in conversation with Kieran Long, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, UK, 22 May 2015.

2014. Seeing and being seen: the radiant languages of public libraries. Presented at: Central Saint Martins Informal Exchange: 'Housing Information'Swiss Cottage Library, London, UK, 17 September 2014.

2011. Working with the Conservation Framework in Cambridge, England: A practitioner's view. Presented at British CouncilIdentity and spirit of Old TbilisiTbilisi, Georgia, 19 April - 2 May 2011.

Invited Academic Lectures

Politecnico di Milano: Scuola di Architettura Urbanistica Ingegneria delle Costruzioni: “Reading Patterns for Sustainable Building Conservation” 24.4.20

School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi 2017, Special Lecture ““Developing Digital Tools for Conservation” in Architectural Conservation Department 17.2.17

Royal College of Art 2016 Philanthropy and Light - Salon presentation 1.12.16

Università di Palermo Facoltà di Architettura: Leapfrogs in Development 18.11.2003

International Roundtable presentations

Rakhigarhi: at the Centre for Art and Archaeology Delhi INTACH (Haryana chapter) - see Times of India 19.2.17  18.2.17

Working with the Conservation Framework in Cambridge, England: A practitioner's view. Presented at British Council TbilisiIdentity and spirit of Old Tbilisi, Tbilisi, Georgia, 19 April - 2 May 2011.

Committees and reviewing

2017  ICOMOS Expert reviewer for UNESCO world heritage nomination

2017 Invited participant at both the Newton-Ungku Omar Fund: Heritage Refurbishment Assessment Scheme (HeRAS), Penang, Malaysia  

2017 Newton-Baba Fund ICHR, AHRC UK-India Workshop on Cultural Heritage and Rapid Urbanisation in India. 

2016-18 elected board member for the the North America based Association for Preservation Technology  

2017+19 Scientific Panel of CIPA symposiumI

2015 Consultee to the Welsh Government Sectoral Adaptation Plan Climate Change and Cultural Heritage

2013 + 2020 RSAW awards judge

2013-14 Expert advisor to the Heritage Lottery Fund's Grants for Places of Worship Wales scheme

2014 cited in DCMS Farrell Review

2011 Heritage Working Group: Cambridge Past Present and Future

Peer reviewer (Journals)

Heritage (MDPI)

ISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information 

Journal of Sustainable Cultural Heritage Management 

International Journal of Building Pathology and Adaptation 

Advances in Geosciences (ADGEO) 

Journal of Architectural Conservation 

Architectural Research Quarterly 

Libraries: Culture, History, and Society 

Urban Studies 

Association of Preservation Technologists Bulletin

Peer review (Books)

Book reviewer: Journal of Architectural Conservation, Architectural Review

Book proposal reviewer: Ashgate, RIBA Publications, Routledge


2021- Editorial Board Member: Conservation (MDPI) 

2017 Advisory Board: Invisible Architecture: Inside the Great War Boundaries: Memories and Remebrances, Traces and Abscences. Ed Olivia Longo (Universtta degli Studi di Brescia 2017)

















Teaching profile

I am course director of the MSc Sustainable Building Conservation at WSA  which I founded in 2013. I am currently module leader for ART 501 "The Conservator's Role" and ART 504 "Case Studies and Regional Work". 

I am external examiner for University of Reading: MSc Conservation of the Historic Environment. From 2014-18 I was external examiner to the Department of Archaeology, University of York, MA in Conservation Studies and MA in Conservation Studies (Historic Buildings) and MA in the Archaeology of Buildings 2014-18 and to the Conservation of the Historic Environment MA/PGDip at Birmingham City University.

I started teaching part time first year at the University of Cambridge and fifth year at the University of East London simultaneously in 1996. I later led ADS1 at the Royal College of Art MA Architecture and Interiors from 2003-5. In 2011 I was appointed as the Director of Studies for Architecture at Gonville and Caius College, University of Cambridge.

Funded research projects:


My monograph based on my PhD: Philanthropy and Light: Carnegie Libraries and the Advent of Transatlantic Standards for Public Space is now available as an e-book:

"It very well may be one of the most significant books to appear on public libraries so far in the current century." - Prof Edward A. Goedeken, Iowa State University Library in Information & Culture, Vol. 51, No. 2, 2016 ©2016 by the University of Texas Press DOI: 10.7560/IC51206

"Prizeman's examination of environmental performance as a way to analyze the social and political meaning and function of this new building typology lends new insight into the significance of Carnegie's program and his buildings and will serve as a model for future studies of this type." - Prof Kenneth Breisch University of Southern California Breisch, Kenneth.The American Historical Review; Oxford Vol. 118, Iss. 3,  (Jun 2013): 821.

"Oriel Prizeman's scholarship is impressive. Research libraries will want to acquire this work. Economic historians, sociologists and librarians will all profit from the novel and fruitful insights in Philanthropy and Light" - Cope, R L. Australian Library Journal Vol. 62, Iss. 3,  (January 2013): 250.DOI:10.1080/00049670.2013.811776

"Philanthropy and Light is an excellent piece of scholarship which offers instruction and insight to a number of disciplines of which library history is but one. This work provides much of interest to the cultural historian, the sociologist, the industrial historian and, of course, to the architect. Prizeman is to be congratulated for an excellent and distinctive addition to the corpus of literature on Carnegie and for bringing to the attention of the library world an area that is possibly not fully understood or appreciated by those working the sector." Peter Reid (2014) Reviews, Library & Information History, 30:2, 129-142, DOI: 10.1179/1758348914Z.00000000059


Centre for Sustainable Building Conservation 

ESRC funded research: Harbourview 

AHRC funded Research: Shelf Life 

UKRI funding profile


  • Digital Modelling of Historic Environments
  • Early Twentieth Century buildings
  • The emergence of transatlantic standards
  • Library Buildings and Public Spaces
  • Digital Tools for Conservation
  • Sustainable Building Conservation

Current supervision

Baraah Muqaddam

Research student

Hilary Wyatt

Hilary Wyatt

Research student

Past projects

Successful completed theses as first supervisor:

2015 Dr Samuel Woodford: Preconception to participation: young people's experience of public library architecture

2018 Dr Christopher Whitman: The Distribution of Historic Timber-Framed Buildings in the UK and Their Low Energy Retrofit

2018 Dr Lama Bilal Abahussan: Screen Architecture: A Phenomenology of Dread Atmospheres in Thriller Films

2021 Dr Ahmed Taher: A parametric investigation of natural ventilation retrofit strategies for the cosmopolitan buildings of Alexandria 

2022 Dr Lui Tam: Sustainable Conservation of Timber Architectural Heritage in East Asia