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Dr Sam Clark

Dr Sam Clark


+44 (0)29 2087 4430
2.66, Bute Building, King Edward VII Avenue, Cardiff, CF10 3NB
Available for postgraduate supervision



I am a Reader (Associate Professor) at the Welsh School of Architecture, Cardiff University, and ARB-registered Architect with a passion for people-centred design and working between the boundaries of academia and industry. My regular activities include university teaching and management; external examining and governance; practice-led research and consultancy. I trained at Cambridge University (RIBA Part I), Cardiff University (Part II) and Kingston University (Part III), and completed doctoral studies at Newcastle University (PhD by Creative Practice).


I contribute to the following areas of activity at the Welsh School of Architecture:

  • Director of Recruitment & Admissions (Architecture)
  • Member of WSA Executive Board
  • MArch 2 Co-Chair
  • MArch 2 Unit Leader - Dwelling Differently
  • MArch Dissertation Supervision
  • Postgraduate Research Supervision (PhD)
  • Member of 'Practice' Research and Scholarship Group
  • Architectural Design Reviews & Examinations (BSc & MArch)
  • Personal Tutelage

External activities

  • Architectural practice and practice-led design research
  • External Examiner (BA Interior Design), School of Design, Bath Spa University
  • External PhD Supervisor, Cardiff School of Art & Design, Cardiff Metropolitan University
  • Visiting Design Reviewer to other UK Schools of Architecture
  • Member of Architectural Humanities Research Association
  • Member of Cardiff Ethnography Group


Extended Profile

I am a Reader (Associate Professor) at the Welsh School of Architecture, Cardiff University, and ARB-registered Architect with a passion for people-centred design and working between the boundaries of academia and industry. My regular activities include university teaching and management; external examining and governance; practice-led research and consultancy. I trained at Cambridge University (RIBA Part I), Cardiff University (Part II) and Kingston University (Part III); I undertook doctoral studies at Newcastle University (PhD by Creative Practice).

My industry experience includes appointments at five London-based architectural offices, involving a variety of professional projects, ranging from private homes and social housing schemes through to school refurbishments and other commercial work. Plus recent consultancy involving private clients on domestic alterations, conversions and extensions, as well as whole-house remodelling projects.

My current research centres on housing and specialist residential institutions, engaging the wider fields of gerontology, healthcare, planning, and architecture. My past research explored design pedagogy, particularly transitions into architectural education; architect roles within disaster relief and reconstruction, specifically humanitarian aid; inland waterways and opportunities for water-based dwelling.

Academic positions

  • Senior Lecturer, Cardiff University, since 2018
  • Lecturer, Cardiff University, 2010-18
  • Professional tutor (full time), Cardiff University, 2009-10
  • Design tutor (part time), Newcastle University, 2014-16
  • Design tutor (part time), Cardiff University, 2008-09
  • Design tutor (part time), Kingston University London, 2007-08
  • Guest lecturer / design reviewer to UK schools of architecture, since 2007

Speaking engagements

  • ‘Tweaking Retirement-Living: Introducing design thinking & coffee bars to shared lounges’. Presented at: Design Research for Change Symposium 2019, Design Museum London, 11-12 December 2019, London.
  • ‘Managed Lifestyles: Sustaining age-restricted communities within retirement-living developments’. Presented at: British Society of Gerontology 48th Annual Conference 2019, University of Liverpool, 10-12 July 2019, Liverpool.
  • ‘In-between Fields’. Presented at: RIBA Research Matters Conference, University of Sheffield & Sheffield Hallam University, 18-19 October 2018, Sheffield.
  • 'Retirement Living Explained: Guide for Planning and Design Professionals'. [Publication Launch]. Presented at: Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), 7 April 2017, London.
  • ‘Designing Community; Architectural Observations of Micro Age-Friendly Environments’. Presented at: 44th Annual British Society of Gerontology Conference, Northumbria University, 01-03 July 2015, Newcastle Upon Tyne.
  • 'Looking Towards Retirement / Design Research Field Notes’. Presented at: Architecture Design Research Symposium, Newcastle University, Newcastle Upon Tyne, 13 April 2015.
  • ‘Looking Towards Retirement / Housing Older People & Moving Beyond Shades of Grey’. Presented at: Housing – A Critical Perspective, Liverpool, 08-09 April 2015.
  • ‘Towards the Reflective Developer: Design Approaches Outside the Conflictive Context of Developer-Led Gentrification, With Lessons from the Architecture Studio’. Presented at: Housed by Choice, Housed by Force, The Cyprus Institute, 21-22 January 2015, Nicosia.
  • ‘The Crit’. Workshop: Fifth International Conference on Studio Culture funded by CEBE, London Metropolitan University, 29-30 June 2012.
  • ‘Onboard / Economy Through Necessity’. Presented at: International Conference on Economy, Welsh School of Architecture, Cardiff, 06-08 July 2011.
  • ‘The role of the Architect within humanitarian disaster relief and reconstruction’. Presented at: Second ASF-UK Summer School, ‘Vulnerability and Risk: Rebuilding Communities after Disaster’, The Eden Project, UK, 01-05 September 2006.









Teaching profile

I have been teaching at the Welsh School of Architecture (WSA) since 2008, when I started as an external tutor/practitioner contributing to second-year design teaching. I became a full-time staff member in 2009, working as a professional tutor, supporting first and second year design teaching. Since then I have contributed to a wide range of teaching activities at every level of the BSc and MArch architecture programmes – listed below. In 2012 I became a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA) and was nominated for the 2014 HEA National Teaching Fellowship Scheme. I was promoted to senior lecturer in 2018 for excellence in teaching, in the areas of design and design methods, with a specialism in housing for older people.

Teaching roles while at WSA

  • PGR Director (Acting), 2019-20
  • MArch Year 2 Deputy Chair, since 2021
  • MArch Year 2 Unit Leader (Dwelling Differently), since 2020
  • MArch Year 2 Unit Leader (Expanded Practice), 2017-18
  • MArch Dissertation Supervisor, since 2011
  • BSc Year 3 Elective Leader (Fieldwork), 2018-20
  • BSc Year 2 Module Leader (Architectural Design), 2012-13; 2019-20
  • BSc Year 2 Studio Tutor (Architectural Design), 2008-09; 2012-16; 2019-20
  • BSc Year 2 Chair (Acting), 2012-13
  • BSc Year 1&2 Vertical Studio Co-ordinator, 2011-13
  • BSc Year 1 Module Leader (Design Principles & Methods), 2011-18
  • BSc Year 1 Module Leader (Architectural Design), 2010-14; 2018-19; 2020-21
  • BSc Year 1 Studio Tutor (Architectural Design), 2009-14; 2018-19; 2020-21
  • BSc Year 1 Deputy Chair, 2018-19
  • BSc Year 1 Chair, 2010-14
  • Personal Tutor, since 2010

Dwelling Differently

I currently lead MArch design unit, Dwelling Differently, which focuses on the design of places where people live or reside – both buildings known as dwellings and public spaces in which we dwell – be it by choice, chance or otherwise. In the UK there exists a long-standing housing crisis that is often framed as a crisis of volume – a chronic undersupply of affordable housing particularly – but critical problems equally exist in design/build quality and therefore the lived experiences of residents. Recent changes to the UK planning system, including the relaxation of Permitted Development Rights, appear to short-cut residential development, and seemingly lessen the need for professional design input and opportunity for statutory control on quality. Therefore, Dwelling Differently, in its inaugural year (2020/21), explored the role of architecture in helping to improve the experiences of those that are homebound; that is to say, those unable to leave their home. We began the year by reflecting upon recent lived experiences of dwelling(s) in a pandemic – both individual and collective memories of time spent confined at home. We wish to take advantage of an emerging narrative around the importance of good-quality dwellings and, through the students’ design thesis projects, help society imagine environments that better reflect our evolving relationship with home.

  • Brooks, Eleanor (2021): Urban corners: presenting a new way to occupy the corners of Canton, Cardiff.
  • Carlton, Howard (2021): The future of declining department stores: can creative re-use offer a solution to new housing trends?
  • Davies, Alex (2021): How can post-war residential tower blocks become sustainable beacons of biophilic design? Exploring the concept of a vertical co-farm and biophilia as a design standard in the 21st century.
  • Jenkins, Rebecca (2021): Flexible living: how can flexible design accommodate a new standard for the housing market and dwelling experience?
  • Mider, Asia Joanna (2021): Podium paradise: how to accommodate a large rooftop neighbourhood in an urban environment while maintaining connectivity and human scale.
  • Morgan, Alex (2021): Together we build: a prototype for affordable self-build co-housing within an unaffordable post-pandemic housing market.
  • Nur Binti Abdul Nasir, Iman (2021): Redefining Cathays: creating a harmonious, liveable neighbourhood through ‘gotong-royong’ by designing a home for the transient Malay community in Cardiff.
  • Price, Hannah (2021): Reconnecting communities: hillside housing designed to promote incidental social interactions in Treforest.
  • Williams, Faye (2021): Happy homes: the impact on residential housing when wellbeing is used as a driving force for design.

Research interests

  • Practice-led Design Research
  • Design Ethnography
  • People-Centred Design / Empathic Design
  • Architecture for Ageing / Health & Wellbeing
  • Housing Design / Dwelling Differently
  • Design of Residential / Care Institutions

Past research

I completed my PhD by Creative Practice, 'Architectural Reflections on Housing Older People: Nine Stories of Retirement-Living', at Newcastle University in 2018. My thesis presented and interpreted the stories of nine actors involved in the design, construction, management and inhabitation of third-age housing in the UK. Here I integrated original storytelling with architectural survey, analysis and design techniques; bringing together the social science practice of participant observation with architectural post-occupancy evaluation. The research foregrounded ‘designerly’ modes of inquiry, resulting in design-relevant feedback for those involved in the production of retirement-living environments. Aspects of this research were practice-led, with work packages commissioned by a UK property developer specialising in retirement-living apartments.

Previous research areas include design pedagogy, particularly student transitions into architectural education and design practice; architect roles within disaster relief and reconstruction sectors, including international humanitarian aid and UK flooding, and architect capacities to design for communities generally. I am also interested in waterscapes, including UK inland waterways and the opportunities they offer for water-based dwelling.


Supervised areas

I am interested in supervising PhD candiates in the areas of:

  • Practice-led Design Research
  • Design Ethnography
  • People-Centred Design / Empathic Design
  • Architecture for Ageing / Health & Wellbeing
  • Housing Design / Dwelling Differently
  • Design of Residential / Care Institutions

I am currently supervising the following post-graduate researchers:

  • Annie Bellamy (Primary supervisor): Designing dying well: towards a new approach to the design of palliative care environments for the terminally ill. 
  • Menatalla Kasem (Primary supervisor): Interactive Architecture for People with Learning Disabilities: Utilising Co-Design to Move Toward Equitable Public Buildings
  • Sarah O'Dwyer (Secondary supervisor): Establishing the commonality between aesthetic and sustainable architecture to deliver design excellence in form and performance. 
  • Abdulrahman Abdulla Aljhadali (Secondary supervisor): The value of architects in the era of artificial intelligence.
  • Liz Ponting (External supervisor; Cardiff Metropolitan): How can we improve the architectural design of residential care facilities in the UK to make them more suitable for Autistic people over 50?

Current supervision

Annie Bellamy

Annie Bellamy

Research student

Sarah O'Dwyer

Research student


Menatalla Kasem

Research student


Ruba Kendassa

Research student


Aysenur Kilic

Research student


Yijun Chen

Research student

Past projects

  • Examined Dr Mohammad Khaleel Abukeshek: An investigation of spatial relationships and operational requirements in hospital emergency departments in Jordan (PhD awarded 2021).
  • Examined Dr Duaa Osama Al Maani: Exploring transition toward independent learning: student experiences in the first year of architecture school (PhD awarded 2019).
  • Critical friend to Dr Ashok Ganapathy Iyer: Classification of the approaches to learning adopted by students of architecture in their design coursework (PhD awarded 2018).
  • Director of Postgraduate Research in Architecture (Acting), 2019-2020.

MArch dissertations

  • Fangtian Bian (2021): Landscapes of correction: Case study of UK HM prisons landscape design for inmates’ well-being.
  • Eleanor Brooks (2021): The displacement of homemakers: understanding the home environments of single older women ageing in place to inform future home design for the ageing population.
  • Hannah Price (2021): Designing for a healthier older age: architectural reflections on designing for ageing in place.
  • Eleanor Hardman-Cheer (2020): The formation of a potential ‘Happiness Framework’: a critical evaluation of RIBA prize-winning residential developments through the lens of user happiness and mental wellbeing.
  • Estera Karolina Kelner (2020): Intergenerational housing: designing for multigenerational living to meet the future housing demand in the UK.
  • Elizabeth Miller (2020): Does urban renewal aid or hinder the ability to age in place? A study of Stratford’s Olympic regeneration.
  • George Morley (2019): An exploration of Moscow’s Khrushchevki and homemaking through appropriation and transgression.
  • Linyan Shen (2019): How a person-centred design approach could facilitate ageing in place for older people with dementia: an ethnographic case study on living with dementia.
  • Katelin Thomas (2019): Sympathetic architecture: analysing design responses to homelessness.
  • Adelina Nedelcu (2018): From house to home: what architects learn from Byker Wall, Newcastle
  • Annie Bellamy (2017): A place for mortality: comparative study investigating the phenomena of dwelling within in-patient hospice environments, and the role of the architecture in a dignified death.