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Duncan Baker-Brown


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Personal profile

Research interests

Duncan has practised, researched, and taught around issues of sustainable development for over 25 years. He has worked on projects as diverse as 'The Greenwich Millennium Village' in London with Ralph Erskine, the RIBA’s ‘House of the Future’, and more recently the multi-award-winning New Country House & Estate Master Plan in Hadlow Down East Sussex. Author of ‘The Re-Use Atlas: a designer’s guide towards a circular economy’ published by RIBA, he is perhaps best known for a series of thought-provoking ‘house’ projects testing issues of sustainable design and resource management including 'The House that Kevin Built’ in 2008 and ‘The Brighton Waste House’ in 2014.


Duncan’s research tests the viability of a number of practices and materials, recognising the potential of discarded “waste” as a valuable resource in the future of construction, as well as live projects as valuable teaching aides. Through his projects he fosters community development and regeneration, working with apprentice builders and students, informing young people of all ages as to their role in sustainable living. Duncan creates examples of community practice that, through the use of innovative techniques such as ‘resource mapping’ can redefine what local materials are and match them with local skills and trades.


Duncan has taught at both undergraduate and post-graduate level since 1994, recently running an undergraduate design studio at the School of Architecture & Design, as well as coordinating undergraduate Technology & Professional Practices modules. His research practice informs his teaching, and vice versa. Duncan recently coordinated the design and construction of the multi-award-winning Brighton Waste House with over 360 undergraduate students, volunteers, and apprentices. As well as being a successful ‘live project’ and pedagogic tool, it is also Europe’s first permanent building made of waste material and the host of a number of funded on-going research projects.


Duncan is currently the Principal Investigator for two separate Interreg research programmes. One considers the viability of local waste flows to be processed into insulation for the social housing sector. The other, in partnership with Rotor DC of Brussels tests ideas associated with deconstructing late 20th Century/ early 21st Century buildings and re-constructing them. He lectures widely on issues relating to sustainable development and the circular economy in the design and construction industries. In December 2018 Duncan delivered a keynote address ‘Designers can save Planet Earth’ at the Grantham Institute for Climate Change at Imperial College. He is the curator of the annual ‘Waste Zone’ at FutureBuild; a three-day symposium and exhibition focusing on discussing many of the most pressing issues presenting the emerging concept of Circular Cities, involving over 50 invited speakers including Prof. Walter Stahel, Prof. Michael Braungart, Clare Ollerenshaw (LWARB), Gillie Hobbs (BRE), Dr. Zoe Laughlin (Inst.of Making) and David Benjamin of New York’s ‘The Living’.

Education/Academic qualification

Master, School of Architecture and Design

1 Oct 19907 Jun 1992


25 Sep 19856 Jun 1988


  • NA Architecture

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Projects 2017 2019

Research Output 2005 2018

Who is mining the Anthropocene

Baker-Brown, D., 14 Aug 2018, Designing for the Circular Economy. Charter, M. (ed.). UK, p. 336-343 8 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNChapterResearchpeer-review


'The Circular Economy': Construction & Demolition from 'Waste to Resource productivity'

Baker-Brown, D., 1 Dec 2017, 1 ed. London UK. 2 p.

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned reportResearchpeer-review

Open Access
Construction Industry

The Re-Use Atlas: a designer's guide towards a circular economy

Baker-Brown, D., 1 Mar 2017, London. 192 p.

Research output: Book/ReportBook - authoredResearch

Fashion Design

Developing the Brighton waste house: from zero waste to on site re-use of waste

Baker-Brown, D., 14 Mar 2016, Sustainable Built Environment Conference 2016 in Hamburg: Strategies, Stakeholders, Success factors. Hamburg, p. 342-351 10 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNConference contribution with ISSN or ISBNResearchpeer-review

Open Access

Investigating the benefits of Swiss lightweight organic meadow roofs in the green retrofit construction sector

Baker-Brown, D. & Evans, L., 16 Nov 2016, Sustainable Innovation 2016: Circular Economy Innovation Conference. University of the Creative Arts Farnham Surrey, p. 23-32 10 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNConference contribution with ISSN or ISBNResearchpeer-review