Personal profile

Research interests

The immediate climatic threats ask for radical thought and action. Current practices of building design and construction are not adapting sufficiently to fight the imminent dangers of the status quo. Sarah is interested in exploring radical dynamic architectures which might start to suggest the prospect of alternative sustainable futures. Her PhD in architecture, funded by Arup, explored the evolution and user experience of responsive architecture, focusing on kinetic facades. Sarah collaborates on this work with Dr Hugo Mulder from the University of Southern Denmark. Hugo is a designer, engineer and researcher in building dynamics and was previously a specialist engineer in movable structures at Arup. 

Her pedagogic research rotates around a concern for student experience within the design studio, with previous work exploring the critique and graduate engagement. 



Supervisory Interests

Sarah Stevens supervisory interests sit within the exploration of relational, time sensitive and dynamic design.

Current Supervision

Terry Meade, working title: Drawing Out Occupation: a study of how drawing may be used to reveal and clarify spatial complexities in a conflict zone.

Joy Xin, working title: Observing London and Beijing via Mrs Dalloway and Rickshaw Boy.' An exploration of the potential of novels for revealing histories of movement and interaction within urban analysis. 


PhD Examination, Francesco Pomponi, University of Brighton. Title: Operational performance and life cycle assessment of double skin façades for office refurbishments in the UK 

PhD Examination, Yahya Ibraheem, University of Brighton. Title: Integrated Facade Systems for highly- to fully-glazed office buildings in hot and arid climates  

PhD Examination, Sabrina Barbosa, University of Brighton. Title: Thermal performance of naturally ventilated office buildings with double skin façade under Brazilian climate conditions 

Approach to teaching

My teaching feeds off my research and PhD, engaging in both research led and research based practice. 

Individual Student Experience

Everyone is unique, our students come from diverse and international backgrounds, and so my aim is to work with students on an individual basis, sculpting the right approach to release their potential. An important aspect of this process is building trust and an environment where it feels safe to expose both strengths and weaknesses. Learning through experimentation and risking errors is an important and valid part of the design process, and it is therefore important to build a learning environment where it feels safe to make mistakes and to learn from these. Within this my teaching practice engages with shared problem solving, active listening and student led conversations. 

This concern for the student experience, in particular with regards to the crit [student review] is something I explored through work for my HEA Fellowship. Creativity can be a fragile thing and so I aim to build a positive environment that actively nourishes it. 

The Students become the Experts

Within my design studio I work with briefs that encourage students to draw out their own area of research within which to become the expert. This brings with it the opportunity for the work to become personally meaningful and a far richer experience, generating all the benefits of intrinsic motivation and deep learning. I really enjoy working with students in this way to evolve their own approach and architectural language. It is always incredibly rewarding seeing individual approaches emerging, new work being ventured, unexpected responses pursued and students exceeding their own expectations. 


External positions

External Examiner

Peer Reviewer, International Journal of Design Creativity and Innovation, Taylor & Francis

External Examiner, Oxford Brookes University


Dive into the research topics where Sarah Stevens is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.
  • 1 Similar Profiles

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or
  • Liminalities: Editorial

    Stevens, S. & Erckrath, C., 12 Jun 2024, In: UOU Scientific Journal. 7, p. 16-19 4 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalEditorial

    Open Access
  • Liminalities Atlas

    Stevens, S. & Erckrath, C., 12 Jun 2024, In: UOU Scientific Journal. 7, p. 136-153 18 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
  • MIST

    Stevens, S. & Mulder, H., 22 Jan 2024

    Research output: Non-textual outputDesign

  • Responding to what the world needs now

    Stevens, S. & Erckrath, C., 12 Jun 2024, In: UOU Scientific Journal. 7, p. 30-39 9 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
  • We must do our best to listen...

    Stevens, S. & Erckrath, C., 12 Jun 2024, In: UOU Scientific Journal. 7, p. 24-29 6 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access