FOUNDING DIRECTOR OF
URBAN PROJECTS BUREAU
Founding Director of Urban Projects Bureau, Alex is a qualified architect and urbanist, trained at the University of Cambridge and the Architectural Association. Alex is currently the Undergraduate Course leader for Architecture at Central Saint Martins. He was previously the Course Master at the Architectural Association Graduate School, and is a Design Fellow at the University of Cambridge, teaching the MPhil in Architecture and Urban Design.
Alex has lectured internationally on issues of architecture and urbanism, social justice and current affairs, and as led sessions at the UN World Urban Forum 07, and the 13th International Anti-Corruption Conference. Alex has taught at several leading academic institutions around the world, including the AA, London Metropolitan University, Sheffield University, London Southbank University, the University of Brighton, NCTU Hsinchu and NCKU Tainan. Alex co-directs the Design and the Informal Cities Research Cluster at the AA, with Jorge Fiori and Elena Pascolo, and has participated in international design workshops in Vietnam, China, Taiwan and Brazil.
Prior to founding Urban Projects Bureau, Alex has a range of experience in practice, working on urban regeneration projects, public and private buildings at a number of leading practices in the UK, including the award-winning DSDHA (BD Architect of the Year 2010), Alison Brooks Architects (winners of the 2008 RIBA Stirling Prize), and Allies and Morrison Architects.
Alex is also a freelance writer and contributor to publications including the Architectural Review, the Times newspaper and Blueprint Magazine. Recent books include London +10, with Carlos Villanueva Brandt 2010, and Venice Takeaways 2012.
BA (Hons) MArch
Matthew joined UPB in 2011 and specialises in architecture and urban design projects. Matthew has been project leader of several public and private sector projects, including A Hard Working House and Graveney School’s Sixth Form Centre.
A graduate of the University of Manchester and the University of Brighton, Matt’s award-winning design thesis for a sustainable, integrated black heritage centre for Brixton was selected by Blueprint Magazine as the best student project of 2011.
Prior to joining UPB, Matt has a range of experience working on public and commercial buildings in practice in Manchester.
PAOLO EMILIO PISANO
Paolo joined UPB in 2012, and is a core member of our design team leading several architectural projects including Courtfield Road and Slide House. An Erasmus Scholar from Sardinia, Paolo graduated from the University of Cagliari, where he was part of a collective called Unica Bookshop, a student-led association aiming to revitalise spaces and propose collateral activities in and around the Faculty of Architecture.
Unica Bookshop was responsible for the design and construction of a new bookshop for the university, and has exhibited in Cagliari and Fuorisalone di Milano, in collaboration with Domus Magazine.
BA (Hons), AA Dip
Yonatan has been working with UPB since 2015 on a range of masterplans, education buildings and residential projects. Yonatan studied at La Sapienza School of Architecture in Rome and the Architectural Association in London. Before pursuing his architectural training he gained a Diploma in sound engineering at the SAE institute in Berlin.
Prior to working with UPB, Yonatan worked at Amanda Levete Architects in London gaining experience working on large masterplans, public and commercial buildings.
URBAN PROJECTS BUREAU
As a designer, urbanist (and occasional artist), Elena is interested in developing spatial tools that structure complex urban development strategies. Elena has extensive professional experience in architecture and urbanism in the UK, South Africa and South America, and has taught at some of the world’s leading academic institutions.
Elena is currently a Unit Master at the AA Housing and Urbanism Masters programme. She was also a recent Visiting Professor at the University of Cagliari, Italy; a Unit Master at the Masters in Urban Design at the Bartlett; a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Brighton MA Urban Studies; and a Visiting Tutor at London Metropolitan University MA Cities, Design & Urban Culture. Elena has also been a visiting critic at ETH Zurich, and has participated in numerous international workshops. Recent publications include Future Brixton, (2009); Assembling the Future: The Role of Transactive Planning in generating alternative urban strategies, (MPhil Dissertation, AA, 2003); Transforming Cities: design in the Favelas of Rio de Janeiro (Editor and Contributor, Published by the British Council, 2001).
A recent, unrealised installation, the Bookbox, was presented as part of a symposium on Institutions and Initiatives, at London Metropolitan University, 2008. Telefavela, an 8mm film, was exhibited at the Independent State/Estado Independiente exhibition, curated by 24/7 and Pablo Leon De La Barra, London (Five Years Gallery), 2002. Elena is part of a research cluster re-thinking the spatial conditions of informal cities at the AA, with Alex Warnock-Smith and Jorge Fiori, and has participated in international workshops in China, Vietnam, Taiwan, South Africa and South America.
Joseph joined UPB in 2012, where he is responsible for a range of design projects, events and exhibitions. Joseph graduated from the University of Brighton with a first class honours degree.
While at university, Joseph established the student society BIASS, which organises lectures, events and exhibitions about architecture and design, for which he was awarded a prize for his ‘Outstanding Contribution to Academic Experience.’
Joseph is a committed advocate of design education, and has lectured at the V&A Making-It events and at the RIBA as part of UPB’s Open Charter Agency. Joseph also works with Open City and has been a mentor for their Accelerate Into Architecture programme.
NICHOLA V. BARRINGTON-LEACH
BA (Hons), BSc Bartlett, AA Dip
Nichola has been working with UPB since 2013 on a range of education buildings, master-plans, public realm projects and international competitions. Nichola studied at the Bartlett School of Architecture and the Architectural Association in London. Before pursuing her architectural training she read a Joint Honours BA in Fine Art and History of Art at the University of Reading & the University of Barcelona.
Nichola has extensive experience in the UK and internationally working on projects in China, Colombia and Japan. Prior to working with UPB, Nichola worked at 42 Architects in London and Kengo Kuma & Associates in China. Nichola has also curated several exhibitions and has led research projects for the Arts Council and urban regeneration groups in London, Edinburgh and Bracknell.
Nichola has won several prizes for her work, including the Maggie Scruton Memorial Travel Scholarship from the Bartlett and the Henry Saxon Snell Scholarship at the AA, and has exhibited her work widely. Nichola currently teaches at the Architectural Association in London.
Nichola completed her Part III at the University of Westminster in 2016.