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Rebecca Crabtree

Studio Tutor

Rebecca Crabtree

Rebecca Crabtree

Rebecca is a qualified architect. She worked for leading practices in London, Edinburgh and Leeds before setting up P/ARC to challenge the waste (of knowledge, learning opportunities, materials, energy, labour and ideas) she experienced in the construction industry. At P/ARC, she combines practice with research, and uses non-traditional, cross-disciplinary and collaborative working approaches to ensure that knowledge gained (on a project) has a far-reaching life beyond (the project). 

She champions engagement in the built environment, working to reach as many people as possible to support them to have a stake in their localities (and wider). She believes strongly that our built environment must be diverse and must serve more than just the developers; reaching not-your-usual (construction) client, and empowering them to build, is what motivates her. She is interested in the ‘client design meeting’, and experiments with varied communication methods (such as workshops, touch and feel, story-telling and model making) to enable the client to reveal unexpected ideas. She considers that there is a distinct lack of talk about the client in architectural education, and that if we are to have surprising, relevant and meaningful environments, the architects of the future must get good at recognising and supporting potential clients. Through teaching, Rebecca hopes to guide students in how to offer helpful, clear advice to anyone interested in making places.

Rebecca graduated from the Architectural Association, and it was during her studies at the AA that her interest in advocating for engagement in the built environment developed; it was here that she began to acquire the diverse tools needed to engage – her project portfolios combined non-traditional architectural drawings and models with interviews, story-telling, policy analysis, and structure and philosophy of language. Her projects were challenging and large-scale, designed as questions for the user and to make people slow-down. Her final year thesis looked at development sites and the fleeting state of 'potential' they experience whilst not yet developed; she looked at the ways in which this state could be extended and protected to establish a more collective opinion about what should be done with the site – she designed an archive to achieve this and carried out a detailed exploration into the role of archives (and their embodied knowledge) in forming empowered communities. The previous year she carried out a comprehensive study into the future of burial, death and dying in London – during which she approached death in London as a cultural and historical archive, and explored the value, form and positioning we assign to this archive.

Research interests 

- Taxonomy, classification and naming (in relation to how we learn, and the difficulties of quantity vs quality)

- The role archives (and their embodied knowledge) in empowering communities

- Architect-client miscommunication

- Architectural education (of future clients in particular)

- Community engagement in the built-environment

- Value and how it is assigned

Selected publications, conferences and exhibitions 

Ceràmica Cumella: Shaping Ideas/ Modelando Ideas

Pierce, C. ed., 2013. Ceràmica Cumella. Shaping Ideas|Modelando Ideas. Madrid: Fundación Metrópoli.

LFA London Festival of Architecture

Workshop, June 2017.

Family model making morning entitled, ‘how do you want to live when you get old?’ Exploring the future of aging in London and whether the people designing later-year environments are getting it right. An opportunity for the public to have their ideas heard by the care-home industry.

WOW Women of the World Festival, Bradford

Workshop, November 2016.

A practical session entitled, ‘Safe Public Space’, encouraging participants to dream up a safe city. An opportunity for the public to have their ideas heard by the police force and the district council.

6th International Conference on Architecture Competitions, The Competition Mesh: Experimenting With and Within Architecture Competitions

Leeds Beckett University, October 2016.

Wrote and presented paper, ‘Writing the client: a study of three architecture competition briefs and the ways in which they take on the role of the client’.