School of Art, Design and Fashion

Professor Adrian Friend

Professor of Architecture

Adrian is an acclaimed architect with more than 23 years’ experience in the field. As the founding director of Friend and Company Architects, he has been at the forefront of many award-winning projects all over the world. He joined the University in 2017.

Adrian Friend

His expertise in utilising new and innovative construction methods was demonstrated in 2017 when he oversaw a project to dramatically overhaul the Victoria and Albert Museum’s Main Shop, adding new shop pavilions in a new public space, itself a temple to world-leading art and design. The revamped interior juxtaposes hand-crafted design with digital fabrication techniques, from laser cutting and water-jet cutting to a ‘carpet’ of tiles which were 3D-printed and installed by a robotic arm – a world’s first. The new space showcases the latest additions to the shop’s collection while providing visitors with a breathtaking thoroughfare into the Museum’s exhibition areas. His work was also selected by the Architecture Foundation for inclusion in New Architects 3 (2016), showcasing the best emerging architects in the UK from 2006-2016.

Adrian is driven by a “quest for frugal innovation” - researching and building “pop-up architecture” which adopts techniques which are speedier, safer, less expensive and more energy-efficient than traditional construction methods, allowing them to be rolled out globally. He also has a passion for engaging whole communities in his architectural projects transferring new knowledge through collaborative practice.

In 2009 he flew to South Africa with a delegation of 35 students from the University of Nottingham to lead a remarkable project to build a new nursery school in the City of Matlosana, 200km from Johannesburg. The mission, initiated by the NGO Education Africa, was the culmination of a year-long design process which brought to life a student’s winning design project. Through developing a simple timber-framed construction technique, making use of pre-fabricated components and using locally sourced timber, the super-efficient construction process was able to harness unskilled labourers in the form of students and local people. The completed Jouberton Nursery School opened its doors in 2009 and is now regularly attended by 80 children from the surrounding areas.

Adrian says: “By inspiring students and local ‘citizen builders’ to take an active role in the design and construction of new buildings, the process becomes truly collaborative and ‘socialised’, bringing major benefits for everyone people involved. And by getting our students involved in ‘live projects’ we’re giving them the best possible preparation for a successful future career in architecture.”

In 2014 he led students from the Royal College of Art, Imperial College London in the creation of the Healthcare Innovation Exchange (HELIX) Centre, a stunning timber and steel framed design studio located inside the grounds of St Mary’s Hospital, London, which was used as a hub to facilitate collaboration between healthcare staff. Adrian explained at the time: “In the Helix Centre project we tested the application of digital manufacture as a design tool to raise the quality of the architecture and make an end product that epitomises beauty and exudes precision yet is affordable and quick to construct – an approach that mimics how the Helix Centre will optimise healthcare innovation.”

Before his arrival at UCLan, Adrian worked as a Senior Tutor at the Royal College of Art, where he was responsible for the strategic planning, academic development and running of their Live Architecture programme as well as lead scientist for the Marie Curie Innovative Training Networks TRADERS, outputs of which were recently published in ‘Trading Places: Practices of Public Participation in At and Design Research’ (2017).

Prior to this he was a Course Leader at Norwich University of the Arts and Studio Leader in the University of Nottingham’s Institute of Architecture. Adrian gained a first class Bachelor’s degree in Architecture from Kingston University in London, followed by a Diploma (distinction) from University College London and an MA in Academic Practice in Art, Design and Communication, Supervising Research Degrees from the University of Arts London and has supervised both Phd and MRes students.