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Duncan Baker-Brown - University Alliance. Brighton, England, GB

Duncan Baker-Brown

Senior Lecturer in Architecture | University of Brighton

Brighton, England, UNITED KINGDOM

His work focuses on sustainable design of buildings and the re-use of existing materials.

Areas of Expertise (5)

Climate Change

Recycling of Materials in Buildings


Sustainable Design

Social Housing


Duncan-Baker Brown is Senior Lecturer in Architecture in the School of Architecture at the University of Brighton and a Director of BBM Sustainable Design. His work focuses on sustainable design of buildings and the re-use of existing materials. His 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. He has published books including The Re-Use Atlas and The Designers Guide Towards A Circular Economy. He has also 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. He led 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 is currently leading two Interreg research programmes. One considers the viability of local waste flows to be processed into insulation for the social housing sector. The other tests ideas associated with deconstructing late 20th Century/early 21st Century buildings and re-constructing them. 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.

Media Mentions (3)

This eco house is rubbish! Home made from 20,000 toothbrushes, old carpet tiles, DVD cases and even unwanted pairs of jeans

Daily Mail  online


Architect Duncan Baker-Brown said: 'All the video rental shops seem to be closing down so we took all the DVD cases and VHS cassettes to use as insulation.'

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The house that 20,000 toothbrushes built

The Guardian  online


Duncan Baker-Brown has seen the future of housing – and it's rubbish. "It's a depressing fact," the architect says, "that for every five houses we build in the UK, the equivalent of one house in waste materials gets put into landfill." What makes that even worse is that much of it is still perfectly usable.

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Waste House by BBM is "UK's first permanent building made from rubbish"

deezen  online


Situated on the University of Brighton's campus in the English seaside town, the Waste House was designed by BBM director Duncan Baker-Brown together with undergraduate students.

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Multimedia Appearances




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Accomplishments (5)

Commendation, Engage Awards, National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement, (The Waste House)


Winner - RIBA South East Regional Award (New House in Hadlow Down)


Winner - RIBA South East Regional Sustainability Award (New House in Hadlow Down)


Special Prize Winner, The Stephen Lawrence Award, RIBA Stirling Prize, (The Waste House)


Winner - International Green Apple Awards for the Built Environment (The Waste House)


Education (2)

University of Brighton School of Architecture: Dip.Arch., Architecture 1991

Polytechnic of North London: BSc.Arch., Architecture 1988

Affiliations (7)

  • • Member of University of Brighton’s Peer Review Panel assessing colleague’s research bids
  • • Member of University of Brighton’s Sustainability Governance Board
  • • Member of School of Architecture & Design’s Quality & Standards Committee
  • • Member of School of Architecture & Design’s Research & Enterprise Committee
  • • Member of School of Architecture & Design’s Exam Board
  • • Member of School of Architecture & Design’s School Board of Study
  • • Principle Investigator for two INTERREG research projects

Testimonials (3)

Stephen Bayley, Author | Critic, columnist, consultant, broadcaster, debater and curator

“The problems of structure have long since been solved and the essential discipline of architecture has become the management of resources. BBM Sustainable Design is one of the interesting practices, which make this a priority. With modesty and economy and intelligence they adapt existing buildings to new realities. They design new buildings, which work with the environment not against it. Houses used to be machines for living in. Now they are organisms for living with. Altogether more wholesome.”

Prof. Bill Gething, Sustainability + Architecture | UWE Bristol

“An extraordinarily well-researched map of current thinking on our approach to the sustainable use of materials. It outlines a set of stepping stones towards a circular economy that puts design at the core of change, illustrated with a huge range of intriguing and inspiring examples from around the world that demonstrate the kind of thinking necessary for this transformation and highlight the opportunities that potentially flow from it.”

Daniel Charny, Director, From Now On and Professor of Design | Kingston University

“This rich compendium is for anyone interested in the responsibility that comes with the power of design to shape our world. Combining theory and practice it moves the debate beyond the why towards an applied circular economy we should all be practicing.”

Event Appearances (3)

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

‘Circular Economy’ Innovation & Design (2016)  Surrey, England

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

Hamburg, Germany (2016)  SBE 16 Hamburg International Conference

Transforming THTKB into The Waste House

Sustainable Innovation Conference (2015)  Surrey, England