Mr Ben Cowd

Job: Subject Head - Postgraduate Architecture / Senior lecturer

Faculty: Arts, Design and Humanities

School/department: Leicester School of Architecture

Research group(s): Architectural Design

Address: De Montfort University, The Gateway, Leicester, UK, LE1 9BH

T: +44 (0)116 207 8441




Personal profile

Ben Cowd is a Senior Lecturer, Interim Associate Head of School at LSA and co-founding partner of saraben-studio, London. In 2012 he was awarded the ‘Grand Award for Architecture’ by the Royal Academy of Art for his work ‘Solar Topography in Rome’: A prize previously won by Lord Richard Rogers, Jan Kalicky and Eric Parry. 

Ben’s work has been widely published and exhibited internationally including exhibitions at the Royal Academy of Art, The Venice Biennale and the Museum of Art and Design in New York. He has lectured extensively about his research and collaborative work with Sara Shafiei (saraben-studio) and in 2012 was Keynote speaker at the international conference ‘Conversations on Architecture’ Cape Town, South Africa. 

In March 2013 Ben will be lecturing at VCU Qatar as part of the Tasmeen Conference, Hybrid Making and exhibiting an installation and collection of models and drawings at the Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Qatar. 

Before joining DMU Ben worked for Foster + Partners in London, working primarily on the BMCE banks in Morocco. He completed two buildings in Rabat and Casablanca before working on Projects in London, Libya and Switzerland. His models for the BMCE Bank were exhibited with Lord Norman Foster and Spencer De Grey at the Royal Academy of Arts: Summer Exhibition 2009. Ben is interviewed in the film 'How much does your building weight Mr Foster?' which was released at the Berlin Film Festival 2010.

Ben graduated from the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL in 2007 and was named one of London’s top Art and design graduates that year by Wallpaper Magazine and the Financial Times. His final thesis project ‘The Observatory and ticket office, Rome’ has been published internationally and praised in Blueprint, Wallpaper, Bartlett Design: Speculating with Architecture, Slash: Paper Under the Knife and the AD-Exuberance. 

Ben is currently programme leader for the MA Architectural Design and Year Leader for 5th Year MArch. His students have won several international awards including a commendation in the RIBA Silver Medal, Winner RIBA Sergeant Award for Best Drawings 2012 and the TECU international student prize 2010. They have gone onto work in the offices of Lord Norman Foster, Nicholas Grimshaw, MAKE architects and Thomas Heatherwick. 

In 2010 Ben co-founded the website to record and publish the student projects and research developed during the workshops and studios taught by Sara Shafiei and Ben Cowd.

Research group affiliations

  • Architectural Design

Publications and outputs 

Click here to view a full listing of Ben Cowd's publications and outputs.

Key research outputs

  • Winner: Grand Award for Architecture, Royal Academy of Art, Summer Exhibition June 2012: Solar Topography, Rome
  • Keynote Speaker: Conversations on Architecture, Cape Town, South Africa, March 2012: Magic and Architecture  
  • Project: The Mosque of the Sun, Qatar. 2012, Exhibited Royal Academy of Art 2010-12
  • Exhibition: Slash: paper Under the Knife, Museum of Art and Design, New York, November 2010: Observatory and Ticket office, Rome
  • Project: Contoured Embodiment, Exhibited Royal Academy of Art 2009

Research interests/expertise

  • Craft of Digital Fabrication in Architectural Design and representation
  • Implication of drawing and making in the process of architectural design

Areas of teaching

  • Architecture
  • Architectural Design 
  • Architectural Technology


BA(hons) Dip.Arch (UCL)

Courses taught

Honours and awards

AJ/Lend Lease Grand Award for Architecture, The Royal Academy of Arts, Summer Exhibition 2012

Membership of professional associations and societies

Academic member of Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA)

Forthcoming events

  • Visiting Lecture: Magic and Architecture, University College Cork, Ireland
  • Visiting Lecture: Qatar Biennale, Tasmeen Doha 2013
  • Workshop & 1:1 Installation:  Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Qatar

Current research students

2nd Supervisor : PHD student: Jamal Alabid


Ben Cowd

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