Personal profile

Research Focus

Dr Seán Cullen is a Lecturer in the School of Natural and Built Environment at Queen’s University Belfast. His research focuses on how architecture and urbanism respond to the challenge of climate change. The future requires new, creative and projective possibilities for how citizens live, work and play. Architecture presents the opportunity to unlock the complex flows of the city. 

He has previously worked on large, design-led research projects, including Movable-Nexus (M-NEX), funded by the Belmont Forum, and Ideal Home: the net-zero poultry house of the future, funded by Innovate UK.

M-NEX explored how cities can be designed for sustainable use of food, water and energy resources in the context of our changing climate. The project studied cities in new boundary conditions of change - Amsterdam, Belfast, Detroit, Doha, Tokyo and Sydney. Each presents differing socio-economic, cultural and political contexts for addressing how the built environment can evolve to produce effective spaces and resource use for residents. The project develops propositions for each city and region through design-based practice and undertaken through a series of international workshops.

Ideal Home, proposed three new, radical poultry houses of the future in order to meet new net-zero ambitions while improving animal welfare, embedding circularity in the construction and resource management of the house. 


Seán coordinates Stage 2 in the undergradute (BSc) architecture programme and Technology Dissertation in the masters (MArch) programme. He also teaching on the MSc Future Urbanism programme. 

He has previously run a studio unit called Architettura Superleggera [ASL] with Professor Greg Keeffe. ASL explored the relationship between architecture and the complex flows of globalization versus the stasis of traditional ideas of place. The future is effective: speedy, stripped-down and super-light. In 2019-20, students studied the low-density landscapes of the Lake District and Groningen, north-east Netherlands. 

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 2 - Zero Hunger
  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 6 - Clean Water and Sanitation
  • SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 15 - Life on Land
  • SDG 17 - Partnerships for the Goals


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