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Research Focus

Dr Seán Cullen is a Lecturer in Architecture and Research Fellow 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 is currently working on a design-led research project called the Movable-Nexus (M-NEX) which explores how cities can be designed for sustainable use of food, water and energy resources in the context of our changing climate. The project examines cities in new boundary conditions of change - Amsterdam, Belfast, Detroit, Doha, Tokyo and Sydney. Each presents differing socio-economic, cultural and political challenges in addressing how the built environment can evolve to produce effective spaces and resource use for residents. The projects develops propositions for each city and regions through design-based practice and done in collaboration through a series of international workshops. 



Seán teaches Architectural Design in the first year of the undergradute (BSc) programme and runs a masters (MArch) unit called Architettura Superleggera [ASL] with Professor Greg Keeffe. ASL explores 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. This year the studio is working with Professor Rob Roggema of the Hanze Academy of Architecture to visualise and imagine the future of these territories within the context of the climate emergency. 


Expertise related to UN Sustainable Devlopment 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 13 - Climate Action


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