Hugh McEwen

Bachelor in Architecture, First class honors (ARB/RIBA Part 1), University of Nottingham, 2008
Diploma in Architecture (ARB/RIBA Part 2), UCL, 2011
Masters in Architecture with Merit, UCL, 2011
Postgraduate Diploma in Professional Practice & Management in Architecture (ARB/RIBA Part 3), UCL, 2013
ARB Registered
RIBA Chartered Member

Associate Lecturer - Unit F Unit Tutor


Hugh McEwen is an architect, writer and teacher. His work examines the methods by which architecture can express and condition social outlooks and political positions. He is a partner at Office S&M, alongside Catrina Stewart.

His work has been exhibited widely in London, with work on permanent display in the Ahrend showroom. He has been published in international peer reviewed journals and national magazines, recently including Blueprint, BD and the Architects Journal. As well as being the Unit F Design Tutor, he has taught at the Bartlett and acted as a guest critic at Kingston, Brighton, Greenwich and the AA.

He is an experienced Architect, currently working for Metropolitan Workshop having previously worked at Pollard Thomas Edwards, FAT and Nissen Adams. He has a comprehensive office based background, having worked on a wide range of sectors, including residential, education, retail and commercial. His experience encompasses projects that range in value from £65,000 to £230 million.

Teaching interests

We believe that architectural teaching must be about encouraging and enabling students to do what they are best at, in their own way. Our unit does not have a prescribed style or mode of representation. This allows each student to have their own project as part of a whole studio. By letting each student realise their potential, and push what they are best at, their quality of work and confidence in themselves improves. Meanwhile, they bring fresh, unique and personal insight to architectural work.

But this freedom can only be achieved through a conscientiously structured year. By prescribing distinct types of representation, which often correlate with school’s requirements, we make sure that the students explore, but also cover all essential aspects in their projects. We use our comprehensive knowledge of architectural history and practice to use references to reinforce and guide students in the way that they might work. Alongside their work, we encourage students to maintain blogs, which will help them achieve a high level of production, give added value to the students work and allow for their work to be seen well beyond the studio and the university.

The idea of students pushing and helping each other along is not a new one, but it is one we feel needs nurturing. We encourage our students to work as a team, rather than as individuals. This both supports them in their personal work, but also sets them up for professional life. By arranging unit trips as early in the year as possible, and organising a publication at the end of the year, we help to bind the studio together.

We push our students to gain an in-depth understanding of the site they have chosen to base their projects in, including the environmental and social context. We encourage students to keep regular contact with the local community in which their projects are embedded, this ensures that their projects are both deeply concerned with their context, and also allows them to form projects that they may carry on beyond their university life.

Our concern with what happens after their education passes all the way through our studio. Utilising our network of professional practitioners, and specialists in other creative fields, ensures that students can be supported and challenged by the people they will end up working alongside. We are ultimately concerned with the students producing a body of work that means they can leave university and be able to do exactly whatever they want to.

Research interests

  • Practice based architecture - how the rules and regulations of practice can be used to further design, rather than being seen as a hindrance.
  • High street regeneration – how local communities and businesses express themselves through architecture
  • Civic and cultural styles – how wider society represents its structure and history through space, material and ornamentation
  • Political architecture – how architecture can condition social outlooks and positions, as well as representing them
  • Hybrid making – how architectural work can be made more effective and convincing through the combination of techniques and processes

Selected Talks

Green Sky 20x20 for Open City

Crowd Talks

Future Past Symposium, Vyner street Gallery, London

Selected Exhibitions

Fugue, Barbican Arts Group Trust, London

Art by Architects, Ahrend, Clerkenwell Design Week
EUROPA, Bloomsbury Fete, London

Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, Royal Academy of Arts, London
Art of Architecture, Delicate Mayhem, London Festival of Architecture
Manual Caff, SSE Space, London
Design 2012, Dreamspace Gallery, London
What’s Next? : Economy, KK Outlet, London
Future Past Symposium, Vyner street Gallery, London

LINES, Baltic Street East, London
Bartlett Summer Show, Slade Galleries, London

One and Other, Fourth Plinth, London

Selected Writing

  • Prologue for The Draftery’s "Figures" , no. 02.2, forthcoming in October
  • "Pick of the Graduate Shows 2014" review for Blueprint Magazine, forthcoming August 2014
  • "Newcomers mix with the familiar at Venice" review for BD, June 2014
  • "The Great Stink" graphic novel in Paper for Emerging Architectural Research (P.E.A.R.) no. 06, February 2014
  • Featured in The Draftery’s critical review "Captions" , no. 01, January 2014
  • "Pick of the Graduate Shows 2013" review for Blueprint Magazine, no. 329, August 2013
  • "Public Florinal" profile in A10, no. 52, July 2013
  • "New Practices : Office S&M" profile in Architects Journal, March 2013
  • Co-author with David Knight of the "High Street Decline" issue of the Architectural Association’s paper, Fulcrum, no. 66, February 2013
  • "East is East : The Athletes Village and the Elgin Marbles" article for Marbles Reunited, no. 9, December 2012
  • "The Front Bench" article for RE zine, no. 01, October 2012
  • "Tower/Bridge" article for The Book of Towers, Sin-Titulo, no. 02, May 2012
  • "Gut Reaction" article for Saturated Space AA Research Cluster, April 2012
  • "You’ve Got the Midas Touch" article for Notes From the Underground, March 2012
  • "No 57" profile in The Draftery, March 2012
  • "Folio" profile in Architectural Review, August 2011
  • "A discussion of Xenakis and Varese, metaphor and simile, music and architecture" article for the South African Journal of Art History (vol. 24, no. 3, 2009)

Current areas of supervision and teaching

  • Oxford Brookes Unit F Unit Tutor
  • Bartlett Summer School Unit 1 Unit Leader
Hugh McEwen


School of Architecture

Oxford Brookes University
Headington Campus
Gipsy Lane
Oxford, OX3 0BP