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Raymond Lucas


Personal profile

Research interests

My primary research addresses the possiblities of an Anthropological Architecture orArchitectural Anthropology.  Rather than considering the anthropology of architectural practice, reporting on the processes of studio production, my position is to consider both how space is socially produced and to enable anthropological theory and methods to inform architectural practice.  To this end, I have been developing a multi-modal Graphic Anthroplogy methodology: parallel in some ways to the use of lens-based media in Visual Anthropology, but understanding the world around us more fully through drawings, diagrams, maps and notations.

Connected with this, I conduct anthropological research into the nature of creativity in architectural drawing and also into the relationship between film and architecture.  

I have a strong interest in the role of the senses in architecture and the city, having conducted research into soundscape and voice in the past.  I developed a system of Sensory Notation in a further project, which looked at the role of all the senses in what it presumed to be a visually biased discipline.

I have a regional focus on East Asia, with primary field sites in Seoul and Tokyo.

Further information

Graphic Anthropology

I am an external advisor and associate researcher to the ERC Advanced Grant project Knowing from the Inside.  Based at the University of Aberdeen, leading anthropologist Tim Ingold is the primary investigator with a team of postdoctoral fellows, PhD students, colleagues from anthropology and further associates.  I am working closely with this group on how and what we can know by drawing and inscribing.

I am currently developing Graphic Anthropologies through two field studies.  The first is Namdaemun Market in central Seoul.  Supplemented by studies a number of other markets, this work addresses the implications of infrastructure; the role of surfaces in display; the agency of goods, vendors and patrons; reciprocity in social space; and the materiality of a mobile and variable architecture every bit as radical as those proposed by Cedric Price or Archigram.  

The second field site is the annual Sanja Matsuri in the Asakusa district of Tokyo.  This project seeks to understand a three-day event and its longer-term implications for this mercantile district.  The festival features portable shrines, mobile pieces of architecture which respond to the urban condition in a variety of ways, and have a role to play in the identity of the site, peoples understandings of belonging, and also as an explosion of joy within the city.  Accompanied by a series of temporary structures and appropriations, a number of issues are raised here including the depiction of movement, the role of the crowd in the city, and the overlapping of real and imagined worlds.  The festival collapses various levels of the city over the course of its duration, renewing and in many ways remaking the district anew every year.

A third aspect of my Graphic Anthropology is as an alternative practice of architectural history.  In studying the use of axonometric drawing in the 20th Century, I have conducted a study of five key architects by meticulous copying of their drawings during archival research at the CCA in Montreal.  The architects all approach this form of drawing differently, finding alternative affordances within the convention.  One aspect of the study is to understand how we can know a thing by drawing it; and also to consider the importance of how conventions operate in architectural thinking.


I am happy to supervise a range of PhD topics.

My primary research is into the intersections of architecture and anthropology.  As disciplines interested in how we dwell and make the world through complex sets of social relations, it is crucial that we can make use of the knowledge, theories and methods of anthropology to inform architecture at every scale from the individual dwelling up to the city and even the regions within which they sit.

I can supervise PhDs in architectural history and theory, with a particular interest in the history of drawing practices, the architecture of Japan, and representations of architecture.

I have significant experience of conducting research into sensory environments including soundscape and sensory notation.  This ties to ongoing research links with bodies including IAPS, the International Association of People-environment Studies.

The study of - and with - architectural drawing is particularly important to my research, and I have a strong interest in pursuing this field of study.

Film and architecture remains a research interest, forming a model for other intersections between architecture and the arts.  What is the power of using such practices as theoretical lenses for architecture, and how can we understand architecture through its fictional or artistic representations?

Other teaching information


In the past, I have contributed to courses foundational to the understanding of architecture.  These included lectures in the Studio Lecture series as well as Architectural History and Architectural Theory.  Innovations in history teaching include the development of History of Architecture: Paradigms in which the close study of a precedent is used to understand the fine detail of an exemplar building as well as to refine model-making skills.  Topics have included the architectural manifesto; the Metabolist movement; Katsura Imperial Villa; and in the theories course, the work of anthropologist Tim Ingold.  I have run a year 2 elective in the past called Graphic Anthropology which brings anthropological theories together with a range of inscriptive practices such as drawing, diagramming, cartography and notation.  I also ran Rewriting the City, a year 3 Elective course which discusses architecture in the context of the city.  By discussing cities and the ideas which they generate, a holistic approach to the relationship between the urban context and architecture is formed.  The aim is to celebrate the essay not only as a descriptive form, but articulating a position towards the city.  Lectures included discussions of the mutlifaceted nature of Tokyo, the Cheonggyecheon Stream restoration in Seoul, and the rapid gentrification represented by the High Line in New York.  The illustrated essay is formed in part by a close reading of classic texts on the urban condition.


Now well established as a core part of the MArch, MSA offers a broad range of Research Methods (RM) workshops (formerly known as MARC Workshops and Studio 4.1) to Year 5 students, these options cut across the main design Ateliers and further enrich the already experimental nature of this year of study.  I have led several different workshops as a part of this:

Knowledge Production in Architecture

This workshop considers the ways in which architecture produces knowledge: the practices by which architects undertstand the world around them.  This process of making sense involves multiple forms of drawing and modelling, but can be supplemented by further disciplinary frameworks: most notably, anthropology.  The project will draw on my collaborations with the European Research Council funded research project: Knowing from the Inside (hosted by the University of Aberdeen), which considers the ways of knowing intrinsic to various forms of art, craft, and design.  Researchers in these disparate fields will be invited to collaborate and lead workshops centred around the understanding of a place, questioning what kinds of design are possible when we alter our practices.

Hard and Disagreeable Labour

This workshop takes the architectural drawing as a research method in its own right.  Exploring the possibilities of drawing as a way of knowing and being in the world is central to this workshop, which begins with a series of exercises and propositions: leading to a portfolio of drawings describing a contemporary context in a fresh manner.

Filmic Architecture

Cinema and architecture are often felt to share similar concerns with space and time.  This workshop seeks to reconsider this relationship in terms of the fundamental theories which underly film: montage, narration, spectatorship, mise-en-scene.  More than merely appreciating the production design of spectacular mainstream cinema (but not ignoring this either), what are the possibilities of film as a prompt or instigator of architectural thoughts, and to what extent can films be made which have an architectural sensibility?


I supervise dissertations with a regional focus of Japan and Korea; cross-disciplinarity with anthropology, material culture, cinema, fine art, design or philosophy; architectural drawing and other forms of representation such as notation.  I also conduct research into urban marketplaces and festivals.  I can also supervise dissertations on the phenomenology of perception, understanding architecture through all the senses, soundscapes and other perceptual issues.

I also run the dissertation lecture series, based on my textbook 'Research Methods for Architecture' (Laurence King, 2016).


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 6 - Clean Water and Sanitation
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities


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