In the post digital age, as new tools have dissolved boundaries between the drawn and the made, how we design has become of equal importance to what we design. Both the role and skillset of the designer has been presented with an unprecedented opportunity to expand and diversify. Robert Sheil’s research is focused on experiments in the production of architecture where questions are developed through integrated acts of design, making and writing. His work explores the complex relationship between design and making, and in particular how this relationship affects and determines the architectural outcome. He defines this field as ‘Protoarchitecture’, a speculative approach to architectural production that seeks to create and hypothesize alternative and simultaneous approaches to making architecture, involving varied methodologies of design, and varied methodologies of making.
In collaboration with sixteen*(makers) and Stahlbogen GmbH, he won a design award from the RIBA in 2010 for the building ‘55/02’ in Kielder Northumberland. Since 2000, he has published multiple international papers on design research, and edited three issues of Architectural Design; ‘Design through Making’ (2005), and ‘Protoarchitecture’ (2008), and ‘High Definition’ (2014). In 2011 he Co-founded the triennial international conference FABRICATE at UCL with Ruairi Glynn, and in 2012, he published ‘Manufacturing the Bespoke’ an AD Reader on prototyping and making architecture in the digital age, and a monograph on 55/02.