skip to content

Department of Architecture



Professor Flora Samuel’s strength is in connecting ideas and people from different backgrounds and fields – the scholarship of integration and application, making connections across disciplines and sectors, contextualising specialisms in the larger context and making sense of them to non-specialists. Her current work focuses on inclusion through planning policy and processes evidenced through digital map making with communities and others, summarised in her most recent book Housing for Hope and Wellbeing (2023). With Eli Hatleskog Flora won a RIBA Presidents Award for Research in the Communities Category for their project Mapping Eco-Social Assets 

For Flora climate change is a social justice issue. She is the PI on the AHRC funded Community Consultation for Quality of Life Project,  a project exploring the ingredients of inclusive community consultation for planning across all four nations of the UK. The urban room is a place where the community, university, local authority, industry and practice come together to debate the future of their cities. Flora is in the process of setting up an urban room for Cambridge.

Flora is passionate about the importance of developing research in architectural practice, summarised in her book Why Architects Matter (2019). She was the first RIBA Vice President for Research and was twice elected by its membership to Council. She has lead on the development of several reports for industry bodies including the Architects Council of Europe Value of Architecture Report  and the RIBA Building Knowledge: Pathways to Post Occupancy Evaluation report. 

Over the last few years she has been developing methods for capturing intangible wellbeing outcomes in a format that can be fed into planning processes. An industry expert on social value, Flora was lead author on the RIBA Social Value Toolkit . She has contributed to a variety of social value initiatives across the construction industry and is regularly invited to speak on social impact by organisations across the globe.

An Architect trained at Cambridge and Princeton Flora has strong opinions on the future of architectural education and the changing role of architects. She taught for 10 years at Cardiff before leading the March at the University of Bath. She was then the first woman Head of the University of Sheffield School of Architecture. She left Sheffield for Reading University to help set up a new School of Architecture to deliver an education for uncertainty.

Flora began her academic career as a Le Corbusier scholar and has written five books on neglected aspects of his work and practice, several of which have been translated into other languages. She believes that history has a vital role to play in informing future practice.

Flora is a Trustee of the Quality of Life Foundation and on the Board of the Taskforce for Planning.


Research grants since 2010:

2022- (PI) Knowledge Transfer Partnership with Pollard Thomas and Edwards Architects on using BIM to predict social value of housing.

2021- (PI) Community Consultation for Quality of Life, AHRC, £901K.

2020 – Better Places Tool, Knowledge Transfer Partnership with Stantec to model transactions of social value within strategic land decisions. Received ‘outstanding’, 31.7 evaluation from funders, 40% AHRC, 50% ESRC, 10% Innovate UK

2020 – REDWELL Horizon 2020- Marie Curie Innovative Training Network for affordable and sustainable housing. (Co-I) RE-DWELL, led by FUNITEC in Barcelona, was awarded €3.9m, of which Reading will receive £294,532.

2017 – (PI) Newton Fund Institutional Links with Santo Tomas University, Manila, Philippines for Mapping Eco-Social Assets (MESA) project. £250K across both institutions. Winner of RIBA President’s Award for Research, Cities and Community category,

2017 – (Co-I) ESRC CACHE UK Collaborative Housing Evidence Centre consortium led by Prof Geoff Gibb, Glasgow University £6million. I am funded 1 day a week to lead the Placemaking and design value strand of the project on which I am also ‘humanities lead’. Project duration 1.8.17-31.5.22

2017 – (Co-I), Combating Anti-Microbial Resistance: Information Design and Architecture in Persuasive Pharmacy Spaces (IDAPPS), £250K, PI Prof Sue Walker (typography). Outputs selected for presentation at the AHRC Design Research Showcase, London 2018.

2015  (PI) Evidencing and Communicating the Value of Architects, AHRC Research Leader Fellowship, £250K.

2013 –  (PI) The Cultural Value of Architecture in Homes and Communities (PI), AHRC £50K.

, £250K AHRC Knowledge Exchange in the Creative Economy Project collaboration with Taylor Wimpey, RIBA and Design for Homes Outputs selected for presentation at the AHRC Design Research Showcase, London 2018.


Key publications: 

Flora Samuel, Housing for Hope and Wellbeing (London: Routledge, 2022).


Flora Samuel and Eli Hatleskog, Social Value in Architecture, Architectural Design (AD) Special, 90, 4.


Flora Samuel, Why Architects Matter: Evidencing and Communicating the Value of Architects (London: Routledge, 2018). This book has been well received globally, see for example


Flora Samuel and Anne Dye (eds), Demystifying Architectural Research (London: RIBA Enterprises, 2015).


Flora Samuel and Inge Linder Gaillard, Sacred Concrete: The Churches of Le Corbusier (Basel: Birkhäuser, 2012). Shortlsted for RIBA President’s Medal for Academic Based Research 2013. Shortlisted for the Art and Christianity Enquiry/Mercer’s Book Prize 2014. Revised and reprinted 2020.


Flora Samuel, Elements of the Architectural Promenade (Basel: Birkhäuser, 2010).


Flora Samuel, Le Corbusier in Detail (London: Architectural Press, 2007). Longlisted for the RIBA International Book Awards 2008. Translated in Japanese and Chinese.


Jo Odgers, Flora Samuel and Adam Sharr (eds.), Primitive (London: Routledge, 2006).


Flora Samuel, Le Corbusier: Architect and Feminist (London: Wiley, 2004).


Sarah Menin and Flora Samuel, Nature and Space: Aalto and Le Corbusier (London: Routledge, 2002), translated into Chinese and Korean.


Chapters in books:

Cara Mullholland, Flora Samuel and Jenny Hughes, ‘Planning for climate justice: digital mapping as an interdisciplinary tool for alleviating inequalities’ in Sofie Pelsmakers and James Benedict Brown, Architectural Thinking in a Climate Emergency (Forthcoming, Routledge, 2023).


Flora Samuel, ‘Three pillars of professionalism’ in Rob Hyde and Alan Jones (eds.)

Defining Contemporary Professionalism (London: RIBA, 2019), pp. 210-213.


Flora Samuel, ‘Innovation’, in Jane Duncan (ed.) Retropioneers: Architecture Redefined (Newcastle: RIBA Enterprises, 2017), pp.56-64.


Flora Samuel, ‘Plan Voisin’, in David Leatherbarrow (ed.) The Companions to the History of Architecture, Wiley, Volume 4, 2017.


Flora Samuel, ‘Symbolic Violence’ in Harriet Harriss, James Benedict Brown, Ruth Morrow, James Soane (eds.), A Gendered Profession, (Newcastle: RIBA Enterprises, 2016), pp.269-275.


Lorraine Farrelly and Flora Samuel, ‘Education for Uncertainty’, AEE2016 Research Based Education, (London: Bartlett, 2016), pp.326-338.


Flora Samuel, ‘La Ciudad Órfica de La Sainte Baume’ in Luis Burriel Bielza y Esteban Fernández-Cobián’, Le Corbusier. Proyectos para la Iglesia católica (Buenos Aires: Diseño, 2015), pp.96-117.


Flora Samuel, ‘Home Economics’, in Juliet Odgers, Stephen Kite and Mhairi McVicar, Economy (London: Routledge, 2015).


Flora Samuel, ‘Architectural Promenades through the Villa Savoye’, in Peter Blundell-jones and Mark Meagher (eds.), Architecture and Movement: The Dynamic Experience of Buildings and Landscapes(London: Routledge, 2014), pp.44-49.


Flora Samuel, ‘Plan Voisin’ in David Leatherbarrow and Alexander Eisenschmidt (eds.), Wiley-Blackwell A Companion to Twentieth Century Architecture part of The Companion to the History of Architecture (London: Wiley 2016).


Flora Samuel, ‘La cittadella orfica della Sainte-Baume’, in Domenico Luciani (ed.) Il luogo e il sacro. Contributi all’indagine sul linguaggio simbolico dei luoghi (Treviso: Fondazione Benetton Studi Ricerche, 2012), pp178-189.


Flora Samuel ‘Unité Marseilles’, in David Chipperfield and Kieron Long (eds.), Common Ground a Critical Reader (Venice: Massilio, 2012). Published for Venice Biennale 2012.


Flora Samuel, ‘Extension Stories’ in Adam Sharr (ed.), Architecture and Culture (London: Routledge, 2012), pp.96-105.


Flora Samuel, ‘Taste’, in Allison Dutoit, Juliet Odgers and Adam Sharr (eds.) Quality Out of Control (London: Routledge, 2010).


Flora Samuel and Juliet Odgers, ‘Designing in Quality’ in Allison Dutoit, Juliet Odgers and Adam Sharr  (eds.), Quality Out of Control (London: Routledge 2010).


Flora Samuel, ‘La cité orphique de La Sainte Baume’ in Le Corbusier Le Symbolique, le sacré, la spiritualité  (Paris: Fondation Le Corbusier, Éditions de la Villette, 2004), pp.121-138.


Flora Samuel, ‘Awakening Place’ in Sarah Menin (ed.) Constructing Place ( London: Routledge, 2003).


Flora Samuel and Sarah Menin ‘Self Building with Jung, Aalto and Le Corbusier’ in Jo Odgers, Flora Samuel and Adam Sharr (eds.), Primitive (London: Routledge, 2006).


Refereed Journals:

Eli Hatleskog & Flora Samuel, ‘Mapping Social Values’, Journal of Architecture, 22 February 2021,


Eli Hatleskog & Flora Samuel, ‘Mapping as a strategic tool for evidencing social values and supporting joined-up decision making in Reading England’, Journal of Urban Design, 26, 5, March 2021, pp.591-612.


Sue Walker, Sue Hignett, Rosemary Lim, Flora Samuel, ‘Explaining drug-resistant infection in community pharmacies through effective information design’, Design for Health, 4, 1, p.82-104 (2020).


Rowena Hay, Neal Shasore, Flora Samuel, ‘Research at the RIBA: An institutional history’, arq, 24, 1, December 2017, pp.328-337.


Rowena Hay, Flora Samuel, Kelly J. Watson, Simon Bradbury, ‘Post-occupancy evaluation in architecture: experiences and perspectives from the UK’, Building Research and Information, 46, 6, May 2017, pp. 698-710.


Flora Samuel, ‘Supporting Research in Practice’, Journal of Architecture, January 2017, 22, 1, p. 1


Flora Samuel and Peter Blundell Jones, Le Corbusier, Scharoun and the Architectural Promenade, arq, July 2012.


Flora Samuel, ‘Suburban Self Build’, Field, 2, 2008, pp.111-125.


Flora Samuel, ‘Animus, anima and the architecture of Le Corbusier, Harvest Journal for Jungian Studies, 48, 2, 2002, pp.42-60.


Flora Samuel, ‘Le Corbusier Rabelais and Oracle of the Holy Bottle’ Word and Image: a Journal of verbal/visual enquiry, 17, 4, 2001, pp.325-338.


Flora Samuel, ‘Le Corbusier, Teilhard de Chardin and La Planétisation humaine: spiritual ideas at the heart of modernism,’ French Cultural Studies, 11,2, 2000, pp.181-200.


‘A Profane Annunciation; The Representation of Sexuality in the Architecture of Ronchamp’ Journal of Architectural Education, 53, 2, 1999, pp.74-90.


‘Le Corbusier, Teilhard de Chardin and the Planetisation of Mankind’ Journal of Architecture, 4, 1999, pp.149-165.


‘The Representation of Mary in Le Corbusier’s Chapel at Ronchamp’ Church History (American Society of Church History), 68, 2, 1999, pp.398-417.


‘The Philosophical city of Rabelais and St Teresa; Le Corbusier and Edouard Trouin’s scheme for St Baume, Literature and Theology (University of Cambridge), 13, 2, 1999, pp.111-126.


‘Le Corbusier, Women, Nature and Culture’ Issues in Art and Architecture (University of East London) 5, 2, 1998, pp.1-17.



Cara Mulholland, Jenny Hughes, Flora Samuel and Keith Mitchell (2022), Delivering Better Place Outcomes through the Use of Data,,strategic%20decisions%20around%20land%20development.


Victoria Lawson, Ruchit Purohit, Flora Samuel, John Brennan, Lorraine Farrelly, Saul Golden, Mhairi McVicar, Public participation in planning in planning in the UK: A review of the literature, To be published UK Collaborative Centre for Housing Evidence May 2022.


Flora Samuel, Impact of housing design and placemaking on social value and wellbeing in the pandemic – interim report, November 2020


Chris Foye, Tom Kenny, Flora Samuel, Bilge Serin, Gareth Young, James White, Delivering Design Value, UK Collaborative Centre for Housing Evidence, December 2020. Funded by MHCLG, RTPI, Northern Ireland Office. Selected by Thinkhouse as ‘2020 Highly Recommended Report’


Research Practice Leads (led by Flora Samuel), Social Value Toolkit for Architecture, RIBA/University of Reading 2020


Rowena Hay, Lorraine Farrelly, Flora Samuel (2021), ‘The value of Architecture II’, Architects Council of Europe.


Rosalie Callway, Lorraine Farrelly, Flora Samuel, ‘The value of design’, Architects Council of Europe, 2019


Bilge Serin, Tom Kenny, James White, Flora Samuel, ‘Design Value at the Neighbourhood Scale’, UK Centre for Collaborative Housing Evidence, CACHE (November 2018),


Flora Samuel, ‘Promoting Design Value in Public Rented Housing: An English Perspective’, UK Centre for Collaborative Housing Evidence, CACHE (October 2018).

Selected by Thinkhouse as ‘2018 Highly Recommended Report’


Rowena Hay, Simon Bradbury, Dylan Dixon, Kat Martindale, Flora Samuel, Alex Tait, Building Knowledge: Pathways to Post-Occupancy Evaluation (April 2017), RIBA/University of Reading,


Flora Samuel, Nishat Awan, Carolyn Butterworth, Sophie Handler, Jo Lintonbon, AHRC Cultural Value of Architecture in Homes and Neighbourhoods Report (July 2014). AHRC website.


RIBA Home Improvements Report on Housing Research in Practice (publication October 2013) ISBN 978-0-9576914-5-2


Flora Samuel, Laura Coucill 2014, Home Improvements Knowledge Exchange in the Creative Economy Final Report!/file/FinalReport4.pdf 


RIBA Practice Research Guide (publication October 2013)


RIBA/SCHOSA Report on Architectural Research in Academia.


Invited Reviews and Articles


Flora Samuel, Building Design, 10 March 2023,


Flora Samuel, Future of Homes report published by Vodaphone in


Flora Samuel and Lorraine Farrelly, ‘Climate Change and Architectural Education, Buildings and Cities, 1 December 2020,


‘Why cities look the way they do’, Times Higher Education, 20 June 2019, p.49.


‘Procurement in the UK’, (2019), Australian Institute of Architects Architecture Bulletin, 75, 4, pp.8-10.


‘Higher values’, Architecture Today, 294, January 2019, p.10.


‘David Chipperfield Architects: Public and Private’, Arquitectura Viva 209-210, 16 January, 2019, pp.96-99.


‘Building the Ivory Tower: Universities and Metropolitan Development’, Times Higher Education, 8 February 2018, pp.52-53.


‘Fungible Life: Experiment in the Asian City of Life’, Times Higher Education, 8 December 2016.


‘Aldo Van Eyck’, Burlington Magazine, CLVIII, August 2016, pp.653-654.


‘Innovation - Listen 017’, Blueprint, 347, August 2016,  p.16


‘Gender equality? It’s all a façade’, Times Higher Education, 2 June 2016, p.52.


‘The Storm of Creativity’, Times Higher Education, 26 January 2016, p. 49.


‘The Cunning of Uncertainty, Times Higher Education, 15 October 2015, pp.42-43.


‘Open Source Architecture’, Times Higher Education, 11 June 2015, p.55.


‘The future is female but women in architecture need co-operation’, Architectural Review, March 2015,


‘Accentuate the Positive’, RIBA Journal, August 2014,


‘Crime Prevention through Housing Design’, Policing and Society, 24, 5, 31 July 2014,


‘The Lawn Road Flats: Spies, Writers and Artists’, Times Higher Education Supplement,

15 May 2014, pp.56-57.


‘Farrell Review: The Profession Reacts’, Architect’s Journal, April 2014,


‘The way we were: The changing relationship of Research and Design’, RIBAJournal, March 2014.


‘Good Cities, Better Lives, Times Higher Education Supplement, November 2013.


Head of Department
Professor of Architecture (1970)
Director of the forthcoming Cambridge Urban Room
Director of Studies for Darwin College