Amy Butt

Lecturer in Architecture (Representation and Communication)

I see architecture as a social art, the practice of which should embody and support progressive social development. I have a strong belief in the importance of consultation, participation and narrative communication to widen participation in architecture, and create spaces which engage and inspire all users of the built environment.

In my work as an Architect I specialised in higher and further education design, with a focus on client consultation, brief development and student engagement. I worked for several UK practices before moving to bpr architects where I was an associate director for six years. Over that time, I was project architect responsible for the design and delivery of £36m worth of education projects ranging from small refurbishments and fit out projects, to an £18m new build Science and Technology building for Middlesex University.

Alongside my work in practice, I co-founded Involve architecture collective, which specialises in small scale installations and workshops which aim to broaden participation in architecture. We have worked with public institutions including Tate Britain, RIBA, Open City, V&A and the Horniman Museum as well as school and youth groups.

Before coming to Reading I led second and third year undergraduate design studios at Brighton University and second year, third year, and MArch design studios at Newcastle University where I was nominated for a Teaching Excellence Award. These studios all focused on the importance of social engagement in design and explored the role of narrative in architecture, informed by my research into science fiction.

My research explores the way in which the fictional worlds we construct influence and reflect the world we inhabit, looking at utopian thought and the imaginary in architecture through science fiction literature and film. As well as publication in academic peer-reviewed journals and conferences this work has been presented as part of public events including the UK and World science fiction conventions, sci-fi writers’ workshops, and at a utopian activist festival. It has been shared in venues ranging from the BFI cinema on London’s South Bank, to the dark interior of the structural support towers of the Tyne bridge.

At Reading I draw on my work in practice and research to engage students in considering our collective responsibility as architects. This requires us to be attentive to the social implications of the cities we currently inhabit, to develop a utopian desire for what the world could be, and to carefully consider our role as designers of future worlds.


· PG Dip in Professional Practice in Architecture (RIBA/ARB pt III) University of Westminster
· PG Dip Architecture (RIBA/ARB pt II) University of Westminster
· BSc Architectural Studies(RIBA/ARB ptI) Cardiff University
· RIBA Chartered Architect


· Co-lead the development and delivery of BSc Architecture stage 1 design studio, and the teaching of visualisation and communication
· Admissions Tutor for the Architecture BSc programme

External Responsibilities

· Co-founder of Involvearchitecture collective
· Active member of the Imaginaries of the Future Network, London Science Fiction Research Community, the British Science Fiction Association, the Utopian Studies Society and the Beyond Gender science fiction research collective

Areas of Interest

· Education design
· Widening participation in architecture
· Public engagement and interdisciplinary working
· The utopian imaginary and intent in architecture
· Narrative communication of and in architectural design
· Architecture in science fiction literature and film

Selected Publications

Butt, A. (2019) ‘Only one way in and one way out’: Staging Utopia Spaces, Studies in Arts and Humanities, 05: 01, pp. 5 – 23

Butt, A. (2018) ‘‘Endless forms, vistas and hues’: Why Architects Should Read Science Fiction’, ARQ Architectural Research Quarterly

Butt, A. and Roberts, D. (2018) ‘Narrative Arcs’ in Regeneration Songs: Sounds of Investment and Loss from East London. Eds. Duman, A., Hancox, D., James, M., and Minton, A.

Butt, A. (2018) ‘City Limits: Boundary Conditions and the Building-Cities of Science Fiction’, Open Library of the Humanities – Special Issue Series:Imaginaries of the Future’

Butt, A. (2018) ‘Vicarious Vertigo: The emotional experience of height in the science fiction city’, Emotion, Space and Society – Special Issue ‘Vertigo in the City’

Butt, A. (2016) ‘Between the Image and the Building: An Architectural Tour of High-Rise’, Critical Quarterly,Volume 58, Issue 1, April 2016, pp. 76–83

Butt, A. (2015) ‘Control Towers: Life and Limitations in The World Inside’,Low-Res: Architectural theory, Politics and Criticism, Pilot Issue ‘High-Rise’, pp. 134-144

Butt, A. and Knox-Williams, C. (2015) ‘The Possibility of Failure:Chasing Utopia’, Alter Periodical, Spring 2015, Volume 2

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