Rute Nieto Ferrreira

Architect, urban designer, author, lecturer

About and contact

Publication

Big Letter Hunt London

Coauthor, with Amandine Alessandra, of the central-London architectural alphabet book Big Letter Hunt London – An Architectural A to Z around the city, published by Batsford Books. This is a book for both children and those interested in design and typography: [It] opens the eyes of the readers to the wealth of architectural details surrounding us in every city by playing a game of ‘spot the letter’; it highlights letters of the alphabet hidden in the façades and forms of both iconic and little-known buildings.

August 2016

Talk

Creative Process

Invited by Curator and the V&A Friday Late to present the process of cofounding the small press Tower Block Books and developing our first book The Big Letter Hunt. Other speakers included Hato Press, DesignMarketo and Harpers Bazaar.

October 2014

Urban design

Publica

Projects Director and part of the management team at one of London’s most exciting public realm and urban design firms. Publica is at the forefront of research and practice, specialising in urban strategies and design for public spaces and masterplanning. Among other projects, I led the Barbican and Golden Lane area strategy, a site study on the fringes of the Olympic Park and a Neighbourhood Plan for a central London area.

May 2014 – February 2016

Workshop

Explore, Build, Play at the V&A

Invited by the Victoria & Albert Museum’s learning department to design and lead sessions with primary school children. The workshops included a walk through the museum, sketching in the architecture galleries and group model-making to create a series of play structures for the museum’s grand entrance.

2013 - 2016

Architecture

Homes

Over the years I have designed and overseen construction works to private homes, mostly for friends and family. These have been both challenging and rewarding projects where I was able to experiment, find ways to work in close collaboration with clients and be imaginative with a sometimes very low budget.

2007 - 2013

Publication

The Big Letter Hunt in the East End of London

Coauthor and publisher of a wordless alphabet book where readers are invited to spot letterforms in the architecture of London’s East End. The first publication of Tower Block Books, it was risograph printed and bound in the East End. It’s been called a beautifully produced publication and an attempt to make the world of letters and type more accessible to a younger audience (AIGA); at once a game, an alphabet book and a lesson in how to look; accessible and intelligent in its approach and highly infectious as a game (Look/Book report).

July 2014

Architecture

Marge Arkitekter

During a six month sabbatical spent in Stockholm I had the chance to join the highly regarded architecture studio Marge Arkitekter, which works sensitively and imaginatively at all scales. I worked on detailing a new-build private house, on the initial stages of renovating a children’s holiday camp and was on the masterplanning team for a high-density waterfront neighbourhood.

September – December 2013

Workshop, Publication, Fundraiser

School calendars

I organised a series of art workshops with kids from a London primary school (2015) and a San Francisco elementary school (2016). We explored themes of pattern and colour, autumn trees, neighbourhood; and techniques such as line drawing, collage and finger painting, which were translated into risograph printed calendars. All money raised from the calendar sales went towards more art supplies for the kids.

2015 - 2016

Teaching

Kingston University

First year tutor of the architecture degree at Kingston University, in London. I taught a unit with Zoe Jones which invited students to explore the South Bank through a series of tasks that culminated in the development of a small structure for the Thames’ mudlarkers.

September 2015 – January 2016

Teaching

The CASS/ London Metropolitan University

Studio lecturer in the extended degree in architecture and interior design at the CASS. This is a foundation year where students explore various design concepts, site approaches and techniques, gaining an understanding of the design process – form observing and investigating issues to communicating ideas through various types of drawings, maquette and 1:1 prototypes.

2011 – 2014

Architecture

Casas da Azenha

Careful renovation and extension of a cluster of buildings in rural northern Portugal. The barns and mill structures, made of solid granite with terracotta tiled roofs, were repaired, insulated and transformed internally to make an unorthodox family-house with framed views into the surrounding landscape.

2011 - 2012

Study

Transdisciplinary studio

Alongside nine other professionals working in fields ranging from physiotherapy to theatre, I took part in the Transdisciplinary Studio at Konstfack, Stockholm’s art and design university. The group conducted research, design-thinking and attempted different strategies for complex problem solving based on interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary practices. My projects revolved around The Future of Play, and focused on London and Stockholm.

2012

Teaching

University of Brighton

For a term, l led an undergraduate architecture studio with Alicja Borkowska at the University of Brighton, UK. Our focus was an underpopulated satellite suburb, previously a thriving factory town built in the soviet model. The studio investigated future scenarios by re-imagining the town as a test-bed, a place for living, learning and research. The students responded to briefs that started from a folly intervention, followed by a vision and a manifesto and finally a building proposal.

2012

Architecture

Anne Thorne Architects

Anne Thorne Architects focuses on designing for sustainable communities. I joined ATA as an undergraduate student in 2004, returning full time after graduating in 2006. I became a company associate in 2008 and a partner in 2012. I was responsible for running residential, educational and community projects, both new build and retrofit, and studies advising clients on low-energy design, as well as developing bids to earn work. I gained valuable experience in community engagement, sustainable design and detailing using natural materials, as well as leading teams.

2007 - 2012

Teaching

Oxford Brookes University

For two years I ran a post-graduate unit, with artists Anna Hart and Ruth Mclennan, at Oxford Brookes University. Our studio worked almost exclusively by hand-drawing, model-making and real size interventions on our site in North London. The studio was awarded industry grant funding to take the students on a field trip to Moscow, where we studied, among other things, early-20thC communal housing.

2009

Architecture, Urban design, Volunteering

Conservation and Design Advisory Panel

I was selected to be part of CADAP, the Conservation and Design Advisory panel at the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, an area of London where I lived for many years. The panel, one of the oldest in the country, is responsible for giving independent professional advice to planners on large or significant proposed developments in the borough.

2015 - 2016

Study

Playful Spaces

I wrote my Royal College of Art MA dissertation on urban play spaces. The dissertation explored historical and cultural ideas about children’s play, recent policy and various examples of how play areas have come to exist and are being used. The piece also looked at the broader idea of the city as a playground, touching on other civic activities such as games and demonstrations.

2004 - 2006

Writing

Christian Robinson interview

I had the pleasure of interviewing the amazing San Francisco-based children’s books illustrator Christian Robinson for Look Book Report. His simple yet texture-rich, fresh and friendly pictures for books such as Rain, Last Stop on Market Street, Josephine, Gaston and Leo, a Ghost Storyhave won numerous awards. We chatted about his creative process.

February 2017