Dr Henrik Schoenefeldt awarded Faculty of Humanities ECR Prize for Early Career Research

Dr. Henrik Schoenefeldt was awarded the University of Kent ECR Humanities Research Prize for the research he has undertaken at the Kent School of Architecture over the past four years, including his ongoing work on the Houses of Parliament. In his acceptance speech, which is reproduced below, he highlighted how supportive the School had been in his development as a researcher and educator. In June 2016 he will start working full on a large AHRC funded research project ‘Between Heritage and Sustainability,’ which will feed into the Palace of Westminster restoration programme.

Acceptance speech by Dr. Schoenefeldt, given at the award ceremony at Darwin College, University of Kent, on 1 April 2016:

When I arrived at the University of Kent in September 2011 the school of architecture has only been in existence for six years. It was originally founded as a school for the eduction of professional architects and the primary focus was on teaching. Efforts to establish research as a second pillar, however, began only two years after its foundation. It began with the appointment of a new chair, Professor Gordana Fontana-Guisti in 2007, who coordinated first efforts to establish research and postgraduate studies. The focus at this point was in the humanities, primarily in the history and theory of architecture and urbanism. The Centre for Research in European Architecture was founded to provide a forum for these activities. The former Dean of the Faculty of Humanities, Karl Leydecker, had been driving initiatives to broaden the scope of the research, entering the fields of science and engineering. In Spring 2011 Marialena Nikolopoulou, who had nominated me for the university research prize and has been important mentor to me since arriving at Kent, was appointed as a second research chair to head this new strand, under the umbrella of a second research centre: Centre for Architecture and Sustainable Environment. I was one of three academics appointed to staff the new centre. Therefore I am very delighted to have been awarded this prize. Charles Snow’s two cultures, the arts and sciences, were now represented within one school. 

I studied at the University of Cambridge, in a department of architecture with a strong research ethos, and vision of Kent to become a place of teaching and research made highly attractive. In my own post-doctoral research over the past four years I have been able to bridge the gap between the sciences and arts as well as chasm between academic scholarship and architectural practice. My research over the past four years focused on the environmental design of the Houses of Parliament, an area that required a a technical analysis, historical research and architectural practice. I recently received an AHRC grant and over the next two years I will directly work with various parties involved in the Palace of Westminster refurbishment and renewal programme. It is the freedom offered by the KSA to develop ones own visions and the continual encouragement and support of Don Gray, Gordana and Marialena that enabled me to achieve this.