Mark Parsons

BA (Hons), Dip.Arch, ARB

School of Architecture

University Teaching Practitioner

Mark Parsons
Profile picture of Mark Parsons

Full contact details

Mark Parsons
School of Architecture
Arts Tower
Western Bank
S10 2TN

Since qualifying from the University of Sheffield I worked in a number of London practices before returning to Sheffield in 2005.

I am one of the founders and directors of Studio Polpo, the UK's first architectural practice to be set up as a social enterprise in 2008, producing research, initiating projects and working with the third sector. Studio Polpo was a founding partner of Chopshop, a CNC design and fabrication facility, and is currently supporting the incorporation of the Sheffield Community Land Trust.  I have also worked for, and with, Architype for a number of years, an award winning practice with a strong reputation for sustainable architecture and particular expertise in the design of educational environments. Projects with them have included a Passivhaus school near Leeds, a Passivhaus church building in Sheffield, and a Sheffield co-housing development in partnership with Studio Polpo.

Teaching interests

My teaching is strongly informed by my practice work, and the dialogue and engagement with students and teaching also informs my practice. I am interested in how student work and research can be disseminated to the public, in student engagement with building and full scale projects (having previously set up the Make.Design.Work site as a resource and produced the 2nd Year Housing newspaper) and am also a member of the Architects Climate Action Network, and keen to ensure how we can address the climate emergency as practitioners and educators. My M.Arch studio in 2021-22 explored issues of waste and retrofit in construction on sites in the Beighton and Gleadless areas of Sheffield.

Teaching activities

I enjoy working across all parts of the School of Architecture (where I have been a design tutor since 2005), and have taught in the first and second years of the Undergraduate course; the Masters in Sustainable Architectural Studies (SAS) and Masters in Urban Design (MAUD) courses; and the M.Arch, where I have mentored M.Arch Live Projects and, in the last academic year, run Studio Waste. I also tutor MA Architectural Design (MAAD) Thesis projects, as well supervising undergraduate special studies and M.Arch dissertations. 

Professional activities and memberships
  • AECB (Association for Environment Conscious Building)
  • Sheffield Community Land Trust, Company Secretary