Rachel Simmonds is a qualified Architect who studied at Scott Sutherland School of Architecture, Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen and the Ecole d'Architecture de Clermont Ferrand, France. Her 20+ years in architectural practice saw her working at a senior level for award winning architects in Edinburgh, as well as establishing her own design practice Studio Bof. She undertook projects in housing, education, conservation, theatre and office design, along with architectural conservation, interior design, art commissioning and urban design. Her industry awards include the Saltire Award for Art and Crafts in Architecture (2011) and a Scottish Design Award for Public Realm and Landscape (2012).
She started architectural tutoring in 1998 at Scott Sutherland School of Architecture. In 2008 she joined Edinburgh College of Art as a part time tutor in interior design, becoming a full time lecturer in 2016. She teaches both undergraduate and postgraduate courses at ECA, and has been involved in teaching internationally, as part of an international exchange programme. In 2014 she created the Fashion Interior Courses as part of the Shanghai College of Fashion/ Edinburgh College of Art collaborative partnership. She is currently Programme Director for MA Interior, Architectural and Spatial Design.
Her research work has a focus on the links between Scottish and Scandinavian modernist architecture and design. Her architectural and interior design experience has also influenced a variety of investigations around historic and future places of creative working and learning, collaborations between architects and artists and conservation strategies in the UK and China.
Rachel is Programme Director for the MA Interior, Architectural and Spatial Design programme. The programme focuses on supporting students in establishing their own definitions and approaches to the diverse and controversial subjects of interior, space and design. She is also Course Organiser and lecturer for fourth year undergraduate courses. In 2013 she qualified with a PgCert in Academic Practice and is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.
As well as teaching in leading Scottish Universities, she has been a visiting lecturer at Hochshule fur Technik Stuttgart, Sculoa universitaria professionael della Svizzera Lugano and Istanbul Technical University, as part of an international Interior Architecture programme. She also taught for 2 years at Shanghai College of Fashion as part of the ECA/SCF collaborative partnership.
Rachel has been external examiner for BA Hons Interior Design Course at Glasgow Caledonian University, MA Interior and Spatial Design Course at University of the Arts London, Chelsea School of Art, and was the international moderator for Greenside Design College, Johannesburg. She is currently external examiner for the BA Interior Architecture programme at University for the Creative Arts Canterbury. She is involved in Interior Educators, a charity established by academics representing Interior programmes from across the UK.
Rachel's research is based around her extensive architectural and interior experience. She is interested in the relationship of people and space within buildings and the wider urban context. Currently she is progressing a series of investigations into the working environments of modernist architects, and has given a series of papers at international conferences on the topic. She is also developing work on the future of creative workplaces and teaching environments, and the links between the two. In 2019 some of this work was included in Interior Futures, published by Crucible.
In 2019 she established the Scotianavian research project, which is looking at links between Scottish and Scandinavian architects in the mid 20th century, to define and catalogue their design influence on each other. The first part of this, Northern Grace, is looking at links between modernist ecclesiastical design in Finland and Scotland. In early 2020 she undertook a research residency at the Alvar Aalto Foundation in Helsinki to investigate links between Aalto and Scotland.
She is part of the The History of Architecture and the Built Environment Research Group, and is also involved in the University of Edinburgh’s Future Cities Research Group.
PhD Supervision Topics
Interior design/postmodern and brutalist architecture/ workplace design