Professor Katharine Heron of the University of Westminster has been awarded an MBE for Services to Architecture and Higher Education. 

The Professor of Architecture was acknowledged among leading figures in the New Year’s Honours 2015. The MBE recognises her outstanding achievements at the University, and for her long-serving advocacy work in developing architectural education.

As Head of Architecture at the University of Westminster from 1997 to 2014, Professor Katharine Heron led the successful expansion of the department to become one of the leading schools for architecture education in the UK. Under her leadership, she significantly increased and diversified the department’s course offering and gained widespread recognition for the quality of students’ work through their award of prestigious prizes.

Professor Heron has also made a significant contribution to the University of Westminster’s position as a leading research-informed university. Under her direction, the Department of Architecture has delivered research of international excellence and world-leading quality.  This has been achieved through her appointment of a high standing research and teaching staff, and with recognition of their research and professional achievements in national awards.

Research work which Professor Heron has been involved with includes overseeing  Westminster’s partnership in the EU funded Marie Curie ITN project ADAPT-r (Architecture, Design and Art Practice Training-research) which is set up to develop an international training network of researchers through a unique and ground-breaking research model. Professor Heron is also a member of the research group Experimental Practice in Architecture.

The honour also distinguishes Professor Heron’s standing as a long-term advocate of architectural education. She has been active in the cause for flexible architectural education to support quality and enable diversity, with imagination and inventiveness and sustainability. This has been achieved through her commitment to the RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects), as Chair of SCHOSA (Standing Conference of Heads of Architecture) and as chair of the QAA (Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education) subject benchmark review. Furthermore, Professor Heron has been an external examiner, assessor and advisor for various universities and awarding bodies and chair of the independent review of the proposed London School of Architecture in 2014.

On receiving her accolade, Professor Katharine Heron commented: “I am surprised and thrilled to have received an MBE. It is wonderful to receive public acknowledgement for the quality of education, teaching and research at the University’s Department of Architecture, and be able to share a voice in the development of architectural education”.

As a practice professor at the University of Westminster, Katharine Heron is currently leading the development of the new Digital Fabrication Laboratories, working to expand the range of research by practice at the University, and as the founder and director of AmbikaP3 - a space for presenting contemporary art and architecture, Professor Heron is also currently working on a new exhibition programme with Curator Michael Maziere.

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