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Oriel Prizeman  MA (Cantab) AADip PhD (Cantab)

Professor Oriel Prizeman


MA (Cantab) AADip PhD (Cantab)

Professor of Sustainable Building Conservation

Welsh School of Architecture

+44 29208 75967
Bute Building, Room Room 1.39, King Edward VII Avenue, Cardiff, CF10 3NB
Available for postgraduate supervision


Prior to my PhD, my background was in private practice and this experience informed the framing of the MSc in Sustainable Building Conservation which I launched at Cardiff University in 2013. My research uses digital models to investigate re-readings of design intent, environmental histories and current interpretations of public space. I have an eagerness to develop digital tools for conservation that can better mediate the complexities of addressing differing or even conflicting interests. I have worked extensively in the area of early twentieth century Public Library buildings and collaborated on three projects in India each of which broadly seek to establish digital fora for the discussion of complex issues relating to heritage and its ongoing public use. Recently I have been working on participatory digital tools for the documentation of historic harbours. I am an expert member of CIPA and have previously been an elected board member of the Association for Preservation Technology.


I am Director of the Centre for Sustainable Building Conservation  and programme lead for the MSc Sustainable Building Conservation

I have been Principal Investigator for ESRC/IRC funded project Harbourview. From 2016-21 I was PI for the AHRC funded project: Shelf Life: Re-imagining the Future of Carnegie Public Libraries and from 2018-21 I was Co-Investigator for Professor Adam Hardy’s AHRC funded project: Tamil Temple Towns; Conservation and Contestation.





















Adrannau llyfrau








Funded Consultancy projects:

  • 2022-2022 Co-Investigator to assist as digital heritage consultant for Global Centre for Rail Excellence scoping study (PI Prof Juliet Davis)
  • 2021-22 Principal Investigator: Consultant (Sustainability): David Clarke Associates / National Slate Museum UNESCO WHS 
  • 2014-15  Laser Scan SW Tower Caerphilly Castle – Taliesin Construction / Cadw
  • 2012-14  Heritage Lottery Fund – Expert advisor Grants for Places of Worship Wales

Funded research projects:


My monograph based on my PhD: Philanthropy and Light: Carnegie Libraries and the Advent of Transatlantic Standards for Public Space is now available as an e-book:

"It very well may be one of the most significant books to appear on public libraries so far in the current century." - Prof Edward A. Goedeken, Iowa State University Library in Information & Culture, Vol. 51, No. 2, 2016 ©2016 by the University of Texas Press DOI: 10.7560/IC51206

"Prizeman's examination of environmental performance as a way to analyze the social and political meaning and function of this new building typology lends new insight into the significance of Carnegie's program and his buildings and will serve as a model for future studies of this type." - Prof Kenneth Breisch University of Southern California Breisch, Kenneth.The American Historical Review; Oxford Vol. 118, Iss. 3,  (Jun 2013): 821.

"Oriel Prizeman's scholarship is impressive. Research libraries will want to acquire this work. Economic historians, sociologists and librarians will all profit from the novel and fruitful insights in Philanthropy and Light" - Cope, R L. Australian Library Journal Vol. 62, Iss. 3,  (January 2013): 250.DOI:10.1080/00049670.2013.811776

"Philanthropy and Light is an excellent piece of scholarship which offers instruction and insight to a number of disciplines of which library history is but one. This work provides much of interest to the cultural historian, the sociologist, the industrial historian and, of course, to the architect. Prizeman is to be congratulated for an excellent and distinctive addition to the corpus of literature on Carnegie and for bringing to the attention of the library world an area that is possibly not fully understood or appreciated by those working the sector." Peter Reid (2014) Reviews, Library & Information History, 30:2, 129-142, DOI: 10.1179/1758348914Z.00000000059

Research Websites:

Centre for Sustainable Building Conservation 

ESRC funded research: Harbourview 

AHRC funded Research: Shelf Life 

UKRI funding profile



Teaching profile

I am course director of the MSc Sustainable Building Conservation at WSA  which I founded in 2013. I am currently module leader for ART 501 "The Conservator's Role" and ART 504 "Case Studies and Regional Work". 

I am external examiner for University of Reading: MSc Conservation of the Historic Environment. From 2014-18 I was external examiner to the Department of Archaeology, University of York, MA in Conservation Studies and MA in Conservation Studies (Historic Buildings) and MA in the Archaeology of Buildings 2014-18 and to the Conservation of the Historic Environment MA/PGDip at Birmingham City University.

I started teaching part time first year at the University of Cambridge and fifth year at the University of East London simultaneously in 1996. I later led ADS1 at the Royal College of Art MA Architecture and Interiors from 2003-5. In 2011 I was appointed as the Director of Studies for Architecture at Gonville and Caius College, University of Cambridge.


I took my first degree and PhD at the University of Cambridge and my Diploma and RIBA part 3 at the Architectural Association in London. I worked at Branson Coates Architecture and Michael Hopkins and partners as a student. I set up my own practice in Cambridge in 1996 as a sole practitioner specialising in the repair and adaptation of listed houses, completing 28 built projects. I taught design studios intermittently at the University of East London, the University of Cambridge and at the Royal College of Art.

In 2006 I was awarded an AHRC PhD studentship under a project led by Prof Koen Steemers and Mary Ann Steane at the Martin Centre in the Faculty of Architecture and History of Art at the University of Cambridge. I completed this in 2010 and returned to practice. My first book, Philanthropy and Light was published in 2012 and is based on my thesis. I was appointed Director of Studies for Architecture at Gonville and Caius College Cambridge in 2011 and then moved to Cardiff in 2012 to take up a full time academic post.

Through establishing the MSc Sustainable Building Conservation at Cardiff in 2013, I have made ERASMUS collaborations with the Conservation Masters programmes at Roma Tre University, Politecnico di Milano and the National Technical University of Athens. 

I was an elected board member of the US based Association for Preservation Technology 2015-17. I have also been engaged as an expert advisor to the Heritage Lottery Fund (Grants for Places of Worship, Wales) and to UNESCO for a World Heritage nomination. Since 2014 I have been awarded funding for research from the AHRC, the ESRC and EPSRC as well as from Historic Environment Scotland, Historic England and Cadw. 

Honours and awards

Academic awards

2022           “Carnegie Libraries of Britain” EBook Shortlisted for SAHGB Colvin prize

2016         MSc Sustainable Building Conservation – Honourable mention in Special Prize for International Education at DOMUS International Prize for Architectural Restoration, Ferrara University, Italy

2006           AHRC PhD studentship University of Cambridge, under “Designing with Light in Libraries”  led by Prof Koen Steemers and Mary Ann Steane

1993            Scholarship to the Architectural Association

Awards in Practice (Oriel Prizeman Ltd):

2011          Practice Nominated for Architecture Foundation / Danish Architecture Exchange

2010         Cambridge City Council David Urwin Sustainability award shortlisted: 19 Newton Road 

2009         RIBA East “Spirit of ingenuity” Shortlisted: 15 Latham Road / Design award

2005         RIBA East “Spirit of ingenuity” Shortlisted “Ship in a Bottle 11 Grange Road / Design award

2003         RIBA East “Spirit of ingenuity” 2003 Runner up: English Heritage conservation award – Manor Cottage Haslingfield


Professional memberships

SPAB         Member since 1996 

ICOMOS    Member since 2009

SAHA         Member Society Architectural Historians of America 2009-2020

APT            Member 2013-20

CIPA           Since 2013  

2016-20      RIBA Accredited Specialist Conservation Architect

2011-16      RIBA Accredited Conservation Architect

1999-2020  RIBA Chartered Member and ARB Registrant




Academic positions

2012- Welsh School of Architecture, Cardiff University (Promoted to Personal Chair 2020 - 2, to Reader 2016, appointed 2012 as Senior Lecturer)

2020- Director Centre for Sustainable Building Conservation

Teaching roles:                  


     Programme lead MSc Sustainable Building Conservation (2013-19, 21-)

                 Module leader:

ART 501 (20 cr) (2013-2019, 2021-),

ART 502 (20 cr) (2013-2017, 2021-22, 23-),

ART 503 (20 cr) (2013-2016),

ART 504 (40 cr) (2013-2019, 2021-),

ART 505 (20 cr) (2013-2017, 2023-),

ART 506 (60 cr) (2013-2019)

Programme development: 2012-13 MSc Sustainable Building Conservation: designed, CU validated and Accredited by IHBC, RIBA approved. Launched Sept 2013.


Studio lead MArch Unit XVIII – Lost Properties (2020-21)

2nd Year Co-chair (2013-14)

2nd Year Chair (2012-13)

Management / Leadership roles:

                 Director of Postgraduate Research Studies (2018-2022)

                 Member of School Executive (2016-2022)

                 Director, Centre for Sustainable Building Conservation (2022-)

                 Programme lead, MSc Sustainable Building Conservation (2012-)

                 Member of School Promotions Committee (2020-)

                 Co-Chair Heritage and Conservation Research Group (2019-)

Director Postgraduate Taught Studies (2016-18)

Personal Tutor to all MSc SBC students (2013-19)

Chair of Board of Studies (2013-15)

Chair of Athena SWAN committee (2 bids), (2013-16)

Equality and Diversity committee chair (2014-6).

2011-12 University of Cambridge: Gonville & Caius College: Director of Studies: Architecture

2005-2006, &1996-8 University of Cambridge: Faculty of Architecture and History of Art: 1st year tutor

2002-2005 Royal College of Art MA Architecture and Interiors: Studio Master ADS1

1996-2000 University of East London Dept of Architecture: 0.25FTE Senior Lecturer Diploma / BSc

Speaking engagements

Booked 22.03.24 “Conservation of Concrete and C20th Building Materials” at conference for Comisiwn Brenhinol Henebion Cymru / Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales and Twentieth Century Society Cymru 

Booked 25 November 23: “Keeping the Carnegie Libraries of Britain” at Lambeth Carnegie Library, London

Booked 7.9.23: CIPA Expert on panel discussion “Defining Ethics for Digital Documentation”  at ICOMOS Sydney

3.5.23  Keynote at AGM of Institute of Historic Building Conservation: Oriel Prizeman on ‘Sustainability & the HE’, 

16.5.23 Talk at Reims Carnegie Library Société des amis de la bibliothèque municipal de Reims, France 

22.11.22 “Carnegie Libraries of Wales” for Twentieth Century Society Cymru (online) 22.11.22

7.7.22  “Sustainable Building Conservation” for Retrofit, Refurbishment and Repurposing - The 'RRR' Action Gap Series (Online) public talk at Leeds Civic Trust

24.4.20  “Reading Patterns for Sustainable Building Conservation”, Politecnico di Milano: Scuola di Architettura Urbanistica Ingegneria delle Costruzioni:Milan Italy (Online) 

23.7.19  Talk on Digital Documentation for Cultural Heritage with Dr Luigi Barazzetti of Politecnico di Milano at Indian Institute of Technology Madras, Chennai, India 

27.4.17   ERASMUS Special Lecture “Sustainable Building Conservation” Architectural Conservation Department, National Technical University of Athens School of Architecture, Athens, Greece

17.2.17  Special Lecture “Developing Digital Tools for Conservation” in Architectural Conservation Department, School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi, India 

18.8.17 Rakhigarhi: Roundtable talk at the Centre for Art and Archaeology Delhi INTACH

22.5.15 "Pubilc philanthropy: access not ownership". Presented at: Does this bridge belong to you?Victoria and Albert Museum, London, UK

17.9.14 "Seeing and being seen: the radiant languages of public libraries". Presented at: Central Saint Martins Informal Exchange: 'Housing Information', Swiss Cottage Library, London, 

19.4.11 "Working with the Conservation Framework in Cambridge, England: A practitioner's view". Presented at British Council Tbilisi: Identity and spirit of Old Tbilisi, Tbilisi, Georgia, 

18.11.2003  “Leapfrogs in Development”, Palermo, Italy, Università di Palermo Facoltà di Architettura

Committees and reviewing

2023   Made expert member CIPA Heritage Documentation (Comité International de la Photogrammétrie Architecturale)

2021 + 2017  ICOMOS Expert reviewer for UNESCO world heritage nominations

2018 Historic England Historic Environment Adaptation Working Group

2017 Invited participant at both the Newton-Ungku Omar Fund: Heritage Refurbishment Assessment Scheme (HeRAS), Penang, Malaysia  

2017 Invited participant Adaptation and Resilience in the Context of Change Network: Castell Coch

2017 Newton-Baba Fund ICHR, AHRC UK-India Workshop on Cultural Heritage and Rapid Urbanisation in India. 

2016-18 North America based Association for Preservation Technology (APT) International representative on inaugural standing committee on accreditation, co-chair student scholarships committee  

2017,19,21,23 Scientific Panel of CIPA symposia

2015 Consultee to the Welsh Government Sectoral Adaptation Plan Climate Change and Cultural Heritage

2015   Member panel for Heritage Lottery Fund bid Lister Steps Carnegie Library

2015   Invited participant Historic Environment Scotland: Climate Change and the Heritage Environment Workshop: 16-17th Sept 2015 Edinburgh Castle

2014-  Member of Conservation Course Directors’ Forum

2013-2018 Member APT Technical Committee on Sustainable Preservation Education & Research

2013 + 2020 RSAW awards judge

2013- Member Steering Group for Rubicon Dance, Cardiff, Arts Council Wales capital bid

2013-14 Expert advisor to the Heritage Lottery Fund's Grants for Places of Worship Wales scheme

2014 Reviewer for USA AIA (American Institute of Architects) Retrofit publication and ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers) guidance

2014 cited in DCMS Farrell Review

2011-17  Founder Member Tbilisi Heritage Group

2011 Heritage Working Group: Cambridge Past Present and Future

Peer reviewer (Journals)

Heritage (MDPI)

ISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information 

Journal of Sustainable Cultural Heritage Management 

International Journal of Building Pathology and Adaptation 

Advances in Geosciences (ADGEO) 

Journal of Architectural Conservation 

Architectural Research Quarterly 

Libraries: Culture, History, and Society 

Urban Studies 

Association of Preservation Technologists Bulletin

Peer review (Books)

Book reviewer: Journal of Architectural Conservation, Architectural Review

Book proposal reviewer: Ashgate, RIBA Publications, Routledge


2022   Guest editing Special Issue of Built Heritage Journal: Global Climate Change and Built Heritage Conservation (Springer) Led by Drs Lui Tam and Chris Whitman

2021- Editorial Board Member: Conservation (MDPI) 

2017 Advisory Board: Invisible Architecture: Inside the Great War Boundaries: Memories and Remebrances, Traces and Abscences. Ed Olivia Longo (Universtta degli Studi di Brescia 2017)



  • Digital Modelling of Historic Environments
  • Early Twentieth Century buildings
  • The emergence of transatlantic standards
  • Library Buildings and Public Spaces
  • Digital Tools for Conservation
  • Sustainable Building Conservation

Current supervision

Hilary Wyatt

Hilary Wyatt

Research student

Past projects

2022         Lui Tam: Sustainable Conservation of Timber Architectural Heritage in East Asia”

2021         Ahmed Taher: “Retrofit for Heritage Buildings in Alexandria”

2018         Christopher Whitman:Low Carbon Retrofit of Historic Timber-Framed Buildings”

2018         Lama Abuhassan: “Screen Architecture: Narrative Spaces for Suspense and Thriller Films”

2016         Samuel Woodford “Access and Expectation: Spatial Literacy in Young People’s Perceptions of Public Library Buildings”