Renowned Architect Mark Major visits NUA students

Renowned Architect Mark Major visits NUA students

Mark Major spent the day with Architecture and Interior Design students, delivering lectures and workshops.


Renowned lighting architect Mark Major of Speirs + Major visited NUA to deliver a full day of lectures, workshops and critiques to third year students on our BA (Hons) Architecture and BA (Hons) Interior Design courses.

Mark, who trained initially as an architect prior to developing an interest in lighting design and its relationship to architecture, has worked on a range of award-winning lighting projects including the Millenium Dome, re-lighting the interior of St Paul’s Cathedral, and Beijing International Airport.

The students were tasked with choosing one of three locations across the City – the train station, The Forum, or the University’s Duke Street building. They were asked to describe an ambience for the building whilst considering the exterior and architectural elements.

“Words are your first tool in your armoury,” said Mark. “There is a whole language of light. If you build up a very positive language of what it is you do, then that’s a great way to move forward.”

Students then had propose how to create a sense/emotional response through the consideration of lighting by creating moodboards which generate a distinct theme for each of the three locations.

“Lighting is a difficult medium to work with. You can’t see it  only it’s finished result, you can’t smell it, you can’t touch it” said Mark.

Ben Salter, Course Leader for Interior Design said “its invaluable that designers understand the power of lighting, to consider light as though it was another tangible material like concrete or glass. Light has the power to shape and inform our built environment in ways we do not always consciously perceive, but its effects are felt in every aspect of our lives.”

In the afternoon session, students came up with proposals on how to enhance or alter existing spaces using light and presented their solutions to Mark through hand-drawn sketches and 3D visualisations.

BA Interior Design students Laura Kidd and Jade Inman reflected on how valuable the workshop was and how they’ll implement his message into their course work. “Mark gave us a great insight into the importance of lighting. It gave me a new perspective on it and is something I’ll definitely filter in to my projects,” said Laura. 

“It also gave us a chance to collaborate with students from another course who we wouldn’t usually work with on a day-to-day basis, which was really fun!”

“We all took away something from the lecture and the importance of using light, but also to embrace darkness and moonlight and how we use it in interior design” added Jade.