Mr Nicholas Ray

Emeritus Fellow
University Positions
Reader Emeritus

"I have combined the practice of architecture with thinking, and writing about it, all my career."

Academic interests

Nicholas Ray's academic interests include architectural history and theory, as well as the links between architectural theory and practice.

Degrees obtained

  • MA, Architecture, University of Cambridge.
  • Diploma in Architecture, University College, London.

Awards and prizes

My practice's buildings have received awards and commendations from the Civic Trust and Royal Institute of British Architects, and have been widely published from 1971 onwards.


After qualification at Cambridge and University College, London, I worked in London for the Shankland Cox Partnership on housing and for Colin St John Wilson and Partners on the British Library.

On returning to Cambridge in 1973 I practised within Hughes and Bicknell Architects, where I became an Associate and later Partner, before founding Nicholas Ray Associates in 1989, which morphed into NRAP in 2007.

My most prominent buildings in Cambridge are the Quayside Development, on the banks of the river Cam opposite Magdalene College, and major additions to the Department of Chemistry. I've been responsible for new and refurbishment projects for numerous Colleges, as well as buildings and projects for the University and for private clients.

I was first appointed to an Assistant Lectureship in 1974, and from then my teaching was primarily focused on design. By the time I retired as Reader, I had published numerous journal articles and two books.

My publications to date have concentrated on studies of 20th century architects (Alvar Aalto, 2005 and Rafael Moneo, 2015, both with Yale University Press), and more theoretical work (Architecture and its Ethical Dilemmas, 2005 and Philosophy of Architecture, 2014). 

I am currently an Honorary Visiting Professor in Architectural Theory at the University of Liverpool.

Other interests

Painting, music.

Department link

Publications, links and resources

Monographs published by Yale University Press on Alvar Aalto (2005) and Rafael Moneo (2015).

Architecture and its Ethical Dilemmas (Routledge 2005), and Philosophy of Architecture with Christian Illies (Cambridge Architectural Press 2014); and Chinese parallel translation, University of Liverpool Press 2019) are more theoretical.

An interview by Buckland Architects for a YouTube series The Theory of Architecture in June 2020, which tells more about my interests.

I have also published numerous articles and reviews in professional journals.

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