Sam is an early career architectural researcher, drawing influence from urban geography, diverse economy, and historical materialism. He completed his PhD, “Land, Materials, and Construction Site: Decommodification Through Alternative Construction”, in 2022. It focusses on analysing the definition of decommodification. Sam undertakes collaborative research in the Design for Life Agency and his current individual research consists of three strands:

Non-Monetary Construction – understanding the role of the diverse economy in both formal and informal modes of construction.

Architectural Methodologies – exploring the role of architectural methods in participatory action research.

Defining an Urban Left – A critical evaluation of the past, present, and future of the left in architecture and urban development.

Alongside his research, Sam is active in both studio delivery and leadership. He has taught at all levels and year groups across the school. His current focus is in the &rchitecture atelier, where he delivers the BA3. In addition to delivering the BA3 studio in &, Sam co-ordinates the BA3 as the year lead.

Prizes and awards

University of Manchester - School of Environment, Education and Development (SEED) Studentship Award 


Conference organisation

Temporalities, Processes, & Relations in Architectural Research - AHRA Annual PhD Student Symposium 2019


2017 - University of Manchester School of Environment, Education and Development (SEED) Studentship 

2018 - SEED Fieldwork Funding

2019 - Aesop 2019, Planning for Transition, conference funding


White, S., Dempsey, J., Denovan, A., Hammond, M., Lee, D., Holden, S., O'Leary, C., Walsh, S., 2023. 'Finding the right place to grow older: improving housing choices for older people', Centre for Ageing Better.

Journal Articles

Holden, S., 2024. 'The Limits of Social Architecture: The Tension Between Aims and Actions', ARQ: Architectural Research Quarterly.

Conference Papers

Hammond, M., Dempsey, J., Holden, S., White, S., 2023. 'Co-producing Age-Friendly Urban Developments: Reflections on collaborative neighbourhood design with health and housing stakeholders', British Society of Gerontology Annual Conference, Norwich, UK, 5/7/2023 - 7/7/2023.

Holden, S., 2019. 'Reach Homes - A Critical Extension of Dwelling', Aesop 2019 -Planning for Transition, 9/7/2019 - 13/7/2019.

Holden, S., 2018. 'REACH HOMES: A Critical Extension of Dwelling', SEED PGR Conference 2018 - Transcending Academic Boundaries: Creative Methods and Knowledge Sharing.

Theses and Dissertations

Holden, S., 2022. 'Land, Materials, and Construction Site: Decommodification Through Alternative Construction'.

Research project details