Mary Jane Rooney
Professor and Head of Architecture,Heriot Watt University Dubai

Mary Jane Rooney is Professor and Head of Architecture at Heriot Watt University Dubai (2017- current). She is a RIBA chartered Architect and has extensive experience gained as Head of Architecture and Design and Director of Architecture at London South Bank University She studied in Ireland, France, Rome and the UK and is a qualified architect and urban designer who studied City Design at London School of Economics on the Cities Program (2001). She is well known in Ireland and the UK for her contributions and commitment to architectural and design education. Her key design and research interests are the relationships between architecture, the city, society and pedagogy. She has international experience having taught in London (London South Bank) France (Ecole Special Paris) and CEPT (Ahmedabad India). As an educator, architect and urban designer she is passionate about the power of architecture to transform our cities and our personal experience.


Her current role at Heriot Watt is to promote excellence across the architecture program in the quality of design, research and thinking that can contribute to a sustainable, resource and energy efficient society with the ambition of becoming the first UK university to achieve RIBA Part One in Dubai in 2020.The program aim is to educate critical and resilient designers who can contribute to the MENA region and globally.

For almost a decade (2006-2015) in the UK she has provided academic leadership as Head of Architecture at London South Bank University and design expertise across a portfolio of professional architecture and design courses and led on curriculum. Her contributions to architecture and design education have been recognized through an number of awards including two civic trust awards for design projects, the award of a senior teaching fellowship, the exhibition and publication of both design project work and student successes. She has worked at both urban and architectural scales on a number of regeneration projects including Birmingham Jewelry Quarter, Burgess Park London, Smithfield Meat Markets and Leyton Fire Station. Many of the projects she worked on involved the creative adaption of new programmes at urban and architectural scale. Her work in bridging between academia and the professions has been recognized by an RIBA/ SLSA Excellence in Design award.

Mary Jane has been a member of the Standing Chairs Conference of Schools of Architecture in the UK (2009-2015) and is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. She has experience of international standards through her work as Erasmus coordinator, as panel member for RIBA Visiting Boards (and as an examiner on behalf of the Architects Registration Board (2015). She has also been juror, external examiner, judge and advisor to a number of UK schools, in Scotland  (Glasgow School of Art), and in France (Paris and Strasbourg) where she has been a member of the HMNOP Juries since 2007 at L’Ecole Speciale D’Architecture, Paris. She represented the UK Schools of Architecture in the debate between Schools and Academia initiated by the Architects Council of Europe and the European Network of Heads of Schools of Architecture. Since coming to Dubai in 2017 and She been a judge in the MEA awards (2017) and is a committee member of the RIBA Gulf Chapter 2018-present working to develop close links between academic and the profession. She has acted as a juror and academic evaluator of student work for many universities in the Dubai and the wider region.

Heriot Watt University Dubai