Matt Clubb - Master of Architecture Stage 6

Matt Clubb, Masters Architect Project
A realisation that his initial career choice in oil and gas wasn’t right for him or the planet, convinced mature student, Matt to make a career change to architecture. RGU offered him an outstanding course in one of most established architectural schools in the UK, right on his doorstep.

With a hands-on approach to design and a mechanical engineering background, Matt from Daviot, Aberdeenshire, has a good understanding of how structures go together. This has held him in good stead for his studies and architectural practice.

Matt’s master’s project has sustainability at its core. He advocates passive house design and retrofitting older properties to improve energy efficiency.  His work focuses on transforming the Queen Street Police Station in Aberdeen into a Sustainability Hub that could be used to retrain the workforce needed to retrofit the region.

Matt explains why this should be an urgent priority: “My project responds to the urgent climate and ecological crisis we are facing.

"Heating our homes accounts for 19% of Scotland's carbon emissions yet action to tackle this has been lacking and now over 30% of households in Aberdeen and shire are living in fuel poverty. The harsh reality of the situation is that we need to be retrofitting 200 homes every week in the North East to meet our climate targets. A new Sustainability Hub would create a centre to help those in the construction and architecture sector to upskill or reskill. This would help us retrofit at speed and at scale.”

Matt’s research also highlights how to successfully deep retrofit a granite home and, demonstrates how these homes can reach zero emissions while retaining their architectural character. He uses the case study of an end terrace 3-bedroom home on King Street, built in 1880, as an example of how to successfully achieve a deep retrofit of a granite homes.


Whilst at university, Matt has achieved a Student Leadership Award in recognition of his contribution to low energy design and building retrofit awareness. He’s since set up his own architectural design practice that includes a mix of clients, with Passivhaus and Retrofit projects lined up.

He believes his success has been helped with the solid foundation gained at RGU as he explains: “Architecture is an incredibly broad subject. I’ve been lucky to find my niche and the staff at Scotts have been very supportive of that. The tutors really push you to do your best and to have confidence to take your research to the next level. It's very unconventional for students to start their own practices, so I hope I can make it work. I think getting through my Part 3 will be very challenging, but I can see there being an ongoing relationship with the school after graduation.”

Looking ahead, Matt wants to continue advocating the debate on environmental topics and training.

“I look forward to expanding on my climate change research and work for RGU’s GoGreen Society that’s contributing to the energy transition debate in Aberdeen. I recently met the Just Transition Minister, Richard Lockhead, and will be working with NESCAN to bid for funding for a North East retrofit cooperative. There is so much scope to positively reposition Aberdeen as a retrofit skills hub and I look forward to helping the region achieve this and to building on the skills I have learnt at The Scott Sutherland School of Architecture.”

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