The RFF was set up in memory of Richard Feilden - an indefatigable 'can do' architect and champion of education for all. Africa inspired him to share his skills and enthusiasm in order to make the world a better place. The Foundation works in his name and in his inspiration. 




We are an offshoot of the multi-award-winning UK architecture firm Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios.  We are dedicated to using our professional expertise in building productive, innovative and successful educational infrastructure to develop effective centres of primary, secondary, tertiary and vocational learning across the African continent.


We use our network of professionals, with expertise of the built environment and education sectors to provide skills and transfer knowledge to enhance educational infrastructure across Africa. We partner with like-minded organisations and individuals who share our values and aspirations to collaborate on projects. We are not a grant-making or donor organisation.


Our first major programme of action was the 7-year development of Lake Bunyonyi Community School in Uganda into a self-sustainable institution. During this time, we worked closely with the school and surrounding community to enhance and expand their built infrastructure alongside income-generating activities to create financial stability.


Richard Feilden's three overriding passions were Architecture, Education and Africa. As Founder and Senior Partner of Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, Richard was a tireless promoter of sustainable and innovative development. He was an enabler and had a passionate desire to make the world a better place, especially in Africa. He believed in the right to be educated and the value of better buildings and crucially the sharing of skills. This memorial foundation is determined to reflect these passions and uphold these values.


We have professional volunteers who work with local partners on our projects. When a project is selected for collaboration using the mandate points below, we facilitate an appropriate project team who volunteer time and expertise towards the project. We have and continue to work with a range of architects, structural and environmental engineers, carpenters, builders, agriculturalists, teachers and other educationists to contribute to, develop and realise our projects. 





In any work we engage with and any project we support we use the following criteria, seeking to ensure that as many of these points are in place as possible:


  • That the organisations in Africa we work with share our values about sustainable architecture and a holistic approach to education provision
  • That our engagement with partners in Africa is collaborative and that the learning for all parties is a shared objective
  • That there is clarity about the offer of engagement from Richard Feilden Foundation and that the Foundation is realistic about what we can contribute to any partnership
  • That we seek to engage in work with partners that is exemplar and can be modelled/adapted elsewhere
  • That we are committed to the use of local labour and materials
  • That our partners can make use of our contribution in a sustainable way for the longer-term future of their organisation
  • That we have a clear exit strategy for any project engagement and this is fully understood by our partners






Supporting communities in Africa to express the educational aspirations they have for their people and to help with meeting those needs through the promotion of the design and construction of good, effective schools and other educational projects and settings which would foster exemplary teacher/pupil relationships, and throughout the process working closely with those local communities, and acknowledging and promoting local expertise and technologies.

The provision of opportunity for young architects to engage in projects which give them direct experience of working alongside other young people in Africa.




1. To encourage and support educational projects in Africa, and especially those requiring architectural input.

2. Without prejudice to the generality of the above, to promote community involvement, and the use of African expertise and technologies in Africa’s educational and architectural development.

3. To support other charitable organisations with similar objects to (1) and (2).



In 2004, Richard instigated Feilden Clegg Bradley’s first charity project, an HIV Training Clinic for Mzuzu University in Malawi. Shortly after his death, it was finished in his honour and named the Richard Feilden Clinic.


A year later in 2005, Richard’s wife Tish Feilden made a journey through Uganda, the country of her birth. Through the experiences she had, the people she met and the society she saw, Tish recognised that Uganda was the place to start building on Richard's legacy.


Today we continue to work in Malawi and Uganda, and have expanded our work into other Sub-Saharan African countries.





Peter Clegg setup Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios with Richard Feilden in 1978. The practice has always had a strong background in the charitable sector in the UK (designing buildings for charities such as Greenpeace and a whole range of schools), and is well known for its strong social and environmental agenda, with projects such as One Brighton for Bioregional developments and Heelis, the HQ for the National Trust. Peter also heads up the schools work for FCBS.



Tish Feilden, married to Richard for 30 years, is a psychotherapist working with their eldest son with Jamie's Farm - a charity they established to help re-engage vulnerable school children at risk of social and academic exclusion.


Tim Joss is a social and cultural entrepreneur. He is founder and Chief Executive of AESOP, an incubator of arts enterprises with a social purpose. Tim has founded several national organisations including National Numeracy  (to address the Cinderella state of numeracy in the UK) and the first arts-specific social investment fund. Past positions include Director of the Rayne Foundation, and Artistic Director & Chief Executive of Bath Festivals. He was appointed a Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 2005.


James Wetz has worked for over 30 years in state education, 16 of these as a secondary school Head teacher. He is a non-executive director of Learning Partnership West which supports young people to re-engage with their education. He serves on the Governing Body of Bristol University and is a Trustee of the Bristol Music Trust which runs the Colston Hall in Bristol. He co-chairs the Consortium for Emotional Wellbeing in Schools.


Bethan Davies is a Welsh born structural engineer - now doctor - and became a trustee in 2011. Whilst working for Buro Happold in London she took several months out to work with the RFF in Lake Bunyonyi and formed a very strong link with the school, the people there and with the RFF. She went on to work as a Logistician for Médecins Sans Frontièresin Zimbabwe and South Sudan. Having returned to the UK to re-train as a doctor, Bethan now lives and works near Bristol.


Neil Harvey is an Associate Director of Buro Happold and has worked for 15 years on civil infrastructure construction projects around the world. He spent a seven months sabbatical volunteering for RFF at Lake Bunyonyi School in Uganda in 2010. During this time he project managed from the ground a transformative phase of construction at the school, including the introduction of a new access road, improved sanitary blocks and the iconic dining hall structure. Since returning to the UK Neil has been a Trustee of the Foundation, providing the link to the engineering community within BH who regularly support RFF development projects.


Rachel Sayers is an Architect and Partner at Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios with 20 years experience following studies at the Mackintosh School of Architecture. She has a long standing involvement in designing educational facilities for schools and Universities, both public realm and building design. Time spent working at a school in Kenya has given Rachel an interest in community life in various parts of Africa and as part of the FCB Studios charity group has specifically been involved in projects over the past 10 years in Malawi, Burundi and Kenya to provide facilities for street children using local technologies to support sustainable community life.



Freya Cobbin has a background in architecture and a strong interest in social design and education. She has spent several years travelling and working internationally. She has conducted research for other development and humanitarian charities before spending 6 months in East Africa in 2014 reviewing the RFF’s projects and scoping out future opportunities.

If you have ideas about future partnerships or projects please get in touch



Positive working relationships and doing things together makes us stronger! Thank you to all our current and previous collaborators, partners, volunteers and supporters. 

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