Global Free Unit students collaborate with a range of academic, non governmental organisations and institutional partners which form a network of academic, research and hands-on resources. Students are based in one of four participating schools of architecture but benefit from the teaching expertise, research and practical knowledge generated by chosen independent Classrooms, which are centred around a different theme each year

The global free unit supports live project “classrooms”. Classrooms are as varied as the people who lead them, their location and the issues they address. Our aim is to be useful and to support the work being done by each classroom. This means design, construction, capacity building, infrastructure and much more.

We invite interested students and professionals to join the classrooms as independent learners or as part of their formal education. Learners can participate in short workshops or immerse themselves in a classroom for a longer period.

The learning in certain classrooms is validated by our academic partners and carries formal academic credit (ECTS). Academic partners also offer places onto their courses for suitably qualified participants who have completed appropriate GFU classrooms.

Another priority is to assist people already involved in the classrooms into formal education and employment. Refugees, volunteers, prisoners, community workers, school children and multiple others are assisted to value and describe their existing experience, to develop a portfolio, to acquire credit and to apply for or progress into formal education at all levels or employment assisted by the GFU and its academic and NGO partners.

The Free Unit was originally established by Professor Robert Mull in 2004. Since then, some 200 practitioners have graduated from this programme through validation from The Cass, London Metropolitan University, University of Brighton School of Architecture and Umea School of Architecture, Sweden. Now this platform is gaining international reach and past graduates of the Free Unit are leading Classrooms of their own.