Simon Withers

Simon Withers

Senior Teaching Fellow in Architecture

Key details

Simon Withers

Senior Teaching Fellow in Architecture

Lead of the Captivate: Spatial Modelling Research Group. In February 2020 using Ground Penetrating Radar Captivate discovered the location of King Henry VIII's tilt yard complex (jousting ground), banqueting house, and disguising house (theatre). Now undertaking a PhD allied to the Research Group, 'Captivating the Attention of Strangers. Since 2012 a teacher at the AA, Hooke Park, the Bartlett and the University of Greenwich. From 2008 to 2016 founding partner in a variety of companies involved in various aspects of architecture and from 2000-08 an eponymous architectural design practice. Previously founder of an electrics company specialising in high speed LED software and hardware, a partner in an architectural practice, production assistant to Matthew Barney, design assistant to Malcolm McLaren, design assistant to Vivienne Westwood.

Captivate is building a digital model of the entire Maritime Greenwich World Heritage Site above and below ground in partnership with Royal Parks, Royal Museums Greenwich, the Old Royal Naval College and St Alfege Church. We use LiDAR scanners, photogrammetry, Ground Penetrating Radar and military drones with ground penetrating capacity. In February 2020 we discovered the location of Henry VIII's tilt yard complex (jousting ground), banqueting house and disguising house (theatre) underground, where they were not thought to be, by using Ground Penetrating Radar. The Inspector for Ancient Monuments for London called the find "Brilliant" and the directors of the National Maritime Museum said the find and the Maritime Greenwich digital model were of "National and international significance". The search for Henry VIII's tilt yard was funded by an HEIF grant. As a precursor to the Research Group I have built a high fidelity LiDAR model of Nicholas Hawksmoor's St Alfege Church comprising 272 scans to date. These scans are at the core of St Alfege' Heritage Lottery funded interpretation projection and have in September 2020 been installed on a touchscreen in the church for visitors to explore area of the church that are inaccessible. I am undertaking a PhD entitled 'Captivating the Attention of Strangers' that extrapolates the work of Captivate: Spatial Modelling Research Group. Specifically how to use these digital models to entice visitors to the Old Royal Naval College, Royal Museums Greenwich, the Royal Park and St Alfege Church. This is a central concern within Museology and more so now with Covid-19 changing how we engage with culture.

Recent publications


Withers, Simon and , (2023), Canaletto: synthetic visions of maritime Greenwich. Wiley. In: , , , . Wiley, Architectural Design, 93 (5) . pp. 104-111 ISSN: 0003-8504 (Print), 1554-2769 (Online) (doi: NB Item availability restricted.

Conference item

Withers, Simon and , Kennedy, Stephen (2023), Synthetic visions of UNESCO World Heritage sites. In: VI CHAM International Conference “Heritage for a Common Future / Futures for a Common Heritage”, 12th - 15th July 2023, Lisbon , . , (doi:

Withers, Simon and , (2023), A carnival of error: synthetic visions of Maritime Greenwich. In: London Conference in Critical Thought 2023, 30th June - 1st July 2023, School of Social Sciences and Professions, London Metropolitan University Holloway Road, London , London Conference in Critical Thought 2023. , (doi:

Kennedy, Stephen and , Withers, Simon (2023), Articulating peripheral space: new perspectives in digital heritage. In: Heritages Past and Present. Built and Social: A Conference on Culture, History, Art and Design, 28th - 30th June 2023, Czech Technical University, Prague , Prague – Heritages Past and Present - Built and Social A Conference on Culture, History, Art and Design. , (doi:

Withers, Simon and , (2022), Authenticity, accidents and aesthetics in the 3D scanning of maritime Greenwich World Heritage site. In: A Sonic Palimpsest: Revisiting Chatham Historic Dockyards, 27th - 29th October 2022, University of Kent, Chatham Historic Dockyards , . , (doi:

Withers, Simon and , (2022), Captivating the attention of strangers. In: (In)tangible Heritage(s), 15th - 17th June 2022, University of Kent, Canterbury , . , (doi:


Wall, Edward Duncan and , Withers, Simon (2024), Part Forest. In: Forest Futures, 25th Jan - Mar 31st, 2024, Harvard, Druker Design Gallery, 48 Quincy Street, Gund Hall, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA , . , (doi:

Withers, Simon , Hudson, Philip, Kennedy, Stephen, Goodwin, Duncan (2023), Synthetic visions of maritime Greenwich. In: Synthetic Visions of Maritime Greenwich, 11th April - 12th May 12th 2023, Project Space, Stockwell Street, London SE10 9BD , . , (doi: