A graduate of Dundee and Strathclyde Universities, Prof. Sharpe is an architect with both practice and research experience in a number of fields, including user participation, environmental architecture and low energy design. His Ph.D. examined the nature design participation and looked in detail at the potential for CAD for participatory design projects. After this he was able to apply and develop this research in practice whilst working as an architect for the Technical Services Agency, a tenant managed Community Technical Aid Centre, where he worked on a variety of housing and other design and rehabilitation project, and developed further expertise in energy related technical issues.
After moving to the Mackintosh School of Architecture he co-founded the Mackintosh Environmental Architecture Research Unit, of which he is the Director. MEARU has been in operation for over 15 years and has an established track record of high quality research into environmental architecture. It operates at a unique interface between architectural design, science based research and human factors. The unit is built on established expertise in passive solar energy design and participatory design and has attracted a wide range of research funding from organisations including EPSRC, TSB, AHRC, SFC and SEEKIT.
His work has included research into building integrated renewable energy; energy efficient refurbishment of housing, and current research is investigating the design and performance of low energy and low carbon buildings. Funded projects include building performance evaluation of a range of low energy houses across the UK, and research into ventilation, health and well-being in housing. He is a Technology Strategy Board expert evaluator on the TSB Building Performance Evaluation Programme and an expert witness for dampness and construction cases.