Nicholas Ray studied at the Cambridge University Department of Architecture, graduating in 1969, and took his diploma at University College London in 1972. From 1969 he worked with Max Fordham, Shankland Cox, and Colin St John Wilson, then in 1973 he joined the Cambridge firm of Hughes and Bicknell, in which he became a partner. In 1989 he established his own practice, Nicholas Ray Associates, which merged in 2008 with plastik architects to form NRAP (www.nrap.co.uk).
He is a Fellow of Jesus College and has taught at the Department of Architecture in Cambridge since 1974, becoming Reader Emeritus in 2004. He has published extensively in professional journals. In 1994 he published Cambridge Architecture, a Concise Guide (CUP), and in 2000 (Re)Sursele Former Architecturale, a set of critical essays, printed in Romanian. His monograph on Alvar Aalto for Yale University Press was published in 2005 and in the same year he edited a set of essays, Architecture and its Ethical Dilemmas (Routledge). In 2015, with Christian Illies, he published Philosophy of Architecture (Cambridge Architectural Press); and a monograph, with Francisco Gonzalez on the buildings, teaching and writings of Rafael Moneois (Yale University Press). He is currently an Honorary Visiting Professor at the University of Liverpool.
His practice has built a number of educational buildings, including student accommodation for Clare Hall and King’s College, a management training centre for J Sainsbury plc., major additions to the University’s Department of Chemistry, as well as shops and offices at Quayside, Cambridge.