AAD Sessions: What is architectural history without buildings?

An Art, Architecture and Design (AAD) Session hosted by the Centre for Urban and Built Ecologies, London Metropolitan University.

About this event

What is architectural history without buildings?

Claire Jamieson and Jessica Kelly

Wednesday 9 February 2022, 5.30pm GMT

Histories (and historians) are categorised by their sources. Conventionally, the sources of architectural history are the outputs, processes and representations of architectural production. But what happens when sources do not easily fall into one category or another? How does one categorise histories in which the source material ranges from magazines produced by architects or architects-turned critics and editors, or exhibitions creating architectural space and experience; criticism written or broadcast by journalists for a public audience, or informal, unstructured conversations with architects, designers and their family and friends?

Our mode of architectural history complicates the definition of architectural production, embracing mediation, not just as a route to buildings, but as a source in its own right. It is architectural history that experiments with sources and methodologies in order to tell different kinds of stories. As researchers working outside the conventional sources of architectural history, we hope to stimulate discussion on what ‘counts’ as architectural history.


Claire Jamieson is Senior Lecturer in History and Theory of Architecture at London Metropolitan University, having recently moved back into academia following two years developing a professional learning and practice-based research programme at social enterprise Public Practice. Her PhD (RCA, 2015) examined the work of the last radical architectural group of the twentieth century – NATØ – who emerged from the Architectural Association in the 1980s. It was published as a monograph by Routledge in 2017. Previously she has led contextual studies on architecture and spatial design programmes at University of Hertfordshire and London College of Communication. Claire has a background in architecture, and prior to entering academia, she ran the RIBA’s think-tank – Building Futures.

Jessica Kelly is Research Degrees Leader and Senior Lecturer in Contextual and Theoretical studies at The University for the Creative Arts in Farnham. Her research explores the mediation of architecture in the mid-twentieth century. She is currently working on a book entitled No More Giants: J.M. Richards, modernism and The Architectural Review for Manchester University Press (forthcoming 2022). She is a managing editor of the peer reviewed journal Architecture and Culture.


Beatrice De Carli is a Reader in Urbanism at the School of Art, Architecture and Design of London Met and Deputy Director of the Centre for Urban and Built Ecologies (CUBE).

Paste-up boards prepared for NATØ magazine, (1985). Courtesy Mark Prizeman, private collection

Collage including a letter 'y', a woman walking and the word 'lines'


Date/time Wednesday 9 February 2022, from 5.30pm to 7pm GMT
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