Portsmouth School of Architecture

Theory, history and context

Beresford Square Section
Beresford Square Section

This priority area focuses on narratives of place and the construction of new historiographical and theoretical discourses in architecture, interiors, landscape and urbanism. It engages with the values of social, historical and cultural contexts and the elaboration of paradigmatic frameworks from which new design and pedagogic practices emerge. Research typically negotiates the boundaries between architecture and disciplines such as art, cinema, design, history, heritage, cultural theory and social studies.

The research activities of this group are linked to the theory and practice of our Masters of Architecture studios, to the MSc in Historic Building Conservation, MA in Urban Design, and MA in Interior Design, and to current PhD projects.

Key Research Areas

Narratives of Place

This research area investigates the concept of place as a social and cultural construct composed of multiple mutable narratives through which we make sense of the world. Research activities aim to unpick this rich tapestry to identify methods for understanding the complexities of place and its social and cultural readings. This research leads us to propose strategies for place-making and design interventions that draw on narrative in order to create distinct identities that promote attachment and connectivity to place.

Topics include:

  • Historiography and Documentary
  • Heritage, Memory and Cultural Resonance
  • Cinematic, literary and artistic readings of the built environment

Cultural Contexts

This research area examines past and present cultural contexts in which historical and contemporary architectural and design production operates. It investigates the role played by shared ideas, social networks and cultural practices in developing our built environments and how these shape individual and collective experiences of place. Particular interests of this group include architectural history and art history, artistic practice, textual analysis of film and travel writing.

Topics include:

  • Translating Cultures and the Jørn Utzon Research Network (JURN)
  • Historical Social and Cultural Landscapes
  • Art and Interior Space
  • Cinematic Space and Social Stereotyping