Intricate Roman church ceiling architecture featuring arches, pillars, gilding, iconography, typography and glass windows

Exploring narratives of place and culture

Architecture, interiors, and urbanism

Our Architectural and Urban History and Theory research group 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.

Our research activities are linked to the theory and practice of our Masters' of Architecture studios, the MAs in Architecture and Interior Architecture and Design, and current PhD projects.

Recent projects

  • Narratives of space

    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:

    • Historical Social and Cultural Landscapes
    • Art and Interior Space
    • Cinematic Space and Social Stereotyping