A.W.N. Pugin's English residential architecture in its context
This Dissertation investigates all of A.W.N. Pugin’s known English residential architecture for the first time, placing it in the context of the domestic and institutional architecture of comparable small buildings, particularly Anglican parsonages, of the period in which he lived and worked. The Dissertation is preceded by a summary of the theoretical issues that architects were addressing from the beginning of the nineteenth century, in particular those which Pugin was later to make a central part of his own theoretical writings. Following an examination of the conventions of the domestic architecture of the period, the Dissertation analyses Pugin’s own buildings, primarily categorising them by plan type. Pugin’s attitude to the orientation, location and landscape of his work is then considered, followed by an analysis of his preferred building forms, their materials, their detailing, and their decoration. In addition, the Dissertation investigates the extent to which Pugin’s architecture was actually historicist, reviving English or Continental Gothic forms and details. The Dissertation further investigates Pugin’s professional practice as a domestic architect, defining the nature of his partnership with his favoured building contractor, George Myers, in the context of contemporary contracting practice. The practical problems of Pugin’s constructions, and the character of his professional relationship with his clients are also assessed. The thesis proposes that elements of Pugin’s architectural theory existed previous to his career amongst English architectural writers and critics, but that medium and small houses designed between 1800 and the mid-1840s were overwhelmingly based on a limited number of conventionalised plans. It will show that Pugin’s residential planning was inherently different from that of these conventional buildings, and that it is classifiable into a number of distinct categories. This thesis furthermore argues that Pugin’s residential architecture was often far from functional and was not essentially historicist. This thesis will show that the planning of medium and small houses changed radically from the 1840s, incorporating aspects of planning which Pugin had pioneered; a conclusion suggests to what extent Pugin’s architectural creativity was expressive of cultural change and preoccupation beyond the realm of architecture. An Appendix is attached which summarises the chronology of all of Pugin’s known residential works.