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Title: Architecture and the public in interwar Britain
Author: Shasore, Neal Ethan
ISNI:       0000 0004 5920 5326
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2016
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This thesis explores how the practice and profession of architecture was increasingly understood and discussed in terms of the public in the first half of the twentieth century through six case studies. In the age of universal suffrage, architects began to recognise that, in order for the profession to flourish, the built environment would have to respond to the demands of public opinion and publicity, and that design would need to appeal to the 'man in the street' if the profession was to establish its position in the new culture of democracy. 'Architecture and the Public in Interwar Britain' thus challenges the view that the mainstream of interwar British architecture was parochial and backward looking, and seeks to reintegrate the stories of many well-known but academically neglected projects and controversies into twentieth century architectural history, which remains dominated by attempts to nuance the privileged narrative of the growth and 'triumph' of Modernism and the International Style. Instead, I argue that architecture is better conceived as a broad discourse involving a number of agents of diverse positions and attitudes struggling with common critical and professional challenges. The first section of the thesis considers architecture in the Imperial Metropolis. After offering a re-reading of 66 Portland Place, the headquarters of the RIBA, through the lens of professional anxieties in the interwar years, it considers two controversial rebuilding projects: Regent Street and Waterloo Bridge. The thesis then considers architecture and publicity in the suburbs, offering close readings of factories along the new arterial roads out of London, in particular the Guinness Brewery and Gillette Factory amongst others. The final section of the thesis unpicks the idea of the civic centre in interwar Britain through the contrasting examples of Southampton Civic Centre and lastly Norwich City Hall.
Supervisor: Whyte, William ; Wright, Alastair Sponsor: Arts and Humanities Research Council ; St John's College ; Oxford
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Architecture ; Civic & landscape art ; Visual art and representation ; interwar ; British ; history ; modern ; england ; civic ; public ; planning ; culture ; professionalism ; design ; practice