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Title: "To fend for ourselves in proud isolation" : the AA School of Architecture in the Postwar Period (1945-1965)
Author: Zamarian, Patrick
ISNI:       0000 0004 6495 6239
Awarding Body: University of Liverpool
Current Institution: University of Liverpool
Date of Award: 2017
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The immediate postwar years were a transitional period in architectural education, marked by an uneasy concurrence of lingering Beaux-Arts traditions and new, Bauhaus-inspired methods. The diversity of pedagogical approaches reflected the identity crisis of a profession which, faced with an expanded spectrum of tasks and growing state interference, struggled to redefine its role in the nascent welfare state. The study puts the hypothesis that for approximately a decade after the end of the war the AA's unique setup as an independent school, run by a professional association and uninhibited by the structural constraints of a governing academic institution, enabled it to take full advantage of this fluid state of affairs. Yet the study also contends that by the late 1950s the AA's independence was beginning to look out of touch with the changing political and educational situation and threatened to leave the school marginalised within a tightening national framework of architectural education. Filling a gap in existing scholarship about the AA school, the thesis spans the first two decades after the war and covers the terms of four principals. Gordon Brown (1945-48) oversaw a drastic increase of the student population, making the AA the largest and arguably most eminent school in the Commonwealth. Robert Furneaux Jordan (1949-51) introduced an unapologetically modernist and politically charged curriculum with a strong emphasis on group work. Michael Pattrick (1951-61), whose tenure was initially marred by discord with the student body, managed to attract the country's leading architects to the staff and sought to broaden the school's outlook through postgraduate schemes such as the Department of Tropical Architecture. The Oxford Conference of 1958 marked the occasion when the RIBA reasserted its prerogative to guide the fate of British architectural education and put an end to the relative liberalism of the previous years. The appointment of William Allen (1961-65), one of the instigators of the conference, was an ultimately unsuccessful attempt to conform the AA to a new pedagogical paradigm which prioritised science-based education over design training in a narrower traditional sense.
Supervisor: Swenarton, M. ; Calder, B. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral