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  • Architectural models and the professional practice of the architect, 1834-1916

Wells, Matthew James, 2019, Thesis, Architectural models and the professional practice of the architect, 1834-1916 PhD thesis, Royal College of Art.

Abstract or Description:

Architectural models and the professional practice of the architect, 1834–1916 explores
how architects thought about, made, commissioned, and used models during the
nineteenth century. Particular focus has been given to the relationship between the
production and use of architectural models and the development of the professional
identity of ‘The Architect’ in nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Britain.
The attitude of architects towards models in the nineteenth century has been
neglected in the study of architectural and design history. Instead historians have
focused on other forms of architectural production. Any analysis as there has been
of model collections, including that of the V&A, has concentrated on the history of
acquisitions and the individuals involved. The circumstances of model production,
the work of the model-maker, and the use of models by architects in education,
design, and construction have largely been ignored. In addition, by drawing on a
variety of sociological theories and studies, the thesis explores architectural practice
as a socially constructed concept and examines the role that architectural models
played in the development of professional identity during the period.
Alongside comparative material from a variety of international, national, and local
institutions, the collection of models held by the Victoria & Albert Museum
(V&A) and Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has been the core focus of
research for the thesis. The temporal boundaries of the project are established by
the history of models within these two institutions: 1834 marks the founding of the
RIBA, whilst 1916 is the year in which the itinerant collections of the Architectural
Museum were reabsorbed into the V&A before being dispersed and deaccessioned.
Across six chapters the thesis explores how architects used and thought about
models at each stage of their professional lives from education to design, from
public authority to private commissions, from temporary exhibitions to permanent
displays. A wide variety of material from key public and private collections – combined with evidence from print culture within and without historic
architectural communities – offers a nuanced understanding of the role and use of
the model in the nineteenth and early-twentieth century. Through this material and
the application of the conceptual frameworks used by both architectural and design
historians, the thesis provides a new understanding of the nineteenth century by
establishing the conception, production, and use of models as a key aspect of
architecture and society in the period.

Qualification Name: PhD
Subjects: Architecture > K100 Architecture
School or Centre: School of Arts & Humanities
Funders: AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award
Date Deposited: 25 Jun 2019 10:45
Last Modified: 25 Jun 2019 10:45
URI: http://researchonline.rca.ac.uk/id/eprint/3950

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