Iain Borden Director of Architectural History and Theory, the Bartlett, UCL
Katherine Shonfield Head of History and Theory of Architecture,South Bank University
Ian Latham Editor of Architecture Today
Neil Leach Reader at the Institute of Architecture,University of Nottingham
Oxford Brookes University
An Essay in Unsymbolisation
This professionally and extensively illustrated dissertation aims to look beyond the material objects of architecture and the built form to seek out an alternative model of housing design. Derived from a wide range of cultural, sociological and psychological phenomena, the discourse proposes a house type which investigates the power of the image in both real and virtual realms to present what can be termed as 'existentialist architecture' - that is an architecture that realises the ephemeral and isolated nature of human inhabitation.
Edward Taylor, Mackintosh School of Architecture
The Sacred and Aesthetic Principlesof Alexander 'Greek' Thomson's Architecture
Widespread recognition for Alexander 'Greek' Thomson's world-class contribution to architecture is at last helping to safeguard the remaining works for the appreciation of future generations. This dissertation demonstrates how Thomson stood out from the more widely and fashionably held nineteenth century philosophies of art and architecture, adhering instead to theories held only by a few others in his day.
The primary sources for this dissertation have been the transcripts available of lectures delivered by Thomson as well as studies of the surviving work, particularly St Vincent Street Church, the greatest of his buildings that is still functioning.
A considerable effort has been made to uncover relevant though often obscure writing of the nineteenth century, as well as exploring the realms of sacred geometry and numerology, biblical architecture, from Noah's Ark to the New Jerusalem and other ancient sources upon which Thomson's genius may have fed. Thomson's artistic grail was the key which would enable modern works to possess the same power and originality as the ancient works and thus to transcend temporal trivialities. Thomson's combined vigour of intellectual and spiritual pursuits has been thoroughly and rigorously researched throughout the student's dissertation.
The University of Edinburgh
'The Popularity of Populism'
The dissertation text examines the reasons for the mass appeal of the populist approach to architecture and the problems that the architectural profession has with stylistic expression taking prominence over strong guiding theory. The pitfalls of the enormous task that the dissertation tackles are clear, but the project should be commended for not descending into caricature. It succeeds in giving intellectual depth to an architectural practice which delights in the superficial and is patently anti-intellectual. But, as importantly, it shows the limitations of such practice, through well-chosen insights offered by specific exponents of the theories of structuralism, phenomenology and critical theory. The work contains valuable original insights, specifically on the inter-relations between the themes of architectural semiotics, authenticity and commodification.
Megha Chand, University of East London
Some Problems With The Frameworks of Architect Charles Correa
Full of personal insights derived from first -hand experience, the dissertation looks at issues of nationality and raises some pertinent questions such as: 'what is the process through which the idea of the signifier is constructed when it comes to producing a building with an 'Indian Identity' ?' and 'how is the 'Indian' in the 'modern Indian' not simply represented by stereotype exotica?' These questions are posed in relation to an analysis of two projects by the architect Charles Correa. Correa was born in Hyderabad and brought up in Goa, studied at the University of Michigan and then at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for a Masters degree, where he was taught by such visionaries as Buckminster Fuller and Kevin Lynch. In 1958 he returned to India and has been in practice to date. The dissertation selects two projects that have been chosen as case studies. These represent a preoccupation with symbolic representations of popular culture and archaic cosmology, primarily through the motif, which started to have a stronger presence in the latter part of Correa's career.
University of Cambridge
The Barber-Surgeons' Anatomy Theatre
An in-depth historical analysis of The Barber-Surgeons' Anatomy Theatre, designed by Inigo Jones in 1636, which belonged to one of the oldest City trade guilds. There has been extensive documentation of Jones' theatres, designs for plays and his masque and stage scenery but little on his work commissioned by the London medical profession. The dissertation is a meticulously researched piece using primary source material from drawings, records of the company, and descriptions by those who visited the building in the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. Through the study of these primary sources, a detailed picture of the architecture and functioning of the theatre has been derived. The work includes an insightful analysis of contemporary English anatomical and medical work providing an intellectual framework in which to place the anatomy theatre for an understanding of its formal arrangements and ornamentation.