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- Professor of Architecture and Urban Culture
- The Bartlett School of Architecture
- Faculty of the Built Environment
Iain Borden is Professor of Architecture and Urban Culture at the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL, where he is also Vice-Dean Education for The Bartlett Faculty of the Built Environment, having previously been Vice-Dean Communications (2010-15) and Head of the Bartlett School of Architecture (2001-09).
As an architectural historian and urban commentator, my work has explored various interdisciplinary intersections of architectural history, cultural history, critical theory and urbanism. I am particularly interested in the ways in which urban and architectural spaces are experienced and perceived by people after the moment at which these spaces have been first constructed - that is, the various ways in which buildings and cities constantly change and evolve depending on their different uses and lives over many years and through different media. My inaugural professional lecture – “Machines of Possibility” (2004) – describing this approach is available for download.
My wide-ranging research interests within architecture and urban culture are described below. A specialist on the history and practice of skateboarding, most recently I have also completed a history of automobile driving, urban experience and cinema, now being followed by new work on an experiential history of the buildings and spaces of London. I continue to research on skateboarding, and regularly consult and advise those wishing to engage with skateboarding and skateboarders. I operate extensively in the public arena, making numerous media appearances on the radio and television worldwide, while also curating and participating in exhibitions, debates, symposia, workshops and other academic and public events worldwide.
Research by Iain Borden explores how architecture and cities are experienced and re-used by members of the public.
Architecture and cities are crucial to how people live and society operates. Without homes, shops and parks, without offices, workplaces and airports, our world would grind to a halt. As a historian and theorist of architecture and urban culture, I am interested not just in how our cities function but also how they are designed, what they mean to people and how they are experienced.
Ultimately, architecture is assessed by those who use it everyday, and so much of my research is about how people not trained in architecture perceive the cities they live in. To do this, I have studied a diverse range of subjects and places, from Italian renaissance piazzas to surveillance cameras in shopping malls, from architectural modernism to recent postmodernism, from issues of gender and ethnicity in cities to the way architecture is represented in cinema and photography. In particular, I have completed an in-depth study of the urban practice of skateboarding, looking at how skateboarders adopt modern cities as their own pleasure-ground, creating a concrete wonderland with its own subculture of clothes, attitudes and actions. I have also extended this investigation into the world of automobile driving, looking at movies to explore how people’s experiences of the city from the car changes their engagement with architecture and urban space. Recent work explores how specific places and buildings in cities worldwide can be encountered through different kinds of social engagement, such as memory and risk-taking.
Authored and co-edited publications include:
Ways to Think About Architecture: Architectural History and Theory Today (2014).
• The Dissertation: a Guide for Architecture Students (3rd revised ed., 2014; Chinese ed. 2010).
• Drive: Journeys through Film, Cities and Landscapes (2013).
• Bartlett Designs: Speculating With Architecture (2009).
• Transculturation: Cities, Spaces & Architectures in Latin America (2005).
• Bartlett Works (2004).
• The City Cultures Reader (revised ed., 2003).
• Manual: the Architecture & Office of Allford Hall Monaghan Morris (2003).
• Skateboarding Space & the City: Architecture & the Body (2001; Japanese ed. 2006; revised version forthcoming).
• The Unknown City: Contesting Architecture & Social Space (2001).
• The New Babylonians, n.151 of Architectural Design (AD), v.71 n.3, (June 2001).
• InterSections: Architectural Histories & Critical Theories (2000).
• Gender Space Architecture: an Interdisciplinary Introduction (1999).
• Strangely Familiar: Narratives of Architecture in the City (1996).
• Architecture & the Sites of History: Interpretations of Buildings & Cities (1995).
A selection of articles are available at http://ucl.academia.edu/IainBorden/
Iain Borden has been teaching undergraduate and postgraduate students in architecture and urbanism at the Bartlett School of Architecture since 1989. He is also currently Vice-Dean Education of The Bartlett.
Teaching at all levels, from undergraduate and masters to PhD, I have developed several new modules and courses. In particular, I have developed the 'Representations of Cities' course within MA Architectural History. This module reviews the variety of ways in which cities have been conceptualised in recent urban and cultural theory, and considers how the city can be understood as a set of differing cultural experiences: experiences of time, space, social identity, artistic interventions etc. Methodologically, the module introduces some of the main architectural and critical theories – such as the work of Lefebvre, Habermas, Tschumi, Debord, Simmel, Le Corbusier, de Certeau, Rossi, Deleuze, Derrida, Benjamin and Baudrillard etc - relating to the experience of the city. In particular, the category of social space is introduced as an important concept which mediates between different disciplines, and links thinkers who have considered the intersection of buildings, cities and people.
My PhD students - many funded by the AHRC or other international sponsors - conduct research into a wide range of related areas, including (previous and current work): colonial and postcolonial architecture and urbanism in Hong Kong, Malaysia, Indonesia and Taiwan; media and architectural imagery in London and Shanghai; everyday spaces, housing, landscape and post-apartheid architecture in South Africa; turnpike roads in the UK; construction sites in 1960s Paris; Deleuze, cinema and the London Underground; British amusement parks; psychotopography in the work of LA novelist Steve Erickson; capoeira and the favelas of Rio de Janeiro; the concept and condition of stasis; and graffiti-like writings on everyday urban surfaces.
As Director and Head of the UCL Bartlett School of Architecture from 2001-09, I had oversaw all aspects of its teaching programmes, including matters of resourcing and staffing, quality assurance, professional accreditation and course development. I have also served as Vice-Dean Academic Affairs and Faculty Tutor for the Bartlett, been a member of the RIBA Education Committee from 2003-10 and chair of the RIBA President’s Medals Dissertation Prize (1999-2003), and acted as Council Member and Vice-Chair of SCHOSA (2006-09).
External and PhD examining has been conducted at Witswaterand University, University of Melbourne, University of New South Wales, University of Sydney, Birkbeck College, Goldsmiths, Slade School of Fine Art, University of Strathclyde, Central St. Martins, National University of Singapore, University of East London, University of Nottingham and Middlesex University.
I have also been involved in teaching through various workshops and visiting appointments at several other institutions worldwide, including the Architectural Association, University of Westminster, School of African & Oriental Studies, Royal College of Art, Technische Universität (Berlin), Ayoama Gakuin University (Tokyo) and Oslo School of Architecture.
|2015||Vice-Dean Education||Bartlett Faculty of the Built Environment||UCL, United Kingdom|
|2010 – 2015||Vice-Dean Communications||Bartlett Faculty of the Built Environment||UCL, United Kingdom|
|2002||Professor of Architecture & Urban Culture||Bartlett School of Architecture||UCL, United Kingdom|
|2001 – 2009||Head/Director||Bartlett School of Architecture||UCL, United Kingdom|
|2000 – 2001||Vice-Dean Academic Affairs||Bartlett Faculty of the Built Environment||UCL, United Kingdom|
|1999 – 2002||Reader in Architecture and Urban Culture||Bartlett School of Architecture||UCL, United Kingdom|
|1999 – 2014||Director of Architectural History & Theory||Bartlett School of Architecture||UCL, United Kingdom|
|1996 – 1999||Sub-Dean and Faculty Tutor||Bartlett Faculty of the Built Environment||UCL, United Kingdom|
|1990 – 1991||Tutor in General Studies||Architectural Association, London, United Kingdom|
|1989 – 1999||Lecturer/Senior Lecturer in Architectural History||Bartlett School of Architecture||UCL, United Kingdom|
|1989 – 1992||Research Consultant||Building Use Studies Ltd, London, United Kingdom|
|1999||PhD||Doctor of Philosophy – Architecture||University College London|
|1989||MA||Master of Arts – Architectural History||University of California at Los Angeles|
|1986||MSc||Master of Science – Architectural History||University College London|
|1985||BA Hons||Bachelor of Arts (Honours) – Combined Historical Studies||University of Newcastle upon Tyne|