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A Brief History of The Bartlett

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Follow the evolution of The Bartlett, from its foundation to the present day, growing from one school to 12 as we became UCL’s Faculty of the Built Environment.



Bartlett anonymously donates £30,000 towards the new building

In 1911, Sir Herbert Henry Bartlett gave £30,000 to UCL to fund a new building to house the thriving School of Architecture, along with the Department of Applied Statistics and studios for the teaching of sculpture.

Signed photograph of Sir Herbert Henry Bartlett.

Credit: UCL Special Collections



University resolves to establish a lectureship in Town Planning

In collaboration with the Town Planning Institute, UCL organised successful Town Planning Summer Schools between 1912–1914. In 1913, the Architectural Education Committee recommended the establishment of a Town Planning Chair. Stanley Adshead was appointed and a new department was established “... to provide systematic courses of training for architects, engineers and surveyors who desire to acquire expert knowledge in the laying out of towns".


Students at work in the architecture studios of the Pearson Building in 1914.

Credit: From Alan Powers’s thesis. University College Archives.


Bartlett consents to his name being used for new Bartlett School of Architecture

Eight years after his donation, Sir Herbert Bartlett, a shy and modest man, finally consents to his name being used for the School of Architecture.

Gertrude Leverkus becomes first woman to graduate from the Bartlett

Gertrude Leverkus joined The Bartlett, in 1915, as the first official female architecture student at UCL. In 1919, she graduated, becoming one of the three first women members of the RIBA, but continued taking evening classes at UCL under Albert Richardson.

Portrait of Gertrude Leverkus as a young woman.

Credit: The Leverkus family

Albert Richardson appointed Professor of Architecture

At the end of the First World War, Albert Richardson was appointed Professor of Architecture at UCL. Richardson had a profound influence on the built fabric of UCL, extending Thomas Leverton Donaldson’s (UCL’s first Professor of Architectuire in 1842) designs with his Soane-influenced North Wing, currently home to the Scandinavian and German libraries, and the Physics Wing.

After UCL suffered severe bomb damage in the Second World War, Richardson undertook the majority of the restoration work, rebuilding and remodelling much of Donaldson’s devastated library.

Professor Albert Richardson.

Credit: Sothebys



Division of Decoration established

The Division of Decoration was a department within the School of Architecture, established in 1928 and dissolved in 1963, instituted with the cooperation of the Incorporated Institute of British Decorators, “for those who wish to make the profession of Decoration their calling in life”.

The curriculum remained relatively unchanged throughout its 35 year life, with students receiving training in traditional crafts such as lettering, heraldry, stained glass and mural painting. Other activities included anatomical studies from life, drawings from casts in the V&A galleries and lectures in architectural history.



Patrick Abercrombie appointed Planning Professor

Sir Patrick Abercrombie arrived at The Bartlett from the University of Liverpool School of Architecture, where he had been Professor of Civic Design. During his time at UCL, which ended in 1946, he achieved international renown for his County of London Plan, and the Provost of UCL claimed that “his eminence in the field of Town Planning has made the Department of Town Planning one of the most famous in the world”.

Abercrombie’s organisational impact on the Department was light, but his presence was an inspiring one among students, and he attracted a number of high-profile external lecturers to the Department.

Professor Patrick Abercrombie.

Credit: National Portrait Gallery


Bartlett students in Cambridge in 1940.


The Bartlett is evacuated to Cambridge and Wales as war breaks out

In 1939, UCL was forced to evacuate its students to the University of Wales in Aberystwyth, with the School of Architecture and Department of Town Planning moving to St. Catharine’s College Cambridge soon after. Architects worked alongside Cambridge students at Scroop Terrace, described by one alumna as “bare, dusty and gloomy”, stripped of furnishings with only trestle tables in the studios.



School of Planning becomes a separate entity to Architecture

The post-war expansion of the Department of Town Planning included the introduction of a new Preliminary Course in Town Planning, aimed at students with no prior training in the discipline. This was also at this point that the Department broke away from the School of Architecture to become an entity in its own right.



Students revolt against classical teaching

In 1958 – the same year as the game-changing RIBA Oxford Conference – a small group of frustrated Bartlett students coordinated an attempt to disrupt the outmoded teaching at the School of Architecture, which was still run along traditionalist Beaux Arts lines. An investigation by the RIBA was launched, and an unfavourable report published.

This move ultimately saw the replacement of Professor Hector Corfiato with arch-modernist, Richard Llewelyn-Davies, one of the key movers in the Oxford Conference.

Professor Hector Corfiato with students.

Credit: Peter Campbell



Llewelyn-Davies appointed as Professor of Architecture

Richard Llewelyn-Davies delivered his inaugural lecture at UCL in 1960, an uncompromising modern statement of intent, and a wholesale restructuring of architectural education at UCL. He criticised the sharp divide between art and science, advocating a wide multidisciplinary training regime and an introduction of the social sciences into the field of architecture. He also introduced a strong emphasis on research and specialisation, and a new postgraduate department.

Professor Richard Llewelyn-Davies.

Credit: Llewelyn-Davies Yeang


Banham’s Bus Trip.

Credit: Graham Waterhouse


Reyner Banham joins staff

Reyner Banham was something of a scoop for Llewelyn-Davies: a man whose lectures were so entertaining that the theatre would often be thronged with students from the whole school, and whose unswerving outlook made him a polemical, if much loved figure.

Banham joined The Bartlett as Senior Lecturer in 1964 and was awarded the first Professorship in the History of Architecture in the UK in 1969, leaving in 1976 to teach in the United States. His two major works, Theory and Design in the First Machine Age and Los Angeles: The Architecture of Four Ecologies, have become seminal texts in the study of Architectural History.



Professor Ralph Hopkinson appointed the first Chair in Environmental Design and Engineering

In 1965, Ralph Galbraith Hopkinson was invited by Richard Llewelyn-Davies to become the first Chair in Environmental Design and Engineering, a post he occupied until 1976.

This new position reflected The Bartlett’s seismic shift from a Beaux Arts tradition to a broader conception of architectural study that incorporated environmental and human factors, training a future generation of architects and building engineers to deal with increasingly complex building systems and social demands.



Duccio Turin appointed first Chair in Building

Duccio Turin’s appointment as the London Master Builders Association Chair of Building in 1966 kicked off a thriving academic tradition at UCL that would eventually usher in the formation of a School of Construction and Project Management in 2002.

Turin was a charismatic and much-respected figure, interested in breaking boundaries between architects, engineers and builders. He founded the Building Economics Research Unit (BERU) at UCL in the late 1960s, which studied the economic aspects of construction, particularly in developing countries. Turin’s influence, and his friendship with Otto Koenigsberger, also made him a key figure in the formation of the Development Planning Unit in 1971.



The Development Planning Unit is created

The Development Planning Unit began life as the AA Department of Tropical Architecture in 1954, and with Otto Koenigsberger’s arrival in 1957 began to flourish. In 1971, it moved to the School of Environmental studies and Koenigsberger is made Professor of Development Planning.

Professor Otto Koenigsberger.

Credit: AA Archives



Space Syntax Laboratory is founded by Bill Hillier

Space Syntax emerged out of the fast-evolving Bartlett of the 1970s, driven by Richard Llewelyn-Davies’ emphasis on the social and a new, thriving research culture. Bill Hillier was appointed Director of the Unit for Architectural Studies, and, with colleagues Adrian Leaman and Alan Beattie, developed a new theoretical framework for architecture to study the patterns of space in and between buildings.

Focusing on the user’s experience of a city, the space syntax methodology asked questions about people’s navigational choices, and the relationships between the built environment and crime, traffic, and financial flows. Together with Julienne Hanson, one of the original students on the Advanced Architectural Studies MA programme, Hillier wrote The Social Logic of Space (1984), a seminal work distilling the programme’s research to date.

Bill Hillier, at 32 years old, as Assistant Secretary of the RIBA in 1969.

Credit: RIBA Collections



Bartlett students squat Tolmers Square buildings

In 1973, five Planning undergraduates from The Bartlett embarked on a five-week research project looking into the planned redevelopment of a square of crumbling Victorian houses just north of the Euston Road. Tolmers Square was situated in the midst of a diverse and close community, and quickly evolved into the site of a radical feat of housing activism, and for some of the students, became home for the next couple of years.

Candle lit ‘Wake’ held by squatters in the north side of Tolmers Square on the night before their final eviction, 1979.

Credit: Nick Wates



MSc course in Building Economics and Management founded

John Andrews and Patricia Hillebrandt founded the Building Economics and Management MSc, which is still running as the Construction Economics and Management MSc. This groundbreaking course brought together The Bartlett’s expertise in the academic study of the management of the construction process, and the emerging discipline of construction economics.



Wates House opens

The Bartlett remained in the original building in the main quad until 1975, until Wates House was opened. In a sense this new building was a physical demonstration of Llewelyn-Davies’ new direction for the faculty and a cause for dismay for some students, who moved from the light-filled and spacious accommodation of the Pearson Building to the cramped and chaotic warren that was Wates House.

Nevertheless, it allowed all the constituent parts of The Bartlett to be housed in the same space until the 1990s, and by all accounts, students and staff warmed to its eccentricities and learned to use it to its absolute maximum.

Wates House, home to The Bartlett from 1975–2014 when the building was vacated to make way for its transformation into what is now 22 Gordon Street.

Credit: M. Clayton



MSc in Environmental Design and Engineering (EDE) established

The appointment of John Musgrove as Professor of Environmental Design and Engineering saw the introduction of a cross-disciplinary programme aimed at training a new generation of professionals to bridge the gap between the high-quality research being conducted into building performance, and the actual design and construction of buildings being erected at the time.



Adrian Forty and Mark Swenarton found MA Architectural History

In 1981, Adrian Forty and Mark Swenarton founded the Architectural History MA – at the time the first of its kind, and now the UK’s longest running Master’s course in the historical, theoretical and critical interpretation of architecture, cities, urban spaces, creative practices and of their representations.

The course was set up with the help of eminent architectural historian and Bartlett alumnus John Summerson, who became the patron of, and lent credibility to a course that was initially met with resistance from the School of Architecture.



DPU short course in Planning with Women for Development is started by Caroline Moser, assisted by Caren Levy

Caroline Moser invented the concept of ‘Gender Planning’ while at the DPU in the early 1980s, recognising that women and gender were marginalised in planning theory and practice, and that there was an urgent need to develop a new discipline and methodology that placed gender at its heart.

Assisted by Caren Levy – who took over the directorship of the course from 1987 – Moser founded a short course entitled Planning with Women for Development, which later became a key component of the DPU’s Gender Planning and Policy programme.

Professors Caren Levy and Caroline Moser.



Peter Cook joins as Director of School of Architecture

Sir Peter Cook’s arrival in 1990 is often cited as the beginning of The Bartlett School of Architecture as we know it. Cook, along with Christine Hawley as Head of School, orchestrated a dramatic restructuring which would both broaden the school’s horizons, and reintegrate drawing at the heart of the design process. Cook also introduced the Unit system, an educational approach borrowed from the AA that has become one of The Bartlett’s defining characteristics.

Professor Peter Cook at Day 1 Open Crits in 2015.

Credit: Stonehouse Photographic



The Bartlett School of Graduate Studies created

The original home for postgraduate study at The Bartlett started when Sir Peter Cook expanded the way that architecture was taught at The Bartlett. Based at Torrington Place, the Graduate School proved to be the incubator for The Space Group (what would become the Space Syntax Laboratory), the Centre for Sustainable Heritage, and the Environmental Design and Engineering, and Light and Lighting, programmes, among others. When it was dissolved 22 years later, the School had graduated more than 6,000 Master’s degrees and nearly 300 PhDs during its lifetime.



CASA founded

The Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis (CASA) originated as a free-floating research centre with only two permanent members of staff, Mike Batty, the Centre’s founder, and Sonja Curtis, who looked after all its administrative functions.

Merging for the first time expertise from the UCL Departments of Geography, Geomatic Engineering, Archaeology, The Bartlett and the Centre for Transport Studies, CASA’s aim was to provide a centre for developing an innovative science of cities, using computer models and new technologies in sensing and visualisation.

CASA's 'Smart Gnomes’, part of an Internet of Things (IoT) research project called 'Tales in the Park', in which smart objects are deployed throughout the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

Credit: Emma Todd



Centre for Sustainable Heritage established by May Cassar

With the support of the Institute of Archaeology and the School of Library, Archive and Information Studies, May Cassar set up the Centre for Sustainable Heritage in 2001, bringing an innovative and interdisciplinary approach to the study of heritage, from the tangible (buildings, collections, sites) to the intangible (oral histories, memories). The centre became The Bartlett’s Institute for Sustainable Heritage in 2014.

Professor May Cassar.



School of Construction and Project Management formed

Christine Hawley, then Dean of the Bartlett, was the driving force behind the creation of the School of Construction and Project Management. She invited Peter Morris to become the Head of School in 2001, looking to expand the faculty’s offering in the field of construction, and consolidate the expertise that already existed within the faculty.

Already a hugely influential figure in the field, having coined the phrase ‘The Management of Projects’ in the early 1990s, Morris’ arrival at The Bartlett saw the school triple in size and expand its scope to talking about managing whole projects, not just limiting the focus to construction site management.


3DStock model of inner London developed by The Bartlett Centre for Energy Epidemiology.

Credit: CEE


Energy Institute founded by Tadj Oreszczyn

The Energy Institute was founded in June 2009 by Tadj Oreszczyn with funding from the Provost, to establish a centre for world-leading research into energy demand and consumption.



Institute for Sustainable Resources founded

The Institute for Sustainable Resources (ISR) was founded with a donation from BHP Billiton Sustainable Communities to create a unique centre for research and teaching in sustainable resource management, policy and green economics. Since its creation, ISR research has played a leading role in influencing government policy on resource management, both in the UK and internationally.



Energy Institute at Wilderness festival

Packed out talks by members of the Energy Institute at Wilderness Festival, in August 2012, marked a growing interest in academic approaches to energy and sustainability being brought into an arts and culture setting. Researchers presented sessions on shipping and globalisation, energy efficiency and building design, provoking lively discussions among the festival-goers, echoing successes by other Bartlett academics at academic stand-up nights such as UCL’s Bright Club.

Members of the Energy Institute giving a talk at Wilderness Festival.



Jack Dee tests out CASA’s Pigeon Sim on BBC’s One Show

Researchers at CASA developed a simulator that uses Microsoft Kinect to detect the user’s movements, allowing them to soar with a pigeon’s eye view over London, using Google Earth’s 3D plugin.

Intended as a teaching tool to encourage young people to rethink their relationship with space, place and geography, the Pigeon Sim was picked up by BBC researchers and tested out on the One Show in November 2013. Comedian Jack Dee, dressed as a pigeon and, assisted by CASA Director Andy Hudson-Smith, performed a live demonstration of this technology.

Comedian Jack Dee prepares to demonstrate CASA’s Pigeon Sim on the One Show.



BSEER set up

When The Bartlett School of Graduate Studies was dissolved after 22 years, it paved the way for the formation of two new institutes at The Bartlett: The Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering, and the Institute for Sustainable Heritage. These were grouped together with the existing institutes for Sustainable Resources and Energy as part of the new Bartlett School of Environment, Energy and Resources or BSEER.

Commenting on it at the time, Dean Alan Penn, said change was one of the “key indicators of a thriving academic culture” and that the School of Graduate Studies had been a “truly successful breeding ground, giving birth to groups, institutes and whole schools over its life”.

Henrietta Moore founds Institute for Global Prosperity

The Institute for Global Prosperity was founded by Henrietta Moore to create an interdisciplinary space to stimulate discussion, undertake research and build partnerships towards making prosperity a reality all around the globe.

The IGP’s postgraduate programmes are designed to equip students with the tools to measure and examine new pathways to prosperity and design new models for prosperous societies, as well as conducting research and generating new insights into sustainable and inclusive societies.

Professor Henrietta Moore in the studio for the recording of the BBC World Service’s My Perfect Country.



Mobile Heritage Science Lab acquired

In 2015, the Institute for Sustainable Heritage continued its mission to disrupt the world of heritage by giving wheels to its specialised expertise and heading out to locations around the country in SEAHA’s Mobile Heritage Science Lab, a unique public engagement tool loaded up with equipment such as a ground penetrating radar, hyperspectral cameras, a weather station and pollution monitors.

Any institution or organisation can apply to host the lab, making heritage science accessible to as many people as possible. To date, the tool has been used by organisations such as the National Museum of Wales, the National Trust, and the Mary Rose Museum, among many others.

SEAHA Mobile Heritage Science Lab.

Credit: Josep Grau-Bove

Doctoral researcher Sofie Pelsmakers named RIBA Role Model for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

When the RIBA launched its Equality, Diversity and Inclusion campaign in the summer of 2015, it selected a number of ‘Role Models’ to act as spokespeople for the campaign. Sofie Pelsmakers, a doctoral researcher at UCL Energy and co-founder of Architecture for Change was chosen to tell her story, highlighting her struggles and successes in an industry that, whileincreasingly diverse, still had far to go.

In her manifesto, she writes about how her experience of being a student from a low-income family whilst caring for a parent has helped her to recognise and help solve the obstacles encountered by her own students.



Institute for Digital Innovation in the Built Environment is founded

The work of one of The Bartlett’s newest institutes draws on digital technologies such as building information modelling, smart cities and big data to improve building processes and sustainability, critically interrogate advances in digital innovations and bridge the gap between academic research, policy and practice. Directed by Tim Broyd, it brings together UCL's expertise from across The Bartlett, Engineering and Computer Science, while incorporating social and behavioural sciences.

Her Royal Highness Princess Anne at the official opening of 22 Gordon Street in December 2016.

Credit: Richard Stonehouse

Her Royal Highness Princess Anne opens 22 Gordon Street

Two and a half years after construction began, 22 Gordon Street, home of The Bartlett Faculty and The Bartlett School of Architecture, was officially opened by The University of London Chancellor, Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal, in December 2016.

Designed by Hawkins\Brown, the building is a ‘deep retrofit’ of the original Wates House, doubling the space available to provides facilities for 1,000 staff and student. 22 Gordon Street was the first major project to be completed as part of UCL’s programme to upgrade its Bloomsbury campus. It has since won more than 13 industry awards.



Economist Mariana Mazzucato founds Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose

The Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose (IIPP) was founded by Mariana Mazzucato with the aim of developing a new framework for rethinking capitalism, reforming economic theory and achieving more innovation-led, inclusive and sustainable economic growth.

Professor Mariana Mazzucato with Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland.


The 2000sqm robotics and advanced prototyping space at Here East.

Credit: Jack Hobhouse


The Bartlett expands into new facilities at Here East

In its first significant footprint outside of Bloomsbury, The Bartlett opened a new building at Here East in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Stratford. Designed by architects Hawkins\Brown in the former London 2012 Broadcast Media Centre, the space is home to cutting-edge facilities for manufacture, fabrication and robotics, and brings together The Bartlett School of Architecture with the Faculty of Engineering Sciences. Among the programmes available at Here East is a pioneering collaboration – an integrated Engineering and Architectural Design MEng for undergraduates.

The Bartlett Real Estate Institute launches

In 2017, the Real Estate Institute was set up to offer a fresh approach to the study of Real Estate, offering an interdisciplinary research platform, a brand new MSc in Healthcare Facilities and an executive education programme. The Institute focuses on rethinking the real estate sector’s contribution to the character of our cities, and assess its responsibility to creating sustainable, healthy societies.

Chair Yolande Barnes giving her keynote speech at the launch of The Bartlett Real Estate Institute at Here East, Stratford, 2018.

Credit: Sean Pollock



The Bartlett ranked number one in the world in its 100th year

A century after becoming known as ‘The Bartlett’, the faculty begins a year-long campaign in February 2019 to celebrate 100 years of radical thinking, research and collaboration. In the same month, The Bartlett is ranked, for the first time, as the number one place in the world to study Architecture and the Built Environment in the QS World Rankings by Subject.

Bartlett 100 campaign logo.

Alan Penn photographed in the School of Architecture's studio spaces at The Bartlett's headquarters, 22 Gordon Street.

Credit: Michael Chapman


Dean Alan Penn steps down after 10 years

After serving two five-year terms as Dean of The Bartlett, Professor Alan Penn steps down in summer 2019. Under his tenure, The Bartlett’s study programme has more than doubled to 77 different programmes with more 3,500 students. The faculty has also grown five-fold in terms of income and over six times in terms of staff numbers, and The Bartlett estate has developed from 5,500m2 to 14,000m2.

Professor Christoph Lindner will succeed Alan Penn to become the 14th Dean of The Bartlett when he officially takes up the post on 1 September 2019.

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The Bartlett, UCL
22 Gordon Street
London WC1H 0QB

+44 (0)20 7679 2000

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