Exporting French and USA Architectural Knowledge to London between 1900-1924: Book Culture and the Tradition of `Architectural Composition´ Creation and Distribution
The focus of this research is the increasing number, and dissemination of handbooks on 'Architectural Composition'. The dissemination of these handbooks, suggesting formalist and psychological approaches to objects, followed the spread of architectural institutions across America and Britain after the triumph and decline of the Beaux-Arts model. The main purpose is to analyse how a design tradition continues, evolves or disappears. It explores the concept of tradition as social knowledge transmitted in print culture. After critically reading handbooks and discourses in Anglophone architecture and cultural social spheres in the years 1900-1924, the dissertation goes further into the success and impact of the exportation of French educational social knowledge methodologies coming after the First World War into the British one-to-one pupil educational system. The research uses the Architectural Association under Howard Robertson as a case study. Four major perspectives are explored: the broader validity of educational systems and the practicality of exporting these theories from France to Britain; the autonomy of architectural discipline knowledge and its relationship to other disciplines using composition; the question of the usefulness of this composition knowledge for understanding objects from that epoch; and finally, the possibility of reproducing this system of knowledge today. Multiple strategies and methodologies have been used, including the use of quantitative data, the study of unexplored leading figures in the field, and critical visual and material analysis of key texts.