School of Architecture, Planning & Landscape

Staff Profile

Dr Stephen Parnell

Lecturer in Architecture


I'm an architect, architectural critic and historian of post-war architecture.

I am interested in the sociology of the architectural profession and particularly the role that the media play in it. I also like computers. And concrete.

2012 was a good year:

My PhD, "Architectural Design 1954-1972: the contribution of the architectural magazine to the writing of architectural history", completed under Peter Blundell-Jones at Sheffield University, won the 2012 RIBA President's Award for Outstanding PhD Thesis.

I also exhibited "Architecture Magazines: Playgrounds and Battlegrounds" in the Padiglione Centrale of the 2012 Venice Biennale. This featured AD, AR, Casabella, and Domus magazines from the 1940s to the 1970s and an 11m long network of relationships of key individuals and institutions related to these London and Milanese magazines.

I am currently extending my PhD research to the Post-Modern years thanks to a RIBA Research Trust Award. A full critical history of AD magazine from 1930 to 1992 and its relationship to architectural culture, history and practice should one day be written from this research.

I regularly contribute to the architectural press and was shortlisted for the IBP's Architecture Writer of the Year in 2011 and 2012.

In a previous career, I designed and launched Navisworks.


To date my research has mainly focused on architectural magazines and criticism. I am interested particularly in their role in the construction of architectural culture, history and practice since their emergence in the mid 19th century.

My current research interest is Brutalism, especially the ethical dimension of the movement. I am currently researching Theo Crosby, éminence grise extraordinaire: his architecture and his work behind the scenes promoting first the New Brutalists in the 1950s and then the Prince of Wales (!) in the 1980s.

My future research will look at transhuman architecture and the Idea of Progress.

I am currently working on a monograph of Theo Crosby (with Alan Powers and Juliana Kei) and a sole-authored history of AD magazine  from 1930 to 1992.

PhD Supervision

My current PhD student are:

  • Ruth Lang is researching the London County Council Architects' Department, schools division (1943-1965);
  • Ivan Márquez Muñoz is researching cultural conceptions of concrete;
  • Ray Verrell is researching the 1958 Oxford Conference.

Completed PhDs:


I'd be very interested in supervising PhD students in the following areas:

  • The architectural press, whether British or international. In particular, there is a project to look at the history of The Architectural Press (publishers of the AR and AJ);
  • Brutalist architecture and the idea of Brutalism;
  • Architectural Education;
  • Transhuman architecture and the Idea of Progress.


My current main teaching is in architectural history & theory and design.

My most recent stage 5 & 6 design studios were based on Brutalism and on Transhumanism, Science Fiction and the Idea of Progress.

I supervise BA and MArch dissertations, currently leading a BA elective on Architectural Media.

Linked Research, where MArch students work alongside research staff as associates, is unique to Newcastle. I have supervised projects on:

  • International Brutalisms (students went to USA, Brazil, Germany and India to understand the characteristics of Brutalism in those countries). Raphael Selby, in particular, has continued this research into his professional practice (;
  • Theo Crosby's house (students researched this house in Hammersmith and constructed 1:20 models of its iterations from its initial conversion in 1955 to its extensions in 1960, 1967 and 1987, through an understanding of the New Brutalist principles);
  • The post-war history of the school;
  • Architecture through Magazines.

In the past, I have taught:

  • CAD workshops (particularly SketchUp);
  • computer programming for architects;
  • concrete workshops;
  • technology studios;
  • architectural criticism and journalism;

I have taught at all levels through a variety of formats (studio, workshops, seminars, lectures, tutorials, live projects etc).


  • Parnell S. Rainy nights at Strand-on-the-Green with Cheerful Friends: Rediscovering Theo Crosby's Original New Brutalist House. Architecture and Culture 2019, 7(2), 291-316.
  • Parnell S. Acroshaw: Forgotten, but not Forgiven. Architecture and Culture 2018, 6(1), 37-59.
  • Parnell S. Architecture’s Expanding Field: AD Magazine and the Post-Modernisation of Architecture. ARQ: Architectural Research Quarterly 2018, 22(1), 55-68.
  • Parnell S. Post-Truth Architecture. Architectural Review 2017, 6-11.
  • Parnell S. The Brutal Myth. Thresholds 2017, 45, 151-158.
  • Parnell S. Charles & Ray Eames, the proto-Brutalists. In: Ince, C, ed. World of Charles and Ray Eames. London, UK: Thames & Hudson, 2015, pp.98-103.
  • Parnell S. The Meanings of Concrete: Introduction. The Journal of Architecture 2015, 20(3), 371-375.
  • Ding G, Hale J, Parnell S. Constructing a Place for Critical Practice in China: The history and outlook of the journal Time + Architecture. arq: Architecture Research Quarterly 2013, 17(3/4), 237-252.
  • Parnell S. From Behind Enemy Lines. In: Michael Abrahamson, ed. CLOG: Brutalism. New York, NY, USA, 2013, pp.22-23.
  • Parnell S. AR's and AD's editorial policies: the making of modern architecture in Britain. The Journal of Architecture 2012, 17(5), 763-775.
  • Parnell S. AD and Post-Modern Architecture. In: The 2nd International Conference of the European Architectural History Network. 2012, Brussels: Koninklijke Vlaamse Academie van Belgie voor Wetenschappen en Kunsten.
  • Parnell S. Architecture Magazines: Playgrounds and Battlegrounds. 2012. Padiglione Centrale, Venice: 13th International Architecture Exhibition, Biennale di Venezia.
  • Parnell S. Architecture Magazines: Playgrounds and Battlegrounds. In: Long, K; Bose, S, ed. Common Ground Critical Reader. Venice: Marsilio, 2012, pp.305-308.
  • Parnell S. The Collision of Scarcity and Expendability in Architectural Culture of the 1960s and 1970s. In: Goodbun, J; Iossifova, D; Till, J, ed. Scarcity: Architecture in an Age of Depleting Resources. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons Ltd, 2012, pp.130-135.
  • Parnell S. Ethics and Aesthetics in Architectural Design, 1965-72. FIELD 2011, (3), 49-54.