School of Architecture, Planning & Landscape

Staff Profile

Dr Stephen Parnell

Senior Lecturer

Background

I'm an architect, architectural critic, historian of post-war architecture, and currently the Editor-in-Chief of The Journal of Architecture.

I am interested in the sociology of the architectural profession and particularly the role that the media play in it. My research is on, teaching is through, and practice is in the architectural press: I have written over 130 articles for the professional architectural press over the past 13 years.

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. That year I also exhibited "Architecture Magazines: Playgrounds and Battlegrounds" in the Padiglione Centrale of the Venice Biennale. This featured AD, AR, Casabella, and Domus magazines from the 1940s to the 1970s and an 11x3m wallchart showing the 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 is being prepared 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.

Research

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. 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:

  • Ivan Márquez Muñoz, who is researching cultural conceptions of concrete and the work of Miguel Fisac;
  • Ray Verrall, who is researching the 1958 Oxford Conference.


Completed PhDs:

 

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

  • The architectural press, both printed and digital;
  • Brutalist architecture;
  • Posthuman architecture and architecture of the anthropocene.




Teaching

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

My most recent MArch 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 (http://pagepark.co.uk/article/brazilian-brutalism/);
  • 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).

Publications