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Built by the Book: The Global Impact of the Building Manual and Trade Catalogue in Nineteenth Century London

Applicant Jones Emma Letizia
Number 186654
Funding scheme Postdoc.Mobility
Research institution The Bartlett School of Graduate Studies Faculty of the Built Environment University College London (UCL)
Institution of higher education Institution abroad - IACH
Main discipline Architecture and Social urban science
Start/End 01.02.2020 - 31.01.2022
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All Disciplines (2)

Discipline
Architecture and Social urban science
Visual arts and Art history

Keywords (9)

catalogues; London; books; gender; manuals; printing; history; building; architecture

Lay Summary (German)

Lead
"Built by the Book: The Global Impact of the Building Manual and Trade Catalogue in Nineteenth Century London" ist eine Untersuchung der Rolle englischer Bauhandbücher und Handelskataloge in der Entwicklung des Massenwohnungsbaus für den britischen Wohnungsmarkt von 1840 bis 1890. in Zusammenhang damit werden Frühformen der Vorfertigung im Bauwesen und der damit verbundene weltweite Export britischer Wohnmodelle betrachtet.
Lay summary

"Built by the Book: The Global Impact of the Building Manual and Trade Catalogue in Nineteenth Century London" ist eine Untersuchung der Rolle englischer Bauhandbücher und Handelskataloge in der Entwicklung des Massenwohnungsbaus für den britischen Wohnungsmarkt von 1840 bis 1890. in Zusammenhang damit werden Frühformen der Vorfertigung im Bauwesen und der damit verbundene weltweite Export britischer Wohnmodelle betrachtet.

Das Projekt untersucht, wie sich britische Bauanleitungen und Handelskataloge als neue Formen architektonischer Publikationen auf die Neuorganisation der Arbeit im Bauwesen ab 1840 ausgewirkt haben, was zur Standardisierung und Vorfertigung traditioneller architektonischer Profile, baulicher Elemente und der Gestaltung im Massenwohnungsbau führte, zum Export britischer Wohnmodelle ins gesamte Empire und zur Kodifizierung des kulturellen Ideals des viktorianischen Zuhauses. Das Vorhaben ist gleichermassen am Victoria and Albert Museum, London, und der Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London, angesiedelt. Ergebnisse des Projekts sind eine frei zugängliche Online-Datenbank mit Bauanleitungen und Handelskatalogen der damaligen Zeit, eine umfangreiche Monographie mit dem Titel "Built by the Book", in der die Resultate detailliert beschrieben werden, sowie eine öffentliche Ausstellung, die sowohl in London als auch in Zürich zu sehen sein wird.

Diese Untersuchung verortet Baukultur innerhalb der Printmedien, indem sie die Publikationen als Objekte versteht und befragt, die viel über die sozialen, kulturellen und wirtschaftlichen Entwicklungen des 19. Jahrhunderts erzählen können. Noch bedeutender aber ist, dass sich daran Transformationen in der Bauwirtschaft, die auch als soziale Barometer und Indikatoren für neue Lebensformen verstanden werden können, ablesen lassen, und dass diese Publikationen als Zeugnisse eines radikal neuen Verhältnisses des Wohnungsbaus zu seinen historischen Vorgängern dienen können.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 15.08.2019

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Publications

Publication
From Pattern to Product: The Recasting of the Ornament in Victorian London
Jones Emma Letizia (2021), From Pattern to Product: The Recasting of the Ornament in Victorian London, in gta papers, 6, 60-77.

Datasets

V&A National Art Library: C19th Trade Catalogues (architectural) collection subset

Author Jones, Emma; nalbooks,
Publication date 01.02.2022
Persistent Identifier (PID) https://archive.org/details/nationalartlibrary
Repository V&A National Art Library
Abstract
A subset of 31 digitised open access trade catalogues of architectural products held by the V&A National Art Library. Digitisation occurred as a partnership between the Victoria and Albert Museum NAL and conservation departments and the grantee. The digitisation platform is Internet Archive, and the new materials form part of the National Art Library's larger collection of almost 1000 open-access items on IA. There will be further arrangements made to create a sub-collection for these architectural trade catalogues so they are grouped together and can be easily found. There are longer term plans to integrate the trade catalogues archives of the V&A National Art Library and the Caroline Simpson Library in Sydney as they contain complementary materials. Both exist on the IA platform.

Caroline Simpson Library and Research Collection: C19th Trade Catalogues (architectural) collection subset

Author Jones, Emma; Stephens, Matthew
Publication date 14.03.2022
Persistent Identifier (PID) https://archive.org/details/carolinesimpsonlibrary
Repository Caroline Simpson Library and Research Collection: Resources Digitised by Sydney Living Museums
Abstract
A collaboration with Matthew Stephens, librarian at the Caroline Simpson Library Research Collection of Sydney Living Museums, to conduct the digitisation of 60 C19th architectural trade catalogues important for the grantee's project. The open access catalogues will be available on the CS Library's existing repository with Internet Archive from March 2022.There are longer term plans to integrate the trade catalogues archives of the V&A National Art Library and the CSL in Sydney as they contain complementary materials. Both exist on the IA platform.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Caroline Simpson Library Sydney Living Museums Australia (Oceania)
- Research Infrastructure

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
Invited guest lecturer to first year architecture students, core unit history and theory of architecture. Individual talk The Cornice: A Recent History 07.05.2021 ETH Zürich, Switzerland Jones Emma Letizia;
Open-access online in-progress presentation on Postdoctoral research project ‘Built by the Book’, hosted by Funes. Individual talk Built by the Book: primary source archive 09.11.2020 Online, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Jones Emma Letizia;
European Architectural History Network Biennial Conference, June 2022 Talk given at a conference Building From Print: Reconsidering the Agency of the Building Manual (Session chair with Dr. Gregorio Astengo) 01.07.2020 Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Spain Jones Emma Letizia;
VARI Lunchtime Research Seminars Individual talk 'Built by the Book': Work in Progress 07.04.2020 Victoria and Albert Museum Research Institute, London, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Jones Emma Letizia;


Knowledge transfer events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Date Place Persons involved
Die unterschätzte Horizontale. Das Gesims in Kunst und Architektur Performances, exhibitions (e.g. for education institutions) 25.08.2021 Graphische Sammlung Zürich, Switzerland Jones Emma Letizia;


Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
Talks/events/exhibitions Die unterschätzte Horizontale. Das Gesims in Kunst und Architektur German-speaking Switzerland International Western Switzerland 2021
Talks/events/exhibitions Public talk and exhibition tour: Die unterschätzte Horizontale. Das Gesims in Kunst und Architektur Western Switzerland International German-speaking Switzerland 2021

Awards

Title Year
Harvard-Richard Rogers Fellowship, Wimbledon House, London https://www.gsd.harvard.edu/2020/01/announcing-winners-of-2020-richard-rogers-fellowship-the-wimbledon-houses-residency-program-for-architectural-and-urban-research/ 2020

Abstract

“Built by the Book: The Global Impact of the Building Manual and Trade Catalogue in Nineteenth Century London” is a study of the role the English building manual and the trade catalogue played in the development of mass housing in the nineteenth century British housing market from the period 1840-1890, the rise of prefabrication in building, and the associated global export of British housing models. It will evaluate how British building manuals and trade catalogues impacted on the reorganisation of labour in the building industry from 1840 onwards, leading to the standardisation and prefabrication of traditional architectural profiles, elements and compositions in mass-housing, and the codification of a cultural ideal of the ‘Victorian home’. The research will be jointly hosted between the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, and the Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London. The outcomes of the project will be an online open-access database of building manuals and trade catalogues of the period; a full-length monograph titled ‘Built by the Book’ detailing the findings; and a public exhibition of findings co-hosted in London and Zürich.The period around 1840 is deemed by scholarly consensus to be the point at which the classical tradition in English building splinters into eclecticism; the established authoritative architectural treatises on orders and proportions in classical architecture are abandoned in favour of a plethora of more cheaply published pamphlets and periodicals that capitalise on new revolutions in print technology; and the building industry becomes increasingly commercialised, leading to more popular and industry-based rather than elite or academic architectural publications. The move away from on-site manufacture to prefabricated assembly in the building world necessitated new forms of building literature, which replaced holistic architectural treatises and pattern books in favour of more single trade-specific building manuals, building periodicals, and eventually, trade catalogues authored by building companies that offered ready-made components for sale.Yet although these new publication formats have been acknowledged as an important part of the mid-nineteenth-century building culture, their specific impact on the domestic building boom of the period has never been systematically studied. This research will therefore begin with the assertion that it is precisely at this moment of transition around 1830 - 40, in which print technology and building technology underwent near-simultaneous revolutions in automation and standardisation, that building manuals and trade catalogues emerged as the ideal architectural publications of the industrial age. By locating itself within the period 1840-1890, such a study is not only positioned at the birth of print culture in the form that we understand it today; but also considers the role of print within the technological advancements that permeated the building industry of the period. It situates the agency of building culture within printed materials, understanding and dissecting building manuals and trade catalogues as objects that can tell us a great deal about the social, cultural and economic developments of the nineteenth century. These printed artefacts reflect that curious combination of “social and technological history” that so characterised the world of Victorian London. Even more importantly, they are able to chart transformations in the building industry that also act as social barometers and indicators of new modes of living, as well as evidence of a radical new relationship between housing and its historical precedents. The ramifications of the reorganisation of the housing industry in this period remain with us to this day, and the role of print in this process is the focus of the proposed research described in the following pages.
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