Our research is focused on providing an institutional context for individual research outputs of excellence.

Our research work covers not only architectural conservation in its strictest sense but also a range of linked areas of built-environment studies.

These include:

  • ‘Conservation’ in its widest sense, bridging the gulf between ‘heritage’ and ‘new’ architecture
  • Critical discussion of contemporary architecture - with particular reference to the market-led ‘iconic’ architecture of the last 10 years
  • The history of Modern Movement (MoMo) architecture - especially the international history of mass housing and urban development
  • The general architectural and built-environment history of Scotland

Our work as a research centre within the Architecture and Landscape Architecture has so far focused on providing an institutional context for individual research outputs of excellence.

Future projects expand this remit to include a collaborative agenda where we will work in relation to organization, institutions and research councils in the development of research resources, archives and surveys pertaining to issue of conservation particular to the Scottish context.

Individual research projects

We support a number of individual research initiatives:

  • The Conservation Movement: a History of Architectural Preservation (author: Miles Glendinning; published by Routledge, 2013)
  • Basil Spence: Buildings and Projects (co-author: Miles Glendinning; published by RIBAE, 2012)
  • Architecture’s Evil Empire: Triumph and Tragedy of Modernism (author: Miles Glendinning; published by Reaktion, 2010)
  • Modern Architect: The Life and Times of Robert Matthew (RIBAE, 2008)
  • Buildings of the Land: Scottish Farm Architecture (RCAHMS, 2008)
  • Docomomo Journal 39: International Mass Housing (DOCOMOMO, 2008)

They also include a major new international research initiative on the history of mass housing. This extends the comprehensive approach pioneered for the UK in Miles Glendinning and Stefan Muthesius’s book Tower Block, 1994, to a global level. The Tower Block project has already undertaken pilot research studies of mass housing in Hong Kong and Singapore.

These projects have been written or edited by Miles Glendinning.

Collaborative projects

SCCS has attracted increasing external research income for collaborative research:

  • A research resource, Tower Block, with a related publication and website (funding from English Heritage) | Visit the Tower Block website >
  • Updating the Historic Scotland online Dictionary of Scottish Architects to include ongoing website data and interview transcripts | Visit the Dictionary of Scottish Architects website
  • Research and preparation of an area survey of the Glasgow East End (with Clyde Gateway and Historic Scotland)
  • AHRC Research Studentship for Cumbernauld PhD leading to a planned book output with RCAHMS

Modern architecture and housing

The DOCOMOMO International Specialist Committee on Urbanism is based at SCCS (chaired by Miles Glendinning). Its recent activities have included the organisation of three major conferences:

  • Mirror of Modernity, 2009
  • South City, 2009
  • Trash or Treasure, 2007

Edinburgh Cast Collection (2009)

The Edinburgh Cast Collection research, conservation and interpretation project attracted major funding, including Heritage Lottery Funding.  The project was co-ordinated by Ruxandra-Iulia Stoica.

SCCS continues to be a Scottish focal point for Architectural Heritage Society of Scotland (AHSS) research conferences and Edinburgh Cockburn Association events.


Are you interested in studying Architectural Conservation - MSc at Edinburgh College of Art?