Dr Jessica Kelly: ‘Cranks and Laymen’: consolidating the role of the ‘expert’ architect and the layman public in architectural criticism, 1935-1940

  • 5.15pm

  • Minto House, Elliot Room
    20-22 Chambers Street
    EH1 1JZ

Led by Dr Jessica Kelly

As editor of The Architectural Review magazine, J.M. Richards pioneered a new type of architectural criticism in the late 1930s. As the traditional role of the architect as an autonomous artist was eroded by modernism, architectural journalism emerged as a means of establishing the modern architect as a cultural expert; a figure equipped to guide the progress of architecture and the taste of the public. Richards’ journalism and writing during this period aimed at consolidating the expertise and authority of the modern architect. This talk will map J.M. Richards’ specific contribution to the form and content of architectural criticism by exploring his work at the AR as well as in the MARS group and his book, An Introduction to Modern Architecture, published by Pelican (1940).


Dr Jessica Kelly is Research Degrees Leader and Senior Lecturer in Contextual and Theoretical studies at The University for the Creative Arts in Farnham. Her research explores the mediation of architecture in the mid-twentieth century. She is currently working on a book titled No More Giants: J.M. Richards, modernism and The Architectural Review for Manchester University Press (forthcoming 2021).

Free and all welcome