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Scottish Centre for Conservation Studies

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

  • Mass Housing: Modern Architecture and State Power - a Global History (author: Miles Glendinning, published by Bloomsbury Academic, 2021) 
  • Scotch Baronial: Architecture and National Identity in Scotland (authors: Miles Glendinning & Aonghus Mackechnie, published by Bloomsbury Academic, 2019) 
  • Towers for the Welfare State: An Architectural History of British Multi-Storey Housing 1945-1970 (authors: Miles Glendinning & Stefan Muthesius, published by SCCS, 2017) 
  • 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) 

These projects have been written or edited by Miles Glendinning. 

Collaborative projects

SCCS has attracted increasing external research income for collaborative research: 

  • JPI CH project CUMET: Cultural Heritage in the Metropolitan Peripheries project | Visit the UKRI website > 
  • Teams4Her - Una Europa Transnational Research Teams: Tackling the Concept of Heritage in the urban peripheries | Visit the Una Europa website > 
  • WH@50 Forever Young: Celebrating 50 Years of the World Heritage Convention Una Europa seed-funding project leading to a book output | Visit the open access publication website > 
  • SGSAH AHRC DTP Studentship for a PhD on ‘Decolonising a Profession: Built Heritage Conservation and Management in Post-Colonial Egypt’ 
  • European Heritage Days 2022: Lived-in Heritage - Perspectives on European Cultural Landscapes from Architecture Schools | Visit the Lived-in Heritage website > 
  • 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 activities have included the organisation of major conferences: Conserving African Modernism (2017), The New Tenement: Tradition and Modernity(2013), Mass Housing in the Socialist Bloc (2011), Landscapes of the Recent Future (2011), Mirror of Modernity (2009), South City (2009), Trash or Treasure (2007). 

Schools of Architecture + World Heritage

The Schools of Architecture in World Heritage network (co-led by Ruxandra-Iulia Stoica) has been founded at SCCS with ENSAP Bordeaux. Its activities include academic conferences, workshops, and exhibitions in World Heritage sites: Edinburgh 2023, Bordeaux 2022, Paris 2021, Strasbourg 2018, Prague 2017, Edinburgh 2016, Bordeaux 2016, Edinburgh 2013.

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. 

Would you like to undertake research-led study at ECA?

We offer a range of research-led postgraduate programmes.

Associated programmes

Meet our staff