In 2019, Alborz Dianat commenced a PhD as the recipient of the Graham Child scholarship from the Society of Architectural Historians of Great Britain (SAHGB) and, in 2020, an AHRC scholarship from the Scottish Graduate School for Arts & Humanities. Alborz established his interests in twentieth century (particularly European) architecture while studying Architectural History (MA and MScR) at the University of Edinburgh.
Alborz's current research centres on the actions of P. Morton Shand through an extensive archive, only recently placed in the public domain. He has conducted archival research in several roles: including at the Glasgow School of Art Archives and Collections and the D.H. Lawrence Birthplace Museum.
In addition to publishing articles in leading subject-area journals, Alborz's research has led to two commendations from the SAHGB for the Hawksmoor Essay Medal.
Alborz tutored for Architectural History 1A and 1B between 2019 and 2022.
This PhD scrutinises the role of the critic P. Morton Shand (1888-1960) in contributing to exchanges in Modernism between Britain and Europe in the interwar years. Shand was in close contact with figures such as Walter Gropius, Alvar Aalto and Sigfried Giedion, reflective of his position as Britain’s ambassador of the movement. To date, Shand’s output has not been sufficiently recognised, and his extensive archive is little-known. By uncovering the archive, the project aims to trace Shand's role drawing European designs to Britain - while also acting as an ambassador abroad. This will support a newly emerging understanding of a broad-based culture of architectural modernity which extends beyond built forms. Further, Britain's international profile will be drawn out in a positive, collaborative light.
Publications arising from this research include:
‘Nationalizing the International Style: British Identity in the Architectural Criticism of P. Morton Shand,’ Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 81 (December 2022), 495-512. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/jsah.2022.81.4.495