Programme: Architectural History - PhD/MPhil

Start date: Sep 2019

Mode of study: Full time

Research title: Britain’s Modernist Man of Letters: The Architectural Writings of P. Morton Shand

In 2019, Alborz Dianat commenced a PhD as the recipient of the Graham Child scholarship from the SAHGB and, in 2020, an AHRC scholarship from the SGSAH. Alborz established his interests in twentieth century (particularly European) architecture while studying Architectural History (MA and MScR) at the University of Edinburgh. 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. His current research centres on the actions of P. Morton Shand through an extensive archive, only recently placed in the public domain. As well as this research, he tutors for Architectural History 1A and 1B.

This project scrutinises the role of the critic P. Morton Shand (1888-1960) in facilitating the arrival of Modernism in interwar Britain. 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 quantify Shand’s role in masterminding a British Modern Movement. This will support a newly emerging understanding of a broad-based culture of architectural modernity which extends beyond built forms.