Job title: Senior Lecturer in Architectural History

Role: Programme Director Architectural History - MA

Tel: +44 (0)131 650 2320

Email: Alex.Bremner@ed.ac.uk

Research: See Dr Alex Bremner on Edinburgh Research Explorer

Current PhD students

Lucia Juarez

Iñigo Basarrate

Yu-sen Chou

Nilina Deb Lal

Sam Grinsell

Emily Turner

Tommaso Zerbi

PhD Supervision Topics

Alex welcomes applications for PhD study in the following broad areas of research:

Architecture and empire in Britain and the British World

Nineteenth-century religion and architecture

Colonial built environments (1550-1950)

Architecture and trade in the context of empire

Victorian and Edwardian architectures in Britain

Architecture, energy, and industrialisation in the nineteenth century

BA (Hons), MArch (Deakin), PhD (Cantab), FRHistS

Alex joined Architecture at the University of Edinburgh in 2005. He read for his PhD at the University of Cambridge (Gates Scholar 2001-04), where he specialised in the history and theory of Victorian architecture. Between completing his doctorate and arriving at Edinburgh, Alex was Postdoctoral Fellow at the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art (Yale University). He is a recipient of both the Hawksmoor Medal (Society of Architectural Historians of Great Britain) and the Founders’ Award (Society of Architectural Historians, USA) for outstanding scholarship in the field of architectural history. His monograph Imperial Gothic: Religious Architecture and High Anglican Culture in the British Empire c.1840-70 (Yale University Press) received the Alice Davis Hitchcock Medallion for 2013 from the Society of Architectural Historians of Great Britain, the William M. B. Berger Prize for British Art History (2014), the Historians of British Art Book Prize (2015), and was shortlisted for the Whitfield Prize, Royal Historical Society (2014).

Alex's research interests include the history of nineteenth- and early twentieth-century British architecture, architecture and empire, national identity and its relationship to the wider built environment, and religious architecture (particularly Anglican and Nonconformist cultures in Britain and its colonial empire during the nineteenth century). His particular interest concerns the intersection between European empire and the globalisation of architectural form, knowledge and expertise, including the nature and effects of agency. He has published widely on these subjects.

Alex is currently an editor of ABE Journal (Architecture Beyond Europe), and an Editorial Advisory Committee member of the Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians. He has also been a Deputy Editor of Architectural History, the journal of the Society of Architectural Historians of Great Britain (2012-14).

Alex teaches in all areas of the MA Architectural History & Heritage programme at Edinburgh, lecturing in Years 1 and 2 on topics ranging from Ancient Egypt to the present day. He also offers specialist Honours-level (years 3 and 4) subjects in the history of Victorian architecture and the history of British imperial and colonial architecture. Alex also teaches on the flagship MSc Architectural History and Theory programme, offering expertise in post-colonial theory, the historiography of architecture, and architecture and globalisation.

Alex’s research focuses on the history and theory of Victorian architecture and design culture broadly defined, with a special interest in the history of British imperial and colonial architecture. He is currently working on a monograph study of Edwardian civic and state architecture in Britain and the wider British world, in particular ‘Edwardian Baroque’ buildings and their context. Other research interests include the relationship between commercial architectures and international trade in the context of empire, especially networked spaces of economic exchange, where he has undertaken research on the commercial infrastructure of Jardine, Matheson & Co. in South and South-East Asia during the early nineteenth century. Alex also has a special interest in the historiographic traditions of architectural scholarship, with a particular concern for the application of broader historiographic frames of reference to the understanding of architecture and the wider built environment, including Transnational, Oceanic, and World/Global historiographies, as well as methods of cultural and historical geography.

His principal publications include:

Books

Imperial Gothic: Religious Architecture and High Anglican Culture in the British Empire, c.1840-70 (Yale University Press, 2013), 484pp, 363 ills.

Architecture and Urbanism in the British Empire, ed. G. A. Bremner (Oxford University Press, 2016).

Making History: Edward Augustus Freeman and Victorian Cultural Politics, eds., G. A. Bremner and Jonnathan Conlin (British Academy/ Oxford University Press, 2015).

Scholarly Articles and Chapters

'Gothic in extremis: Missions, Mediation, and the Case of the Patteson Memorial Chapel in the South Pacific' in T. Brittian-Catlin, J. De Maeyer, and M. Bressani (eds), Gothic Revival Worldwide: A. W. N. Pugin's Global Influence (Leuven University Press, 2016), pp. 142-55.

 ‘Narthex reclaimed: Reinventing disciplinary space in the Anglican mission field, 1847–1903’, Journal of Historical Geography, vol. 51 (2016), pp. 1-17.

'Architecture, Urbanism, and British Imperial Studies', in G. A. Bremner (ed.), Architecture and Urbanism in the British Empire (Oxford University Press, 2016), pp. 1-18.

'Stones of Empire: Monuments, Memorials, and Manifest Authority' in G. A. Bremner (ed.), Architecture and Urbanism in the British Empire (Oxford University Press, 2016), pp. 86-124.

'The Metropolis: Imperial Buildings and Landscapes in Britain' in G. A. Bremner (ed.), Architecture and Urbanism in the British Empire (Oxford University Press, 2016), pp. 125-58.

'Propagating Ideas and Institutions: Religious and Educational Architecture' (with Louis P. Nelson) in G. A. Bremner (ed.), Architecture and Urbanism in the British Empire (Oxford University Press, 2016), pp. 159-97.

'Intersecting Interests: Developments in Networks and Flows of Information and Expertise in Architectural History' (with M. Volait and J. Lagae), Fabrications, 26:2 (2016), pp. 227-45.

'Fabricating Justice: Conflict and Contradiction in the Making of the Hong Kong Supreme Court, 1898-1912' in L. Victoir and V. Zatsepin (eds.), From Harbin to Hanoi: Colonial Built Environment in Asia, 1840-1940 (Hong Kong UP, 2012), pp. 156-80.

'Pro Fide et Patria: Anglicanism and Ecclesiastical Architecture in Central and Southern Africa, 1848-1903' in F. Demissie (ed.), Colonial Architecture and Urbanism in Africa: Intertwined and Contested Histories (Ashgate, 2012), pp. 239-76.

'1066 and All That: E. A. Freeman and the Importance of Being Memorable' (with J. Conlin), in G. A. Bremner and J. Conlin (eds.), Making History: Edward Augustus Freeman and Victorian Cultural Politics (British Academy/Oxford UP, 2015), pp. 3-28.

'E. A. Freeman and G. G. Scott: An Episode in the Influence of Ideas', in G. A. Bremner and J. Conlin (eds.), Making History: Edward Augustus Freeman and Victorian Cultural Politics (British Academy/Oxford UP, 2015), pp. 177-96.

'History as Form: Architecture and Liberal Anglican Thought in the Writings of E. A. Freeman' [with Jonathan Conlin], Modern Intellectual History, vol. 8:2 (2011), pp. 299–326.

'The Architecture of the Universities' Mission to Central Africa: Developing a Vernacular Tradition in the Anglican Mission Field, 1861-1908,' Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, vol. 68:4 (2009), pp. 514-39.

'The "Great Obelisk" and Other Schemes: the Origins and Limits of Nationalist Sentiment in the Making of the Albert Memorial 1861-63,'Nineteenth-Century Contexts, vol. 31:3 (2009), pp. 225-49.

'Out of Africa: G. F. Bodley, William White, and the Anglican Mission Church of St. Philip, Grahamstown, 1857-67,' Architectural History, vol. 51 (2008), pp. 185-210.

'Between Civilisation and Barbarity: Conflicting Perceptions of the Non-European World in William Theed's Africa, 1864-69,' Sculpture Journal, vol. 15 (2007), pp. 94-102.

'Nation and Empire in the Government Architecture of Mid-Victorian London: the Foreign and India Office Reconsidered,' Historical Journal, vol. 48:3 (2005), pp. 703-42.

'"Imperial Peace Memorial": the Second Anglo-Boer War and the Origins of Admiralty Arch, 1900-1905,' British Art Journal, vol. 5:3 (2004), pp. 62-6.

'"Imperial Monumental Halls and Tower": Westminster Abbey and the Commemoration of Empire, 1854-1904,' Architectural History, vol. 47 (2004), pp. 251-82.

'"Some Imperial Institute:" Architecture, Symbolism, and the Ideal of Empire in Late Victorian Britain, 1887-93,' Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, vol. 62:1 (2003), pp. 50-73.

'Spaces of Exclusion: the significance of cultural identity in the formation of European residential districts in British Hong Kong, 1877-1904' [with David P. Y. Lung], Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 21:2 (2003), pp. 223-52.

Reviews

Building the British Atlantic World: Spaces, Places, and Material Culture, 1600-1850 (eds. D. Maudlin and B. L. Herman, 2016), in Britain and the World, vol. 10:1 (2017), pp. 115-18.

George Frederick Bodley and the Later Gothic Revival in Britain and America (M. Hall, 2014), in The Architectural Historian, 2 (Dec. 2015/Jan. 2016), pp. 25-27.

Iron, Ornament and Architecture in Victorian Britain: Myth and Modernity, Excess and Enchantment (P. Dobraszczyk, 2014), in Victorian Studies, vol. 58:3 (2016), pp. 557-60.

The Age of Empire: Britain's Imperial Buildings, 1880-1930 (C. Aslet, 2015), in Cercles (July 2016).

Buildings of Empire (A. Jackson, 2013), in Journal of Historical Geography, vol. 47 (2015), pp. 109-10.

Empire Builders: 1750-1950 (exhibition at the V&A Museum, London), in Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, vol. 73:4 (2014), pp. 582-83.

Bleak Houses: Disappointment and Failure in Architecture (T. Brittain-Catlin, 2014), in The Victorian, no. 47 (Nov. 2014), pp. 29-31.

Slavery and the British Country House (ed. M. Dresser and A. Hann, 2013), in Newsletter of the Society of Architectural Historians of Great Britain, no. 113 (Autumn, 2014), pp. 9-11.

Robert Willis and the Foundation of Architectural History (A. Buchanan, 2013), in Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, vol. 73:3 (2014), pp. 424-26.

Room for Diplomacy: Britain's Diplomatic Buildings Overseas 1800-2000 (M. Bertram, 2011), Newsletter of the Society of Architectural Historians of Great Britain, no. 110 (Autumn, 2013), p. 19.

The Battle of the Styles: Society, Culture and the Design of a New Foreign Office, 1855–61 (B. Porter, 2012), in Victorian Studies, vol. 55.2 (2013), pp. 376-78.

William White: Pioneer Victorian Architect (G. Hunter, 2010), in True Principles, vol. 4:4 (2013-14), pp. 355-58.

Whare Karakia: Māori Church Building, Decoration and Ritual in Aotearoa New Zealand 1834-1863 (R. Sundt, 2010), in Fabrications, vol. 20:1 (2011), pp. 129-31.

Essays in Scots and English Architectural History: A Festschrift in Honour of John Frew (ed. D. Jones and S. McKinstry, 2009), in True Principles, vol. 4:2 (2010-11), pp. 210-11.

An Excellent Recruit: Frederick Thatcher - Architect, Priest, and Private Secretary in Early New Zealand (M. H. Alington, 2007), in Ecclesiology Today, no. 40 (2008), pp. 111-12.

The Great Pyramid: Ancient Egypt Revisited (J. Romer, 2008), in Newsletter of the Society of Architectural Historians of Great Britain, no. 93 (2008), pp. 16-17.

 

 

Bremner, Alex. 2017. “Colonial Church Chronicles”. In Missionary Themes In Stained Glass, Home And Abroad.
Bremner, Alex. 2017. “Between 'popes And Caesars'”. In St Paul, Protestant Bible Culture, And The Building Of The American Episcopal Church In Rome. http://www.crassh.cam.ac.uk/events/26896.
Bremner, Alex. 2017. “Gothic In Extremis”. In Gothic Revival Worldwide: A.w.n. Pugin’S Global Influence. Leuven University Press. http://upers.kuleuven.be/en/book/9789462700918.
Bremner, Alex. 2017. “Architecture And Carbon Economies In The Victorian Age”. In .
Bremner, Alex. 2017. “‘In Bright Tints … Nature’S Own Formation’”. In Radical Marble: A Mediterranean Stone In Global Context. Routledge.
Bremner, Alex. 2016. “Black Gold”. In Proceedings Of The Society Of Architectural Historians, Australia And New Zealand. Vol. 33. SAHANZ.
Architecture And Urbanism In The British Empire. 2016. Architecture And Urbanism In The British Empire. Oxford University Press. https://global.oup.com/academic/product/architecture-and-urbanism-in-the-british-empire-9780198713326?cc=gb&lang=en&#.
Bremner, Alex. 2016. “Introduction”. In Architecture And Urbanism In The British Empire. Oxford University Press.
Bremner, Alex, and Louis Nelson. 2016. “Propagating Ideas And Institutions”. In Architecture And Urbanism In The British Empire. Oxford University Press.
Bremner, Alex. 2016. “Stones Of Empire”. In Architecture And Urbanism In The British Empire. Oxford University Press.
Bremner, Alex. 2016. “The Metropolis”. In Architecture And Urbanism In The British Empire. Oxford University Press.
Bremner, Alex. 2016. “Building The Church In Australia”. In William Grant Broughton And The Ecclesiology Of Empire.
Bremner, Alex. 2016. “Intersecting Interests”. Fabrications 26 (2).
Bremner, Alex. 2016. “Ornamental Crises”. In Architecture And Modern Subjectivity In Victorian Britain.
Bremner, Alex. 2016. “Narthex Reclaimed”. Journal Of Historical Geography.
Bremner, Alex, and Jonathan Conlin. 2015. “1066 And All That”. In Making History. Oxford University Press for The British Academy.
Bremner, Alex. 2015. “E. A. Freeman And G. G. Scott”. In Making History. Oxford University Press for The British Academy.
Marking History: Edward Augustus Freeman And Victorian Cultural Politics. 2015. Marking History: Edward Augustus Freeman And Victorian Cultural Politics. Oxford: Oxford University for The British Academy. https://global.oup.com/academic/product/making-history-9780197265871?q=judith%20bell&lang=en&cc=gb#.
Bremner, Alex. 2015. “Learning From Las Palmas”. In Spanish Architectural Influence In The British Empire.
Bremner, Alex. 2014. “Great And Greater Britain: Architecture And The Politics Of New Imperialism, 1887-1915”. In .
Bremner, Alex. 2014. “Butterfield And The Wider British World”. In William Butterfield Study Day.
Bremner, Alex. 2014. “Methods And Methodologies: Writing The Histories Of European Imperial/colonial Architecture”. In .
Bremner, Alex. 2014. “Of Tents And Tabernacles: Church Architecture, Biblical Authority, And The Building Of Anglican Identity In The British Empire, 1840-1900”. In .
Bremner, Alex. 2014. “Scott And The Wider World”. In Sir George Gilbert Scott 1811-1878. Shaun Tyas.
Bremner, Alex. 2014. “Wren And The Wider World: Imperial Imaginings In Edwardian Baroque Architecture”. In Society Of Architectural Historian Of Great Britain.
Bremner, Alex. 2013. “Learning From Lusitania: Portuguese Architectural Influence In The British Empire”. In Colonial (Mis)Understandings: Portugal And Europe In Global Perspective, 1450-1900. Centro de História de Além-Mar (CHAM).
Bremner, Alex. 2013. “E. A. Freeman And The Racialisation Of Architecture In 19Th-Century Britain”. In Society Of Architectural Historians.
Bremner, Alex. 2013. Imperial Gothic. Imperial Gothic. Yale University Press.
Bremner, Alex. 2012. “Fabricating Justice: Conflict And Contradiction In The Making Of The Hong Kong Supreme Court, 1898-1912”. In From Harbin To Hanoi: Colonial Built Environment In Asia, 1840-1940. Hong Kong University Press.
Ecclesiology Abroad: The British Empire And Beyond. 2012. Ecclesiology Abroad: The British Empire And Beyond. Vol. 4. The Victorian Society.
Bremner, Alex. 2012. “Discrete Phenomena On A Global Scale: Studying The British Empire”. In 65Th Annual Meeting Of The Society Of Architectural Historians.
Bremner, Alex. 2012. “Conflicting Identities: Religious Architecture And Imperial Expansion In The Age Of Sectarianism, C.1840–1900”. In Keynote Address: 29Th Annual Conference Of The Society Of Architectural Historians Australia And New Zealand, Launceston.
Bremner, Alex. 2012. “Freeman And G. G. Scott: Lessons From History”. In Edward Augustus Freeman: The Life And Times Of A Victorian Intellectual.
Bremner, Alex. 2012. “Imperial Gothic: Building Anglican Identity Through Church Architecture In The British Colonial World”. In Emblems Of Nationhood: Britishness 1707–1901.
Bremner, Alex. 2012. “Missions And Mediation: Testing The Limits Of Anglican Church Architecture In The British Imperial World, 1840-1880”. In New Directions In Gothic Revival Studies Worldwide.
Bremner, Alex. 2012. “Pro Fide Et Patria: Anglicanism And Ecclesiastical Architecture In Central And Southern Africa, 1848-1903”. In Colonial Architecture And Urbanism In Africa: Intertwined And Contested Histories. Ashgate Publishing.
Bremner, Alex, and Jonathan Conlin. 2011. “History As Form: Architecture And Liberal Anglican Thought In The Writings Of E. A. Freeman”. Modern Intellectual History 8 (2). http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=82955174853&partnerID=8YFLogxK.
Bremner, Alex. 2011. “Scott’S Religious Architecture Abroad: The Colonial Cathedrals, 1846-74”. In ‘George Gilbert Scott, 1811-78: An Architect And His Influence’.
Bremner, Alex. 2010. “Pro Fide Et Patria: Anglicanism And Ecclesiastical Architecture In Central And Southern Africa, 1848-1903”. In Ecclesiology & Empire:.
Bremner, Alex. 2010. “Supreme And High Court Architecture In The Common-Law Tradition: An International Perspective”. In The Uk Supreme Court: Art Architecture History. Merrell.
Bremner, Alex. 2010. “Death By A Thousand Cuts: Commemoration By Committee In Nineteenth-Century Britain,’ At International Conference ‘Death, Commemoration And Memory: An Exploration Of Representation, Concept And Change’”. In Invited Talk At Edinburgh University.
Bremner, Alex. 2010. “Fabricating Justice: Designing The Hong Kong Supreme Court, 1898-1912”. In At Workshop ‘From Harbin To Hanoi: Colonial Built Environment From 1840 To 1940’ (Invited Talk), University Of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China (Sar).
Bremner, Alex. 2010. “Global Histories For Global Architectures: Missionary Anglicanism And The Study Of The British Colonial World, 1840-1914”. In Roundtable Panel On The Future Direction In The Study Of European Colonial Architecture At 1St International Meeting Of The European Architectural History Network (Eahn), Guimarães, Portugal.
Bremner, Alex. 2010. “History As Form: E.a. Freeman And The Cultural Significance Of Architecture”. In British Association Of Victorian Studies Annual Conference ‘Victorian Forms And Formations,’ University Of Glasgow.
Bremner, Alex. 2009. “The "great Obelisk" And Other Schemes: The Origins And Limits Of Nationalist Sentiment In The Making Of The Albert Memorial 1861-63”. Nineteenth-Century Contexts 31 (3). http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=77949350025&partnerID=8YFLogxK.
Bremner, Alex. 2009. “Organised "architecture For Victorians", 'past Versus Present’ Conference, Joint Meeting Of The British Association Of Victorian Studies/north American Victorian Studies Association, Cambridge, Uk.”. In .
Bremner, Alex. 2009. “Rethinking The Limits Of “British Architecture” In The Anglican Mission Field 1840-70”. In Society Of Architectural Historians Of Gb/european Architectural History Network Annual Symposium ‘British Architecture Seen From Abroad,’ London, Uk.
Bremner, Alex. 2009. “The Architecture Of The Universities' Mission To Central Africa: Developing A Vernacular Tradition In The Anglican Mission Field, 1861-1909”. Journal Of The Society Of Architectural Historians 68 (4). http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=77949523105&partnerID=8YFLogxK.
Bremner, Alex. 2008. “Fabricating Justice: Classicism And Cultural Anxiety In The Design Of The Hong Kong Supreme Court, 1898-1912”. In Classical Association Annual Conference (Invited Talk), University Of Liverpool, Uk.
Bremner, Alex. 2008. “Out Of Africa: G.f.bodley, William White, And The Anglican Mission Church Of St. Philip, Grahamstown, 1857-67”. Architectural History 51 (n/a). http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=70450090997&partnerID=8YFLogxK.