Ewan Harrison

Email: ewan.harrison@liverpool.ac.uk

Previous Education

MSc in Architectural Conservation – University of Edinburgh (2011)

MA (Hons) in History of Art – University of Aberdeen (2009)

Thesis Title (working!)

R.Seifert and Partners: Architecture for Profit and the Public Sector in the Post-War Period


Barnabas Calder, Iain Jackson

Research Summary

R. Seifert and Partners was Britain’s largest ‘commercial’ architects practice in the post-war period. At its height, it employed several hundred architects spread over offices in London, Manchester, Glasgow and Sydney, and it is reputed to have designed over a thousand buildings. The practice was particularly associated with the design of speculative office developments for developer clients. At a time when architecture was particular associated with furthering the goals of the welfare state, the practice’s concentration on profit driven commissions seemed to put them at odds with the profession at large. It’s reception in the contemporary press was often frosty, and it is often largely omitted from critical histories of the period.

I intend to illustrate that the picture of post-war development and ‘commercial’ architecture was, in fact, far more nuanced than these contemporary polarised positions would suggest. To do this I will examine several major speculative projects designed by the practice for public sector organisations, as well as the wider context for private development at the time.

Research interests

The architecture, politics and economics of the mid and late 20th century.

Publications (upcoming)

“R. Seifert & Partners, Sir Frank Price and the GPO: Speculative Development in Birmingham” in 20th Century Architecture: The Journal of the Twentieth Century Society (2018)

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