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The architect and the metropolis: The work of James and Decimus Burton in London and Dublin, c. 1800-1840

Arnold, Dana Rebecca.; (1998) The architect and the metropolis: The work of James and Decimus Burton in London and Dublin, c. 1800-1840. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

No history of a city or career of an architect is complete. This is a study of the interaction of both. The careers of James Burton (1761-1837) and his son Decimus (1800-1881) are used as a fulcrum for exploring the emergence of London as a metropolis c. 1800-1840. This sets up a dialectic between the independent processes of a city and the emergence of the professional architect. It is argued that the interaction of these two distinct, but mutually dependent, architectural phenomena produces the urban form. In turn the way in which the design of a city shapes the responses of its inhabitants to it is explored. Moreover as evidence of any kind of biographical details about the life of either James or Decimus Burton is extremely limited the idea of the architect as 'auteur' is challenged as the importance of their work can be determined by its role in the city rather than in the personal development of the Burtons. Both Burtons made a substantial contribution to the urban planning of London and later Dublin. James built considerable amounts of Bloomsbury, Regent Street and the Regent's Park. Decimus was involved with many major building projects in London including the Regent's Park, the Royal Parks and the Phoenix Park, Dublin. Their careers raise important methodological issues of how to discuss architects of national importance in the face of the absence of an archive? Here contexts for the Burtons' activities are created using a range of material set against the contemporary social and political map. This approach places emphasis on the works themselves which have their own identity as part of the emerging metropolis. In this way the architect can be defined by the metropolis rather than the traditional approach of the metropolis being defined by the architects who constructed it.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: The architect and the metropolis: The work of James and Decimus Burton in London and Dublin, c. 1800-1840
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Some third party copyright material has been removed from this e-thesis.
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10084311
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