Richard's research is focussed on the architecture, landscapes, infrastructure and urbanism of post-war Britain. He is especially interested in the role of state actors and their influence on the built environment. The post-war British state saw an increase in policy designed to guide and legislate for development as well as the nationalisation of industry, utlilities and transportation. As such, vast swathes of urban and rural space were informed by the activities and structures of the state, from central government in Whitehall, through to county, borough and district councils. Methodologically, Richard uses the lenses of the state and mainstream modernism to capture and contextualise that moment, from some point in the mid-1950s, when all architecture became ‘modern’. Neo-Georgian and Neoclassical styles seemingly evaporated and, in a wave of sweeping modernisation, towns and cities across Britain were reshaped. Much of this production was ultimately derided and cast as ugly or unimportant. Much actually went unrecorded and unpublished. It is Richard's assertion that mainstream modern architecture has a lot to say about the society in which it was realised - mainstream modernism can narrate many broader social, cultural, economic and political histories.
- Advisor to the Manchester Modernist Society
- Member C20 Society
- Member The Society of Architectural Historians of Great Britain
- Member European Architectural History Network
- Member Architectural Humanities Research Association
The Landscapes and Architecture of Post-War British Infrastructure
In 2019, with Dr Luca Csepely-Knorr, Richard convened the conference, The Landscapes and Architecture of Post-War British Infrastructure. Supported by a grant from the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, with keynote addresses from Elain Harwood and Hal Moggridge, the conference was attended by over 200 academics, aficionados and practitioners, with an attendant field visit to Heysham Nuclear Power Station. The conference brought together 16 international scholars and opened new discourse about the design and socio-cultural impact of Britain's post-war modernisation project. Frequently overlooked objects and landscapes were explored at numerous scales and with focus on their capacity as networks to organise space and extend urban fields. The conference led to a special issue of The Modernist magazine and was the beginning of a new research network led by Richard and Luca now developed with support from the AHRC.
The Architecture of Borderlands SAHGB 2022 Symposium
16, 17 and 20 May 2022
Co-hosted by Queen’s University Belfast and Manchester School of Architecture
Conference panels convened by Professor Gary Boyd, Dr Karin Elliott, Professor Richard Brook and Dr Luca Csepely-Knorr
Expert reviewer for journals and publishers
Invited Peer Reviewer – Planning Perspectives (Journal)
Invited Peer Reviewer – Building Material: The Journal of the Architecture Association of Ireland
Invited Peer Reviewer – Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians (University of California Press)
2020. AHRC Landscape Decision Making £80819. Principal Investigator. The Landscapes of Post-War Infrastructure: Cooling Down
2019. AHRC Landscape Decision Making £36423. Principal Investigator. The Landscapes of Post-War Infrastructure: Culture, Amenity, Heritage and Industry
2019. Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art £10000. Post-doctoral Fellowship. The Renewal of Post-War Manchester: Architecture, Planning and the State
2018. Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art £3000. Co-Investigator. The Landscape and Architecture of Post War British Infrastructure. Conference. Feb. 2019.
2018. MMU International Network Fund £3000. Co-Investigator. The Landscape and Architecture of Post War Infrastructure. International Symposium on Post War Infrastructure. Feb. 2019.
2017. AHRC/EPSRC Immersive Experiences £54048. Principal Investigator. The Life of Buildings. www.thelifeofbuildings.org.uk
2017. Heritage Lottery Fund (in collaboration with The Modernist Society). £4500. Further £9500 crowdfunded via IndieGoGo. Manchester Modern (Book).
2016. Commercial sponsorship (Bruntwood, BDP, Hawkins\Brown) £1500. Making Post-war Manchester: Visions of an Unmade City. Exhibition and catalogue.
2015. University of Manchester SEED Workshop and Conference Panel Support £2750. Mapping the Historical Geographies of Higher Education in Greater Manchester. Funding for one-day symposium and special issue journal.
2013. Manchester Statistical Society, Campion Fund £3300. The Making of Post-War Manchester 1945-74: Plans and projects. Funding for one day symposium and edited book production.
2012. MIRIAD at MMU £1000. Funding towards Infra_MANC exhibition and catalogue.
2010. North West Development Agency £3000. Innovation Voucher to work with Emerge Recycling to develop design solutions.
2009. North West Development Agency £3000. Innovation Voucher to work with Emerge Recycling to assess their estate and future strategic property development.
2009. MIRIAD at MMU £2000. Funding for field research in New York and Madrid for book - Urban Maps.
2007. RIBA Modern Architecture + Town Planning Trust £5000. A selective examination of the modern and modernist architecture of Greater Manchester.
Csepely-Knorr, L., Brook, R., 2022. Landscapes of Post-War Infrastructure: Culture, Amenity, Heritage and Industry, National Coal Mining Museum, 9/4/2022 - 2/10/2022.
Brook, R., 2018. Drawing the Modern: The work of Gordon Hodkinson and post-war architectural education in Manchester, Special Collections Gallery, Manchester Metropolitan University, 10/9/2018 - 5/4/2019.
Brook, R., 2016. Making Post-War Manchester: Visions of an Unmade City, Manchester Technology Centre, 3/6/2016 - 24/6/2016.
Millington, S., Hale, J., Steele, M., Brook, R., 2014. Sci.Eng.50, Grosvenor Gallery Annex, 23/10/2014 - 21/11/2014.
Brook, R., 2012. Infra_MANC. Post-war Mancunian Infrastructures, CUBE Gallery & RIBA Hub. Manchester, 24/2/2012 - 23/3/2012.
Dunn, N. and Brook, R., 2009. Shaping the Future: Heritage Open Days, Town Hall, Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, 10-13 September 2009.
team-bau, 2009. State Legacy, Cornerhouse and Grosvenor Gallery, Manchester, 2nd April - 8th May 2009.
Brook, R., Csepely-Knorr, L., 2021. 'You Love Me Really: Journeys Through Landscapes of Post-War Infrastructure', bauprint, Manchester.
Brook, R., Dodge, M., Hogg, J., 2020. 'Cold War Cities Politics, Culture and Atomic Urbanism, 1945-1965', Routledge.
Brook, R., 2018. 'Cwmbran (From the Archives)', The Modernist Society, Manchester.
Brook, R., 2018. 'Hulme (From the Archives)', The Modernist Society.
Brook, R., 2018. 'Hyde Park (From the Archives)', The Modernist Society.
Brook, R., 2018. 'Peterlee (From the Archives)', The Modernist Society.
Brook, R., 2018. 'Runcorn (From the Archives)', The Modernist Society.
Brook, R., 2018. 'Skelmersdale (From the Archives)', The Modernist Society.
Brook, R., 2017. 'Manchester Modern', The Modernist Society.
Brook, R., Dunn, N., 2013. 'Urban Maps Instruments of Narrative and Interpretation in the City', Ashgate Publishing, Ltd..
Brook, R., Dodge, M., 2012. 'Infra_MANC Post-war Infrastructures of Manchester : the Catalogue of Infra_MANC. An Exhibition at the RIBA Hub/CUBE Gallery, Portland Street Manchester from 27th February - 17th March 2012'.
Brook, R., Dunn, N., 2009. 'Isolative Urbanism An Ecology of Control'.
Mills, G., Fitzpatrick, J., Chadwick D., O'Donnell, C., Islam A., Ellis D., Brown F.,, 2001. 'Manchester Architecture Papers', The Manchester School of Architecture.
Brook, R., Hardacre, S., 2021. 'In Touch With Tomorrow'. In In Touch With Tomorrow, The Modernist Society.
Brook, R., 2020. 'Gutter Snipe'. In Gutter Snipe, Mike Ballard.
Brook, R., 2018. 'Belgrade'. In Rhead, E., Hale, J. (eds.) Adventures in the Land of Modernism, pp. 78-90, The Modernist Society.
Brook, R., 2016. 'Mainstream Modern'. In Neate, H., Craggs, R. (eds.) Modern Futures, Uniformbooks.
Brook, R., Dunn, N., 2009. 'The Control of Space: mediating fear in the urban condition'. In Isolative Urbanism, bauprint, Manchester.
Brook, R., 2008. 'Learning Lessons: Post-war architecture of the universities'. In Manchester School of Architecture (eds.) MSA2 Yearbook 2008, 33-36, MSA.
Brook, R., 2010. 'Manchester Modern: The Shape of the City'.
Brook, R., 2020. 'High Sunderland', https://preserving-womersley.net/work/High-Sunderland-100.
Brook, R., 2014. 'Helicopter dreaming: the unrealised plans for city centre heliports in the post-war period', http://www.bcu.ac.uk/Download/Asset/f196b924-0666-4194-b34c-e2388e71463a.
Brook, R., 2014. 'Trying to close the loop: post-war ring roads in Manchester', http://www.bcu.ac.uk/Download/Asset/cd53b53d-be5a-49c8-aea0-ab0d9182b635.
Brook, R., 2009. 'The Hollaway Wall', http://www.c20society.org.uk/botm/hollaway-wall-manchester/.
Brook, R., 2020. 'The National Computing Centre', Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, 79 (4), pp. 438-458.
Brook, R., 2018. 'Roger Booth, Lancashire County Architect, 1962-83.', The Journal of the Twentieth Century Society (C20), 13, pp. 130-145.
Dodge, M., Brook, R., 2014. 'Dreams of Helicopter Travel in the 1950s and Liverpool's Undeveloped Plans for a City Centre Heliport', Transactions of the Historic Society of Lancashire and Cheshire, 163, pp. 111-125.
Brook, R., Dodge, M., 2014. 'The Guardian Underground Telephone Exchange', Lancashire & Cheshire Antiquarian Society Transactions, 108, pp. 20-55.
Brook, R., 2012. 'Building as Sign: Architecture in the Image Economy', The International Journal of the Image, 1 (4), pp. 67-82.
Non-Peer Reviewed Articles
Brook, R., 2021. 'Levelling Up: The Aerial Environments of Wilson Womersley', The Modernist, 40, pp. 28-31.
Brook, R., 2021. 'Machining the Moors', The Modernist, 41.
Csepely-Knorr, L., Brook, R., Coucill, L., 2020. 'Why the Landscapes of Post-War Infrastructure Matter', Landscape. The Journal of the Landscape Institute, Spring 2020, pp. 6-11.
Brook, R., 2018. 'Parts of a whole. Peter Womersley - the elements and unity of the Nuffield Transplantation Surgery Unit.', The Modernist, 26, pp. 42-47.
Brook, R., 2016. 'Concrete Junglists', The Modernist, 20, pp. 18-21.
Brook, R., 2015. 'Cold War Concrete: Engineering the Airwaves', The Modernist, 14, pp. 30-33.
Brook, R., 2014. 'Expo[sed]', The Modernist, 13, pp. 32-37.
Brook, R., 2014. 'Mancunian Way', Architektur in Gebrauch, 3, pp. 3-8.
Brook, R., 2013. 'For all the right reasons', The Modernist, 8, pp. 16-19.
Brook, R., 2013. 'From Bold to Belligerent', The Modernist, 9, pp. 24-25.
Brook, R., 2012. 'Police Brutality', The Modernist, 4, pp. 12-15.
Brook, R., 2011. 'A Hidden Chapel', Greater Manchester Churches Preservation Society, Winter 2011/12, pp. 9-9.
Brook, R., 2011. 'Boldly Gone', The Modernist, pp. 10-11.
Brook, R., 2011. 'Hard Brilliance', The Modernist, 2, pp. 14-15.
Brook, R., 2011. 'Manchester', C20 The magazine of the Twentieth Century Society, Autumn 2011, pp. 18-19.
Brook, R., 2011. 'Manchester Chapels', C20 The Magazine of the Twentieth Century Society, Spring 2011.
Brook, R., 2009. 'Church Ceramics', Glazed Expressions, pp. 16-17.
Brook, R., 2009. 'Post-war Academic Buildings in Manchester', A. Architecture and Built Environment, pp. 16-23.
Brook, R., 2009. 'Underley Hall Chapel, Kirkby Lonsdale', C20 The Magazine of the Twentieth Century Society, Autumn 2009, pp. 17-17.
Brook, R., 2008. 'St. Augustine's Church, Manchester', The Magazine of the Twentieth Century Society, Spring 2008, pp. 12-12.
Brook, R., 2021. '1974: 'Crisis in Architecture' and the Last Gasp of Municipal Modernism', The Urban History Group Annual Conference Cities, Crisis and Change, 1600 to the Present, Online, 9/6/2021 - 11/6/2021.
Brook, R., 2021. 'Tracing Urban Manchester: Palimpsests of Post-war Planning', Histories of Urban Design: Global Trajectories and Local Realities, ETH Zurich, 15/11/2021 - 17/11/2021, in No.
Brook, R., Csepely-Knorr, L., 2020. 'Land.Arch.Infra: Synergies between teaching and research', Architecture Media Politics Society (AMPS) virtual conference, Online - Manchester, 4/12/2020 - 4/12/2020.
Brook, R., 2019. 'Building Knowledge, building buildings: Cold War Computing Clusters in the North-West', The Place of Industry: SMG Research Conference, Science and Industry Museum, Manchester, 4/11/2019 - 5/11/2019.
Brook, R., 2019. 'Scammonden: Landscape Co-production in the Motorway Age', The Landscape and Architecture of Post-War British Infrastructure, Manchester School of Art, 15/2/2019 - 15/2/2019.
Brook, R., 2018. 'Infrastructure as object and producer', SHU Space & Place conference - Investigating Infrastructure, Sheffield Hallam University, 13/6/2018 - 13/6/2018.
Brook, R., 2017. 'Regionality: agency and authorship in architecture. The story of the National Computing Centre - White Heat, False Logic.', SAHGB Annual Symposium 2017 Beyond 'By': Towards an inclusive architectural history, London School of Economics, 3/6/2017 - 3/6/2017.
Brook, R., 2016. 'Roger Booth, Lancashire County Architect, 1962-83', Society of Architectural Historians of Great Britain, 2016 Annual Symposium, The Official Architect; missing chapters in the history of the profession, RIBA, Portland Place, London, 21/5/2016 - 21/5/2016.
Brook, R., Dunn, N., 2014. 'Between planning and network, the evolution of infrastructural architecture', RGS IBG Annual International Conference 2014, Royal Geographic Society, London, 26/8/2014 - 29/8/2014.
Brook, R., Jefferies, T., 2013. 'It's Just Juxtabridity', Association of American Geographers, Los Angeles, 9/4/2013 - 13/4/2013.
Brook, R., 2013. 'Renewal and Regionality: Cruickshank and Seward in Manchester', The Transformation of Urban Britain Since 1945, University of Leicester, Centre for Urban History, 9/7/2013 - 10/7/2013.
Brook, R., 2019. 'The Mancunian Way: techno-cultures of the post war', Bartlett, University College London.
Brook, R., 2019. 'The Materiality of Entropy', Social Surfaces 0161 Symposium, Manchester.
Brook, R., Tan, K., Edwards, B., 2018. 'Immersive Experiences: The Life of Buildings', College Court, Leicester.
Brook, R., 2017. 'Drawing the Modern: A viewing of the student work of Gordon Hodkinson', MMU Special Collections.
Brook, R., Dunn, N., 2017. 'Warp & Weft: Infrastructural Architecture and Volumetric Urbanism', The Chimney House, Kelham Island, Sheffield.
Brook, R., 2016. 'Grand Plans: Campus, Precinct and Parkland', Historical Geographies of Higher Education in Greater Manchester, Manchester Meeting Place, North Campus, University of Manchester, 9 November 2016.
Brook, R., 2016. 'Roger Booth. Lancashire County Architect, 1962-83.', Society of Architectural Historians of Great Britain, Annual Symposium, RIBA, Portland Place, London, 21 May 2016.
Brook, R., 2016. 'Visions of the Unmade City', Building Design Partnership, Ducie Street, Manchester.
Brook, R., Dodge, M., 2015. 'Cold War Urbanism: Histories of strategic plans, secure structures and technocratic politics', International Conference of Historical Geographers, Royal Geographic Society.
Brook, R. & Dunn, N., 2014. 'Between planning and network, the evolution of infrastructural architecture', RGS IBG Annual International Conference 2014, Royal Geographical Society, London, 26-29 August 2014.
Brook, R., 2014. 'Masterplanning Mobility: Mancunian Methods', Museum of Science and Industry, Manchester.
Brook, R., 2014. 'Oxford Road: the promise, planning and problems - Masterplanning progress: Technology, teaching and architecture', Central Reference Library, Manchester.
Brook, R. & Dodge, M., 2014. 'Secrecy, obscurity, security, obsession: The Guardian telecommunications bunker deep under Manchester city centre and Cold War urbanism', RGS IBG Annual International Conference 2014, Royal Geographical Society, London, 26-29 August 2014.
Brook, R., 2013. 'Manchester. The 59 year history of the inner relief route', Infrastructure and the rebuilt post-war city, Birmingham City University, 25 March 2013.
Brook, R., 2013. 'Manchester: Disconnected City', The making of post-war Manchester 1945-74: Plans and Projects, University of Manchester, 8 May 2013.
Brook, R., 2013. 'Renewal and Regionality: Cruickshank and Seward in Manchester', The Transformation of Urban Britain Since 1945, University of Leicester, Centre for Urban History, 9 - 10 July 2013.
Brook, R., 2013. 'The materiality of entropy: an application of order', Time, Space and the Body, Mercure Hotel, Sydney, AU., 11-13 February 2013.
Brook, R. and Dunn, N., 2011. 'Data Mining: Abstract Urban Topographies', Royal Geographical Society Annual International Conference 2011: The Geographical Imagination, Royal Geographical Society and Imperial College, London, 31 August - 2 September 2011.
Brook, R., 2009. 'Manchester Modern - Planning Policy & the Shape of the City', 20th Century Society NW Lecture, Manchester, 7th October 2009.
Brook, R., 2009. 'Modern Architecture + Planning in Manchester', American Institute of Architects UK: Urban Regeneration, Urbis, Manchester, UK, 23.04.09-26.04.09.
Dunn, N. and Brook, R., 2009. 'The City and The Control of Space', Metropolitan Desires: Cultural Reconfigurations of the European City Space, Manchester Metropolitan University, 8-9 September 2009.
Brook, R., 2020. 'An Infrastructural Landscape II'.
Brook, R., 2019. 'An Infrastructural Landscape'.
Brook, R., Rhead, I., 2019. 'From the Archives II'.
Brook, R., 2019. 'The Modernist: Infrastructure. 30'.
Brook, R., Chung, M., Dunn, N., Tyson, T., 2011. 'Emerge: Spatial Design Report', Commissioned report into formal design solutions for east Manchester recycling cooperative.
Brook, R., 2011. 'Manchester Modern', A curated set of photos for GMCRO from the Manchester Local Image Collection.
Dunn, N. and Brook, R., 2011. '[Re_Map]: the image of the urban landscape', Co-chaired conference session at the Royal Geographical Society Annual International Conference 2011: The Geographical Imagination.
Brook, R., 2010. 'Manchester Modern: The Shape of the City', Thesis submitted to the RIBA Library..
Tyson, N., Brook, R., Chung, M., & Dunn, N., 2009. 'Design Briefing Report for EMERGE Recycling Manchester'.