John McKean is a Scottish architect, historian and critic living in England and Italy.
He studied architecture in Glasgow where he was born, and the history and theory of architecture with Dalibor Vesely and Joseph Rykwert at Essex University. As a teacher, he ran studios in the architecture and interiors courses at East London (now UEL), North London (now London Met) and, since 1990, in Brighton. Prior to this he taught criticism at the Architectural Association, design history at Middlesex University, and architectural design in Colombo, Sri Lanka. For 12 years from 1996 he was Professor of Architecture at the University of Brighton, England.
He is the author of various award-winning books and many essays on architecture from classical Greece to today, but mostly his subjects were episodes in Nineteenth and Twentieth Century architectural design until he was commissioned a few years ago to produce a completely new scheme, and then text, for the a 21st Century version of the magisterial Banister Fletcher’s History of Architecture.
A regular critic over many years, he has published in The Architects’ Journal (where he was a technical and then news editor for some years), Architectural Design, The Architectural Review, Architèse, Building Design, Places, RIBA Journal, Spazio e Società. He has discussed architects and architecture on a range of BBC and Channel 4 TV programmes and on radio in Britain. More extensive information is found at johnmckean.co.uk
Books and book chapters, chronologically:
“Leicester University Engineering Building” (2010), Jim Stirling and the Red Trilogy, Three Radical Buildings, ed Alan Berman, Frances Lincoln
“The Invisible Column of The Crystal Palace” (2008), La Colonne – nouvelle histoire de la construction, ed Roberto Gargiani, Lausanne (Suisse): Presses polytechniques et universitaires romandes
“Glasgow: from «Universal» to «Regionalist» City and beyond, 1860 – 1900”, (2008) Sources of Regionalism in Nineteenth Century Architecture, Art and Literature, eds. Linda Van Santvoort, Tom Verschaffel and Jan De Meyer, Leuven (Belgium): Leuven University Press
“The English university of the 1960s: built community, model universe” (2007), The Man-Made Future: Planning, Education and Design in the Mid-20th Century, ed. Iain Boyd Whyte, London: Routledge
“Giancarlo De Carlo et l’experience politique de la participation” (2006), La Modernite Critique, autour du CIAM 9, d’Aix-en-Provence – 1953, ed. Jean-Lucien Bonillo Claude Massu, Daniel Pinson, Marseille: editions Imberton
“Gold Standard” (2005), Norman Foster Works 2, ed. David Jenkins, Prestel, Munich, Berlin, London, New York, 2005, pp 466-469
Layered Places: Giancarlo De Carlo (2004) Stuttgart/London: Edition Axel Menges
Giancarlo De Carlo: Des Lieux, Des Hommes (2004), Translated Pierre Camus, Paris: Centre Pompidou catalogue
“Historical Studies and Architectural Criticism” (2001), Towards a Disciplinary Identity of the Making Professions, ed. Halina Dunin-Woyseth and Jan Michl, Oslo School of Architecture, Oslo.
The Royal Festival Hall (2001) Phaidon Press Limited, London, (New edition, with additional chapter)
“Foster’s Gold Standard” and “The Sainsbury Centre” (2000), Foster On… On Foster, ed. David Jenkins, Prestel, Munich, London New York
Charles Rennie Mackintosh : Architect, artist, icon (2000; second ed 2001)
Lomond Books, Edinburgh, Voyageur Press, USA
Charles Rennie Mackintosh (1999) Lomond Books, Edinburgh
«Epistemology or Who is the Architect?» (1998), Architecture and Teaching: Epistemological Foundations/Architecture et Enseignement: Fondements épistémologiques, Les Cahiers de l’enseignement de l’architecture/Transactions on Architectural Education, No. 02, Geneva
Charles Rennie Mackintosh Pocket Guide (1998, many subsequent editions)
Colin Baxter Photography Ltd, Grantown-on-Spey
‘Carlo Scarpa’ and ‘Ancient Greece’ (1997) substantial essays in J. Banham (Ed.), Encyclopaedia of Interior Design, Fitzroy Dearborn, London and Chicago
‘An Appraisal of The Royal Festival Hall’ (1996) P. Carolin and T. Dannatt (eds.) Architecture, Education and Research. The work of Leslie Martin: Papers and Selected Articles, Academy Editions, London
‘The Hill House’ (1996), W. Kaplan (ed.) Charles Rennie Mackintosh, (book and exhibition catalogue), Abbeville Press with the Metropolitan Museum (NY) and Glasgow Museums and Art Galleries (UK)
Leicester University Engineering Building by Stirling and Gowan (1994)
(republished 1999) Phaidon Press Limited, London, Japanese edition, 1995
‘Thomson’s City’ (1994, paperback 1999), S. McKinstry and G. Stamp (Eds.) ‘Greek’ Thomson, Edinburgh University Press
Crystal Palace (1994, republished 1999) Phaidon Press Limited, London, Japanese edition, 1995
The Royal Festival Hall (1992), Phaidon Press Limited, London
‘The History of Architecture and its Ideas 1750 – 1939’ (1991), The Illustrated Dictionary of Architects and Architecture, ed Dennis Sharp, Headline Publishing (UK), Whitney Library of Design (US)
‘The Royal Festival Hall: a case study (1991), Special issue of The Architects’ Journal, 9 October 1991
‘La Personalità di Glasgow: luci e ombre’ and ‘La città di Alexander Thomson’ (1991), R. Bocchi (ed.) Glasgow: Forma e Progetto della Citta, CLUVA/ CLUP (The University Presses of Venice and Milan), Italia
‘The Foster Process’ (1990; unpublished) 12,000 word study, commissioned by Foster Associates (Foster and Partners)
Places for Peace (1989), Architects for Peace (with GLC), London
Learning from Segal: Walter Segal’s Life, Work and Influence (Von Segal Lernen, Walter Segals Leben, Werk und Wirkung)(1989), Birkhæuser Verlag
‘Trabeated Essence and Frosted Glass’ (1984), Alexander ‘Greek’ Thomson(exhibition catalogue), The Architectural Association, London
‘Building Materials and Architectural Quality’ (1982) Principles of Architecture: Style, Structure and Design, Michael Foster (Editor) UK: Phaidon Press Ltd, USA: Excalibur (1983)
‘The First Era of Modern Architecture: A History 1780 – 1900’ (1977,1980), M. Raeburn (ed.) Architecture of the Western World, London : Orbis and New York : Rizzoli,1980, French edition1982, reprinted 1988
‘Essex University: A Case Study’ (1972) To be an Architectural Press book in 1971, but subsequently published as a special issue of The Architects’ Journal (20.8.1972) in a 30,000 word condensed version.