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Accepting PhD Students


Research output per year

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Personal profile

Research interests

I am Senior Lecturer in Architectural History and Theory in the Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering. My principal research area is twentieth-century architecture in Britain, in which I take a primarily social historical approach.

I am currently working on an architectural and social historical biography of the important British (and especially Welsh) practice of Sir Percy Thomas from its inception in 1912 until the beginning of the twenty-first century. They were architects of Swansea Guildhall and other notable civic buildings throughout Britain in the 1930s; most campuses of the University of Wales in the 1950s and 60s; and the Birmingham International Convention Centre, amongst many other notable landmarks of modernity in Britain.

My previous project was about post-war British Roman Catholic church architecture, in which I investigated the relationships between architecture (including the development of modernism), the historical changes associated with the liturgy around Vatican II, and the social aspects of parishes and urbanism in the period. The culmination of this work was my book, Building the Modern Church: Roman Catholic Church Architecture in Britain, 1955 to 1975 (Ashgate/Routledge, 2014). This project was funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art and Architecture, during my previous post as Lecturer at the Mackintosh School of Architecture, Glasgow School of Art. I continue to publish new research in the subject, as well as working with academic networks to support wider research in the same area.

A second approach in my research is a continuing interest in creative methods in architectural design informed by cultural theory, which I have explored in several other publications.  

I have also previously researched and written on late-nineteenth and early-twentieth-century French architecture and design, including Art Nouveau, from similar perspectives. This included a British Academy funded project on the relationship between the architect Rene Binet and the evolutionary biologist Ernst Haeckel.

I teach Architectural History and Theory on various Architecture courses in the Department, and run the MArch Research Paper (dissertation) unit. I also supervise dissertations on the MSc course in Conservation of Historic Buildings. I have supervised several PhD students to completion and examined others; see below for further details. Please get in touch with me directly at an early stage if you are interested in beginning a PhD.

Willing to supervise PhD

If you are a prospective student, you are welcome to contact me directly to discuss your interests, and if appropriate I can give advice on your application. I am able to supervise PhDs in a broad range of subjects in Architectural History and Theory, but I especially welcome anyone interested in the following subjects:

- twentieth century architecture;

- architecture, religion and society;

- politics, government and state-funded architecture;

- commerce, economics and buildings;

- nineteenth century architecture.

Previous PhD topics supervised to completion include mid-twentieth century housing in British new towns, and Scottish town halls since the early nineteenth century.

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy, University of Cambridge

Master of Arts, University of Edinburgh

External positions

External Examiner for Architectural History, University of Edinburgh

1 Oct 2017 → …

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Research Output

Building the Modern Church: Roman Catholic Church Architecture in Britain, 1955 to 1975

Proctor, R. W., 2014, Abingdon: Routledge. 412 p. (Ashgate Studies in Architecture)

Research output: Book/ReportBook

12 Citations (Scopus)
  • 37 Downloads (Pure)

    St John the Baptist, Rochdale; Our Lady and the First Martyrs, Bradford; St Peter-in-Chains, Ardrossan; St Paul, Glenrothes; St Bride, East Kilbride; St Patrick, Kilsyth; Marychurch, Hatfield; Practice Profile: Gillespie, Kidd & Coia

    Proctor, R., 7 Mar 2019, 100 Churches 100 Years. Charlton, S., Harwood, E. & Price, C. (eds.). London, U. K.: Batsford Ltd, p. 29, 45, 52, 74, 93, 98, 122, 191 8 p.

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


    Architecture, power and ritual in Scottish town halls, 1833-1973

    Author: O'Connor, S., 27 Jun 2017

    Supervisor: Proctor, R. (Supervisor)

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD