Matthew James Wells
Curriculum vitae

Matthew James Wells teaches the history and theory of architecture at the gta Institute, ETH Zurich, in the Chair of Prof. Dr Laurent Stalder. He is an architectural historian who works on the relationships between representational techniques, technology, and professionalism in the built environment of the nineteenth and twentieth century.

He undertook his doctoral work at the Victoria & Albert Museum and the Royal College of Art, where his thesis explored how architects thought about and used models during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Any previous study of architectural models by scholars has tended to focus on presentation models connected with major projects or the conceptual significance placed on the technique by specific architects. Counter to this his research used models to explore the values embodied by various cultural, social, and political institutions throughout the long nineteenth century. The thesis was awarded the Theodor-Fischer-Preis (2019) and commended in the RIBA President's Awards for Research (2017). He is currently working on a monograph based on the research, provisionally titled ‘Modelling the Metropolis: Architectural models and the professional practice of the architect in London, 1834-1916’.

He studied architecture in Liverpool and London and worked as architect in the offices of Patrick Lynch (2010-12) and Eric Parry (2014-15). Dr Wells obtained his Masters in the History of Art from the Courtauld Institute (2014). Prior to his appointment at ETH Zürich he has taught at the universities of Kingston, Liverpool, and Nottingham. Recently his writing has been published in Architectural History, the Burlington Magazine, the JSAH, the Journal of Art Historiography, and San Rocco.


2019-. Lecturer, Institute for the History and Theory of Architecture (gta), ETH Zürich
2018-. Postdoctoral assistant, Chair for the Theory of Architecture, Prof. Dr. Laurent Stalder, ETH Zürich
2015-. Lecturer in the History and Theory of Architecture, Kingston School of Art
2016. Visiting Lecturer, University of Nottingham
2015-16. Visiting Lecturer, CASS School of Architecture, Art, and Design
2013-14. Lecturer in Architecture, University of Liverpool


2018. PhD, Victoria & Albert Museum / Royal College of Art
2015. Dipl. Professional Practice (RIBA Part III) University of Westminster
2014. MA History of Art, Courtauld Institute of Art
2013. MArch. CASS School of Architecture, Art, and Design
2010. BA Architecture, University of Liverpool

Grants and Awards

2019. Theodor-Fischer-Preis, Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte, Munich
2017. RIBA President’s Awards for Research, RIBA
2015-18. AHRC CDP PhD Scholarship, Victoria & Albert Museum/Royal College of Art
2012. London Metropolitan University Scholarship
2010. Anderson Bursary, University of Liverpool
2010. Sikorski Prize for Drawing, University of Liverpool