Matthew James Wells

Books



Survey, (Park Books, 2021)

Survey is the first in a new series of books that considers the image-making of architecture through its unique typologies of drawing.

All architecture begins with the survey. Whether roughly outlined in a sketchbook or carefully documented on a sheet of paper, the survey is a primary method for architects and artists to examine the condition, situation and boundary of the architectural site. This site is not just limited to individual buildings or landscapes. Instead surveys incorporate all aspects of the physical and intellectual world. As evidence, experiment or proposition, surveys have the potential to record, revise and invent. At a particular moment – in a drawing, sketch, or photograph – the survey gives the architect the possibility to look both to the past and to the future. Other surveys offer no site other than the architect themselves: their references, interests and desires to transform the existing conditions of their environment.


Modelling in the Metropolis: Architectural models in Nineteenth-Century London, (forthcoming, 2022)

Modelling in the Metropolis explores how as 19th-century London expanded, was rebuilt, and reconfigured, architectural models were central in the expectations and interactions between architects, politicians, and the wider public in local, national, and global settings. With the construction of new civic buildings, in private debates, and public exhibitions architectural models had a central part to play in the discussions surrounding the appearance of the contemporary city. In these settings the three reform acts of the 19th century provided a new context and a new series of concerns for the built environment that caused popular and professional debate. These debates often turned on the ability of a model to present an accurate idea of a completed building to the public.

While in their representations of historic landscapes, proposed buildings, and new methods of construction, models were also a key part of how audiences interacted with the built environment at the major international expositions of the 19th century. Similarly, models became a part of how new metropolitan museums were able to deliver public education to their visitors. Likewise, the expansion of new building codes and requirements in London facilitated a significant increase in building litigation and a new type of model emerged as a rhetorical tool for lawyers to use in the courtroom. Combined together the book uses models to present a new understanding of London, the built environment, and the socio-political role of architecture in the long 19th century.

Articles


2020.
‘Work and Leisure in One Building: Norman Foster, Bürolandschaft, and the High-Tech Conception of Work, 1964–75’, Journal of Civic Architecture (2020)

2018.
‘The Royal Academy Exhibition of 1847’, in M. Hallett, S. Turner and J. Feather, eds. The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition 1769-2018, Paul Mellon Centre / Royal Academy

2017.
‘Architectural Models and the Rebuilding of the Royal Exchange, 1839 – 1844.’ Architectural History Vol. 60 (2017)

2016.
‘The practice of history: the Smithsons, Colin St John Wilson, and the writing of architectural history’, Journal of Art Historiography Vol. 14 (June 2016)

2015.
‘False Evidence: The Production of Drawings on behalf of Bramante in the 20th Century’, San Rocco Vol. 11 (Autumn 2015)


Chapters in Edited Books



‘Carpenters and Craftsmen, Architects and Collectors: A Short History of the Architectural Model’, in Living with Architecture as Art (2020) pp.64-81

‘Mock-up: Working at 1:1’ in Fragments (2020) pp.33-38


Reviews


2020.
‘Book Review: Edward J. Gillin, The Victorian Palace of Science’, Architectural History Vol. 63 (2020)

‘Book Review: Torsten Schmiedeknecht and Andrew Peckham, eds., Modernism and the Professional Architecture Journal’, Architectural Histories (Summer 2020)

‘Design Tool, Book review review of M. Mindrup, The Architectural Model in Architecture Today (April 2020)

2018.
Review: ‘Mari Lending, Plaster Monuments: Architecture and the Power of Reproduction’, The Burlington Magazine (May 2018)

2017.
Review: ‘Mies van der Rohe and James Stirling: Circling the Square’, JSAH Vol. 76, No.4 (December 2017)

‘Barcelona Bricolage: Sala Beckett by Flores Prats’, Architecture Today (April 2017)

2016.
Review: ‘RA Summer Exhibition’, Building Design (June 2016)

2015.
Review: ‘F. Gonzalez de Canales and N. Ray, Rafael Moneo: Building, Teaching, Writing, Architecture Today (December 2015)

Review: ‘Alexander Calder: Performing Sculpture’, Building Design (November 2015) ‘Palladian Design – the Good, the Bad and the Unexpected’, Building Design (September 2015)

2014.
‘Book Review: A Few Years of Writing by Robert Maxwell’, Building Design (August 2014)

‘Book Review: Building Seagram by Phyllis Lambert’, Building Design (May 2014)

2013.
‘Book Review: Le Corbusier: An Atlas of Modern Landscapes’, Building Design (August 2013)