Writing and research

Monumental Lies: Culture Wars and the Truth about the Past

Robert’s recent book Monumental Lies: Culture Wars and the Truth about the Past is proving a critical success. The book examines the politicisation of the historic environment and reminds us why material evidence matters so much. It has been a book of the year in the Financial Times,  the Art Newspaper and elsewhere. Robert is undertaking a tour of US universities and the Getty this September. A paperback edition will follow.

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“One of the most compelling progressive voices in the heritage world ... Using his nuanced knowledge of architectural history, he is attempting to unpick some of the myths and straight lies deployed when architecture is weaponised.”
– Eddie Blake, Tribune
“From statues of slave traders to pictures of medieval town centres offered as evidence of "cultural superiority", architecture and public art are everywhere in a coarsened discourse. Robert Bevan...navigates the territory delicately and brilliantly”
“This close reading of the city is a potent response to the culture wars because it deals in precisely the historical honesty that culture warriors have no stomach for. Righteous but always nuanced, Bevan is the perfect guide to the way urban iconography distorts history and entrenches power.”
– Justin McGuirk, Senior Curator, Design Museum

Robert writes internationally about architecture, cities, heritage and cultural travel. He is the architecture critic for the London Evening Standard.

He has previously been editor of Building Design and the architecture critic for two other daily newspapers The Australian and the Australian Financial Review. He has written for design, art and travel magazines around the world as well as for national bodies such as Historic England.

"Passionate, original…he writes with powerful eloquence.”

Neil Ascherson – author

Robert is the author of essays and books including The Destruction of Memory: Architecture at War (2006/2015) and is a member of (ICOMOS), the body that advises UNESCO on world heritage. He has qualifications in architecture, planning, urban design and journalism, and experience in both news and features. 

For Robert Bevan, it is all about having a strong sense of place; this is what connects his work as a writer, architectural historian and consultant. He can critique a city’s newest architecture, research its history, reveal its symbolic meaning or set out its appeal to today’s cultural traveller.

Among the many other titles Robert has written for are: Guardian, Times, Sunday Times, Observer magazineSydney Morning Herald, The EconomistArt NewspaperArchitectural Review, and Wallpaper*/Wallpaper* City Guides.


More articles

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  • Architecture
  • Cultural Travel
  • Heritage
TLS Englishness Image

Beowulf to Steampunk

TLS reviews on Englishness and place
Garrison Church

A Church and its Lies

Potsdam’s Garrison Church rises from the grave
Colonial Baroque

Empire of Domes

TLS review on the English Colonial Baroque

Truth to Power – on a Budget

Lesley Loko’s Venice Biennale 2023
Leeds Pool


Leeds’ Unique Housing Legacy 
1_Apollo James II

Apollo on Monumental Lies

“A knowledgeable and thought-provoking intervention.”
Charles 3

Charles III: Misguided at best

The king’s love of the traditional has ideological impacts
Military Heritage

Military-Heritage Complex

The uneasy relationship between armies and cultural protection
Coleman Pic

Dystopia on Trial

On the death of Alice Coleman
BD review ML

“Nine brilliant and well-informed chapters”

Emma Dent Coad MP on Monumental Lies
Dezeen Beauty Myth

Think Tanks and Beauty Myth

How Right think tanks influence the beauty debate

Dutch Courage

Utrecht Paradise not a parking lot
ES London Statues

London’s Problem Monuments

The contestation of the capital’s memorial landscape
Elizabeth Line

Lizzy Line Opens

The Long awaited verdict
Ukraine 1

Is Putin Targeting Culture?

Ethics of Cultural Protection

Enigma Wrapped Up in a Riddle

Bletchley Park’s problem with interpretation
Vesro Blog 1

Why Monuments Matter

An introduction to Monumental Lies
Domus Image

Western Arrogance on Parade 

Robert’s contribution to David Chipperfield’s guest edit

Object Lessons

Herzog & De Meuron’s RCA building 
Elle Design

Rise of the Design Destination

A think piece for Elle Deco’s travel supplement 

Bridge Across Time

English Heritage’s new span to Tintagel
Greenwich Desing Nov21

Greenwich Design District 

The Little District that Could
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Monumental Lies

Robert’s recent book Monumental Lies: Culture Wars and the Truth about the Past is proving a critical success. The book examines the politicisation of the historic environment and reminds us why material...


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