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.

Articles

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  • Cultural Travel
  • Heritage
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Think Tanks and Beauty Myth

How Right think tanks influence the beauty debate
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Utrecht Paradise not a parking lot
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London’s Problem Monuments

The contestation of the capital’s memorial landscape
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Lizzy Line Opens

The Long awaited verdict
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Is Putin Targeting Culture?

Ethics of Cultural Protection
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Enigma Wrapped Up in a Riddle

Bletchley Park’s problem with interpretation
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Why Monuments Matter

An introduction to Monumental Lies
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Western Arrogance on Parade 

Robert’s contribution to David Chipperfield’s guest edit
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Herzog & De Meuron’s RCA building 
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A think piece for Elle Deco’s travel supplement 
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Bridge Across Time

English Heritage’s new span to Tintagel
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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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