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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Eileen Gray

Can a house have a £MeToo moment? Restoring Eileen Gray’s pioneering house


Extending the canvas. Tate Modern’s towering extension.

Gobelki Tepe

The world’s oldest temple. Did architecture begin here?

The Meaning of Mali

Heritage and human rights. The Meaning of Mali
Jamie Fobert

Jamie Fobert

An architect in the cultural moment
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House for Essex

First look inside Grayson Perry and FAT's fantasia.


Title: Weimarana Subtext: Does the new Bauhaus museum have unintended bite?
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BIG profile

Denmark's hottest architectural export profiled in the Evening Standard.
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Terror and the city

After the Paris attacks: Does modernism lead to terrorism.
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Caruso St John

Tuesday 29 September 2015 The practice profiled on the opening of the Newport St Gallery
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Heritage and human rights

Why it is vital to link the two. Op Ed for the Evening Standard.
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Is art worth a life?

The story behind the film. For The Times of London
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From Ruth Glass to Spike Lee

The origins of gentrification. For The Guardian
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Jan Gehl on cycling cities

Bevan interviews the pioneering urban designer for Mondial
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New Whitney

Piano's new Whitney Museum is a dull affair, writes Bevan in the Architectural Review
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A tale of two towers

London's towers compared for the launch of the Architects' Journal Skyline campaign
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New intelligence

Architecture in the post parametric age for Intelligent Life
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Nouveau riches

Inside Brussels' art nouveau and deco splendours
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Bath’s return to source

England's spa city is rediscovering its original purpose.
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Lyon heart

Lyon has many wonders but a few blunders too.
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How the Dutch port is reinventing its images using architecture
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Gormley’s ROOM

Staying at The Beaumont in Mayfair can put you in an entirely new headspace.
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Mo Flo

What to do in Firenze when you're over the Renaissance.

Wallpaper City Guide

Robert's Wallpaper* City Guide to the pocket-sized Slovenian capital Ljubljana is out early 2014

Target Heritage

From Mali to Bangladesh and beyond, ideology is making a target of cultural heritage.

Spanish netherlands

Cruz y Ortiz's remodelling of the Rijksmuseum has many qualities but has it solved the museum's basic problems?

Rock of ages

Ethiopia's rock churches at Lalibela are the living heart of an ancient religion

True Gritti

The legendary Venetian hotel has been remade using the lagoon's singular craft traditions

A New Amsterdam

No sex please we're Dutch, says The Observer. The Rijksmuseum is the heart of a cultural strategy for the city.

All that is solid melts

The Louvre in Lens brings a shine to a former spoil tip in northern France