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.


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Me London

Can hi-tech architecture create the perfect hotel bedroom?

Iconoclasm as genocide warning

Attacks on buildings conveying cultural identity can be a warning of incipient ethnic cleansing or genocide. (more…)

World Heritage Convention at 40

Is the world heritage convention having a midlife crisis? Published as: World Heritage at 40: success or mess? in THE ART NEWSPAPER Number 240, November 2012
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Neues Museum, Berlin

David Chipperfield's masterpiece used Bevan's book, The Destruction of Memory as a guide to its critical reconstruction. (more…)


Racism is behind the fight against building minarets in the West.

The Destruction of Memory

One of the ten best architecture books says The Independent.  This analysis of attacks on architecture helped define a new field of study.
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9/11 Memorial

High finance and low politics undermines commemoration at Ground Zero.
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Common Ground

An essay on Islamophobia and the stand-off between heritage and the  avant-garde commissioned for a critical reader accompanying the 2012 Venice Biennale.

Heritage Journalism

Journalism about historic architecture and places and issues relating to material culture, including looting and provenance and human rights, is a consistent element of Robert Bevan's heritage advocacy.

Gehry’s architecture business

Gehry's business school in Sydney prioritises branding over architecture.

Tasmania’s cheekiest devil

MONA is part of the reinvention of Tasmania as a cultural and foodie destination. The Observer Magazine.
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National Gallery of Australia

The new Aboriginal wing makes a less than impressive entrance.
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Bubbling under

Snorkelling for beginners on the great, great, Great Barrier Reef.

Walking Wales

How to convince an Australian that Britain has beaches worth a look.

Art’s secret passage

The hidden Vasari corridor kept the Medici free from assassins. It was also a convenient place to hang a portrait or two.

Cairo the victorious

The city's ancient centre is as fascinating as the pyramids at its edge.


Vogue Living on the 2013 European Capital of Culture.
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Group Hygge

Copenhagen for the design traveller.

Cultural Genocide

Why culture should be central to the definition of genocide.

Art in the office

Durbach Block's creative HQ for Melbourne fashion maven and art patron Naomi Milgrom.
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Hepworth & Turner

Chipperfield's architectural double act. The Hepworth is a fine follow up to Berlin's Neues Museum.

North Bank South Bank

Australia's arts complexes under the spotlight.
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Lightbulb moments

Changing a light bulb is easier than building a green power plant but the new globes bring their own problems.


Singapore finest. WOHA profiled in The Australian's Wish magazine. (more…)


Sydney and Melbourne's architectural cultures go head-to-head
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Zaha Hadid

The diva of decon's first Australian interview.
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Design scene: Copenhagen

An architectural travel guide to design central.
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Thomas Heatherwick

The inventor behind the Olympic torch.

Bushfire House

You dont have to build concrete bunkers to balance risk and fire safety.

Brooklyn’s design scene

America's fourth largest city has become the hipster heart of art and design.