Research project



There is widespread disagreement about what quality in architecture is, and how it can be measures and achieved.

Formerly grounded in values of craftsmanship – in the skilled making of things – ‘quality’ is now associated with the management of administrative or technical processes. Whereas its appreciation was once based in the exercise of individual judgement and taste, increasingly it is founded on supposedly objective systems of evaluation.

Practitioners of design are under pressure to quantify quality, but it is questionable whether it is possible or even desirable to do so. This important and highly topical issue lies at the heart of this edited volume which grew out of the ‘Quality’ conference held at the Welsh School of Architecture in July 2007. The book considers how, in architectural and cultural practices, ‘quality’ is defined, evaluated, managed, and constructed. It is organised around issues of appreciation, production, belief and  measure. Quality out of Controlincludes contributions from some of today’s leading architectural commentators including Catherine Belsey,  Adam Caruso, David Leatherbarrow, Sunand Prasad, Marc Treib and Richard Weston.

The book’s contents are as follows:


Allison Dutoit, Juliet Odgers and Adam Sharr

Part One: Appreciation

  1. Landscapes of Experience
    Adam Caruso
  2. Even Pavements in Verona are Marble: John Ruskin, Adrian Stokes and the Stones of Verona
    Stephen Kite
  3. Taste
    Flora Samuel

Part Two: Production

  1. Designing in Quality
    Juliet Odgers and Flora Samuel
  2. Assessing Design Quality in Architectural Education
    Helena Webster
  3. Leslie Martin and the Science of Architectural Form
    Adam Sharr
  4. Ugly Little Angels Revisited
    Matthew Cohen
  5. Passion and Control: Lewerentz and a Mortar Joint
    Mhairi McVicar

Part Three: Belief

  1. Necessary Qualifications: Design Before, During, and After Construction
    David Leatherbarrow
  2. Simplicity and Belief
    Marc Treib
  3. Stirling’s Worth: The Quality of the Florey Building
    Igea Troiani

Part Four: Measure

  1. Water and the Historicity of Perception: The  New Royal Baths at Bath.
    Juliet Odgers
  2. The Qualia of Architectural Experience: On Sullivan, Szarowski, Autobiographies and Ideas
    Hugh Campbell
  3. The Architect’s Signature as a Sign of Quality
    Paul Emmons
  4. Quality beyond Measure: Architecture in the Lacanian Account of Culture
    Catherine Belsey


Theodore Landrum


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