The Bartlett School of Architecture


Professor Jonathan Hill – 1958–2023

7 November 2023

The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL is deeply saddened to announce the death of Professor Jonathan Hill.

Image: Professor Jonathan Hill

Jonathan was Professor of Architecture and Visual Theory, and was one of the most impactful and long-standing members of the school. His creative and influential design, teaching, scholarship, writing and mentorship inspired and guided many generations of architects and academics during his 34-year career at UCL.

We send our heartfelt condolences to his wife and partner Dr Izabela Wieczorek, with whom he shared his love for architecture.

Jonathan joined UCL in 1989. Since his appointment, he has given UCL, the UK and his international architectural communities a unique set of teaching and research contributions, including his leadership of the Architecture MArch PG12 studio and his directorship of the Architectural Design MPhil/PhD programme, the first to be established in the UK and internationally recognised as one of the most influential doctoral programmes dedicated to architectural design. In previous years, Jonathan also led UCL’s accredited architectural programmes in the school by directing both the Architecture BSc and MArch and acting as Head of School and Director of Design.  
Jonathan's research has pioneered investigation of the relations between the design and experience of architecture, including The Illegal Architect (1998) and Actions of Architecture (2003), which argued that the user's experience of, and engagement with, architecture should be a central concern for architects. Weather Architecture (2012) considered the history of architecture as a history of weather, which sought to question the narrowly technocratic conception of the architect as problem solver and moderator of climatic performance, and identified weather as a creative architectural force alongside the designer and user. Associating the changing natural world with journeys in self-understanding, and the design process with a visual and spatial autobiography, A Landscape of Architecture, History and Fiction (2016) described journeys between London and the North Sea in successive centuries, analysing an enduring and evolving environmental tradition from the picturesque and romanticism to modernism.

Jonathan's most recent monograph, Architecture of Ruins (2019), identified an alternative history of architecture, from the sixteenth century to the twenty-first, in which a building is designed, occupied and imagined as a ruin, and addresses temporal and environmental questions in themes of personal and national identity, nature and culture, weather and climate, permanence and impermanence.

A colleague who worked closely with Jonathan shared their thoughts:

Those who knew and worked with Jonathan adored him. He was universally popular because of his very fine intelligence, his unfailing generosity to students and colleagues and his softly probing questions that always made you think very hard about whether what you had just said was correct. Jonathan was a true pillar of The Bartlett School of Architecture, teaching countless students who are now as heartbroken as his teaching colleagues that he will not be there at the next tutorial or at the next research seminar. We will all miss him enormously.”

The school will be arranging a memorial event for Jonathan shortly. Details will be circulated to the UCL, professional and architectural communities in the UK and abroad.

If colleagues or students would like to send messages of condolence to Jonathan’s wife, Izabela, please address these to the respective emails below: