The Bartlett School of Architecture

Dr Robin Wilson

Dr Robin Wilson

Associate Professor

The Bartlett School of Architecture

Faculty of the Built Environment

Joined UCL
25th Sep 2006

Research summary

My research engages with issues of architectural criticism and criticality within the architectural media and its practises of representation, developing a methodology of 'utopic critique'. This work has culminated in the publication of a monograph book, Image, Text, Architecture: The Utopics of the Architectural Media (Ashgate, 2015). The book applies Louis Marin’s ‘utopics’ and Fredric Jameson’s ‘political unconscious’ to a close analysis of the formation of discourse within the architectural media, ensuing a search for signs of resistance to structures of complicity and ideological closure. 

My work has also been published in the critical anthologies Critical Architecture (2007), The Political Unconscious of Architecture (2011) and Camera Constructs (2012), and in the peer reviewed journals The Journal of Architecture and Architectural Theory Review

As a critic of architecture, art and landscape I have written over 80 articles for architectural journals such as The Architects’ Journal, The Architectural Review, Architectural Design and Blueprint. I have written extensively about new French architecture, including on the work of Lacaton & Vassal, Paul Virilio and Claude Parent, Rollet-Lipsky, du Besset Lyons, Patrick Bouchain, Didier Faustino and Duncan Lewis.

As an artist I have worked in collaboration with the photographer Nigel Green in the art practice ‘Photolanguage’ (1999-), with the artist/architect Warren & Mosley (2007-) and Brandon LaBelle/Errant Bodies (2007-).

Photolanguage (see Photolanguage.info) explores experimental approaches to the documentation of architecture, urban space and landscape. Our work has been exhibited widely including in London, Calais, Copenhagen and Lund. The project ‘Calais Reconstruction’, on the post war architecture of Calais was published in the series of books Calais Vu Par by the Museum of Calais (2001). Photolanguage co-edited and contributed to the book Land Use Poetics (2011), a research project funded by the Swedish Research Council and carried out with researchers from Malmo University faculties of art, architecture and landscape. Our latest publication, Journeys in a Modern Topography (2016),  supported by Arts Council England, explores the legacy of modernism in the British county of East Sussex, as a documentation and associative re imagining of the relationships between coastal architectures, derelict sites and modern reservoir landscapes.

Teaching summary

Since 2007 I have taught on degree and diploma courses in history and theory at the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL. In 2010 I also began teaching on the Masters in Architectural History and Theory, on the course’s ‘Research and Dissemination’ module, a programme of workshop-based sessions on issues such as archival research, architectural journalism, photography, curatorship, conservation and broadcast. In Year 4 History and Theory (Part II, Diploma), I teach my own course called Utopographics: Utopic Journeys into Postmodern Culture, which provides an introduction to the theorization of utopianism in the work of Fredric Jameson and Louis Marin, and explores the role of utopian expression in examples of literature, film, urbanism and the city map, and architecture. 

I am interested in the use of experimental writing techniques within teaching, and have used writing workshops in the context of history and theory and design teaching. I understand teaching to be a collaborative venture between student and tutor, and a context in which to generate new knowledge and destabilize established structures and hierarchies of thought.


I am a lecturer in the history and theory of architecture, teaching across postgraduate courses and on the PhD programme at the Bartlett school. I work as a critic and curator of architecture, art and landscape, publishing in a wide range practice-based and academic contexts. I studied fine art at degree, art criticism and theory at masters level, before studying for a PhD at the Bartlett (completed 2007).