This site is intended to capture and report research based at the Manchester School of Architecture into the design of post-war infrastructure.

The research is led by Dr. Richard Brook, Dr. Laura Coucill and Dr. Luca Csepely-Knorr.

We are interested in the design of all forms of infrastructure with particular focus on roads and power and the collaborative endeavours of landscape architects, architects, engineers and planners in large-scale development and the post-war reconstruction project.

On February 15th 2019 we will host a one-day conference supported by the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art. This will be followed by a one-day field visit to infrastructural sites in the north of England.

The Landscape and Architecture of British Post-War Infrastructure

Conference, Keynote Address and Field Visit


In the post-war period large-scale infrastructural projects were built to match prevailing cultures, economic and political demands. The physically engineered landscapes that were produced signposted the rapid socio-economic and technological development following the cessation of conflict. The effect of such unprecedented and widespread infrastructural projects on both rural and urban landscapes was comparable to the impact of the industrial revolution in the UK.

The scope of the work not only impacted on the physical landscape, but also the collaborative roles of architecture, landscape architecture, engineering and planning professionals. Co-operation and co-production were key in the British context and this mode of working informed new ideas and methods which in turn produced exceptional landscape compositions.

This multi-disciplinary conference and accompanying keynote event and tour, supported by the Paul Mellon Centre, in collaboration with The Modernist Society, and hosted at the Manchester School of Architecture, will explore the relationships between landscape and architectural design in the production of infrastructure. In the conference, over four sessions examining Power, Roads, Urban Infrastructureand Transnational Infrastructure, speakers will explore the form, type, material, topography, composition and the relationships of these topics with the socio-cultural, political and economic settings of the post-war period.

Tickets can be purchased for all events separately, but there is also a combined ticket. Ticket sales will be administered via The Modernist Society and more details can be found on their website at http://modernist-society.org/events/


Keynote Address   

Thursday 14thFebruary 2019, 17.30-19.30

BZ403, 4thFloor, Benzie Building, Manchester Metropolitan University

Elain Harwood (Historic England)

Hal Moggridge (founding partner of Colvin & Moggridge; former Professor of Landscape Architecture at Sheffield University; past President of the Landscape Institute and commissioner of the Royal Fine Art Commission)



Friday 15th February 2019, 09.00-17.30

BZ403, 4thFloor, Benzie Building, Manchester Metropolitan University


Session 1 – Power  Chair – Dr. Martin Dodge (Manchester)

Juliana Kei – Pylon-Spotting in Architectural Magazines c.1950

Linda Ross – Post-war planning in the nuclear north, 1954-63

Laura Coucill –Magnox: the Legacy of the CEGB

Luca Csepely-Knorr – Landscapes of coal as ‘third nature’


Session 2 – Roads Chair – Bruno Notteboom (KU Leuven)

Megan McHugh – National Identity, Landscape and the Early Motorway in England

Peter Merriman – Motorway modern: landscape architecture, movement and the aesthetics of roads in post-war Britain

Richard Brook –Scammonden: Landscape Co-production in the Motorway Age


Session 3 – Urban Infrastructures

Chair – Prof. Nick Dunn (Lancaster)

Mike Dring – Wavy Concrete Panels – Cultural Anchors in the Post-War Urban Landscape

Janina Gosseye –Multimodal/Multifunctional Megastructures Reimagining Flows and Nodes in Post-war British New Towns


Session 4 – Transnational Infrastructure

Chair – Prof. Stephen Graham (Newcastle)

Gary Boyd – Infrastructure in the making of modern Ireland

Neta Feniger and Roy Kozlovsky – The influence of Sir Colin Buchanan on the planning of Tel Aviv

Awni Kirti Patni – Landscapes of dams in (independent) India


Field Visit

Saturday 16th February 2019, 09.00-17.30

Meet at outside Manchester School of Art, Benzie Building, Boundary St. West

The field visit will take us by coach to Heysham 2 nuclear power station, designed by Powell and Moya and opened in 1981. We will also take in the sights of Forton (Lancaster) Services on the M6 and a few other Lancastrian infrastructural gems. Ticket sales will close 15thJanuary 2019 to enable security protocols for rare access to this site.