The network will unite an existing multidisciplinary team of academics with new members from government agencies, the private sector, community groups and artists to consider the landscapes of infrastructure broadly, but with attention to some specific cases. We are particularly concerned with the temporal aspects of landscape and the relationships between designed space and its assimilation with perceptibly natural and traditionally agricultural landscapes; how time and use can interact with landscape to create cultural and amenity value as well as valuable ecologies; how policy helped to foster such conditions; how policy now influences the management and development of these landscapes; how artistic and creative responses to the landscapes of infrastructure help to narrate their cultural worth; and, how to develop means of understanding their seemingly intangible values by comparing and combining research methods in the arts and humanities.

The landscapes of motorways, power stations, reservoirs and other forms of infrastructure can now be easily overlooked. However, at their inception the aesthetics and ecologies of these developments were underwritten by statute and policy. This project is about learning from the past using collaborative and cross-disciplinary research to inform the future of landscapes, their use, assessment, management and protection. We are specifically interested in the landscapes of post-war infrastructure as they approach maturity and are within a phase of determined change. Their maturity is relevant in three ways - ecologically; with regard patterns of use as sites of amenity; and, in relation to their symbolic, iconographic and socio-cultural value to the public. The silhouettes of cooling towers and the stark volumetric forms of nuclear reactor buildings became the enduring symbols of power generation of the twentieth century. These built objects of the post-war reconstruction programme that are ostensibly functional are cognitively invisible due to this very status. The wider landscape contexts, which were highly considered and no less designed, are even more camouflaged. In some senses this is a testament to the success of the landscape architects, whose task was often to blend or to disguise the impact of the functional-industrial development.

The overarching objective of the network is to explore the ways in which art and humanities research methods can augment traditional forms of landscape assessment to reveal more of the intangible and qualitative values attached to the landscapes of infrastructure and create a holistic framework to support future decision-making. To achieve this, we have a series of events planned between March 2020 and June 2021 that will explore existing methods of landscape assessment and how they can be developed, augmented or interwoven with new methods that will emerge from our workshops and through design research at the School of Architecture.

To disseminate the research to a wide audience, a second project, ‘Cooling Down’ will complement the work of the network. The AHRC follow-on-funding will enable the research team to work with filmmakers, film archives, museums and local schools to create various interactive games and an immersive filmic experience, both to be premiered at the Bluedot Festival in 2021.

Network Meeting

19, 21 and 26 January 2021

The second network meeting of the ‘Landscapes of Post-War Infrastructure’ project was supposed to take place behind closed doors in September 2020, but for obvious reasons it didn’t take place. The focus of the meeting was to be on artists who work with infrastructure and we were to invite them to speak with us.

We have reconfigured the programme to be more public facing and, as such, in collaboration with The Modernist Society, we are presenting a series of online artists’ conversations. We have paired visual artists with literary artists and invited them to talk to one another about their work, its motivation and the values they place on infrastructural landscapes.

The talks will take place online on 19, 21 and 26 January 2021:

On Tuesday 19 January, Martyn J Bull will be in conversation with Brian Lewis compèred by Mark Thomas.

On Thursday 21 January, Kevin Crooks will be in conversation with Helen Angell compèred by Luca Csepely-Knorr.

On Tuesday 26 January Jen Orpin will be in conversation with Gareth Rees compèred by David Cooper.

You can book your free tickets to the events on the website of our project partner, the Modernist Society.

Staff Team

Dr Richard Brook

Professor Richard Brook
Principal Investigator
Dr Luca Csepely-Knorr

Dr Luca Csepely-Knorr

Project News and Events


The ‘Landscapes of Post War Research Infrastructure’ research project and related teaching activities are featured in the Spring 2020 issue of the Landscape Journal, the publication of the Landscape Institute. Beyond the ongoing research at the School of Architecture, the article also introduces the work of post-graduate students of the Arch.Land.Infra Research Methods unit.

Read article
FOLAR Annual Symposium

Dr Brook and Dr Csepely-Knorr spoke about their The Landscapes of Post-War Infrastructure: Culture, Amenity, Heritage and Industry project at the FOLAR Annual Symposium ‘The Landscape of State Financed Industry‘ in Reading on 7 March 2020.