A Life in Education and Architecture : Mary Beaumont Medd book cover
1st Edition

A Life in Education and Architecture
Mary Beaumont Medd

ISBN 9780754679592
Published April 7, 2016 by Routledge
296 Pages

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Book Description

This book provides a detailed exploration of the relationships between individual architects, educators, artists and designers that laid the foundation and shaped the approach to designing new school buildings in post-war Britain. It explores the life and work of Mary Medd (née Crowley) (1907-2005) who was alongside her husband and professional partner, David Medd, one of the most important modernist architects of the 20th century. Mary Medd devoted the major part of her career to the design of school buildings and was pioneering in this respect, drawing much inspiration from Scandinavian architecture, arts and design. More than a biography, the book draws attention to the significance of relationships and networks of friendships built up over these years among individuals with a common view of the child in educational settings.

Table of Contents

Contents: Foreword, Dominic Cullinan; Preface, David Leslie Medd; Introduction; Childhood and education 1907-1927; Study and travel 1920s-1930s; First architectural work: from housing to education; Partnerships and networks; The schools; Evolution of the design process ’from the inside out’; International travel and exchange 1949-1972; In retirement; Towards the 'future-building school'. Lasting legacies of design and democratic practice; Conclusion: telling the quiet stories of educational design; Appendices; References; Index.

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Dr Catherine Burke is an historian and senior lecturer in education at the Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge. She has researched Mary Medd's life and travels since the architect's death in 2005, while at the same time engaging with architects designing schools today to bring about a better understanding of the history of the subject. Other related publications include The School I'd Like (2003) and School (2008) both with Ian Grosvenor.


Prize: Winner of Anne Bloomfield Book Prize 2014, History of Education Society 'This is a generous, well-crafted review of the life of Bradford-born public sector architect Mary Medd (née Crowley, 1907-2005). As a means of gaining insight into how to design schools, Catherine Burke’s book beautifully illuminates her subject’s profound impact on the thinking and processes involved... Burke, a historian of education, shows mastery of her subject here and delivers it through a light, accessible style.' Times Higher Education 'Michael Gove should stop reinventing the wheel and get a history lesson on architecture and education by reading Catherine Burke’s newly published book on Mary Medd, née Crowley. In A Life in Education and Architecture, Gove will learn about the remarkable work of a socially committed Quaker family who were at the forefront of the reformation of child welfare and school building design.' The Architects' Journal '[Burke’s] book is most informative in making links between Mary Medd and the schools she and her father admired around the world, and in discussing the training courses at Dartington and Bishop Grosseteste College, Lincoln, where the Medds collaborated with educationalists. Burke’s work and enthusiasm is valuable in that she can bring the post-war architectural world to a new and important audience of users ...' C20 Magazine '...this splendid volume, engagingly written and lavishly supplied with over 100 illustrations, is the most interesting, informative and inspirational book on the history of education that I have read in 2013'. Paedagogica Historica: International Journal of the History of Education 'Burke’s investigation, through the use of a chronologically structured biography, astutely develops the connection between architecture and education, but also seeks to establish a further connection with Mary’s own life. Using original manuscripts, plans, photographs and documentation, the text explores the significan