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Twenty-first edition of Sir Banister Fletcher’s history of architecture – released today

Commissioned and produced by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and the University of London, the twenty-first edition of Sir Banister Fletcher’s A History of Architecture is released today by Bloomsbury Publishing.

14 November 2019

Commissioned and produced by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and the University of London, the twenty-first edition of Sir Banister Fletcher’s A History of Architecture is released today (Thursday 14 November) by Bloomsbury Publishing.

Edited by Professor Murray Fraser, the landmark new edition is retitled Sir Banister Fletcher’s Global History of Architecture to reflect a thorough rebalancing of its content and a complete rewrite based on the very latest scholarship by an international cohort of expert contributors.

This new global history provides the most authoritative, up-to-date account of the world’s architecture from 3500 BCE to the present day, with contributions by over eighty subject specialists from the fields of architecture, archaeology and architectural and cultural history. The two-volume set includes over 2,000 photographs and architectural drawings, many drawn from the RIBA Collection.

For the first time, the edition is also available online, as the cornerstone of the new digital Bloomsbury Architecture Library.

RIBA President, Alan Jones, said:

“The publication of this new edition, five-years in the making, is a tremendous accomplishment for The Royal Institute of British Architects and the University of London. The 21st edition broadens the narrative, rebalancing and extending its coverage, to create a truly globalised history of architecture. This is a huge, collaborative achievement which positions Banister Fletcher as an indispensable resource for the study of architecture.”

General Editor, Murray Fraser, Professor of Architecture and Global Culture at The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL, said:

“For the new Banister Fletcher edition our aim was to update both its content and approach. We invited 88 experts from around the world to write chapters based on their own original research. They include architectural historians, art historians, archaeologists and cultural historians. At a million words it is the most comprehensive global survey of architecture over the past 5,500 years. It is also the only one that is 100% written by subject specialists on every period and region.”

Jonathan Glasspool, Managing Director, Academic and Professional Publishing at Bloomsbury commented:

“Sir Banister Fletcher’s Global History of Architecture thoroughly reflects contemporary understanding of the world’s architectural history. It is the result of a tremendous collaborative effort with RIBA and the University of London. Not only is the print edition the most important revision since Banister Fletcher was alive, but together with its appearance online as part of the Bloomsbury Architecture Library it will set the standard for future architectural studies and research.”


Notes to editors:

1. For further press information contact or +44 (0)20 7307 3811

2. The new edition is available online for the first time as part of the Bloomsbury Architecture Library.

3. The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) is a global professional membership body that serves its members and society in order to deliver better buildings and places, stronger communities and a sustainable environment. Follow @RIBA on Twitter for regular updates. 

4. The RIBA has one of the world’s finest architecture collections. Highlights include the world’s largest collection of drawings by architect Andrea Palladio, the largest body in the world of British architectural drawings: by Inigo Jones, Christopher Wren, Pugin and many others, the archives of prominent architects and architectural practices, a collection of printed books dating back to 1478, complete runs of major journal titles and the largest holding of architectural photographs in the world (1.5 million). Our collections have formed the basis of major exhibitions around the world. Our collections can be seen at the RIBA’s Architecture Gallery and British Architectural Library in our Grade II* listed Art Deco headquarters and the Study Rooms and Architecture Gallery at the Victoria and Albert Museum, or by attending one of our talks, exhibitions or events for children, students and adults.

5. The University of London is a federal University and is one of the oldest, largest and most diverse universities in the UK. Established by Royal Charter in 1836, the University is recognised globally as a world leader in higher education. It consists of 17 independent member institutions of outstanding reputation, together with a number of prestigious central academic bodies and activities. Learn more about the University of London here.

6. On his death in 1953, Sir Banister Fletcher’s long-standing relationship with the University of London and the RIBA was recognised in his will. The two institutions became joint beneficiaries of the copyright in Sir Banister Fletcher’s History of Architecture along with a fund to be used for the furtherance of architectural teaching and appreciation.

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