0236 An Architect at War: Adrian Berrington and the Environment of the Modern Battlefield of the First World War

  • Volker Welter (Author)

    Volker M. Welter is professor for the history of architecture at the University of California at Santa Barbara. Among his publications are Biopolis: Patrick Geddes and the City of Life (MIT Press, 2002), Ernst L. Freud, Architect: The Case of the Modern Bourgeois Home (Berghahn, 2012), and Walter S. White: Inventions in Mid-Century Modernism (UCSB, 2015). His latest book is Tremaine Houses: One Family’s Patronage of Domestic Architecture in Midcentury America (Getty, 2019).

Identifiers (Article)


This article asks how fighting on the modern battlefields of the First World War shaped an architect-soldier’s perception and concept of space and changed his architectural designs. Against the background of a brief discussion of contemporary and recent accounts that discuss the war experience in spatial terms, the article presents an exemplary case study of the military career of the English architect Adrian Berrington (1886–1923). Before the war Berrington belonged to the circle of the urban sociologist Patrick Geddes (1854–1932), during the war he underwent shell-shock therapy at Craiglockhart War Hospital together with the war poet Wilfred Owen (1893–1918). A detailed analysis of Berrington’s war letters and selected designs shows how the war changed his concept of space to a degree that pre-war principles no longer offered guidance for his post-war designs.