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LEWCOCK, Ronald Bentley

Born: 1929 09 27
Died: 2022 08 13


Ronald Lewcock is an architect, conservator and scholar.

Early history: Born in Australia and educated there and in South Africa, he was Visiting Fellow at Columbia University, 1963-4. He was an Official Fellow of Clare Hall, Cambridge until 1985 (and is now a Life-Member), a member of the faculty of the University of Cambridge from 1971 to 1984, and Research Officer in Islamic Arts and Architecture in the University's Middle East Center from 1974 to 1984. From 1977 to 1984 he directed a design studio on architecture in the developing world at the Architectural Association, London.

Lewcock was Aga Khan Professor of Architecture at MIT, 1984-91, and Chairman of the Aga Khan Program at Harvard and MIT 1985-7; Fellow of Clare Hall, Cambridge University, 1970-85; in 1991 he moved from MIT to become Professor of the Doctoral Program in Architecture at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta. In 1999 he was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Architecture degree by the University of Natal. In 2007 he was created an Honorary Professor of the University of Queensland. In 2014, he was presented with the Geoffrey Bawa Trust Lifetime Achievement Award.

Dr Lewcock was a consultant in conservation to UNESCO from 1978 onwards, and Technical Coordinator of two UNESCO International Campaigns from 1982 to 1990 (those of Sana'a' and Shibam in Yemen), as well as of the UN Campaign for Cultural Tourism and the Revival of Heritage in Uzbekistan, 1991-97, a UN/UNESCO joint project for the consolidation of conservation and urban rehabilitation in Uzbekistan.

He is the author and joint author of eight books over a hundred articles, and contributor to the major architecture, art and cultural encyclopedias published since 1970.

Dr Lewcock specializes in a number of fields. He is a historian and theorist in European architecture and urbanism. His doctoral and post-doctoral studies were in European colonial architecture and urbanism from the sixteenth to the twentieth centuries, in the West Indies, Africa and Asia, with particular emphasis on cultural interactions. The latter led him to the study of Asian and African indigenous architecture, especially to that dominating the main areas of European colonial trade - Islamic - but also including Hindu and Buddhist architectures.

He has researched and published in the area of architectural science, especially in climatic control in tropical and subtropical countries, and in acoustics, the acoustics of music and acoustical designing in architecture.

Dr. Lewcock has also been extensively involved in restoration and conservation work primarily in Africa and the Middle East. Among his commissions were the joint UNESCO/Egyptian government project to restore the monuments in the historic northern part of central Cairo, and a World Bank project for the urban rehabilitation of the same area.In 1997 Professor Lewcock was an organizer of an International Conference to consider the proposals of the project, held in Bukhara. In addition he has been advisor to the World Bank on other projects, including earthquake rehabilitation in Yemen.

Dr Lewcock was joint-editor and major contributor to two publications of comprehensive studies: the first on the capital city of North Yemen - Sana'a' and the second on traditional architecture in Sri Lanka. He is also part-author of Architecture of the Islamic World edited by G. Michell. He is currently the editor and part-author of Architecture in the Non-Western World - Asia and Africa.

He has published a number of books alone and sub-edited and made contributions to a number of international encyclopaedias and works of reference. In the former category are The Early Nineteenth Century Architecture of South Africa, a Study of the Interaction of Two Cultures, Traditional Architecture in Kuwait and the Northern Gulf, Wadi Hadramawt and the Walled City of Shibam, and The Old Walled City of San'a. Lecture courses developed at the Architectural Association and M.I.T. resulted in a commission from the publishers Norton for the editing of a book on traditional architectures in Asia and Africa, due to be published in 2015.

Hon. D.Arch. University of Natal
M.A. Cantab
Ph.D. University of Cape Town
B.Arch. University of Cape Town

2007- Honorary Professor in Architecture at the University of Queensland
1991-07 Professor: Georgia Institute of Technology, College of Architecture, Depts. Ph.D and Architecture
1993-5 MIT Dept.Arch. Annual visiting lecturer
1996 Queensland University of Technology, Visiting Professor
1991-93 M.I.T.; Dept. Arch.; Aga Khan Visiting Professor in the Advanced Studies Program
1990 University of Arizona; Dept. Arch.; Visiting Professor of Architecture
1985-7 Chairman of the Joint Aga Khan Program at Harvard and MIT
1984-91 M.I.T. Aga Khan Professor of Architecture
1984-91 M.I.T. Director of Design in Islamic Societies unit of the S.M.Arch.S. program.1984-91
1984 Visiting Professor at the Depts. of Architecture of the Universities of Louvaine and Harvard
1979-84 Georgia Institute of Technology: Visiting Professor of Architecture Winter Quarter
1973-78 Royal University of Malta: Visiting Professor and Examiner
1972-85 Cambridge University, Clare Hall: Official and Foundation Fellow
1972-84 Cambridge University, Dept. of Architecture.: Part-time Lecturer and Studio Master
1972-84 Cambridge University, Faculty of Oriental Studies: Lecturer in Islamic Architecture
1972-83 Cambridge University, Faculty of Music: Lecturer in Acoustics
1971-82 Architectural Association, London; Lecturer and (from 1977) Design Unit Leader
1970-84 Cambridge University, Clare Hall: Whitehead Research Fellow
1957-70 University of Natal, Dept. of Architecture; Senior Lecturer and Studio Master
1963-64 Columbia University, New York: Visiting Fellow
1952-56 University of Natal; Dept. of Architecture.; Lecturer and Studio Master
Examiner for Ph,D. candidates in many universities

MEMBERSHIPS Associate of the Royal Institute of British Architects, 1952-

Member of Advisory Council of Aga Khan Trust for Culture, controlling the Award for Architecture, the Old Cities Program and the Aga Khan Program in Architecture at Harvard and Massachusetts Institute of Technology 1989 - 1999

Foundation Fellow of Clare Hall, University of Cambridge 1970-85

Life Associate of Clare Hall, University of Cambridge, 1985-

Member of Council of the British School of Archaeology in Jerusalem in the British Academy 1976-93

Member of the Institute of History and Archaology in East Africa 1981-93

2008 onwardsProfessor Emeritus, Georgia Institute of Technology
2007 onwards Honorary Professor in Architecture. University of Queensland
1999Honorary Doctorate of Architecture. University of Natal
1998Presidential Award, Republic of Yemen
1995Distinguished Professor Award, College of Architecture, Georgia Institute of Technology
1986 onwardsLife Member, Clare Hall, Cambridge
1973-1976Research Fellow in the Faculty of Oriental Studies, Cambridge University
1972-1986Official and Foundation Fellow of Clare Hall, Cambridge University
1970-1972Whitehead Fellowship at Clare Hall, Cambridge University
1963-1964Eliza Howard Fellowship at Columbia University, New York
1951University of Cape Town Festival Emblem Prize
1951Cape Institute of Architects Graduation Award

PROFESSIONAL 2005-2008Member of the Committee of International Experts advising the Director General of UNESCO on the conservation of the old city of Jerusalem
1997-onwardsAdvisor to the Government of Yemen on the conservation of its architectural and urban heritage
2001Design of Exhibition and Gallery for 101 EXPERIENCE Galle Face, Colombo Sri Lanka
1998Juror of the $25,000 Kenneth Brown Award for Asia/Pacific Architectural Design
1997Assessor of the South African Institute of Architecture Biennial Awards
1994-9Design of Extensions to House 14 Anderson Road, Colombo, Sri Lanka
1993-97Coordinator of the UN/UNESCO Campaign for the Conservation and Rehabilitation of the Cultural Heritage of Uzbekistan
1990-1993Member of Steering Committee of the Aga Khan Awards for Architecture
1982-90UNESCO Technical Coordinator of the 2 International Campaigns for the Conservation of historic city centres and buildings in South Arabia
1987Member of Al-Ain University Competition MasterJury
1985-92Consultant on the conservation of the Baltit Fort, Pakistan
1982-87UNESCO Consultant on the conservation of the architectural heritage of Bahrain
1978-86UNESCO Consultant on the conservation of the historic city of Cairo
1986Member of Master Jury for Aga Khan Awards
1985Design of Office Building, 34 Greenpath (not executed), and of Extensions to a House 14 Anderson Road, Colombo, Sri Lanka
1983Assessor for Aga Khan Awards Master Jury
1983World Bank Consultant on earthquake reconstruction in Yemen
1982Head of the Aga Khan Award Mission on Conservation in China
1982World Bank Consultant on the conservation of the Gamaliyya district of Cairo
1976-84Advisor to the Sultanate of Muscat and Oman on the conservation of their architectural heritage
1978-82Conservator of the Haddah Fort, Dubai for the Emir of Dubai
1973-82Conservator of Bayt a-Razzaz, Cairo for the American Centre for Research in Cairo
1970-84In private practice in Cambridge, England, with various partners. Designed houses, alterations, projects for college expansions/new buildings and for the Univ. Museum. Designed houses in New Hampton and Vermont. in the US
1952-70In private practice with partners in Durban, East London and Grahamstown, South Africa. Built work ranged from domestic to theatres, churches, a Hindu temple, a mosque, museums, university lecture rooms and the University medical school

Submitted by William MARTINSON

In 1966 he was a signatory to the broadsheet, CREDO

R.B. Lewcock wrote the forward in Architecture in Natal from 1824 1893 by Brian Kearmey.

For a list of publications by Ronald Lewcock see WorldCat.

Ronald Lewcock died on 13 August at his home in Sri Lanka after a long illness.

List of projects

With photographs
With notes

Books by LEWCOCK

Lewcock, Ronald. 1963. Early Nineteenth Century Architecture in South Africa : a study of the interaction of two cultures, 1795-1837. Cape Town: AA Balkema

Reynolds, Rex and Reynolds, Barbara & Lewcock, Ronald [Foreword]. 1974. Grahamstown from cottage to villa. Claremont: David Philip

Lewcock, Ronald, Prof Serjeant, RB & ed. Kirkman, James. 1976. City of San'a' : Nomad and city exhibition : Museum of Mankind, Department of Ethnography of the British Museum, World of Islam Festival 1976. London: World of Islam Festival Pub. Co.

Lewcock, Ronald. 1978. Traditional architecture in Kuwait and the northern Gulf. London: Art and Archaeology Research Papers

Serjeant, RB & Lewcock, Ronald. 1983. San'a' : an Arabian Islamic city. London: World of Islam Festival Trust - Scorpion Press

Lewcock, Ronald. 1986. The old walled city of San'a'. Paris: Unesco

Lewcock, Ronald. 1986. Wadi Hadramawt and the Walled City of Shibam. Paris: Unesco

Books citing LEWCOCK

Bakker, Karel A, Clarke, Nicholas J. 2014. Eclectic ZA Wilhelmiens : A shared Dutch built heritage in South Africa. Pretoria: Visual Books. pp 2

Morgan, Ann Lee & Naylor, Colin. 1987 [1980]. Contemporary Architects. Chicago and London: St. James Press. pp 1036

Oliver, Paul (Editor). 1971. Shelter in Africa. London: Barrie & Jenkins. pp 240

Parker, Howard. 2015. John Parker, 1866-1921 : architect and mayor of Cape Town. Wellington, New Zealand: Howard Parker. pp vi

Placzek, Adolf K (Editor in Chief). 1982. Macmillan encyclopedia of architects (Volume 1 of 4). New York: The Free Press. pp lvii

Entries in books by LEWCOCK

Lewcock, Ronald . British influence on South African architecture. In The Preservation and restoration of historic buildings in South Africa. 1968. AA Balkema

Lewcock, Ronald. Signal Towers. In Standard Encyclopaedia of South Africa [SESA] Volume 9 Pop-Sla. 1973. Nasou

Lewcock, Ronald. Sidbury Park. In Standard Encyclopaedia of South Africa [SESA] Volume 9 Pop-Sla. 1973. Nasou

Lewcock, Ronald. Barville Park. In Standard Encyclopaedia of South Africa [SESA] Volume 2 Bad-Cal. 1970. Nasou

Lewcock, Ronald. Chinese craftsmen. In Standard Encyclopaedia of South Africa [SESA] Volume 3 Cal-Dev. 1971. Nasou

Lewcock, Ronald. Cuyler Manor. In Standard Encyclopaedia of South Africa [SESA] Volume 3 Cal-Dev. 1971. Nasou

Lewcock, Ronald. Customs House. In Standard Encyclopaedia of South Africa [SESA] Volume 3 Cal-Dev. 1971. Nasou

Lewcock, Ronald. Fan-lights. In Standard Encyclopaedia of South Africa [SESA] Volume 4 Dev-For. 1971. Nasou

Lewcock, Ronald. Fort England. In Standard Encyclopaedia of South Africa [SESA] Volume 4 Dev-For. 1971. Nasou

Lewcock, Ronald. Fort Frederick. In Standard Encyclopaedia of South Africa [SESA] Volume 4 Dev-For. 1971. Nasou

Lewcock, EBF [sic, RB?]. MELVILL, John. In Standard Encyclopaedia of South Africa [SESA] Volume 7 Lit-Mus. 1972. Nasou

Lewcock, Ronald. GRAHAMSTOWN (4) Jail. In Standard Encyclopaedia of South Africa [SESA] Volume 5 For-Hun. 1972. Nasou

Lewcock, Ronald. FOX, Revel Albert Ellis. In Contemporary Architects. 1987 [1980]. St. James Press

Lewcock, Ronald B. Foreword. In Architecture in Natal from 1824-1893. 1973. Balkema

Lewcock, Ronald B [assumed]. THARFIELD. In Standard Encyclopaedia of South Africa [SESA] Volume 10 Sle-Tun. 1974. Nasou

Lewcock, Ronald. Zanj, the east African coast. In Shelter in Africa. 1971. Barrie & Jenkins

Lewcock, Ronald. South African architecture in this century. In Architecture 2000 : a review of South African architecture. 2000. Picasso Headline

Lewcock, Ronald . FOX, Revel (Albert Ellis). In Contemporary architects. 1980. Macmillan