In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section British Atlantic Architectures

  • Introduction
  • Data Sources
  • British Atlantic Design History and “Style”
  • Theoretical Contexts
  • British Atlantic Architectural Histories
  • British Atlantic Architectural Edgelands
  • Indigenous Building Traditions of the British Atlantic

Atlantic History British Atlantic Architectures
Daniel Maudlin
  • LAST REVIEWED: 19 April 2021
  • LAST MODIFIED: 25 June 2013
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199730414-0128


British Atlantic architectures is the history of buildings and built environments related to the British Atlantic world and as an academic discipline incorporates a number of methodological and conceptual approaches including art history, vernacular architecture studies, and archaeology (see Theoretical Contexts). From Canada to the Caribbean, across distant, different landscapes and climates, the British Atlantic world was made, seen, and experienced through its buildings. As imposed objects in different landscapes, buildings were not just practical shelters, they were also projections of their occupant’s or user’s self-image: buildings were expressions of British Atlantic colonial power, authority, dominion, and cultural identity. British Atlantic architecture is the history of the spaces within which British Atlantic culture was experienced and expressed. British Atlantic architectural history remains a new field of research; as such, the architectural research included in this article is mostly described as pioneering. At present the subject-specific architectural texts available to students and researchers are national (predominantly British or American) and regional building studies (such as the Caribbean or North America). As such, in order to understand the key frameworks and discourses of transatlanticism, researchers in British Atlantic architectures, or Atlantic architectures in general, should draw upon the range of well-established contexts and commentaries in the fields of Atlantic history and transatlantic literary studies. Transatlanticism and the “Atlantic world” (including the “British Atlantic world”) is a well-established field in these disciplines with numerous monographs and edited collections published since the late 1980s and 1990s. It is important that researchers in architecture are familiar with these contexts in order to understand the concepts and approaches—such as transatlanticism, center-periphery, regionalism, and cis-Atlantic—that underpin British Atlantic architectures as an emergent field. Transatlanticism has the potential to become a significant field in architectural history encompassing Anglo-American, Iberian, French, and Dutch colonial histories and cultures and their interlocked transatlantic exchanges (and imperial activities) across the vast geographic space of the northern and southern Atlantic Ocean. Given such a large field, researchers tend to focus on one of these cultural spheres. This bibliography focuses specifically upon the “British Atlantic world” of Anglo-American culture and the architectural history of the North Atlantic down to and including the Caribbean.

Data Sources

At present there are no specific data resources related to British Atlantic architectural history, but there are some useful online resources related to interdisciplinary transatlantic studies. The most prominent of these is the Transatlantic Exchanges Forum website, supported both by the Arts & Humanities Research Council and the University of Plymouth (UK), which is an international resource for all researchers engaged within the interdisciplinary field of transatlantic studies.

  • Transatlantic Exchanges Forum.

    The site’s primary purpose is to act as an international information hub available to all researchers for both locating and disseminating research activities and events related to transatlantic studies: national and international academic networks, conferences, publications, calls for papers, and academic programs. Site hosted by the University of Plymouth (UK).

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