Following a degree in History of Art from Cambridge, Alan received his doctorate on Architectural Education in Britain 1880-1914. He is a prolific writer for magazines and author of numerous books. He is joint editor of the journal Twentieth Century Architecture and joint editor of the monograph series, Twentieth Century Architects. He has curated popular exhibitions, including Modern Britain 1929-39 (Design Museum), 1999; Eric Ravilious (Imperial War Museum), 2003; and Eros to the Ritz: 100 Years of Street Architecture (Royal Academy), 2013.
As professor of architecture and cultural history at the University of Greenwich, Alan taught architectural history and theory for undergraduate and diploma courses from 1999-2012, and has been a frequent external examiner for PhD and other higher degrees. He is chairman of Pollock’s Toy Museum Trust in London, and formerly chair of the Twentieth Century Society (2007-12). An expert on 20th century architecture, Alan was awarded an Honorary Fellowship of the Royal Institute of British Architects in 2008.