Kester Rattenbury is an architectural journalist, critic, author and teacher, and Professor of Architecture at the University of Westminster.
Kester trained as an architect, before completing my PhD in 1990 on the representation of architecture in the UK national press — still the only study of its kind, published as part of my book This Is Not Architecture (Routledge, 2002). She has worked as an architectural journalist (full-time and part-time) in both specialist, national and international press and UK newspapers. In 1992 Kester began teaching architectural design, first on Degree at the University of Greenwich, and then from 2000 on Diploma (now MArch) at the University of Westminster, in a long term teaching collaboration with Sean Griffiths, founder of Fashion Architecture Taste (FAT), leading the experimental Design Studio 15.
In 2003, Kester set up EXP, the Research Centre for Experimental Practice at the University of Westminster. EXP’s inventive projects include the Archigram Archival Project, a new kind of online design archive making the full range of the work of the hugely influential design group Archigram available online for both academic research and casual media users. She was Principal Investigator on this widely acclaimed project. EXP’s other major project is the Supercrits series, which she set up, co-ran and co-authored with Samantha Hardingham until 2010, and with other collaborators since.
I have written and contributed to many books including the Supercrit series (2007-12), Architects Today, The House Book, the tourist guide to the London Eye, and books on architects including Cedric Price, O’Donnell and Tuomey and Terry Farrell, as well as writing hundreds of articles, reviews and building studies. My latest book is The Wessex Project: Thomas Hardy Architect (Lund Humphries, 2018) which is the first time the works of this seminal writer have been explored from the perspective of his first career, architecture, and which has been acclaimed as offering a totally new perspective on Hardy’s work.
I also run a new PhD stream at Westminster which uses the ‘By Practice’ methodologies developed at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, and am also involved with the RMIT programme and collaborations between them, Westminster and other European partners. Kester has written and spoken widely on design methodologies considered as research, to international and cross-disciplinary audiences including literary and neuroscientific communities.