Architectural identity and community formation: the case study of modernist Claremont Court housing scheme

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


This paper utilises the concept of architectural identity as a lens to revisit the relation between architecture and community. Through the case study of Claremont Court housing scheme (1952-1962) in Edinburgh (UK), the paper explores how contemporary residents construct and enact ideas of community, and how these ideas are mobilised by the architectural identity of the housing scheme. The paper uses semi-structured interviews to explore the domestic narratives of eight socially-mixed contemporary households in the Court. The findings reveal the ways in which the identity of the Court draws residents into wider narratives of belonging and membership, mediated by socio-cultural discourses.
Thus, the paper expands on a body of work on urban and architectural thinking that theorises that certain design elements may promote the creation of communities through social interaction. As such body of work mostly overlooks affective aspects of community such as identification and membership, this paper adds insights to the problem by exposing the relevance of architectural identity in community formation. This paper’s investigation is based on empirical work supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council under grant AH/N002938/1.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAHRA 2019
Subtitle of host publicationArchitecture & Collective Life
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2019
EventArchitecture & Collective Life: The Annual Architectural Humanities Research Association [AHRA] International Conference - University of Dundee, Dundee, United Kingdom
Duration: 21 Nov 201923 Nov 2019


ConferenceArchitecture & Collective Life
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


  • community formation; architectural identity; modernist housing; domestic narratives; cultural capital


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