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Following the Stone: An Anthropogenic History of Bath Stone

Part 2 Dissertation 2022
Alcan Zekia
University of Westminster | UK
This dissertation is based on the idea that the histories of architectural materials provide a more-than-carbon perspective from which to understand the extensive contribution of architecture and built environment towards climate change and the Anthropocene.

To explore this idea, the history of Bath stone is traced from its geological formation to the present day using a ‘follow the thing’ methodology. It is also informed by the theories of historians Dipesh Chakrabarty and Jason Moore, and architectural theorist Kiel Moe.

Interviews were conducted with miners and masons in the Bath stone industry as well as members of the local Bath community. Their first-hand knowledge provided an understanding of the stone’s deep geological history, its capitalisation during the Georgian period, its effect on local craftsmen, and finally the contentious relationship between the contemporary Heritage city and the stone.

The dissertation concludes by posing the question, ‘Is Bath stone harming the city?,’ to which it proposes two routes forward – one strengthens the prominence of Bath stone as the unassailable identity of the city, while the other promotes a wider Bath palette of materials to develop an innovative new hybrid vernacular.

Alcan Zekia

Lindsay Bremner
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