This lecture traces the long history of the Bank of England’s architecture. A site originally both for governmental and private banking functions, the Bank and its building became both purposefully and unintentionally a national institution. Its well-known buildings, including designs by Sir John Soane, are understood as mediating relations between money and Britons, and between state and capitalism, from the 17th through the 21st centuries.
Daniel M. Abramson is Professor of Architectural History and Director of Architectural Studies at Boston University. He is the author of three books: Obsolescence: An Architectural History (University of Chicago Press, 2016); Building the Bank of England: Money, Architecture, Society, 1694–1942 (Yale University Press, 2005); and Skyscraper Rivals: The AIG Building and the Architecture of Wall Street (Princeton Architectural Press, 2001). He is also co-editor of Writing Architectural History: Evidence and Narrative in the Twenty-First Century (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2021) and Governing By Design: Architecture, Economy, and Politics in the Twentieth Century (Pittsburgh, 2012), both with the Aggregate Architectural History Collaborative of which he is also a founding director. Current work relates to the architecture of American government centers, citizenship, the state, and capitalism since 1900.