Dr Jonathan Charley

Senior Lecturer


Personal statement


Born in 1959, Jonathan Charley, studied architecture in Portsmouth, London and Moscow, and subsequently worked in community architecture for seven years, completing his PhD on Soviet Architecture in 1994. He has lived in Glasgow for nearly thirty years, is currently Director of Cultural Studies in the Department of Architecture at the University of Strathclyde, and has been a lecturer and tutor across the world from Moscow, to Berlin, London, Sao Paulo and Belo Horizonte. In 2012 he was appointed as the Project Director for Scotland at the Architecture Biennale in Venice that received the Royal Scottish Academy Gold medal for Architecture. Alongside exhibitions and media projects, such as  *Foreign Bodies* (2004), the award winning *GLAS project* (2006), *Critical Dialogues* (2012), and *Disappearing Moscow* (2017), he writes mainly about the political and social history of architecture and cities. Most recently the edited collection the *Routledge Companion for Architecture, Literature and The City* (2018), *Memories of Cities: Trips and Manifestos* (2013), and the co-edited  *Writing the Modern City: Literature, Architecture and Modernity* (2011). He is currently working on a new book *The Monologues of City X*, (2019), that takes the reader on a journey into the heart of the capitalist city through four fictional narratives, capital, machine, nature and utopia. He has a wife, two daughters, speaks good Portuguese, adequate Russian and poor French, and has a life long passion for whisky, fish, dub-reggae and Plymouth Argyle Football Club. 


“Everything always begins with a long hot summer and a confession. It was July 1975 and it was my first job on a building site as a scaffolder’s mate. It was the beginning of an accidental career in architecture and building that somehow has continued for nearly 40 years. My confession is that unlike some of my contemporaries, who swear they woke up one day at an impossibly early age with a driving ambition to redesign the world, I fell into architecture almost by default. Like the drunk labourer who, after tumbling three stories from the scaffold, landed at my feet and then got up virtually unscathed, it was a lucky fall, in that architecture rather suited my wayward and diverse engagement with the world. In true renaissance fashion, it has allowed me to play music, read, write, travel, make pictures, design, build and teach. In other words, it has been more of an immersive osmotic field rather than a professional vocation.”

From the Preface to 'Memories of Cities'

Visit Jonathan Charley for a complete list of projects, writings and visual work.


Disappearing Moscow 3 : Moscow residents fighting to save their homes
Charley Jonathan
Russian revolution : demolition of paradise
Charley Jonathan
2018 (2018)
Memories of Cities : Trips and Manifestoes
Charley Jonathan
The wrecking ball swings at Moscow : a photo essay
Leslie Chris, Charley Jonathan
Charley Jonathan
Charrette Vol 3, pp. 94-98 (2016)
Дезинтегрирующая город : русской архитектуры и литературный авангард
Charley Jonathan
Хан-Магомедовские чтения (2015) (2015)

more publications

Professional activities

Scottish Graduate School of Arts and Humanities (External organisation)
Member of Project Board - Patrick Geddes Archive (External organisation)
Moscow Academy of Architecture - Symposium on 'Crisis and Creativity'
"Sonic Kino - on the legacy of Soviet avant-garde film"
Routledge (Publisher)
Peer reviewer
Glasgow International - 'Across the City' Art festival

more professional activities


Adventures In Space
Charley, Jonathan (Co-investigator)
Public exhibition and catalogue that investigates the relationship between architecture, the city and science fiction film
05-Jan-2016 - 01-Jan-2016
City of Facades
Edwards, Sarah (Principal Investigator) Wilson, Juliette (Principal Investigator) Charley, Jonathan (Principal Investigator)
One-day workshop on pilot project to be held in 2013 on Glasgow and urban nostalgia with colleagues from Architecture and Marketing
19-Jan-2012 - 30-Jan-2013
Critical Dialogues
Charley, Jonathan (Principal Investigator)
I was the Director for the 2012 Scottish contribution to the Venice Biennale, 'Critical Dialogues', that showcased projects from four emerging practices and which explored the social role of the architect and the creative boundaries of architectural practice. It won the RSA (Royal Scottish Academy) medal for Architecture, 2012, and was the subject of a retrospective exhibition of Scottish Architecture in 2013.
19-Jan-2012 - 11-Jan-2013
S.O.L Spaces of Labour - Re-Imagining a productive landscape for Scotland
Charley, Jonathan (Academic)
A public exhibition and catalogue that was shown at the Lghthouse and Highland Housing fair and which attracted considerable media interest form the BBC and Scottish Press
19-Jan-2004 - 19-Jan-2010
Foreign Bodies - Corps Etranger
Charley, Jonathan (Academic)
A Publicly funded travelling exhibition and book that looked at the comparative history of Glasgow and Marseille
19-Jan-2004 - 19-Jan-2005
G.L.A.S - Glasgow Letters on Architecture and Space
Charley, Jonathan (Academic)
This was a publicly funded and ward winning cooperative venture that produced exhibitions, educational programmes, pamphlets, newspapers and exhibitions, not just in Scotland but further afield in Berlin. Its a mission was to provide a radical critique of the capitalist built environment.
20-Jan-2001 - 19-Jan-2006

more projects