Brawne, Michael 1925-2003

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BRAWNE, Michael 1925-2003


See index for CA sketch: Born May 5, 1925, in Vienna, Austria; died of cancer July 28, 2003, in Bath, England. Architect, educator, and author. Through his books, teaching, organization of exhibitions, and his own architectural projects, Brawne was a highly influential architect who made a mark on an entire generation of British architects. The son of an Austrian artist and a Croatian musician, he spent his early years speaking German, Croatian, and some Czech, a fact many of his colleagues were unaware of, given his excellent command of the English language. With the rise of the Nazi regime, his parents arranged for Brawne to be taken to England. During World War II his father, a Jew, was killed in a concentration camp; his mother, however, survived and joined her son following the war. Brawne attended the University of Edinburgh before enlisting in the British Royal Air Force (RAF) in 1943, receiving training in meteorology. When the war ended he remained in the military a while longer and was posted to Egypt, where he became familiar with the artifacts of that ancient land. He left the RAF in 1947, became a British citizen, and studied at the Architectural Association; he then traveled to the United States to attend the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he earned him master's degree in architecture in 1954. (Years later, in 1977, he earned a second master's degree from Cambridge University.) During the 1950s Brawne was employed at various architectural firms in San Francisco and London, and founded his own company, Michael Brawne & Associates, in 1963. Interested in the ways architecture can best serve society's needs, he primarily involved himself in designing public buildings, such as libraries, museums, and university structures. During the 1960s and 1970s he was also responsible for organizing exhibitions at such locations as the Tate Gallery, the Hayward Gallery, and the Royal Academy. Brawne was also highly regarded as a university lecturer; he taught at Cambridge University from 1964 to 1978, and at Bath University from 1978 until his retirement as professor emeritus in 1990. Among his many influential architecture books are The New Museum: Architecture and Display (1965), The Museum Interior: Temporary and Permanent Display Techniques (1982), From Idea to Building: Issues in Architecture (1992), and Architectural Thought: The Design Process and the Expectant Eye, the last published posthumously.



Contemporary Architects, third edition, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1994.

Writers Directory, 18th edition, Gale (Detroit, MI), 2003.


Guardian (London, England), August 22, 2003. Independent (London, England), August 16, 2003, p. 20.