The Bartlett has a unique history amongst peer institutions around the world, with a depth of history and breadth of expertise stretching back over 170 years. In 1841 UCL first founded the study of architecture as an academic field in the UK with the appointment of Thomas Leverton Donaldson to the first university chair of Architecture in the country. Donaldson's belief was that architecture spanned both arts and sciences, and he consequently established the faculty on this founding principle. The Bartlett was subsequently named after its benefactor Sir Herbert Bartlett, the nineteenth-century engineer and construction contractor.
In the twentieth century, planning education began at the Bartlett in 1914 with the appointment of architect and planner Professor S.D. Adshead, author of the highly influential Town Planning and Town Development (1923), and then succeeded in turn by Patrick Abercrombie and William Holford. Development planning at the Bartlett was founded here in 1971 by Otto Koenigsberger, one of the pioneers of modern urban development planning in the rapidly growing cities of Africa, Asia and Latin America.
Throughout this rich history, the Bartlett has played a leading role in the development of the built environment both as a field of creative, scientific and scholarly research, and as education for professional practice. During the 1960s and 1970s it took a lead in implementing the programmes of research and education outlined in the seminal Oxford conferences of 1958 and 1963. Under Professor Richard Lewellyn-Davies, during the 1960s The Bartlett restructured as a multidisciplinary faculty incorporating all aspects of the study and design of the built environment. Other internationally-renowned Bartlett academics have included architectural historian Reyner Banham, planner and historian Sir Peter Hall and architects A.E. Richardson, Walter Segal and Sir Peter Cook. Recent visiting professors have included architect Lord Norman Foster, sociologist Peter Wilmott, journalist and government advisor Paul Finch, advertising pioneer Sir Frank Lowe, lawyer and activist Winston Chu, lighting designer André Tammes and construction industry expert Sir Michael Latham.