Iain Borden (born in Oxford in 1962) is an English architectural historian and urban commentator. He is currently Vice-Dean for Communications at the The Bartlett, University College London (UCL), and Professor of Architecture and Urban Culture. He is particularly well known for his academic studies of everyday occurrences such as car driving, skateboarding, walking and movies in relation to contemporary architecture and public spaces.
He graduated from University of Newcastle upon Tyne in 1985, and went on to complete masters degrees at UCL and University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and a PhD at UCL. He is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects.
His wide-ranging historical and theoretical interests have led to publications on, among other subjects: critical theory and architectural historical methodology (InterSections: Architectural Histories and Critical Theories, (Routledge, 2000)), the history of skateboarding as an urban practice (Skateboarding, Space and the City: Architecture and the Body, (Berg, 2001), new version forthcoming), boundaries and surveillance, theorists Henri Lefebvre and Georg Simmel, film and architecture, gender and architecture, body spaces and the experience of city spaces (The Unknown City: Contesting Architecture and Social Space, (MIT Press, 2001)). He has recently undertaken a history of automobile driving as a spatial experience of cities, landscapes and architecture, and particularly as represented in movies: Drive: Journeys through Film, Cities and Landscapes, (Reaktion, 2012).
Iain Borden worked on the controversial Southbank Centre’s Festival Wing plan which included the intended replacement of the established skateboard area with retail units and restaurants. In particular he played a significant part in working on the 2013 proposed skate plaza design intended for construction underneath Hungerford Bridge and promoted as a replacement for the iconic Southbank Undercroft – a space found by skateboarders in the 1970’s and used by generations of skaters over 5 decades. The Hungerford Bridge proposition and design failed to garner support from either the public or the local and international skateboarding scene, with over 150,000 people signing up with the Long Live Southbank campaign set up to preserve and protect the original Southbank skate spot. After support for the Long Southbank campaign was received by; Mayor of London Boris Johnson, English Heritage, Twentieth Century Society, Open Spaces Society, Royal Town Planning Institute, Museum of London, Institute of Contemporary Arts, The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings, The National Community Land Trust Network, Fields in Trust and numerous academics and high profile international skateboarders including Tony Hawk, Mark Gonzales, Ed Templeton, Keith Hufnagel, Tas Pappas, Stevie Williams, Geoff Rowley, Chad Muska, Andrew Reynolds, Eric Koston and filmmaker Spike Jonze, the ill-fated Hungerford Bridge design and Festival Wing plan were both put on hold. Long Live Southbank successfully secured the protection of Southbank Undercroft in September 2014.
- Architecture and the Sites of History: Interpretations of Buildings and Cities, (Butterworth, 1995). Iain Borden and David Dunster (eds.).
- Strangely Familiar: Narratives of Architecture in the City, (Routledge, 1996). Iain Borden, Jane Rendell, Joe Kerr and Alicia Pivaro (eds.).
- Gender Space Architecture: an Interdisciplinary Introduction, (Routledge, 1999). Jane Rendell, Barbara Penner and Iain Borden (eds.).
- InterSections: Architectural Histories and Critical Theories, (Routledge, 2000). Iain Borden and Jane Rendell (eds.).
- The Unknown City: Contesting Architecture and Social Space, (MIT Press, 2001). Iain Borden, Jane Rendell, Joe Kerr with Alicia Pivaro (eds.).
- Skateboarding, Space and the City: Architecture and the Body, (Berg, 2001).
- Manual: the Architecture and Office of Allford Hall Monaghan Morris, (Birkhäuser, 2003).
- The City Cultures Reader, (Routledge, revised and expanded second edition, 2003). Malcolm Miles and Tim Hall with Iain Borden (eds.).
- Bartlett Works, (August Projects, 2003). Laura Allen, Iain Borden, Peter Cook and Rachel Stevenson (eds.).
- Transculturation: Cities, Spaces and Architectures in Latin America, (Rodopi, 2005). Felipe Hernandez, Mark Millington and Iain Borden (eds.).
- Skateboarding, Space and the City: Architecture and the Body, (Shin-yo-sha, 2006). Japanese edition, translation by Miho Nakagawa, Masako Saito and Tsunehiko Yabe.
- Bartlett Designs: Speculating With Architecture, (Wiley, 2009). Laura Allen, Iain Borden, Nadia O’Hare and Neil Spiller (eds).
- Drive: Journeys through Film, Cities and Landscapes, (Reaktion, 2012).
- Forty Ways To Think About Architecture: Architectural History and Theory Today, (Wiley, 2014). Iain Borden, Murray Fraser and Barbara Penner (eds).
- The Dissertation: a Guide for Architecture Students, (Architectural Press, 2000 and 2005; Routledge, new edition 2014). Iain Borden and Katerina Rüedi.
- Skateboarding and the City: a Complete History, (Bloomsbury, 2016/forthcoming).