Tom Dyckhoff

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Tom Dyckhoff
Born1970/1971 (age 50–51) [1]
St Albans, England
OccupationCritic, journalist, author, presenter
Years active1998–present

Tom Dyckhoff is a British writer, broadcaster and historian on architecture, design and cities. He has worked in television, radio, exhibitions, print and online media. He is best known for being a BBC TV presenter of The Great Interior Design Challenge, The Culture Show, I Love Carbuncles, The Secret Life of Buildings (on Channel 4) and Saving Britain's Past.

Early life[edit]

He went to Aylesbury Grammar School (between 1983 and 1987) and then to the private Royal Grammar School Worcester (1987–1989).[2]

Dyckhoff then received his MAs in Geography from Oxford University,[3] and Architectural History from Bartlett School of Architecture at University College London.[4]


He began his career in September 1995, at Perspectives on Architecture, (the Prince of Wales's architectural magazine),[5] before becoming assistant editor at Design magazine, and then exhibitions curator at the Royal Institute of British Architects in 1998. Between 1999 and 2003 was deputy editor of "Space", The Guardian newspaper's design and homes section, and worked on its Weekend magazine.[6]

He is teaching fellow in the history and theory of architecture and cities at the Bartlett School of Architecture at University College London.

Dyckhoff wrote a weekly column for The Guardian newspaper's Weekend magazine from 2001 until 2020,[7] and from 2003 to 2011, he was the architecture and design critic for The Times newspaper in London.[4][8] He has written for international publications such as Blueprint,[9] Architects' Journal,[10] GQ, Arena, Wallpaper, Domus, New Statesman, Monocle and Icon.[11] He has taught at University College London, where he was honorary senior research associate, acts as a visiting critic and lecturer at other universities, and regularly holds lectures and hosts events.[4]

Dyckhoff is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects,[12] has been a trustee of the Architecture Foundation,[13] and was on the national shortlisting jury for the Stirling Prize for architecture from 2008 to 2012. In 2013 he was a judge on The Stirling Prize.[8][14]

He has also sat on the architecture committees of the Arts Council, the British Council and the Twentieth Century Society (which campaigns for 20th century heritage),[15] and on the British Council jury selecting the British Pavilion at the Venice Biennale.[16]

In 2013, he began making radio programmes for BBC Radio 4, such as a documentary on Buckminster Fuller (an American design polymath), and a regular series on design, The Design Dimension.[17] He was an editorial consultant behind rethinking the 21st edition of Sir Banister Fletcher's A History of Architecture.[4] In 2017, Penguin Random House published his first book, The Age of Spectacle: adventures in architecture and the 21st-century city, a history of architecture and cities since the 1970s.

Television career[edit]

Dyckhoff's first documentary was a one off, in 2004, about brutalist architecture for Channel 4, I Love Carbuncles.[18] From 2006 to 2016, he was a Culture Show presenter, where he wrote and presented a range of short and full-length documentaries on diverse subjects, with interviewees, such as Frank Gehry, Ikea, Chinese design and architecture, Oscar Niemeyer, Thomas Heatherwick, Dieter Rams and Lego.[19][20]

In 2009, he presented Saving Britain's Past, an exploration of Britain's relationship with heritage, on BBC2.[21]

In 2011, he was a presenter of Channel 4's three-part series Secret Life of Buildings, which used the latest research in psychology and neuroscience and real-life experiments to examine the impact of spaces and architecture on our brains and bodies.[1][22][18]

In 2013, he began presenting The Great Interior Design Challenge on BBC 2.[23] He then presented Series 2 (Oct/ Nov 2014), Series 3 (Feb 2016) and Series 4 (Jan 2017) as well.[24]

Personal life[edit]

He lives in South East London, with his family. He is married to Claire.[1]


  • Dyckhoff, Tom (27 February 2012). The Architecture of London 2012: Vision, Design and Legacy of the Olympic and Paralympic Games – An Official London 2012 Publication. John Wiley & Sons. ASIN B00CB5GE5C.

Co-authored with Claire Barrett

  • Dyckhoff, Tom (20 June 2017). The Age of Spectacle: adventures in architecture and the 21st-century city. Random House Books. ISBN 1847946526.
  • Dyckhoff, Tom (6 November 2014). Great Interior Design Challenge Sourcebook: The DIY Way to Add Value to Your Home. Pavilion Books. ISBN 1909815861.

Co-authored with Sophie Robinson, Daniel Hopwood and Katherine Sorrell


  1. ^ a b c Midgley, Neil (1 August 2011). "Tom Dyckhoff: Britain's buildings and homes are bad for our health". The Telegraph. Retrieved 14 April 2014.
  2. ^ "School Alumni". April 2014. Archived from the original on 6 October 2014.
  3. ^ Dyckhoff, Tom (18 May 2001). "Tom Dyckhoff finds that geography has shaken off the anoraks". The Guardian. Retrieved 14 April 2014.
  4. ^ a b c d "TV architecture critic Tom Dyckhoff to give Cheltenham Civic Society annual lecture". Gloucestershire Echo. 18 March 2014. Archived from the original on 16 April 2014. Retrieved 14 April 2014.
  5. ^ Richard HillDesigns and Their Consequences: Architecture and Aesthetics, p. 368, at Google Books
  6. ^ Joe Kerr, Andrew GibsonLondon From Punk to Blair: Revised Second Edition, p. 261, at Google Books
  7. ^ "Tom Dyckhoff". 2014. Retrieved 14 April 2014.
  8. ^ a b Dyckhoff, Tom (14 October 2008). "Stirling Prize 2008 winner: Accordia housing development, Cambridge". The Times. Retrieved 15 April 2014.
  9. ^ Appleton, Josie (4 March 2005). "Architect of the Year 2004". Retrieved 15 April 2014.
  10. ^ "Tom Dyckhoff". 2014. Retrieved 15 April 2014.
  11. ^ "In Conversation: with Will Alsop & Tom Dyckhoff". 13 April 2005. Retrieved 14 April 2014.
  12. ^ "RIBA announces 12 Honorary Fellowships". 6 October 2009. Archived from the original on 16 April 2014. Retrieved 15 April 2014.
  13. ^ "Tom Dyckhoff, Peter Rees, and Vijay Thakur join The AF's Board of Trustees". 25 October 2012. Retrieved 14 April 2014.
  14. ^ "Utterly magical building wins Top UK architecture prize – but no cash". 27 September 2013. Retrieved 14 April 2014.
  15. ^ "Journal 4: Post-war Houses". 2000. Retrieved 15 April 2014.
  16. ^ "Echo/City – An Urban Register". 2006. Retrieved 14 April 2014.
  17. ^ "An Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth". 1 March 2013. Retrieved 14 April 2014.
  18. ^ a b Cooke, Rachel (15 August 2011). "The Secret Life of Buildings (Channel 4)". The New Statesman. Retrieved 14 April 2014.
  19. ^ "TV preview: The Culture Show: Lego – The Building Block of Architecture". Stoke Sentinel. 10 February 2014. Retrieved 14 April 2014.
  20. ^ "The Culture Show: Lego – The Building Blocks of Architecture". Radio Times. 2014. Retrieved 14 April 2014.
  21. ^ "Saving Britain's Past". 12 August 2009. Retrieved 14 April 2014.
  22. ^ Wright, Mic (4 August 2011). "My Television Week: Dragons' Den, The Secret Life Of Buildings". Huffington Post. Retrieved 15 April 2014.
  23. ^ "BBC Two - The Great Interior Design Challenge, Series 1, Edwardian - Muswell Hill". BBC. Retrieved 13 April 2020.
  24. ^ "BBC Two - The Great Interior Design Challenge". BBC. Retrieved 13 April 2020.