Manor Lessons

Manor Lessons

Commons Revisited. Teaching and Research in Architecture

England’s West Country and local traces of the manorial system are the subject of the concluding volume of the successful Teaching and Research in Architecture series produced by EPFL’s Laboratoire Bâle (laba)




Edited by Harry Gugger, Sarah Barth, Augustin Clément, Alexandros Fotakis and Amy Perkins

1st edition

, 2021

Text in English


200 pages, 248 color and 110 b/w illustrations, graphics, and plans

21 x 31 cm

ISBN 978-3-03860-196-8


Our contemporary condition, governed by the abstract capitalist market, demands a critical reading of the distribution, ownership, and use of common resources such as land. This is especially true in Britain with its long history of privatization stemming from land enclosure. The latest research campaign of Laboratory Basel (laba), a satellite studio of the EPFL in Lausanne, investigated the English manor house and how it can serve as a testing ground to reassess Britain’s complex and ongoing relationship with the countryside.

Southwest England is the most rural region of one of the more densely populated countries in Europe. It reflects all the absurdities of a globalized country under pressure to develop economically, physically, and environmentally. Highly protected landscapes, both natural and composed, form the backdrop to historic seats of political power and wealth, while sites of intense modern productivity are neatly concealed behind natural veils.

Manor Lessons, the concluding volume of laba’s successful Teaching and Research in Architecture series, explores the lessons that can be learned from the history of the manorial system, whose forgotten feudalistic origins were once rooted in the idea of land not as private property, but as common ground.


Harry Gugger is professor emeritus of architecture and former director of Laboratory Basel (laba), EPFL School of Architecture’s Basel-based satellite studio 2011–20. Sarah Barth and Amy Perkins have been working at laba as research assistants, Augustin Clément and Alexandros Fotakis as teaching assistants.


Other volumes in the Teaching and Research in Architecture series:

Barents Lessons (out of print)

Swiss Lessons (out of print)

Icelandic Lessons (out of print)

Venice Lessons

Israel Lessons

Portugal Lessons

Fez Lessons

Autoren & Herausgeber