Brian Bowen retired as president of Hanscomb Inc. in 2000, after a long career in the construction industries of England, Canada, and the United States. In a second career as a Professor of Practice in the College of Architecture at the Georgia Institute of Technology, Bowen developed a course that became the basis of his important new book, The American Construction Industry: Its Historical Evolution and Potential Future (Routledge, 2021). As Thomas Leslie notes in the back-cover testimonial, the volume adds an important perspective to standard architectural histories: “Relying on his background in the industry and using illuminating examples of contracts, correspondence, and other key documents across eras, Bowen explains the combined effects of economics, the law, labor, and professional organization, among others, in realizing both grand monuments and everyday dwellings.” The American Construction Industry, he opines, “is essential as a reference and enlightening as a narrative."
In 2008 Brian Bowen helped establish the Construction History Society of America, a branch of the CHS based in the United Kingdom, and serves as its chairman emeritus. After his talk, Brian will be joined by Donald Friedman, author of Structure in Skyscrapers and Historical Building Construction (Norton, 2010) in a conversation that brings together two preeminent experts in a field of key importance to the history of the built environment.