John McKean’s book publishing, up to the last decade, focused on a few key areas:
- the crucially important Italian architect and thinker of the second half of the 20th Century, Giancarlo De Carlo
- Glasgow and its towering design figures of Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Alexander Thomson
- iconic British buildings since the Second World War such London’s Royal Festival Hall and the works of James Stirling
- the built idea of the new university after the Second World War
- mid-19th Century architecture, engineering and the city, with a focus on the ‘urban umbrellas’ epitomized by The Crystal Palace
- the fascinating architect and thinker Walter Segal who was a refugee in England from Nazi Europe
- Other books commissioned but stalled by publishing cutbacks include monographs on Palladio’s Villa Foscari (La Malcontenta) which was barely started, on The Parthenon (on which much was written) and, notably, a new world history of architecture (the New Banister Fletcher Project).
- urban housing for ordinary people. This interest began when required to design new housing as a student, while living amidst the mass annihilation of perfectly usable, if increasingly decrepit and un-maintained, pleasant streets and courts of walk-up housing. He organised a conference in London on high-rise housing in 1979 and gave the keynote paper here. He wrote an essay on alienation for Studio International which focused on the experience of high-rise living.