Transactional Urbanism

11 May 2022

By Ian Nazareth 

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Transactional Urbanism is a protraction of the flat, spiky, decentralised city, expressing the significance and influence of ubiquitous transactional exchanges on the form of the city. It presents the techno-social spatial domains that engender the city – an urban realm that is remote, dispersed yet kinetic and all-pervading.

The lecture will examine the impact of decentralised technologies on the built environment and the consequent emergent techno-spatial architectural and urban conditions catalysed by disruptive distributed systems. Through discussing an emergent body of work, it will present the propositional forces that demonstrably shape the city; focussing on technology - its implementation and imprint – with an aim to establish a relation in the domain of architectural comprehension.

Transactional Urbanism explores the architecture of the city as a prototypical condition consciously regulated, one that is no longer defined by a product but by scalable processes, services and ecosystems.

There are physical implications to virtual agreements that are apparent in the operations and behaviours of cities. This talk aims to make specific trajectories visible - where these shifts might get inscribed in the urban process and crystallised in architectural practice.

Construction or Yingzao, the Academic Meaning in Construction and History of Chinese Architecture

4 May 2022

By Professor Chen Zhao


“Construction” and “History of Chinese Architecture”, as two important courses of the curriculum of architecture discipline in China. The  architecture with Western cultural background took “construction” as kind of knowledge base for the discipline, history of architecture as kind of mainly theory bass. While the Chinese long and deep cultural tradition hasn’t developed the architecture as an academic system, which was eventually elaborated after Renaissance in Europe, accordingly could be reinterpreted as tectonic, habitat, urban three cultural phenomenon. “Tumu/Yingzao” represented the tradition of tectonic culture is just the core of content, those of main forms of building arts in Chinese history could be understanding by the logic of “Yingzao”, so that “Construction” and “History of Chinese Architecture” as two different courses but inherent connection based upon the means of “Yingzao”.

Building Sustainability

27 Apr 2022

By Andrea Rossi

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Sustainability is certainly an overused word, specially when it comes to architecture. But what does building sustainably really mean? How can we integrate parametric environmental input so that they become informative of the whole design process. I’d like to share with you my experience in integrating environmental simulation principles and tools from the very early stages of the design to the construction (from Bologna to Milan to Brazil), going through ups and downs and sharing the importance of truly integrating sustainable design principles into architecture to make them inseparable.

Extraordinary of the Ordinary

20 Apr 2022

By Liu Yuyang

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Architecture as a discipline is deeply rooted in the land and its people, two fundamentally intrinsic values that give architecture its true meaning. The lecture will discuss the relationship between culture, tradition, history, architecture and design in the post pandemic era through speaker Mr. Liu’s own experience.

Mr. Liu will  introduce his award winning projects such as  XY Yunhouse Hotel in Guangxi, Shanghai Minsheng Wharf Riverfront Open Space Renovation, Yangjing Harbor and Hangzhou Grand Canal Waterfront Public Space and the  recently opened Caoyang Centennial Park.


Dec 8, 2021

By James Wei Ke

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During the unforgettable year of 2020, Ke’s life also inevitably came to a temporary pause. The relationship between time and space, which once obscure, became clear in those days. Ke realized that we are creating memory, destroying memory, regulating memory, and ultimately shaping time in all acts of architecture.

James Wei Ke

Partner and co-founder of Chiasmus, James Wei Ke’s work focuses on architecture which reshapes the experience of public space. His work involves publications, teaching, and multidisciplinary studies on bridging the gap between space and human behavior. He has taught at Columbia University, New York institute of Technology, Seoul City University and Tongji University.


Nov 25, 2021

By Shanshan Qi

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Architecture is not only a physical existence, it also carries recurring memories and a multi-dimensional world of experience. Qi believes that architecture is about sensibility and responsibility. In an era when technology changes rapidly, what is the purpose of architecture in the context of the continuous aggregation of local history, culture, tourism and scenery resources?


Shanshan Qi was honored the FEMALE FRONTIER AWARD & UNSUNG HERO AWARD in  2021,listed as GREEN WOMEN POWER 100 in 2020. Her work has received AIA Award, Leading European Architects Forum (LEAF) Award, A&D Trophy Award, Architecture Masterprize; WA Award, etc. She spoke at TED conferences both in Shanghai and Hangzhou. She was featured in the recent book of “New Chinese Architecture: Twenty Women Building the Future.”

Shanshan Qi graduated from Barnard College of Columbia University with Summa Cum Laude, and completed Master in Architecture at Harvard University. She was the sole recipient of the Peter Rice Fellowship and obtained professional training at Renzo Piano Building Workshop in Genoa, Italy in 2010. Shanshan completed her Ph.D. on the “Existence and 2.5 Dimensional Perceptions of Architecture”, with Pritzker Prize Laureate Professor WANG SHU. She is a faculty at Zhejiang University and leads the thesis program at China academy of Arts since 2014.

Shanshan Qi founded STUDIO QI in Hangzhou in 2013, an office that is predominately composed of female architects and designers. Shanshan plays an ongoing and active role in leading collaborative teams, as she is a leading figure pushing for the awareness of gender inequality, in preservation of the richness of the rural, and the cultural milieu in China, as well as challenging the new definition of archi-tourism. Shanshan believes that architecture is about sensibility and responsibility, where she brings a lightness of spirit to all her projects, as her architecture offers people - varied spatial experience, and a strong sense of place and existence. 

Third Culture and the Public Realm

By Christopher Chan and Annie Shu

Oct 21 2021

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Annie Shu and Christopher Chan center their work within the American architectural firm of Moore Ruble Yudell, a collaborative practice began by Charles Moore almost 45 years ago. After establishing the MRY Shanghai office 10 years ago, Annie and Chris continue to lead design on projects throughout Asia.

They will share their personal and joint inspiration and experiences internationally that shape their work; projects that traverse disparate geographies and complementary cultures, yet all involve the public realm. Their work is described as modern yet firmly rooted in tradition, whether by form, space, or materiality. At the core of their work is their unique perspective that lies at the intersection of harmony and contradiction.

How Vital is Common Space?

By Binke Lenhardt

Sep 27 2021

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Public space has been recently rethought due to the global pandemic: its implications on people’s lives range from physical to mental benefits. Crossboundaries has always explored the dichotomy between the public sphere and private areas. Through a series of projects, this lecture will discuss the perception on plurality, identity and uses in space according to different times and actors. The emergence of a third form of contemporary public space, named common space – not public nor private- but commonly produced by the people, will be exemplified with two projects that have been recently completed in 2021:

2020-2021 Schedule

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Balkrishna Doshi - architecture for the people

By Rajeev Kathpalia

19 May 2021



Pritker laureate Prize, Indian architect, urban planner, academician, and institution builder Balkrishna Doshi (born 1927 in Pune, India) is one of the few pioneers of modern architecture in India. With over 65 years of practice, research and teaching, Doshi can look back upon a wide range of projects which demonstrate an exceptional level of environmental and community awareness and reflect an approach that adapts modern architectural principles to local Indian traditions. Doshi is acclaimed for his visionary work in low cost housing and city planning as well as for his strong commitment to education.

His professional partner for over 26 years, Rajeev Kathpalia illustrates Doshi’s concerns and design principles through seven of Doshi’s celebrated projects.


The Future of Tradition

By Lidia Ratoi & John Lin

20 May 2021

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Across China, rural homeowners are altering, adapting and reconfiguring their long-established traditional houses in order to respond to a continuously shifting paradigm: from industrialization, the epoque of the digital and of machines, to the global pandemic. 

This talk brings together two distinct research trajectories from The University of Hong Kong in order to approach the question of rural development and the possibility of evolving existing dwelling types with digital fabrication technology. Can contemporary homes be neither rural nor urban, but both modern and traditional - envisioning a retrofuture way of living?


Architecture Towards a Living City

By He Jianxiang

29 Apr 2021



The Pearl River Delta (PRD) metropolitan area, the largest and densest urban area on earth, has been explosively erected upon the ground of the original continuous delta township landscape. History and material tradition have been widely erased by the rapid wave of urbanization. The pure flux of spatial production solidifies into a hyper urban condition in the region. The new city goes against the city spirits.

With a strong interest of reginal history and identity, the practice of O-office explores a design approach that uses architecture and landscape as a tool for immediate urbanism. From industrial renewal to urban building projects, the lecture showcases O-office’s effort on rediscovering daily life and local meanings through built and unbuilt projects.


Project Serving Inquiry

By Prof Zhu Jingxiang

18 March 2021

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Small projects bring endless opportunities on service, support and social equality. Lightweight buildings can create new type of relationship between man-made objects with the environment when the designs follow inquiry, exploration and testing. This lecture will use a series of built cases to illustrate such viewpoints.

UNITINNO is a multidisciplinary company, committed to investigation, production testing and promotion of high quality prefabricated lightweight building product. It is established by core members from the Architecture Integrity & Innovation Association (AIIA) which is a forward-looking comprehensive research team based on the School of Architecture in the Chinese University of Hong Kong.


Uncertain by Design: Designing for times of increasing uncertainty in order to ensure a more connected and diverse society

By James Shen

17 December 2020

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James Shen

James Shen is Principal and Founding Partner of PAO/PIDO. Originally from Los Angeles, USA, James holds a Bachelor in Product Design. He received his M. Arch from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and is a Visiting Lecturer at MIT. In 2017 he was awarded with the Loeb Fellowship at Harvard.

Beijing-based People's Architecture Office (PAO) / People's Industrial Design Office (PIDO) was founded by He Zhe, James Shen and Zang Feng in 2010, and consists of a multi-disciplinary team of architects, engineers, product designers and urbanists. With the belief that design is for the masses, the studio focuses on social impact through design. PAO is the first architecture practice in Asia certified as a B-Corporation and serves as a model for social entrepreneurship.


Fashion & Architecture: from the body to the cloud

By Francesco Fioretto

7 Devember 2020


Overview on architectural trends on fashion and print design, the language of the body as mean to comunicate emotions, attitudes and messages. Is the de-materialisation of the retail system only the beginning of the "cloudisation" of the garments?


Francesco Fioretto

Istituto Marangoni Shanghai, Director of Education

Francesco Fioretto studied Design and Visual Communication at Politecnico di Milano. Since 2010 he has been working as a freelance art and creative director for fashion and luxury brands in Paris, redesigning their identity and extending their communication strategies to digital spaces. 

Since 2016 he has worked as creative director of Faux Q Magazine, an independent print fashion and art magazine. He is specialised in narrative photography for still life and fashion editorial shooting as well as film and interactive motion pictures. He redesigned the identity of the Studios Rouchon Paris, and their avant-gardist digital appzine Hardi Magazine, a fully iPad interactive magazine. 

Francesco joined Istituto Marangoni Paris in 2014 as Graphic Design and Art Direction Tutor first, and Programme Leader of Fashion Styling & Creative Direction then. In 2020 he was appointed Director of Education of Istituto Marangoni Shanghai and relocated to China.


Just Do It: Innovation through Thinking and Digital Tools

By Matt Rhoades

30 November 2020



Matt Rhoades

Matt Rhoades is a Product Designer, Master [Esslinger Studio], and Professor of Strategic Design and Innovation program at De Tao School of Design at Shanghai Institute of Visual Arts.Formerly he worked at Frog Design and more recently was Global Creative Director for Nike Team Sport accessories. His lecture will cover the design and development process used by Nike to make such exciting and forward thinking products (including sneakers) and describes the use of innovative thinking and digital design tools.


Archi-NJU and Poetics of Construction in Contemporary China

By Chen Zhao

13 October 2020

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Tectonic, or to say poetics of construction, as the most crucial concept in Chinese architectural academia of the 21st Century, has been intimately related to Archi-NJU. How did that happen and develop? It seems necessary to make review and evaluation of this experience after 20 years.


Endless cities 2.0

By Subharthi Guha

21st September 2020

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Subharthi Guha

Subharthi Guha is an Architect and Urban Planner with an experience of design across 15 countries and over 30 projects - all of which are widely published. Having worked alongside architect Charles Correa on numerous international buildings and social re-development projects, he joined Zaha Hadid Architects in 2010. During 9 years at the firm, he worked on several projects but most notable contribution lie in the form of built projects of Riyadh Metro Station; City life Tower in Milan; Pangu Retail and Penthouse in Beijing and Studio City Casino, Hotel and Waterpark in Macau.

In parallel he set up a research studio concept SGLtd in 2006, that has delivered experimental buildings and new growth models of city planning. He has lectured and taught globally at various institutes including the Architectural Association London, TU Delft, Washington State University-USA, Savannah College of Art and Design-USA, XJLTU China, CEPT-Ahmedabad and SPADelhi/Vijayawada - India. Since 2008, he has been frequently invited to present and advise Departments in the Govt of India.


Perception of Design

by Timur Burbaev

1 July 2020


Art director of the Industrial Design department at of Art.Lebedev Studio of design (Moscow)*

Head of Industrial Design department of Design School at Higher School of Economics (Moscow)**


The lecture provided an overview of the vision of improving the design process: how can we advance our projects' quality by adjusting the design method? The talk picked up the most forehanded art.lebedev design studio projects to demonstrate the conceptual models and how their implementation impacts the final result. These projects are characterized by the detailed human-centered experimental approach, sense of humor, and innovation. Timur also has extensive teaching experience. He applies the design practice findings and structures them into a beneficial and efficient design methodology, which he briefly shared with the lecture's audience.


* Founded in 1995, Art. Lebedev Studio is a privately-held company, doing industrial design, graphic design, identities, urban and environmental design, wayfinding systems, mobile and web, interface design, font creation, patterns, architecture and book publishing.

** HSE ART AND DESIGN SCHOOL is a subdivision of the National Research University Higher School of Economics, which is rated as top 3 universities in Russia and is one of the leading youngest universities worldwide (QS 50 Under 50). The school represents today a creative community of more than 2500 students of bachelor, master and PhD programs.


On the Constrution of Form

By Subharthi Guha

24th October 2019


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Doshi Conversation

The interview, a conversation about architecture, landscape, life, space and people, was shouted by Adhitya Seth at Sangath, the Doshi's office, in Ahmedabad in October 2018 then edited by Jason Bevan and directed by G.D. Jayalakshmi from XJTLU (Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool University), Suzhou (PRC).

Sandro Rolla, an architect from Italy, have been a Doshi's collaborator many years ago, is currently a lecturer at XJTLU.


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