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School of Architecture Events in Shanghai

9 December 2017 to 10 December 2017

Shanghai Jiao Tong University / Shanghai Huaxin Conference Centre

Free, booking required. Please use the link on the right to book a place for any of the events.

The Royal College of Art's School of Architecture would like to invite you to a very special weekend of events in Shanghai on Saturday 9 and Sunday 10 December.

The weekend begins with a symposium on Saturday 9 December, entitled Socio-Spatial Design and the Transformation of Urban-Rural China. This full-day event contains a series of presentations by speakers from Shanghai University, East China University of Science and Technology, University of Hong Kong and University of Sydney, as well as the Royal College of Art, exploring how social development projects, spaces, and realities shape the key contexts critical to understanding contemporary urban design in China.

On Sunday 10 December, the focus shifts to Urban Design Research and comprises a workshop in the morning and a forum in the afternoon. With colleagues from other institutions such as East China Architectural Design & Research Institute and Tongji University, along with independent curators and artists, the day will explore design research in architecture and urban design, and architectural urbanism as an approach to urban design.


Saturday 9 December
Socio-spatial Design and the Transformation of Urban-Rural China
Lecture Theatre, Xuhui Campus, Shanghai Jiao Tong University

The symposium explores how social development projects, spaces, and realities shape three contexts critical to understanding contemporary urban design in China: the history of communal spatial development models; sociospatial changes in urban and rural developments; and changing models of urban governance. The symposium will discuss how historical spatial development forms in China, such as the urban danwei and worker’s village or rural people’s commune and Third Front are an important contemporary heritage of urban form and Chinese modernity, but also how these are critical to formulating a new interdisciplinary urban design practice and theory. The symposium will therefore debate the significance of this spatial heritage to urban design and planning theory, history and practice, and how spatial design has been instrumental to shape a sense of community and place. Current problems of neighbourhood transformations and urbanisation in China can be understood in relationship to these historical developments.

9:00–9:15 Introduction

9:15–9:45 Dr. Sam Jacoby (AA/RCA) ‘Socio-spatial and Urban Design of Housing’

9:45–10:15 Prof. Li HOU (Tongji University) ‘Building Beyond Oil: Chinese Cities and Countryside Under the Daqing Model’

10:15–10:45 Prof. Youwei XU (Shanghai University) ‘The Housing Problem of Chinese Workers: Little Third Front as the Centre, 1960-90s’

10:45–11:15 Dr. Zhiyong LIANG (University of Hong Kong) ‘The Continual Modernising Mission: From Village for Commoners to Workers’ New Village’ 

11:15–11:45 Jiao Tong speaker, tbc 

11:45–12:00 Morning Q+A 

12:00 –14:00 Lunch break

14:00–15:00 Keynote Lecture: Prof. Duanfang LU (University of Sydney) ‘Urbanisation Through Collective Forms’ 15:00 –15:30 Jingru Cyan CHENG (AA) ‘Radical Settlement: The Architecture of the People’s Commune’

15:30 –16:00 Prof. Wansheng XIONG (East China University of Science and Technology) ‘A Sociological Explanation of the Rural Settlement’

16:00 –16:30 Ning OU (curator and artist) ‘The Collective Eye: Bishan and Other Places’

16:30 –17:00 Platon Issaias (AA/RCA) ‘Collective Equipment as a Device for Urban Design’ 

17:00 –18:00 Concluding round table discussion Chair: Dr Adrian Lahoud (RCA)


Sunday 10 December
Design Research in Architecture
9am-12pm, Xuhui Campus, Shanghai Jiao Tong University

This workshop is for students, young scholars, and academics to discuss approaches to design research in architecture and urban design. The workshop is complementary to the symposium and the forum in the afternoon.

Presentations: Dr. Sam Jacoby (AA/RCA) ‘Design Research Methodology in Architecture’ Dr. Tarsha Finney (RCA) ‘Urban Instability: Typological Reasoning, the Housing Project and the Transformation of Notions of Public Benefit’ Jiao Tong staff presenter tbc Gianna Bottema (MPhil Projective Cities candidate, AA) Huajing Wen (MPhil Projective Cities candidate, AA) Jiao Tong student presenters tbc


Sunday 10 December
Architectural Urbanism
3-5pm, Shanghai Huaxin Conference Centre, Shanghai

The forum discusses architectural urbanism as an approach to urban design focused on the multi-scalar and interdisciplinary challenge of spatial design. Based on a case study methodology, architectural urbanism uses analytical tools, design methods, and design processes derived from architecture to develop an organizational and structural understanding of urban design problems in typological terms. Architectural urbanism hereby seeks a better understanding of the relationships between urban design and socio-economic changes, and promotes an integration of urban sociology, social policy and spatial planning to cross established disciplinary, methodological and cultural boundaries.

Presenters: Sam Jacoby (AA, RCA), Adrian Lahoud (RCA) and Jingru Cyan Cheng (AA)

Discussion panel (tbc): Zhongnan YE (East China Architectural Design & Research Institute), Wenbin FAN (Shanghai Jiao Tong University), Yongkong CAO (Shanghai Jiao Tong University), Zhiyong LIANG (University of Hong Kong), Ning OU (curator and artist), and Li HOU (Tongji University).