Marta Catalan is currently a PhD candidate in the Faculty of Architecture, The University of Hong Kong. Her current research interests explore the relationship between global flows and urban forms. She was trained as an architect and has taught and practiced in Spain, Japan and Hong Kong.
Marta is the author of Are you ready for Chinification?: China Chunks (Architectural Worlds, 2014). She has presented at conferences including the “ International Association for the Study of Traditional Environment (IASTE) in Kuwait, 2016” “Rethinking Modern Asia-Pacific Architectures in Melbourne, 2016“ and" Inter-Asia Cultural Studies in Surabaya, 2015” and . She is part of the organizing committee of the “Urban and Architectural Translations in Modern Asia” RPG student conference in Hong Kong, 2016.
Marta has worked and collaborated with several architecture firms including Izaskun Chinchilla Architects and Andres Jaque Office of Political Innovation. In 2006 she became a founding member of Zira02 whose projects were awarded with the Europan, Sika and Iberdola Prizes. In Hong Kong she was also awarded with the 1st Prize Workstation Design for the Jockey Club Design for Innovation Competition.
Chinese Capital Under Neoliberalism: the Spanish Urban Transformation” investigates the impact of Chinese transnational flows in the Spanish urban environment. The research examines different scales and processes in both Madrid and Barcelona, illustrating shifts in urban governance and institutional readjustments. By looking at emerging architectural and urban forms, the variety of actors involved and their divided perspectives on urban change, this research brings new insights into the contemporary formation of the Spanish urban milieu, and the overall repositioning of the nation in the world order in a moment where the raise of China is having an impact on reshaping cityscapes around the globe.
Sylvia Chan specializes in research, writing, and public relations in architecture. She is a PhD candidate at the University of Hong Kong, and her research interests include architectural representations, translations in architecture, and the concept of Chineseness.
Sylvia is the author of Writing In(to) Architecture: China’s Architectural Design and Construction Since 1949 (East Slope Publishing, 2012) and Style: In Defence Of... Chinese Architecture (Machine Books, 2017). She has published in Singapore Architect and Indesign Australia. She has presented at conferences including the “2017 AAS Annual Conference in Toronto” and “Rethinking Modern Asia-Pacific Architectures (Melbourne, 2016)”. She is one of the organizers of the “Urban and Architectural Translations in Modern Asia” student conference in Hong Kong (2016).
With training in architecture and journalism, Sylvia was the Communications Representative of OMA Asia Pacific for four years. She led OMA’s public affairs activities in the region. She coordinated and produced exhibitions for OMA Asia, including “Shenzhen-Hong Kong Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism \ Architecture, Shenzhen (2011)” and “14th International Architecture Exhibition, Venice (2014).” She engaged in OMA’s research projects including “Elements of Architecture, 14th International Architecture Exhibition, Venice (2014).”
“Constructing Chineseness: Translations of Architecture into Modern China from the Mid-Nineteenth Century to 1949” traces multiple definitions of Chineseness in modern architecture from China’s late imperial era to the founding of People’s Republic of China. This dissertation focuses on how architects and historians defined Chineseness both through architectural discourses and constructions. I argue that a transitory zone formed by translation between architectural discourses and buildings provided a site for construction of Chineseness in modern architecture.
Nirodha Kumari Meegahakumbura Dissanayake is currently a Doctor of Philosophy Candidate in the University of Adelaide, South Australia. Her current research interests are urban design and sustainable settlements. She has recently obtained her Master of Philosophy degree from the University of Adelaide, and her Bachelor of Science in Agriculture and Master of Science in Floriculture and Landscape Architecture from the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka. She has presented her work at the ‘Modern Living in Asia’ international conference held in the University of Brighton, UK and the ‘SAH-Asia postgraduate workshop’ held in the University of Melbourne, Australia, as well as published in the International Conference of the Australian and New Zealand Architectural Science Association, 2016, held in Adelaide, Australia. She had been working as a Landscape Architect with the Urban Development Authority in Sri Lanka.
Evaluating New Towns in the Context of Mega Projects: A Case Study of the Mahaweli Architectural Unit (MAU), Sri Lanka
The research examined the new towns designed and constructed by the Mahaweli Architectural Unit, between 1983 and 1989, for the Mahaweli Development Project, a mega, multi-purpose hydroelectric project that involved resettling people in the dry zone of Sri Lanka. Given the comprehensive sociological analyses pre-dated the towns, this research concluded that these new towns failed to address the stated recommendations substantially, although they instigated a new paradigm of urban design practice in Sri Lanka.
Mengbi Li is a Ph.D. candidate in the Faculty of Built Environment, The University of New South Wales (UNSW, Australia). Her doctoral study attempts to address the conundrum in architecture between the pursuit of ‘sustainability’ and the need to make ‘progress’ through inquiries into the relationship between people and built environment. Her current research focuses on premodern Chinese vernacular architecture.
Mengbi is the author of “Quotation, Architecture and Chinese Ancestor Worship” (SAHANZ, 2017) and “The ‘Translation’ of Zhaobi in China across Time and Space” (SAHANZ, 2014). Her paper “Philosophical Meaning in Architecture” has been published in a top Chinese journal, Studies in Dialectics of Nature. In addition, Mengbi’s research is awarded the 2015 Chinese Government Award for Outstanding Students Abroad. Her thesis won the Top Prize and People’s Choice Prize in the Three-Minute Thesis Competition (3MT) in UNSW Built Environment. In 2012 and 2015, Mengbi worked as a research assistant.
She has been teaching and engaging in curriculum design at several Australian leading universities. After graduating with the top academic rank from B.Arch., she has also practiced architecture in China.
My Ph.D. study investigates the cultural significance of the largely stable material nature of China’s premodern vernacular architecture, and unravels the salutary lessons learned from vernacular architecture, which would have implications for modern architecture in relation to the notions of progress and sustainability. My investigation shows that the evolution of premodern Chinese vernacular architecture relied significantly on the renewal of intangible heritage rather than seeking physical changes. Certain modernist approaches to architecture involved interpretation (and misinterpretation) of the vernacular, and the vernacular can deepen current approaches to sustainable architecture.
Aninda Moezier is currently a PhD candidate in the Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning, the University of Melbourne. Her research interest includes the interaction between architecture and social—particularly gendered—relationships. She received her masters degree from the Institut Teknologi Bandung in Indonesia for working on the issue of phallogocentrism in architecture. Prior to her postgraduate study in Melbourne, she has taught in the Departemen Arsitektur, Universitas Pembangunan Jaya in Indonesia.
My research examines the interaction between the materiality of the house and the social relations of the people in a Minangkabau village, West Sumatra, Indonesia. Employing affective and intersectionality methodologies, it looks at how the materiality of the houses arouse certain attitudes in the people who apply their social intersectionality to their advantage. It argues that examining the house as both the source of affective energy and the result of place-making processes is useful for understanding Minangkabau socio-spatial relations.
Keng is currently undertaking his PhD degree at Department of Architecture, School of Design and Environment, National University of Singapore (2014-2017). Before joining NUS, he studied BA in architecture at Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, and further on a master’s degree at Oxford Brookes University in the United Kingdom. He had been practising as an architectural assistant in Malaysia, Singapore and London. Keng’s research interests are premised along the areas of architecture, urban planning and critical urban studies. In his master thesis, he examines the politics of heritage revitalization and management in Kampung Morten, Melaka – the historic capital of Malaysia. While in the current doctoral research, he pays awry attention to the discursive development of ‘Iskandar Malaysia’ in South Johor. In this research, Keng looks beyond the national territory of greater Kuala Lumpur, and the well explored discourse of nationalism, post-colonialism and ethnicity in Malaysian Studies. Instead, he attempts to explore the emergence of subnational political cultures and decentralization processes. Given the rise of second-tier cities and identities in Malaysia, ultimately, Keng is cultivated and positioned himself in the scholarship of Global South cities and urbanism.
Title: The Politics of Decentralization in Iskandar Malaysia: Development, Architecture and the Reproduction of Power
My thesis examines the political economy of development and urban transformation in South Johor, Malaysia. The study takes an in-depth look at the politics of decentralization relating to the multi-scalar arenas of urban development across Iskandar Development Region – a special economic zone initiated by the Malaysian Government in 2006. A central objective of this dissertation has been the ways of how city development, urban space and architecture are represented, decentralized and equally authorized for reproducing political power in South Johor.
Dhara is a registered architect in India and a graduate from School of Architecture, CEPT Ahmedabad. She has worked internationally in Switzerland, India and Australia in various sized firms working on large and complex projects including commercial, healthcare and education projects. She has been working as an architect in Australia for 6 years, working on residential high-rises at Elenberg Fraser before starting her PhD at University of Melbourne. Dhara has been actively involved in design teaching at the University of Melbourne since 2009, alongside working in the industry. Her interest in residential high-rises has manifested into doctoral research.
My research focuses on the phenomenal embrace of luxury high-rise condominiums as the preferred typology for the elite in neo-liberal India. The salience of this model as an expression of social mobility denotes the critical role played by this new housing type in relation to the socio-cultural transformations advanced by neo-liberalism. This research is an architectural inquiry employing the investigative framework of socio-spatial thresholds within the contemporary framework of globalisation to uncover the processes of new elite formation.
I am currently a PhD candidate at the Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation, Deakin University, Melbourne. I obtained my BA (Honours) and Master of Philosophy in Archaeology from the University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka, where I also served as a Faculty member from 2007-2014. I have previously worked with the British- Sri Lanka explorations – The Upper Malwatu Oya Archaeological Exploration Project in the hinterland of the UNESCO World Heritage City of Anuradhapura as well as at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Sigiriya, Sri Lanka. My research interests are in the areas of post-conflict heritage, South Asian archaeology and the Sri Lankan Malay Diaspora.
My PhD research focuses on the role of archaeology in the construction of national heritage narratives in post-war contexts with special reference to Sri Lanka. The key themes of my research revolve around the politicisation of heritage and archaeology and how this informs the way ethnic minorities negotiate and position themselves and their heritage within the complex local-global interplay of cultural politics, and its wider implications for the democratisation of heritage and archaeology in post-war Sri Lanka.
Prajakta Sane completed her PhD from the University of New South Wales, Sydney in 2016. Her research interests include cross-cultural translation of architectural ideas and their intersection with decolonisation politics, architectural urbanism and social rituals, and public space design in the context of India. Her research is enriched by architectural practice and extensive teaching experience in India and Australia.
Prajakta is the author of the book Experiential shaping of public space during pilgrimage: The Alandi- Pandharpur Palkhi (VDM Publishing, Germany, April 2008). She has recently contributed entries on the projects of Achyut Kanvinde and Charles Correa in the upcoming exhibition and book publication SOS Brutalism (Deutsches Architekturmuseum (DAM) November 2017). She has also presented her research in various SAHANZ and other international conferences such as Sense of Place (Hobart, 2006) and Healthy Cities (Pune, 2011). She contributes articles to the Indian newspaper Loksatta (in Marathi language) on aspects related to the built environment.
Prajakta’s research maps the institutional architecture of Indian modernist Achyut Kanvinde (1916-2002) against visions for a modern India, specifically that of Nehru. Within dominant narratives, Kanvinde is viewed as a key agent in the dissemination of Euro-American disciplinary models to India. The thesis draws on contemporary critical historiographic methods and presents a close analysis of Kanvinde’s adaptation and localisation of international themes to the post-independence nation-building imperatives, associated social and cultural ideals and material and technological possibilities.
Adnya Sarasmita is a PhD candidate in the Built Environment program at the University of Washington, Seattle. She is currently conducting her dissertation fieldwork in Indonesia, with the support of Chester Fritz Fellowship for International Research and Study from the University of Washington. Her interests include informality in urban public spaces, the everyday life and urbanism, spatial resilience, community engagement in planning and design, and redevelopment planning and design.
Prior to joining the PhD program, Adnya received formal trainings in architecture from Universitas Brawijaya, Indonesia, and in urban and regional planning from the University of Iowa, USA, where she was also a Fulbright Fellow. She has presented at the National Planning Conference, the International Conference on the Constructed Environment, and the Great Asian Streets Symposium, and will be presenting at the International Association for the Study of Traditional Environments Conference in Portugal later this year.
Her dissertation research looks at how urban public spaces are informally produced, challenged, and defended, through a cross-site study of informal vending in Malang, Indonesia. She intends to examine how the practices in and governance of these spaces may vary not only temporally, but also between sites with different characteristics. Through her research, she hopes to contribute to the efforts in exploring the increasingly critical realm of public space and activism, and to start untangling the messy interactions between formal governance and informal practices.
Lian Zhou is currently a Ph. D. candidate in the Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning, the University of Melbourne. Her research interests include architectural history and theory, colonial architecture, heritage preservation, liminal and cross-cultural spaces. She received her professional degree in Architecture from Guangzhou University, China. After a few years of practice in architecture, she moved to Montréal, Canada and then obtained a master’s degree at McGill University focusing on cultural landscape studies. In her master research project, she examines the threshold doorway as an example of liminal spaces in Guangzhou’s traditional neighbourhoods.
Prior joining University of Melbourne, she has worked for firms including Mo Bo Zhi and Associates Architects in China and Fournier Gersovitz Moss Drolet et Associés Architects in Montréal, Canada. She has worked in various projects and has participated in several significant heritage preservation projects, especially in Canada, including the rehabilitation project of the West Block on Parliament Hill, Ottawa.
Her current PhD thesis explores cross-cultural contacts in the process of making the architecture of Chinese treaty ports and concessions and how they have been represented in contemporary heritage conservation practice.
This research approaches the architecture of Chinese treaty ports and concession environments as "contact zones" for European and Chinese cultural interaction, using Shamian in Guangzhou as a case study. It aims to understand the dynamics of colonial built environments in Chinese treaty ports so as to emphasize their historic and continued significance for the local populations and to inform professionals engaged in heritage conservation practice; and to bring new insights to historic interpretations of globalization with an example from China.