Architecture, Culture and Tectonics Research Group

We narrated a story about dinosaurs in China for you to experience the extinct animals that lived millions of  years ago.            


Dinosaurs of China was a one-time only world exclusive exhibition of dinosaurs which came to Europe for the first time. Wollaton Hall in Nottingham hosted the main exhibition, with a complementary exhibition at Lakeside Arts, in July – October 2017.

Featuring fossils and specimens never before seen outside of Asia, Dinosaurs of China brought to life the story of how dinosaurs evolved into the birds that live alongside us today.

Dinosaurs of China virtual tour

Explore a 3D virtual tour of the exhibition courtesy of Nottingham City Museums & Galleries, Nottingham City Council.


Designing the Dinosaurs of China Exhibition

Deputy direcotr of PMC Jin Haiyue and us and skeletonsJin Haiyue the Deputy director of  PMC, Dr Wang Qi and Mr Adam Smith the curator of  Wollaton Hall.

The Dinosaurs of China exhibition emerged from research carried out by  Dr Wang Qi, an Assistant Professor in Architecture at the University of Nottingham, who specialises in exhibition and museum design. His studies are based on architectural language and how buildings deliver meaning to the public through their space and entities.


Dr Wang’s research, which first began in 2009 with the Natural History Museum, is based on the hypothesis that architectural space and exhibition narrative (storytelling), when combined, can provide an enhanced visitor and learning experience. This gave rise to a case study on the linguistics and architecture of the Natural History Museum, and it enabled him to set up research links with the Palaeozoological Museum of China (PMC) and the Institute of Vertebrate Palaeontology and Palaeoanthropology (IVPP) of China.

Spurred on by his lifelong passion for palaeontology and biology, in 2011, Dr Wang Qi further developed his research...

at the invitation of Dr Wang Yuan, the Director of PMC, who asked him to redesign the museum’s internal space in a bid to revitalise and update its offerings. One of the key findings that emerged from Dr Wang Qi’s research in China, was the absence of curators who could showcase the museum’s collections in a way that makes them accessible and engaging to the general public. 

The PMC had to contend with a small space that needed to be better organised, along with a rigid exhibition narrative that was too scientific. Without a curator, the scientists had stepped in to develop the information on the exhibits.

The resulting project, involving four undergrads and a postgrad student, began regenerating the PMC in late 2011. The team, led by Dr Wang Qi, drew up five schemes that explored the use of the PMC’s architectural space to enhance the narrative or storytelling around the theory of evolution and the diversity of prehistoric flora and fauna.

The research broke new ground in China where it was hailed by the Chinese media and enabled the museum industry to overcome the traditional division of exhibition and architecture by introducing the role of the curator.

The project was featured in the  Journal of Architectural Techniques in 2012. At the same time, the impact of the research expanded and accelerated, enabling Dr Wang Qi to set up international collaborations with other natural history museums around the world. The next year saw the publication of Dr Wang Qi’s book on the research carried out at the Natural History Museum, entitled: From Crystal Palace to Darwin Centre, the Architectural Evolution of Natural History Museum in London.

The Dinosaurs of China exhibition has enabled  Dr Wang Qi to further his research and shed new light on the “minds-on” factor by encouraging visitors to reconsider interactive exhibitions and museum design. Dr Wang aims to engage schoolchildren to actively think about and interpret the exhibits in their own way. Thus, while the hands are engaged, the children’s minds should be questioning, sorting through sensory inputs and making connections to create their own unique experiences.

 Confuciusornis sanctus 孔子鸟 - small
Confuciusornis sanctus 孔子鸟
 Sinornithosaurus millenii
Sinornithosaurus millenii中国鸟龙



Student testimonials

Through Dinosaurs of China,  Dr Wang Qi has also been able to create an innovative teaching opportunity for his students at the University of Nottingham. By enabling MArch and PhD students from the Department of Architecture and Built Environment to be directly involving in designing the exhibition at Lakeside, the students were able to explore the language of museum architecture and exhibition design and see their designs come to life in a real-world setting.

 The dinosaur exhibition in Lakeside is a celebration of Palaeo art and it’s a great opportunity to be part of it. As a design student, working collaboratively on one design proposal for the exhibition was both exciting and developmental. Crucially the project encouraged us to think about the topic of palaeo art from a visitor’s point of view.

In this project, we worked with paleo artists, graphic designers, curators and museum designers along with our tutors, an immersive experience to work with such professionals.

Architecture student, Engineering


 As a MArch student, it is important to be part of the Dinosaurs of China exhibition that is taking place at the Lakeside Arts and Wollaton Hall.

I am excited that the design proposal that we have worked on during the last semester has become real at Lakeside. This has been a great opportunity for us to work with and learn from professionals from a wide range of disciplines, including creatives, our tutors, museum designers, paleo artists, and curators.

Our concept was based on the importance of Paleo Art and its evolution, while trying to present it to the visitors in a narrative way so they can learn and enjoy at the same time.

Julian Pazmino,
MArch student in Engineering





Architecture, Culture and Tectonics

The University of Nottingham
Faculty of Engineering
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

telephone: +44 (0)115 74 86257