Architecture, Culture and Tectonics Research Group


Research in the area of museum and exhibition design focusses on the contribution that the architectural setting can make to both the display and interpretation of museum collections.

Drawing on sources such as museum studies, narrative theory, phenomenology and perceptual psychology, the work combines text-based historical and theoretical studies with on-site field work and live design-build projects.

Wollaton Hall Dinosaurs of China Exhibt

The ACT group also has an ongoing collaboration with Prof Suzanne MacLeod at the School of Museum Studies, University of Leicester, including activities such as:

    • the international conferences Narrative Space (2010) which resulted in the co-edited book Museum Making (Routledge 2012)
    • The Future of Museum and Gallery Design, held at the University of Hong Kong (2015)
    • An EU ITN funding bid (2016/17) ‘D4CiM’ (Design for Change in Museums) involved 8 European partners (UK, Denmark, Germany, Finland, Estonia et al.)

Previous Projects

Dinosaurs of China



Dinosaurs of China is an exclusive exhibition to Nottingham, the first in Europe, higlighting the foundation of transformed musesums in China.

Dr Wang Qi, an Assistant Professor in Architecture, who specialises in exhibition and museum design developed research since 2009 in the Natural History Museum, understanding - how is it perceived and experienced by the user - and exhibition narrative (storytelling) which, when combined, can provide an enhanced visitor and learning experience. This case study created longstanding relationships with the Palaeozoological Museum of China (PMC) and the Institute of Vertebrate Palaeontology and Palaeoanthropology (IVPP) of China.

Through further research with PMC in 2011, Dr Wang secured agreements with PMC suggesting the museum could exhibit their dinosaur collection at Wollaton Hall, Nottingham’s local natural history museum. Thus, the Dinosaurs of China exhibition was born.

Read more, view the dinosaur gallery and watch time lapses...


Dr Wang Qi at the Dinosaurs of China exhibit
Dr Wang Qi at the Dinosaurs of China exhibit, Nottingham

Wuhan Metro Museum

In 2017 Dr Jonathan Hale served as museum design consultant to the Shanghai office of American architecture and design practice Greenberg Farrow, on the competition winning design for the Metro Museum in Wuhan.

Previous funded research projects:

“The Prism of Sustainability”, funded by Danish Culture Agency, involving an advisory collaboration with the National Gallery of Denmark, Trapholt Museum, Medical Mouseion, and the Royal Library Copenhagen, 2013-2015.

“Curating the Landscape: From the museum to the city,” One of three strands within the EPSRC Cross-Disciplinary Feasibility Account project Towards Pervasive Media, Principal Investigator: Prof Steve Benford, School of Computer Science. 2009-2011. (Award Ref: EP/H024867/1).

Anywhere-Everywhere-Somewhere”. Interactive digital urban performance event, hosted by the Broadway Media Centre, Nottingham April 2008. Funded by the Arts Council England (Grants for the Arts). Principal Investigator: Cie. Willi Dorner, (Artist, Vienna); Co-investigator: Dr Holger Schnädelbach. Part of the "Moving City" project, an ongoing collaboration with the Mixed Reality Lab, School of Computer Science, University of Nottingham. 

Museum Builders


The popularity of the museum has dramatically increased in recent years and many modern examples have been built around the world. This book catalogues these developments and beautifully presents an exciting selection of the most inspiring examples of contemporary museums around the world. 

Following a historical and contemporary assessment of the role of the museum, the author presents, in great photographic detail, the most famous examples of modern museums around the world.

Buy the book



Architecture, Culture and Tectonics

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

telephone: +44 (0)115 74 86257