Architecture, Culture and Tectonics Research Group

Alumni PhD Students

Najah Md Alwi

Najah Md Alwi

Lecturer at University Malaysia Kelantan.

Supervisors: Dr Nicole PorterDr Yan Zhu and Mr Dik Jarman

Urban Parks for People in Megacities: Public Green Spaces as Social Spaces in 21st Century Jakarta, Indonesia

Urban parks and green spaces are useful assets that help support the conviviality of cities in diverse ways. This study examines historic and contemporary relationships between urban planning and everyday uses of green space in urban Jakarta to address problems affecting the development of urban green spaces in the context of South East Asia. The case study design was used and special region of Jakarta Central (Indonesia) with two locally renowned park: Taman Menteng and Taman Suropati, selected as the study area. Different qualitative research techniques were employed whilst representatives of green spaces organizations and the local people constituted the study population.

The study revealed the unfortunate state of urban green spaces in Jakarta with factors such as urbanization, poor enforcement of development controls, conflicting land ownership rights on green spaces, and lack of priority to green spaces being among the major causes for that. This problem was further exacerbated by complexity in the governance of green spaces, poor regulation of power among stakeholders, and lack of consensus in decisions on green spaces. Evidence from in-depth interviews with key stakeholders and local park users highlights the diversity and complexity of everyday relationships between urban planning and the use of green space, and shows that changing notions of nature and everyday life can be mapped to show associated urban, social and spatial inequalities. 



Jaeger, Nile

Nils Jäger

Assistant Professor at University of Nottingham

Supervisors:  Dr Holger Schnädelbach,  Prof Jonathan Hale and Prof David Kirk

Personal Biography

Nils Jäger studied Architecture at Technische Universität Berlin (BA) and Ball State University, Muncie, IN, USA (M.Arch.). He completed his PhD on Adaptive Architecture/Responsive Environments in Computer Science at the University of Nottingham. His thesis is titled “Enacted Embodiment in Adaptive Architecture: Physiological Interactions between Inhabitants and Biofeedback Architecture.”

Prior to his doctoral studies, Nils gained professional experience in Dallas, TX, USA, working in a mid-sized architectural office.

Prior to joining the University of Loughborough, Nils was a Research Fellow at the Mixed Reality Laboratory, University of Nottingham, where he investigates the inhabitation of adaptive architecture. Using experimental and “in the wild” research he examines embodiment, actual and perceived control, as well as agency within adaptive environments. He also studies the emerging interactions with architecture made possible by the Internet of Things and the smart home/smart cities paradigm.

Jing Xiao

Jing Xiao

Assistant Professor, School of Architecture and Urban Planning, Shenzhen University, China

Supervisors: Prof Jonathan Hale and Prof Qi Wang

Personal Biography

Dr. Jing Xiao is assistant professor at the School of Architecture and Urban Planning at Shenzhen University, China. He graduated from the University of Nottingham in 2013 with his dissertation focusing on the transformation of architectural knowledge via pictorial media in pre-modern China. He has published in many international refereed journals including IDEA+, Studies in the History of Gardens & Designed Landscapes, and Habitat International. His recent work on the history of Jesuit architecture in China will be published in the Routledge Handbook on the Reception of Classical Architecture (2019). 

Yin-Chao Lu

Yin-Chao Lu

Assistant Professor, Graduate Institution of Museum Studies, Fu Jen Catholic University, Taiwan

Supervisors: Prof Jonathan Hale and Dr Laura Hanks

Personal Biography

I did my PhD on the research of critically reviewing the conservation of Taiwan's Military Dependants' Villages under Professor Jonathan Hale and Associate Professor Laura Hanks' supervision. The research was related with architectural theories of meaning of space, interpretation and narrative of space.

I participated in a research project about reviewing the development of the landscape in Yilan County, Taiwan as a co-principle investigator after finishing my PhD. After this, I obtained an academic place in the Graduate Institution of Museum Studies, Fu Jen Catholic University as an Assistant Professor.

The main topics currently are:

  • Museum Architecture
  • Museum and Cities
  • and Museum and Cultural Heritage

The main foci of my future research will be related with architecture, cities, heritage and museum studies. The last research project is about adjusting of historical buildings and exhibition of local culture.


Mina Tahsiri

Research Associate at Strathclyde University

PhD title: Design Behaviour and Distributed Cognition: A Protocol Study on the Effect of Design Tools on Architectural Design Thinking

Supervisors:  Prof Jonathan Hale and Dr Chantelle Niblock

Personal Biography

Mina joined the department in 2013 on a Dean of Engineering Scholarship and conducted her PhD research on the architectural design thinking process. Whilst at Nottingham, she tutored in the 1st year RIBA design studio, represented the ACT research group within the faculty and worked within the Graduate School as a coordinator for the Engineering and Science Graduate Centre. Since graduating, Mina joined the Imagine-D. research team at Strathclyde University who investigate the neural and cognitive basis of creative design ideation.

Jing Yang

Jing Yang

PhD title: Weak Tectonics: the Ambiguous Role of Materiality in the Work of Contemporary Japanese Architects SANAA

Supervisors:  Prof Jonathan Hale, Prof Michael Stacey and Dr Toby Blackman

Personal Biography

Through a detailed case-study of the work of Japanese architects SANAA, this research investigates the meaning of the term “weak” in the context of architecture, and the role that materiality plays in realising such weakness, focusing primarily on three key material features that have been identified in their work: transparency, thinness, and whiteness. The study investigates materiality from a spatial and social perspective, focusing on the perception and occupation of people in the building. It expands the standard definition of tectonics into a spatial tectonics, which shows a characteristic of ambiguity in SANAA’s case and might ultimately be a reflection of the ambiguity and paradoxes of contemporary society.

J. Yang research image


Jiayi Jin

Lecturer in Architecture, Northumbria University

Supervisors:  Dr Wang QiDr Laura Hanks Internal Assessor Prof Jonathan Hale

Personal Biography

She graduated in BA Architecture from the University of Portsmouth, obtained the Master of Architecture (Distinction), and a PhD in Architecture with Dean's Excellence Scholarship from Nottingham. Her thesis is titled “When Exhibitions Become Experiences: the nARration of augmented space inside a science museum” which focuses on the emergent ways of designing the interactive space, and in particular, how educational environments are impacted through the interplay between the digital media space and the physical space, how this overall triggers an important shift in the way people experience, learn and reflect.

Jjiayi Jin research image

Malathe Hamid

Malathe Hamid

PhD title: Architecture, place and identity: An exploration through an interpretive pattern language tool. A case study of Khartoum’s city centre (KCC) – Sudan

Supervisors: Dr Laura HanksDr Wang Qi

Personal Biography

Malathe is currently an Assistant Professor at the University of Khartoum – Faculty of Architecture / Sudan, where she originally studied her Bachelor degree (BA). Malathe joined University of Nottingham in 2013 on a Developing solutions scholarship for her masters course (MArch Design).  Following her graduation with Distinction, Malathe re-joined the University of Nottingham for her PhD in 2015 on the Dean of Engineering scholarship. During her time at Nottingham, Malathe won the Best Urban Design Project Prize (2013-2014), represented her ACT research group within the Engineering Faculty and tutored postgraduate students in design studios in addition to several conferences and research events in and outside the UK.

Through her current role, Malathe will work directly with a research team in realising the findings of her PhD and put them into practice through linking Sudanese architectural education with the practice and the government. 


Concepcion del Carmen Rojas Rivera

Concepcion del Carmen Rojas Rivera

PhD title: Place Attachment in Informal Settlements: the influence of community leaders in Mexico

Supervisors: Dr Katharina BorsiDr Nicole PorterDr Lucelia Rodrigues

Lecturer, School of Architecture, Instituto Tecnologico de la Costa Grande, México. 

Personal Biography

Concepcion graduated in BA Architecture from the Universidad Iberoamericana Puebla (MEX), obtained the Master of Architecture in Architectural Technology and a PhD in Architecture from the University of Nottingham, where she focused on investigating the formation of place attachment in informal settlements.

Prior to her PhD studies, Concepcion worked as the Head of the School of Architecture at Instituto Tecnologico de la Costa Grande, México, along with her private professional practice.

She is now working towards creating and developing a research team at the University to continue and expand her work on informal developments.  







Architecture, Culture and Tectonics

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

telephone: +44 (0)115 74 86257