Architecture, Culture and Tectonics Research Group

Currently within the Architecture, Culture and Tecontics Research Group (ACT) there are 12 students. All our students are skilled in multiple research areas such as:

  • contemporary architecture
  • innovative methodologies
  • cultural values
  • culture and history
  • architectural design process
Bryce William Gilroy-Scott

Bryce William Gilroy-Scott

PhD title: Developing a method to apply the Ecological Footprint methodology to building construction and operation

Supervisors:  Prof John Chilton and Dr Guillermo Guzman Dumont

Research summary
The value of the Ecological Footprint above the current focus on Carbon Footprinting, is that it is a more holistic assessment of sustainability and can readily be communicated to the general public.

The Research compares several building projects that have significant data records from the construction process. The type of data that have been collected are: the delivery notices; water consumption on site; electrical consumption; waste receipts; and then energy consumption during building operation.

I am interested in assessing the underlying data within an Ecological Footprint framework. While I recognise that the LCA and similar methods are more acurrate, the use of the Ecological Footprint, if reasonably accurate, is very useful for public education, which is equally as important a driver for change.
Sifan Guo

Sifan Guo

PhD: Research on How to Encourage Challenge Group into Museums by Exploring Innovative Exhibition Narrative Design

Supervisors:  Dr Qi Wang and Dr Laura Hanks

Research summary

In today's multicultural inclusive social background, the word more  may not only refer to the number of changes, it can be understood as diversity  or multi-levels may be more appropriate here. Because of culture, religion, and even social class, visiting museums is still a big challenge for many people. This research  will focus on studying the challenge visitors group, though some cases to analyze the exhibition narrative design that has been used in the museums and to explore the innovation architecture langue to encourage more challenge visitors to come into museums.



Nick Haynes

PhD title: Cultural Institutions: Typological and Urban Performances

Supervisors:  Dr. Katharina Borsi and  Graeme Barker

Research Summary
Cultural building typologies have become a fundamental catalytic force governing the urban fabric, responsible for instigating widespread regeneration in cities, and disciplining the surrounding built environment. Whilst they exist as a platform for the individual to express their views and experiences to the wider public, they can also serve as a vessel that preserves anthropological activities through history. These functions suggest the typology has a fundamental connection with society and a civic weight above most other building types. An exploration of the nature of this regenerative effect lies at the heart of this thesis: through an investigation of the typological and urban performances, this doctorate sets out to establish how these institutions have changed the city, and at which points through history. Their civic agency will be explored to identify the disciplinary autonomy of architecture, its agency in urban transformation and its effects on the subject.

Woong Heo

Architecture (Social Sciences) PhD Student, University of Nottingham

Supervisors: Dr Amy TangDr Laura Hanks and Dr Qi Wang

Fleeting Events with a Lasting Legacy?: The effect of seasonal events on urban and social sustainability

Research Summary:

Cultural-led urban regeneration has taken high priority in the Britain’s urban policy field for economic growth and social revitalisation since 1990s. In the early stage of the culture-led regeneration, the policy has put the emphasis on economic benefits by governments and private organisations, without a prudent concern about the initiatives’ the social effect and long-term perspective. However, while sustainable issue has been raised and social exclusion has been pointed out, culture-led policy has begun to consider the local residents and social sustainability in the UK as they experienced the evolution of regeneration. In this context, the local government and communities have made significant endeavour to achieve urban vitalisation through organising various local events and social activities in many cities in the UK.  In this sense, the research has fully focused on the effect of the local events in terms of urban regeneration and social sustainability. Furthermore, Nottingham city has been chosen as the case study model, especially the old market square’s two seasonal events which are the Nottingham Beach in summer season and Nottingham Winter Wonderland in winter season. In addition, this research takes a new approach to identify the effect of the events and assessment of the social impacts, in terms of urban space utilisation through the urban events. The study proposes to find out correlation between the spatial utilisation in the urban space which is more tangible elements and the social impacts of events which is less tangible elements.


Hasan Kartal

Hasan Basri Kartal 

PhD title: Architecture and Neuropsychology:  Investigating Cross- and Supra-Modal Neural Activity during Bodily Interactions with Architectural Environments 

Supervisors:  Prof Jonathan Hale and Dr Martin Schuermann





Jiarui Sun

PhD title: A Study Towards the Possibility of Uncovering the Scientific and Social Value of Private Paleontological Collection by the Concept of Adaptable Museum in China

Supervisors:  Dr Laura Hanks

Research Summary
In China, there is a long geologic history and rich in paleontological fossil resources. At present, paleontological fossils are kept well in many professional paleontological research institutions. Except for those official institutions, there are large quantities of private fossil collectors, which may threaten the protection of the paleontological heritage. The value of the private paleontological collection is unknown and difficult to be explored. In these cases, developing adaptable museums as an architectural concept may be one way to solve the problems. Movable, temporary and changeable are the most typical features of adaptable museums. It is much more flexible and easier to collect the private collections, support the research opportunities for experts and spread the exhibition for public temporary. 



Sara Saliba

Sara Saliba

PhD title: Transitional Shelter for Syrian Refugees in Lebanon

Supervisors: Dr Paolo Beccarelli and Dr Katharina Borsi

Research Summary

My PhD study, titled “Transitional Shelter for Syrian Refugees in Lebanon”, merges the themes of displacement, architecture, and sustainability. Nowadays, around 1% of the world’s total population is displaced, particularly due to wars. Since 2014, Syria has been the main country of origin of millions of refugees. These refugees have fled to more than 126 countries, with Jordan, Turkey, and Lebanon having welcomed the biggest numbers of Syrian refugees worldwide. Most notably, Lebanon has been hosting the largest number of Syrian refugees per capita in the world.

For refugees, life is tough and filled with challenges. One of the most prominent issues that they struggle with is getting access to safe shelters that would allow them to live their lives in dignity. Indeed, most often than not, shelters provided for the displaced are quickly created, with no considerations for security, safety, or protection. In other words, survival is the only factor that is regarded. Moreover, many refugees are obliged to jump from temporary shelter to temporary shelter before permanently settling down. As these transitional and/or temporary shelters end up being used for months or years at a time, it then becomes imperative that they provide refugees with a sense of safety and dignity.

Therefore, I have chosen to focus my study on designing T-shelters which would enable Syrian refugees to feel safe, secure and at ‘home’. They would be created by using green building materials that are durable, reusable, or recyclable and that are locally sourced to benefit Lebanon. These T-shelters are meant to be easy to assemble, dissemble, and transport, making them suitable options at times of emergency. Their design would also be adapted to reflect the culture of Syrian refugees, thus encouraging and promoting cultural diversity. 



Charlotte Simpson (1)

Charlotte Simpson

PhD title: Visitor Collecting Practices: Photographic Reproduction and the Changing Cultural Value of the Exhibited Museum

Supervisors: Prof Jonathan Hale and Dr Laura Hanks 

Research Summary

Social media has changed how the museum audience responds to and values exhibited material culture.

General observation of images posted to Instagram by museum visitors suggests that, armed with their own smartphones and social media, visitors are equipped to collect, exhibit, and certify museum-things themselves, and this may de-centralise the authoritative voice of the museum. Literature suggests that visitor photography allows the museum visitor to make meaning, and consequently, museum art, artefacts and spaces transform, they become polysemic; they work for the museum, but through exhibition on social media, they also work for and are owned through reproduction, by the visitor. 

This doctorate will use data from social media with grounded theory to develop the idea of ‘instant collecting’. The research aims to understand the motivations behind personal photography, to develop photographic collecting profiles of the digital museum visitor and better understand how museums may best react to changing consumption patterns of their audience.



hatice-sule-ozer (1)

Hatice Sule Ozer

PhD title: The language of house-museums

Supervisors: Prof. Jonathan Hale, Dr. Laura Hanks

Research Summary

Hatice Sule Ozer is a PhD student in the research group of Architecture, Culture, and Tectonics in the Department of Architecture at the University of Nottingham, which she joined in July 2019, under the supervision of Professor Jonathan Hale and Dr Laura Hanks. Previously, she received a Bachelor Degree in Interior Architecture from the University of Selcuk in Turkey (2011-15) and worked for a year as an interior designer of hotel-museums. She also has an MA in Interior Design from the University of Portsmouth (2017-18).

Research Aim: The research focuses on the nature of the house-museums representation as an encounter between the private and public, investigating artist-studio houses involved in the transformation from a semi-private/semi-public home to a public museum. 

Methodology: The research goes on to evaluate the effectiveness of the museum curators' communication strategies in two contrasting case studies of artists' house-museums, one of which was originally a personal and private living and working space, and the other was a semi-public combination of home, studio and gallery. To identify the most effective interpretive approaches adopted by each of the museum design teams (directors, curators, designers etc.) used in each case, a process of mapping, spatial analysis, visitor surveys and theoretical methods is used. 





Architecture, Culture and Tectonics

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

telephone: +44 (0)115 74 86257