Professor Doina Petrescu
PhD, Dip.Arch (Buch)
School of Architecture
Professor of Architecture & Design Activism
Born and trained as an architect in Romania, I have studied philosophy at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris with Jacques Derrida, and have completed a PhD in Women's Studies at the University of Paris VIII, supervised by Helene Cixous.
I am Chair of Architecture and Design Activism at the School of Architecture, where I have been working since 2001. I am the 2022 Jubilee Professor at Chalmers University and have been Visiting Professor of Urban Design at Harvard Graduate School of Design (2014-15) and taught at Architectural Association London, Iowa State University, EA Paris-Malaquais and the UAIM Bucharest.
My research addresses outstanding questions in architecture and urban planning focusing on issues of co-design, civic participation, gendered practices, political ecology, co-production and urban resilience.
In the last decade, I have conducted 14 research projects (total funding €4.9M) with partners in 18 countries and high standing research outputs. I have published 10 books, over 45 articles and chapters in books and refereed journals and over 50 articles in other publications.
I have given over 50 keynotes and invited lectures and co-founded the Building Local Resilience Research Platform at the Sheffield School of Architecture, and Field peer review journal. I am also co-founder of Atelier d’Architecture Autogeree, an internationally acclaimed research based practice, pioneering participation in architecture and urbanism since 2001.
My work has been featured in high standing international publications and exhibitions, including MOMA New York, Venice Biennale, Vienna Centre of Architecture, Canadian Centre of Architecture, Getty Foundation, CCC Barcelona and has received recognition including The New European Bauhaus (2022), the European Prize for Political Innovation – category ecology (2017) Zumtobel Foundation Award for Research & Initiative (2012), the Curry Stone Prize for Social Design Innovation (2011) being included in the Public Interest Design list (2012) of top 100 global leaders of the ‘future of a ground-breaking movement’.
- Research interests
My research focuses on three main strands – Gender and Space, Participation in Architecture and Co-production and Urban Resilience, all with a strong international dimension.
The research into the first strand has led to a number of lectures and publications including the edited book - Altering Practices: Feminist Politics and Poetics of Space (Routledge 2006), the authored book Architecture Otherhow: Research in contemporary practice (Routledge 2018) and a few important articles.
The second strand concerns issues of space governance, community planning and participation in Architecture, with a number of articles and a co-edited book - Architecture and Participation (Spon Press, 2005).
Most of research and actions conducted by Atelier d´Architecture Autogérée (AAA) cover these topics. The significance of this work and its high level of excellence is illustrated by numerous prizes awarded to AAA for different projects (EcoBox, Passage56, R-Urban), by research funded by various bodies (EC Horizon 2020, EC Life+, French Ministry of Ecology) and by the high number of world-leading research outputs (buildings, designs, books, journal articles).
Co-production and Urban Resilience, is reflected in current design work and research, contributing with new knowledge to the idea of open source resilience. This knowledge was developed via the R-Urban participative resilience strategy innovative design project conducted by AAA and via academic research projects such as EcoDA (Experimental Co-Design Approaches: Investigating possibilities for creating networks of resilient citizens and civic actions of urban resilience through hybrid platforms).
In addition this strand has been developed via the Building Local Resilience Platform I lead at the School of Architecture in Sheffield and the international conference Architecture and Resilience (2015) that I have co-organised.
I have been guest co-editor of the Buidling Research and Information special issue on Co-producing Neighbourhood Resilience (BRI, 44(7)) and have co-organised an EDGE debate on Co-Production of Resilience (Nov 2016).
Investigations have been conducted across the three strands, as in publications like Urban/ACT, A Handbook for Alternative Practice, (aaa-peprav, 2007) and Trans – Local – Production: Cultural practices within and across (Paris: aaa-peprav 2010).
I have co-founded the Research Centre: Agency Transformative Research into Architectural Practice and Education, with whom I have developed teaching related research and have participated in two EU funded projects: PEPRAV and Rhyzom, coordinated by AAA.
Postgraduate Research Supervision Interests
Feminist theory and practice, participation in architecture, contemporary theory, politics and poetics of space, activist praxis and education, co-production, co-design, urban resilience.
- 2. TRANS-LOCAL-ACT: Cultural Practices within and across. Peprav.
- Agency: Working with Uncertain Architectures. Taylor & Francis.
- Architecture and Resilience. Routledge.
- Agency. Routledge.
- Architecture and Resilience. Abingdon: Routledge.
- Altering Practices: Feminist Politics and Poetics of Space. Taylor & Francis.
- Architecture and participation. Taylor & Francis.
- The role of architects in initiating, sustaining and defending urban commons in mass housing estates: R-Urban in Grand Ensembles. The Journal of Architecture, 28(1), 169-181.
- Sharing and space-commoning knowledge through urban living labs across different European cities. Urban Planning, 7(3), 254-273.
- Commoning "bucla" (the Loop) with Conviviality. Ephemeral Spaces and Informal Practices in Support of Urban Commons in the Post-Socialist City. Studii de Istoria si Teoria Arhitecturii, 2022(10), 145-158.
- Resilience Value in the Face of Climate Change. Architectural Design, 90(4), 30-37.
- Calculating the value of the commons: Generating resilient urban futures. Environmental Policy and Governance. View this article in WRRO
- Performative interventions to re-claim, re-define and produce public space in different cultural and political contexts. Archnet-IJAR: International Journal of Architectural Research. View this article in WRRO
- Co-design and urban resilience: visioning tools for commoning resilience practices. CoDesign, 15(2), 91-109. View this article in WRRO
- Prototyping open digital tools for urban commoning. CoDesign. View this article in WRRO
- Co-produced Urban Resilience: A Framework for Bottom-Up Regeneration. Architectural Design, 88(5), 58-65.
- Co-producing commons-based resilience: lessons from R-Urban. Building Research & Information, 44(7), 717-736. View this article in WRRO
- Co-producing neighbourhood resilience. Building Research & Information, 44(7), 695-702. View this article in WRRO
- View this article in WRRO R-URBAN or how to co-produce a resilient city. Ephemera : Theory and Politics in Organization, 15(1), 249-262.
- Faire rhizome. Chimères, 82(1), 57-57.
- Tactics for a Transgressive Practice. Architectural Design, 83(6), 58-65.
- Jardinières du commun. Multitudes, 42(3), 126-126.
- Jardinières du commun. Multitudes: revue politique, artistique et philosophique, 21(42), 43-51.
- Agency: alternative practices and alternative worlds. Architectural Research Quarterly, 13(2), 109-111.
- Before and After “Agency’’. Footprint(4), 113-122.
- Form-Trans-Inform: the ‘poetic’ resistance in architecture. Architectural Research Quarterly, 12(2), 149-158.
- Agir l'espace. Multitudes, 31(4), 101-101.
- Agir urbain. Multitudes, 31(4), 11-11.
- Tracer là ce qui nous échappe. Multitudes, 24(1), 193-193.
- Au rez de chaussée de la ville. Multitudes, 20(1), 75-75.
- Le paysage dans la ville de Timisoara. Verde 2000 : une consultation ouverte et un projet de festival. Les Annales de la Recherche Urbaine, 85(1), 118-125.
- Designers roles in civic pedagogies of co-making: lessons from the Global South and North. CoDesign, 1-23.
- Commons-Based Mending Ecologies, Ecological Reparation (pp. 275-288). Bristol University Press
- Commons-Based Mending Ecologies, Ecological Reparation (pp. 275-288). Bristol University Press
- An Alternative Practice in Times of Crisis, Architects After Architecture (pp. 105-110). Routledge
- atelier d’architecture autogérée, The Changing Shape of Architecture (pp. 59-68). Routledge
- Living resiliency, Architecture and Resilience (pp. 214-222). Routledge
- Introduction, Architecture and Resilience (pp. 1-14). Routledge
- Diverse economies, ecologies and practices of urban commoning, Architecture and Feminisms (pp. 218-228). Routledge
- Diverse economies, space and architecture: An interview with Katherine Gibson, The Social (Re)Production of Architecture: Politics, Values and Actions in Contemporary Practice (pp. 147-157).
- Introduction: The social (re)production of architecture in 'crisis-riddled' times (pp. 1-15).
- View this article in WRRO Being-in-Relation and Reinventing the Commons In Schalk M, Kristiansson T & Maze R (Ed.), Feminist Futures of Spatial Practice: Materialism, Activism, Dialogues, Pedagogies, Projections (pp. 87-95). Baunach: Art Architecture Design Research.
- View this article in WRRO The Social (Re)Production of Architecture in ‘Crisis-Riddled’ Times In Petrescu DM & Trogal K (Ed.), The Social Reproduction of Architecture Politics, Values and Actions in Contemporary Practice (pp. 1-15). London: Routledge.
- 2.3 Architecture of Walking, Architecture and Movement (pp. 112-120). Routledge
- PART IV. CARING, Deleuze and Architecture (pp. 213-275). Edinburgh University Press
- Gardeners of commons, for the most part, women In Rawes P (Ed.), Relational Architectural Ecologies: Architecture, nature, subjectivity (pp. 261-274). London: Routledge.
- Making a Rhizome, or Architecture after Deleuze and Guattari A conversation on the practice of atelier d'architecture autogeree, DELEUZE AND ARCHITECTURE (pp. 262-275).
- Eine 'verrückte Theorie': Von Schleiern und einer Leidenschaft für Faltungen: Delirierende Konstruktionen, masturbatorische Praktiken und animierte Formen (English translation: A 'mad theory' of veils and a passion for folds: delirious constructions, masturbatory practices and animate forms ) In Knellessen O, Härtel I & Mooshammer H (Ed.), Bauarten von Sexualität, Körper, Phantasmen: Architektur und Psychoanalyse (pp. 158-176). Zurich: Parc Books.
- Altering practices In Petrescu D (Ed.), Altering Practices: Feminist Politics and Poetics of Space (pp. 1-14). Taylor & Francis
- Foreword: From alterities and beyond In Petrescu D (Ed.), Altering Practices: Feminist Politics and Poetics of Space (pp. xiii-xx). Taylor & Francis
- Taking place and altering it In Petrescu D (Ed.), Altering Practices: Feminist Politics and Poetics of Space (pp. 15-38). Taylor & Francis
- Pl(a)ys of marginality: Transmigrants in Paris, The Hieroglyphics of Space: Reading and Experiencing the Modern Metropolis (pp. 260-270).
- Losing control, keeping desire In Blundell Jones P, Petrescu D & Till J (Ed.), Architecture and Participation (pp. 43-64). Taylor & Francis
- The people's house, or the voluptuous violence of an architectural paradox, Architecture and Revolution: Contemporary Perspectives on Central and Eastern Europe (pp. 188-195).
- The Changing Shape of Architecture Routledge
- Architecture and Feminisms Routledge
- Green Utopianism Routledge
- Altering Practices In Petrescu D (Ed.) Routledge
Conference proceedings papers
- Open-source Resilience: A Connected Commons-based Proposition for Urban Transformation. Procedia Engineering, Vol. 198 (pp 227-239) View this article in WRRO
- View this article in WRRO Architecture and Resilience on the Human Scale: Ethical and political concerns, agencies, co-production and socio-technological strategies in research and practice. Architecture and Resilience on the Human Scale (pp 11-21). Sheffield, 10 September 2015 - 12 September 2015.
- Agrocite - A Civic Hub for Urban Agriculture.
- WIKI villagefactory a cluster of social and ecological innovation [design].
- View this article in WRRO R-Urban - a participative strategy of urban resilience in suburban neighbourhoods [strategy design, building design].
- Passage 56 - cultural and ecological space [building].
- Research group
- Alex Axinte (Romania) The Intermediary City: New institutions and practices of participative urban re-sourcing in collective housing estates in the post-communist context of Bucharest, Romania. (ESRC White Rose DTP Scholarship)
- Katharina Moebus (Germany) - Economies of Commoning – A design-activist research exploring the potential of commoning practices for more resilient neighbourhoods in Berlin-Neukölln
- Fabio Franz (Italy) Building radical localities: cultivating non-capitalist spaces in rural areas through popular design and making (economies) in common (TUoS studentship)
- Andreas Lang (UK)- Temporary Use as an agent for urban civic practices (TUoS studentship)
- Cathryn Ladd (UK) A Feminist Approach to Intimate Space and Fluid Design within the Japanese Kyosho Jutaku (TUoS Scholarship)
- Amro Yaghi (Jordan) Performative Public Space in Amman (Jordan Government Scholarship) (co-supervison with K.Nawratek)
- Helen Stratford (UK)– Performative Architecture (RIBA Scholarship)
- Pouyan Abakari (Iran) - Toward Just Urbanism: Mapping Space, (In)justice and subjectivity in urban neighbourhoods
- Phil Langley (UK) - Software and spatial practice (co-supervison with M.Meagher)
- Ana Dzokic / Stealth Unlimited (Serbia/Netherlands) ‘Upscaling, training, commoning’ (scholarship KKH Stockholm/ Lund University - completed 2017) (co-supervision)
- S. Vardy (UK) Architecture and Self-Organisation: the implications and opportunities of self-initiated spatial processes for architectural practice (completed 2016)
- Julia Udall (UK) - Architecture by Other Means: Transformative Practices (TUoS studentship completed 2016)
- Carl Frazer (UK) – The Protest Space (Stephenson studentship - completed 2015)
- K. Trogal (UK), Care of Space: Feminist ethics and political agencies in contemporary art, architecture and urban practice (RIBA Ozoline studentship – completed 2013)
- S. Wungpatcharapon (Thailand), Participation and Place-making in Thailand (Thai Government studentship - completed 2012)
- N. Awan (UK), Diasporic Cartography and Multiculturalism in Architecture (AHRC studentship- completed 2011)
- Andrea Wheeler (UK, University of Nottingham) (co-supervisor) With Place Love Begins- The Philosophy of Luce Irigaray, The Issues of Dwelling, Feminism and Architecture (AHRC studentship - completed 2004)
- Dr Corelia Baibarac – Marie Curie research Fellow (2015-17)
2015 - 2017
Experimental Co-Design Approaches: Investigating possibilities for creating networks of resilient citizens and civic actions of urban resilience through hybrid platforms - Marie Curie Horizon 2020 Research Fellowship €190k (PI) Research fellow Corelia Baibarac
2015 – 2017
Urban Transformation – Pathways from Practice to Policy in Urban Agriculture AHRC network grant PI A.Villjoen (Uof Brighton) €30K (Co-I)
Inter-generational Ecological and Economical Colearning - EC Erasmus+ grant : Partnerships for adult education. Partners: Stiftung Galerie für Zeitgenössische Kunst Leipzig (De) TUoS (Uk) AAA (Fr) Brave New Alps (It), Nedeia (Ro), MyVillages (Nl) €300K (PI for TUoS)
International Research Residency. Swedish Arts Grants Committee's International Program (IASPIS)
Uneven Growth Tactical Urbanisms for Expanding Megacities MOMA commissioned research involving 12 international teams (including AAA) to work on six World metropolises (MOMA New York, Shengzen Biennale of Architecture, Museum of Contemporary Art Vienna) $100k
Affordability of R-Urban Participative Strategy of Resilience in Parisian Suburbs, French Ministry of Ecology €30K (Co-I)
R-URBAN: Participative strategy of development of local resilience networks for European cities, Life+ EC programme for Environment Governance €1.5M (PI)
Grundtvig EC lifelong learning programme, Total Grant €74,000
Eco-Nomadic School, partnership: AAA (Paris) coordinator, Agency/UoS (Sheffield), FCDL(Brezoi), myvillages.com(Hofen)
PI/ UoS, €20 000
Life+ EC programme for Environment Policy and Governance +
French Ministry of Ecology, Ile de France Region and the City of Colombes, Total Grant €1,500,000
(Life + pilot project) Participative strategy of development, practices and networks of local resilience for European cities
AAA (Paris) coordinator +
Research action project exploring ecological complementarities between dwelling, production and culture in suburban contexts.
PI/AAA - € 80,000
CI/ UoS - €10,000
European Commission, Directorate General for Education and Culture, Total Grant €380,000
RHYZOM: Local Cultural Practices, Translocal Communication
partnership: aaa (Paris) coordinator, Agency (Sheffield), PS2 (Bel
ast), Plaforma Garanti (Istanbul), Public Works (London)
CI / Agency, UoS - €46,500
European Cultural Foundation (ECF) - Total Grant €15000
RHYZOM: Local Cultural Practices
Aaa (grant holder)+Partnership: Agency Research Center (Sheffield), P
2 (Belfast), Plaforma Garanti (Istanbul), Public Works (London)
PI / AAA - €15,000
City of Paris, ‘Label Paris-Europe’ - Total Grant €10,000
Pegagogical Network for the wide dissemination of ecological urban practices
Aaa (grant holder)+University of Sheffield
PI / AAA - €10,000
IBL Grant, CILASS, TUOS, University of Sheffield - Total Grant £3,930
Integrating critical pedagogy into the `Theory Forum’
The Agency Research Group (Cristina Cerulli, Florian Kossak, Doina Petrescu, Tatjana Schneider and Stephen Walker)
PI /Agency, UoS - £3,930
European Commission, Directorate General for Education and Culture - Total Grant €190,000
European Platform for Alternative Action and Research on the City (PEPRAV)
Partnership: AAA (Paris)- coordinator, School of Architecture, University of Sheffield, Recyclart (Brussells).
PI / UoS (with f. Kossak,, and T. Schneider) - €20,000
PUCA (Plan Urbanisme ConstructionArchitecture), the French Ministry of Urban Planning and the Ministry of Culture, within the framework of ‘Art, Architecture and Landscape’ research programme - Research contract value €54,000
Interstices Urbains Temporaires, Espaces Interculturels en Chantier
Research team: C. Petcou (AAA), P.N Le Strat (ISCRA) D. Petrescu (AAA/U Sheffield), F. Deck ( ESBA Grenoble), S.Wright (CIP)
PI/ UoS - €9,000
Arts Council, Belfast - Total Grant €20,000
Mechanics of Fluids
Research & exhibition in Belfast within the project Urban Clearance- a critical transformation and re-interpretation of public space and its social use
Team: PS 2 (Grant holder) and AAA
PI/ AAA - €3,000
Gesellschaft für Aktuelle Kunst, Bremen
Research & exhibition A Lucky Strike- Changing Habitats, Inventing Communities, AAA (Grant holder)
PI/ AAA - €5,000
European Commission, Directorate General for Education and Culture - Total Grant €250,000
Egnatia: an interdisciplinary research project on issues of migration in Europe - project funded by the Culture 2000 grant for cultural collaboration and research.
Partnership: Stalker/ Osservatorio Nomade (Rome) -coordinator, Atelier d’Architecture Autogeree (Paris) and Oxymoron (Athens)
PI/ AAA - €38,000
- Teaching activities
My teaching covers theory and design. Since 2001, I have been teaching MArch design studio (as studio 2 co-ordinator, in collaboration with Aidan Hoggard) and a combined March, MA in Urban Design and MA in Architectural Design studio (with Andreas Lang and Helen Stratford). I have also mentored a number of Live Projects including Ecobox, Participative Garden, Shelter Dakar/Sheffield, IYO, Ecoproo and Civic University.
I have been teaching theory courses at both undergraduate and postgraduate level and have been co-ordinator of the MArch Humanities, including the Theory and Research and MArch Dissertation.
I regularly supervise Masters Dissertations in the MArch and MA in Urban Design programmes. I have co-organised a number of Theory Forums (Architecture and Participation, Architecture and Technologies of Power, Architecture and Indeterminacy, Agency, Urban Resilience) and have been involved in the student led TF Ecology.
In 2012, I organised the School Forum on Social Production of Architecture and in 2015 the international conference Architecture and Resilien
- Professional activities and memberships
- Head of Research (since 2013)
- Leader of Design, Engagement and Practice Research Group (since 2017)
- Director of Graduate School (2009-2013)
- Director of MArch Humanities (2005-2009)
- Erasmus Co-ordinator (2001-2005)
- March Design Studio Leader (2001-2012)
- Visiting Professor at Harvard Graduate school of Design (2014-15)
- Member of RIBA President Silver Medal Panel for Research (2010-13)
- Nominator for Curry Stone Prize (since 2010) US based charity awarding world leading social design initiatives.
- Academic reviewer for Journal of Architecture, ARQ, IDEA, BRI, AD, MIT Press Cambridge, Co-Design Journal, Routledge publishers.
- External Adviser for the €3M research project 'Architecture in Effect: Rethinking the Social in Architecture' by five Schools of Architecture in Sweden and for 1.5M ERC project ‘Citizen Sensing’ at Goldsmiths University London (2013-2018)
- Expert on Culture and Sustainability for Europe Asia Foundation (2009)
- Jury Member of the OAR (the Romanian Architects Organisation) prizes for architectural publications (2012)
- Referee for professorial promotions & appointments at UCL, Harvard GSD, Aalto University and Goldsmiths University
- External Examiner for MA courses (Goldsmiths University / MA Design+Environment (2010-2013), University of Ulster / MA Art in Public (2008-2011), Utrecht School of the Arts (HKU) Faculty of Visual Arts and Design / MA Spatial design / MA Fashion Design / MA Communication Design (2009-2012)
- Member of The Built Environment Expert Review Panel for Formas Swedish Research Council in 2017
- Invited expert at the Community Economies Network meeting on Urban Food Economies funded by Formas Sweden and University of Western Sydney, Bolzena (30 May-5 June 2017)
- Referee for professorial promotions & appointments at UCL, Harvard GSD, Aalto University and Goldsmiths University
Prizes and Awards
- European Prize for Political Innovation for R-Urban (category ‘Ecology’) (2017)
- Zumtobel Group Award for Research & Initiative for R-Urban (2012)
- European Prize for Urban Public Space for Passage56 (2010)
- Prix Grand Public des Architectures Contemporaines en Métropole Parisienne for Passage 56 (2010).
- R-Urban elected one of 100 projects for the Climate (2016) featuring 100 best world projects selected through public vote and supported by COP21 to speed up the emergence of citizen-led initiatives to combat global warming
- Included in the Public Interest Design list (2012) of top 100 global leaders of the ‘future of a ground-breaking movement’.