Dr Xiang Ren
B.Arch, MA (Dist), PhD, FHEA
School of Architecture
My research and teaching lies in the search for the reinvention of the discipline of architecture from within its own traditions.
I aim to construct theories related to the foundations of the domain of architecture, which is rooted in and derived from the works of recent history (Modernism and after) and contemporary architectural design practice.
I graduated with a professional degree in architecture and worked for award-winning practices, before received my PhD and qualified as a Fellow of Higher Education Academy from Sheffield School of Architecture.
Prior to joining our School, I lectured in Interior Architecture course at Sheffield Hallam University.
- Research interests
I am interested in form, type, use, structure, composition, material, tectonics, topography, atmosphere and the relationships of these topics with other intellectual disciplinary settings and professional developments from the early Modernism period till nowadays.
I have also maintained a long-time interest in pre-modern architecture and settlements and historical built environment, particularly in East-Asian and Southern European cultural contexts.
My growing interest in social architecture and architectural anthropology was traced in my PhD research, which focused on contemporary socially-engaged architecture and architects in traditional Chinese villages, using case study as the main method, intersecting with social anthropology and design activism methodologically.
I was invited to present in various academic conferences and symposiums including UCD Dublin, KU Leuven Brussels, HKW Berlin, UPC Barcelona, Milano Polytechnic, University of Oxford and University of Cambridge.
PhD Supervision Interests
- Architectural history and theory of 20th century, Modernism and after
- Social and cultural anthropological studies of building and settlement
- Vernacular, participative and socially-engaged architecture
- Rapid urbanism and traditional villages
- Architectural disciplinarily viable knowledge production and dissemination
- Architectural research practice and design research
- Towards Openness: The uncompleted project of Modernism and its living tradition in contemporary China. Journal of Architecture.
- China's Architecture in a Globalizing World: Between Socialism and the Market. The China Journal, 84.
- View this article in WRRO Thin mask, thick mnemonic: the idea of the wall and genius loci in two contemporary buildings. ARQ: Architectural Research Quarterly, 24(1), 37-48.
- View this article in WRRO An 'other' concinnitas : temporality and renewability in the Yuanlin Zhang Gallery. Scroope Journal(28), 61-73.
- Anonymous Process and Absent Architect: Behind the Scenes of Chinese Rural Regeneration. Architecture and Culture, 6(1), 145-154. View this article in WRRO
- Padley Mill: A Question of Interpretation. Heritage Architecture, 3(1), 71-82.
- 深度勘查，图绘转译和设计介入：英国谢菲尔德大学建筑学专业硕士研究型教学解析. 城市建筑, 2017(10)(No.261), 18-23.
- Xiang Ren on an organic connection with China. Architecture and Ritual: How Buildings Shape Society By Peter Blundell Jones London, Bloomsbury, 2016. Architectural Research Quarterly, 21(3), 277-280. View this article in WRRO
- Rural face, urban mask: Architecture of communal form and collective practice in two chinese villages from 2010 to 2015. Architecture and Culture, 5(1), 57-76. View this article in WRRO
- Clan-Community Hall. The RIBA Journal.
- Architecture as Catalysts. Xin Jianzhu: New Architecture.
- Socially engaged architecture in a Chinese rural village: Xihe Village Community Centre, 2014. Architectural Research Quarterly, 20(2), 119-130. View this article in WRRO
- Archi-infrastructure as Urban Patchworks & Generators: The Ongoing London Crossrail (2008-2019) Project. Time+Architecture, 32(2).
- Live, Social-engagement and transformative value -- Research-led teaching in the first year at the Sheffield School of Architecture[任翔, 康健（2015）活性，社会参与性和转变性--英国谢菲尔德大学建筑学院本科一年级研究型教学解析. 世界建筑导报,5期 (总 165)，45-47页]. World Architecture Review(5), 45-47.
- Hybridization, Landform, and Catalyst Buildings -- Interpretation on Two Libraries Designed by Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects. Architecture Technique & Art, 04.
- The Elementary School at Arnulfpark in Munich by Hess Talhof Kusmierz Architekten. Xin Jianzhu: New Architecture, 152.
- Reflection on Le Corbusier: an interview with Peter Blundll Jones. Xin Jianzhu: New Architecture, 02, 14-16.
- The Absence of Pictorial Characterization and the Presentation of Regional Imagination: Notes on the Design of No. 45 High School in Hefei City. Architecture Technique & Art, 12.
- A Form of Resistance: A Barefoot-architect’s Own House In Gosseye J & Doucet I (Ed.), Activism at Home: Architects’ Own Dwellings as Sites of Resistance. Leipzig, Germany: Spector Books.
- Tailor, Mason, Intellectual, Peasant: An Alternative Architect towards Sustainable Regeneration in Rural China In Zuo J (Ed.), Bi Shan Beijing, China: Chinese National Geography - CITIC Press.
Conference proceedings papers
- Translating Vernacular Hybridity into a Living Matrix -- Reflections on the production and occupation of a School Building. Architecture and Education, 3 September 2014 - 5 September 2014.
- Form of Silence: Tanghua Architects, 12 Built Projects. The Arts Tower, University of Sheffield.
- Whisper of the Rural Vernacular: Drawings, Designs, Buildings. The Bridge Gallery, University of Westminster’s Marylebone Campus, London, 20 February - 15 March 20.
- Provincial Bureau of Construction New Workplace Building Design and Research. Provincial Bureau of Construction, Hefei city, China, 21 October - 21 November 2011.
- China’s ‘barefoot architects’ are transforming left-behind rural villages, August 22, 2019, THE CONVERSATION.
- Teaching activities
I contribute to the research-led teaching in architectural humanities and design at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels at Sheffield School of Architecture, and I am a member of its prestigious Centre for East-West Studies in Architecture and Landscape.
- ARC 125 Architectural Design 1
- ARC 126 Architectural Design 2
- ARC 204 Humanities 4
- ARC 322 Special Studies
- ARC 6874 Conservation and Regeneration Principles and Approaches
- ARC 6986 Architectural Design Project 1
- ARC 6987 Architectural Design Project 2
- ARC 6988 Thesis Project