Doina Petrescu

Professor Doina Petrescu

PhD(Paris 8), Dip. Arch. (Buch.)

T: +44 (0)114 222 0379
F: +44 (0)114 222 0315

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. I have been working in the School of Architecture since 2001, having previously taught at the UAIM Bucharest, Iowa State University, EA Paris-Malaquais, Architectural Association London. I consider myself as a `nomadic subject´ in architecture operating between different fields of research and practice, places and cultures. I am a passionate educator, an academic aware of knowledge politics, an engaged practitioner and an active citizen who hopes that other ways of living and creating are possible.

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 mentored a number of live projects including Ecobox, Participative Garden, Shelter Dakar/Sheffield, IYO, Ecoproof. I have been teaching theory courses at both undergraduate and post-graduate level and have been co-ordinator of the MArch Humanities, including the Theory & Research and MArch Dissertation. I have co-organised a number of Theory Forums (Architecture and Participation, Architecture and Technologies of Power, Architecture and Indeterminacy, Agency) and been involved in the student led TF Ecology. In 2012, I organise the School Forum on issues of social production of architecture.

Administrative Roles

Director of Research

External Roles

Member of RIBA President Silver Medal Panel for Research
Member of EAAE Research Panel
Member of international advisory board for FORMAS, Sweden
Academic referee for Goldsmiths University, FNRS Belgium, MIT Press USA
Peer Reviewer for ARQ, Journal of Architecture, Field

External Examiner: 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)

External Censor: School of Architecture, Chalmers University Goteborg

Research Interests

My research focuses on three main strands – Gender and space within contemporary society, Participation in Architecture and Culture & Resilience, all with a strong international dimension.

The research into the first strand has conducted to a number of lectures and publications including the edited book - Altering Practices: Feminist Politics and Poetics of Space (Routledge 2006) 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 work of AAA is also at the core of the third strand. The cultural–ecological project ‘Passage 56’, which has received a number of international awards, has also become important international reference for bottom up ecological retrofitting of dense urban areas.

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 am an active member of the Research Centre: Agency Transformative Research into Architectural Practice and Education. With Agency I have developed teaching related research and have participated in two EU funded projects: PEPRAV and Rhyzom, coordinated by AAA. Agency is currently involved in another EU funding project Eco-Nomadic School, conducted as a Grundtvig lifelong learning partnership.

I am also co-founder of the international peer reviewed e-journal field: based in Sheffield.

Since 2001, I have published 6 books, over 45 articles and chapters in books and refereed journals and over 30 articles in catalogues and conference papers. My work has been shown in prestigious exhibitions including the European Prize for Urban Public Space touring exhibition, the Canadian Centre of Architecture Getty Foundation, CCC Barcelona, The Rotterdam Biennale of Architecture/NAI, Berlin Biennale, Venice Biennale, London Biennale of Design, Documenta 11 in Kassel.

Postgraduate Research Supervision Interests

Feminist theory and practice, participation in architecture, contemporary theory, politics and poetics of space, activist praxis and education, culture and resilience.

Research Students and Assistants

Carolyn Butterworth (UK) – The Creative Survey in Architecture

Carl Frazer (UK) – The Protest Space (Stephenson studentship)

Jordan Lloyd (UK) – The Resilient City (TUOS studentship)

K. Trogal (UK), Care of Space: Feminist ethics and political agencies in contemporary art, architecture and urban practice RIBA Ozoline studentship)

S. Wungpatcharapon (Thailand), Participation and Place-making in Thailand (Thai Government studentship)

S. Vardy (UK) Architecture and Self-Organisation: the implications and opportunities of self-initiated spatial processes for architectural practice

Julia Udall (UK) - Architecture by Other Means: Transformative Practices (TUOS studentship)

N. Awan (UK), Diasporic Cartography and Multiculturalism in Architecture (AHRC studentship- completed 2011)

Andrea Wheeler (UK, University of Nottingham), With Place Love Begins- The Philosophy of Luce Irigaray, The Issues of Dwelling, Feminism and Architecture, AHRC studentship (completed 2004) co-supervisor

Grants, Awards and Consultancy


Grundtvig EC lifelong learning programme, Total Grant €74,000
Eco-Nomadic School, partnership: AAA (Paris) coordinator, Agency/UoS (Sheffield), FCDL(Brezoi),
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
Critical Urbanism
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

Professional Standing and Distinctions

I am member of aaa (atelier d’architecture autogérée/ studio of self-managed architecture), a research led practice founded in 2001 by Constantin Petcou and myself in Paris, including architects, artists, urban planners, landscape designers, sociologists, activists, students and residents. aaa conducts actions and research concerning urban mutations and cultural, social and political emerging practices in the contemporary city and has became an important reference for contemporary participative practices in architecture. aaa’s work has recently been awarded the European Prize for Urban Public Space - Special Mention 2010 and the 2nd place at Prix Grand Public des Architectures contemporaines en Métropole Parisienne competition in 2010.

In 2001, I was a Winner of Envers des Villes research & travel fellowship granted by AFAA, French Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

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A list of key publications can be found below. For a full list of recent publications please click here.


  • Petrescu D (2011) 2. TRANS-LOCAL-ACT: Cultural Practices within and across. Peprav.
  • Kossak F (2010) Agency: Working with Uncertain Architectures. Taylor & Francis.

Journal articles


  • Petrescu D & Trogal K (2017) The social (re)production of architecture: Politics, values and actions in contemporary practice (pp. 1-384).
  • Petrescu DM (2017) 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
  • Petrescu DM & trogal K (2017) 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. View this article in WRRO
  • Petcou C & Petrescu D (2014) R-urban: Strategies and tactics for participative utopias and resilient practices, Green Utopianism: Perspectives, Politics and Micro-Practices (pp. 258-277).
  • Petrescu DM (2013) Gardeners of commons, for the most part, women In Rawes P (Ed.), Relational Architectural Ecologies: Architecture, nature, subjectivity (pp. 261-274). London: Routledge.
  • Petrescu DM (2012) 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.
  • Petrescu D (2007) Foreword: From alterities and beyond In Petrescu D (Ed.), Altering Practices: Feminist Politics and Poetics of Space (pp. xiii-xx). Taylor & Francis
  • Petrescu D (2007) Altering practices In Petrescu D (Ed.), Altering Practices: Feminist Politics and Poetics of Space (pp. 1-14). Taylor & Francis
  • Hoskyns T & Petrescu D (2007) Taking place and altering it In Petrescu D (Ed.), Altering Practices: Feminist Politics and Poetics of Space (pp. 15-38). Taylor & Francis
  • Petrescu D (2005) Losing control, keeping desire In Blundell Jones P, Petrescu D & Till J (Ed.), Architecture and Participation (pp. 43-64). Taylor & Francis

Conference proceedings papers

  • Petrescu DM & Trogal K (2015) 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. View this article in WRRO


  • Petrescu DM & atelier d'architecture autogérée (2016) WIKI villagefactory a cluster of social and ecological innovation [design].
  • Petrescu DM & Atelier d'Architecture Autogérée (2015) R-Urban - a participative strategy of urban resilience in suburban neighbourhoods [strategy design, building design]. View this article in WRRO
  • Petrescu DM & atelier d'architecture autogérée Passage 56 - cultural and ecological space [building].

Edited books