Renata Tyszczuk

Dr Renata Tyszczuk

Senior Lecturer

MA (Cantab), Dip Arch, MPhil, PhD

T: +44 [0]114 222 0313

I am a Senior Lecturer in Architecture. I trained as an architect and I also have an MPhil in History and Philosophy of Architecture and a PhD from the University of Cambridge. I joined the School in 2004, having previously taught at the Department of Architecture, University of Cambridge and at the Architectural Association. My research and teaching explore questions concerning global environmental change and provisionality in architectural thinking and practice and the cultural dimensions of climate change. This links to my research projects on energy and industry (AHRC Stories of Change); provisional cities (British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship) and scenarios of climate change (Grantham Centre for Sustainable Futures, UoS; Ashden Trust, Jerwood Charitable Foundation and OpenSpace Research Centre funded). My recent book is Provisional Cities; Cautionary Tales for the Anthropocene (Routledge, 2017).

Teaching Activities

I have taught students of architecture since 1992. Initially as an undergraduate Design Tutor at Cambridge (1992-2003) and Intermediate Unit Tutor at the Architectural Association (1992-1994), and since 2004 as a full-time academic at the School of Architecture in Sheffield. Since my appointment in Sheffield I have been fully engaged in teaching at all levels of the School, including undergraduate lectures in History and Theory, a Masters design studio, Postgraduate Taught Masters (PGT) and PhD programmes of study.

My teaching is informed by my research and by an exploration of enquiry based learning. I have made innovative contributions in integrating research into both the active studio culture and humanities study while at Sheffield. As a researcher in the history and theory of architectural ideas concerned with broader philosophical questions of sustainability, and a teacher of future practitioners of architecture, I am committed to finding ways of bringing fields of enquiry such as humanities and environmental sustainability into closer creative dialogue. I recognise the importance of providing both a strategic framework and an open learning environment to explore important contemporary themes and issues through studio work. I am committed to teaching future architects to be creative, imaginative and more socially engaged and offering an intellectual challenge to students at all levels. My research and teaching objectives build on my extensive experience in a range of teaching activities and in critical engagement in research, practice and pedagogy. I am currently external examiner on the MA Ecological Design Thinking, Schumacher College/ University of Plymouth, (appointed 2014).

My current teaching in the School of Architecture, University of Sheffield includes:

Postgraduate Taught Masters: I was Director of Postgraduate Taught Masters programmes (2009-2013; 2015); I contribute to teaching in Postgraduate Design studios

MArch RIBA Pt 2, professional practice course: I am involved in Design Studio teaching and the mentoring of Live Projects (ARC 552). I also contribute to History and Theory teaching including the Theory Forum series (ARC 553, ARC 6853) and dissertation supervision (ARC 556).

PhD: I supervise PhD theses in the humanities, focusing on the history, theory, philosophy and practice of architecture and sustainability on both the standard route PhD and the PhD by design course. I contribute to Advanced Research Methods and Research by Design courses of the Doctoral Development programme in the Graduate School.

Administrative Roles

Director of External Relations 2015 –

Director of Humanities 2014 – 2015
Director of Postgraduate Taught Masters programmes (2009-2013; 2015)

Research Interests

My research interests lie in two key areas of architectural humanities: understanding the place of architecture in cultural transformations and transitional periods, and in my investigations of the cultural dimensions of climate change.

My initial research explored experimental representational practices and their relation to European literature and politics in the eighteenth century as well as to the emerging areas of urban and landscape design (PhD, Cambridge 1998). Through careful investigation of the social and political context, I have continued to investigate the communicative aspects of architecture across different media: text, sculpture, performance and film. A commitment to environmental issues and a more careful use of the world´s resources underpins my integrated research, practice and teaching. My first monograph in spem melioris aevi (2007) brought together literature, philosophy, landscape and urban studies introducing an original interdisciplinary approach to periods of cultural transition. My recent monograph Provisional Cities (2017) draws on an environmental history of precarious settlements to inform current discussions of societal transformations in the Anthropocene, the proposed geological epoch named after humans.

Research, Publication and Public Engagement projects:

1. Scenarios of Climate Change Research Network 2017- ongoing

PI Dr Renata Tyszczuk; Co-I Professor Simon Marvin UoS;
GO fund (Grantham Opportunities of the Grantham Centre for Sustainable Futures (£7.8K) December 2016

The ‘Scenarios of Climate Change’ Research Network is a collaboration between the School of Architecture and Urban Institute, University of Sheffield and the Mediating Change group of the Open Space Research Centre, The Open University. The project intends to test the way in which integrating more culturally rooted contributions into the creation and deliberation of climate change scenarios helps to fill important gaps in the research, policy and public conversation about uncertain futures. The Scenarios Network aims to produce a broad picture of how scenarios are used in the discussion of climate change, but also to examine how and why a range of disciplines use scenarios differently.

2. Climate Change in Residence: Future Scenarios 2015-2017

PI Dr Renata Tyszczuk; Co-I Professor Joe Smith, The Open University

This project established a new approach to arts-science residencies for the co-production of novel scenarios of future climate change. The project connected emerging cultural work on climate change directly to research into climate change scenarios by eg. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The project was launched at the UNFCCC Conference of the Parties (COP 21) in Paris in December 2015. The project is based at the University of Sheffield, working in partnership with the arts organisations Arts Admin and Free Word Centre, both in London, and the Open University Open Space Research Centre, where the Mediating Change research group is based. The project is jointly funded by an R&D IIKE grant from the University of Sheffield and The Ashden Trust (£30K April 2015) and the Jerwood Charitable Trust (£30K July 2015).

Updates on the project are available on the Culture and Climate Change website

3. ‘Stories of Change: Exploring energy and community in the past, present and future’ 2014-2017

PI Professor Joe Smith The Open University; Co-I; PI (UoS) Dr Renata Tyszczuk

The AHRC funded Stories of Change research project challenges the terms of public debates about energy issues. It seeks to examine areas of conflict, make space for more diverse voices and support a more open public conversation about energy system transitions. The project will explore energy transformations of the past, present and future through an innovative mix of social science and humanities research, digital storytelling, short films, and other creative work. It will also be generating a publicly accessible collection of ‘stories of change’. I am leading one of three strands in the project, ‘Future Works’ based at Sheffield, which explores connections between energy, industry and community in the Derwent Valley region at a range of factory sites.

The project is funded by an AHRC Connected Communities: Communities, Cultures, Environment and Sustainability grant (£1.47 M). During the development phase the project team was awarded an AHRC Connected Communities development grant (£15K February – May 2013). The project stemmed from an AHRC Research Development Workshop on Communities, Cultures, Environments and Sustainability (May 2012). The project has received further funding for public engagement activities and events at AHRC Connected Communities Festivals: ‘One Great Workshop’ Sheffield Design Week 2015 (£9.65K) and ‘Utopia Works’ Derby Silk Mill and ‘Utopia Fair’ Somerset House London, 2016 (£20K).

4. Provisional Cities 2013 – ongoing

PI Dr Renata Tyszczuk

I have recently developed and expanded my research on architecture, provisionality and environmental change. This has included accounts of architecture’s relation to global environmental change (Smith et al. 2014, Tyszczuk et al., 2012; Butler et al., 2011). The research is rooted in investigations of the interactions between natural physical events, philosophical and cultural transitions and dramatic revisions of architectural theory and practice as set out in my book on experimental architectures and cities in the eighteenth century (Tyszczuk, 2007). My recent book Provisional Cities, brings these considerations into dialogue with discussions around the Anthropocene (the ‘age of humans’).

The project has received British Academy funding (Provisional City: Revising the role of architecture in responding to environmental change- book and public communications project British Academy Mid Career Fellowship award £117K; 2013-2014); In the same year I was a Visiting Scholar at the Department of Architecture, University of Cambridge.

Book: R. Tyszczuk, Provisional Cities: Cautionary Tales for the Anthropocene (Routledge, 2017)

5. Culture and Climate Change 2009 – ongoing

PI Renata Tyszczuk (joint) with Professor Joe Smith (OU)

The Culture and Climate Change programme of work includes a series of events, podcasts and publications. I am the co-founder of the project and joint editor of the book series (with Joe Smith, and Robert Butler, OU). The four public discussions on cultural dimensions of climate change that launched the project featured leading figures from the arts and journalism, as well as humanities and social science researchers, and were chaired by Quentin Cooper of BBC´s Material World. They took place at the Tipping Point Conference, Oxford University; Eden Project; Open University, Camden; and the National Theatre Studio in 2010 and are available as the ‘Mediating Change’ podcasts on iTunes U.

In 2013-2014 the group collaborated with TippingPoint and the Free Word Centre in London on a series of events for writers and journalists.

There have been two books published in the series: Butler, Margolies Smith and Tyszczuk (eds.) Culture and Climate Change: Recordings (Cambridge: Shed, 2011); Smith, Tyszczuk and Butler, Culture and Climate Change: Narratives (Cambridge: Shed, 2014). The latest book features six essays, eleven short stories and an edited transcript from an event held in December 2013 at the Free Word Centre. Over twenty contributors including authors Marina Warner and Caspar Henderson, poet Ruth Padel, journalist Isobel Hilton and neuroscientist Kris De Meyer address the question ‘What Sort Of Story is Climate Change’?

The project and book series are funded by the Ashden Trust and the Open Space Research Centre OU.

The next book in the series will be Culture and Climate Change: Scenarios (editors: R. Tyszczuk, J. Smith, H. Bird and R. Butler) and will feature contributions from members of the academic research network on Scenarios of Climate Change and artists and arts organisations involved in the Climate Change in Residence project.

6. Interdependence Day 2006 – 2012

PI Professor Joe Smith, OU, Co-I Dr Renata Tyszczuk; Co-I Professor Nigel Clark (formerly OU, currently University of Lancaster).

A research and communications project which sought to provoke new thinking about how we should act in, and think about, an interconnected world. The Interdependence Day project has been rooted in a partnership between OU Open Space/Geography, University of Sheffield School of Architecture and nef, the new economics foundation. Public events, broadcasts and publications have drawn together a range of relevant OpenSpace researchers and worked with policy, artist and media partners, as well as the Geographical Association, to provoke fresh thinking and wide public impact.

The project aimed to refresh jaded debates about sustainable development, globalization and environmental change through an integrated body of activities comprising: academic work, such as the ESRC/NERC funded interdisciplinary seminars and related publications; direct public engagement, e.g. through the Interdependence Day public events and workshops, and a reach to wider publics through broadcast and webcasting. The project culminated in a sellout event at London's Southbank Centre, a web ATLAS of Interdependence and a printed ATLAS. These concluding publications and events brought together many of the contributors to the project, drawn from the natural and social sciences, arts, media and policy. The project’s seminar series was funded by the ESRC and NERC. The events, web publication and project book ATLAS were funded by the Frederick Soddy Trust and the Open Space Research Centre.

Postgraduate Research Supervision Interests

The future city, experimental practices, scenarios, culture and climate change.

Research Students


Mohamed Gamal: An investigation of the practice of home in the hawari of Old Cairo 1800-2009 2006; completed 2010

Gehan Selim: A Study of Bulaq Abul Ela, Cairo Planning Schemes 1960-2005 2008; completed 2011

Julia Udall: Tools to Create Agency in Contested Urban Spaces, 2011; completed 2015

Ruxandra Berinde: Moving images of home - Architectural autobiographies in cinema, 2011; completed 2015

Fay al-Khalifa: Sustainable development in Bahrain, 2012; completed 2015


Shuyou Zhang: Indeterminate Legends of Urban Space

Ahmed el-Astal: Sustainable Low-cost Housing in Gaza

Nor Izura Tukiman: Architecture and Climate Change in Malyasia,

Nurul A Mohamed: Architectural Pedagogy in Malaysia

Maha al-Ugaily: Synaesthetic Scapes

Cressida Kocienski: Speaking across spaces; contemporary perspectives on the narration of contested sites

John Dewong Jeong: Between Art and Architecture


2016 Scenarios of Climate Change – academic research network project GO Fund, Grantham Centre for Sustainable Futures (£7.8K)

2016 AHRC Connected Communities Festival 2016 (£20K)
Utopia Works, Derby Silk Mill and Utopia Stories, Utopia Fair, Somerset House, London, May-June 2016

2015 AHRC Connected Communities Festival 2015 (£9.65 K) 'One Great Workshop' project Sheffield Design Week June 2015.

2015 Jerwood Charitable Trust (£30K) for Climate Change in Residence: Future Scenarios project

2015 Ashden Trust (£15 K) and match funding by Collaborative Research and Development, Innovation Impact and Knowledge Exchange funding University of Sheffield (HEIF CR&D IIKE) (£15 K) for Climate Change in Residence: Future Scenarios

2015 University of Sheffield Strategic Development Fund/ On Campus placements (100 student hours- £765)

2014 AHRC Connected Communities Environment and Sustainability grant: ‘Stories of Change: exploring energy and community in the past present and future’ Co-Investigator; total grant: £ 1.47M

2013 The British Academy: British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship – ‘Provisional City: Revising the role of architecture in responding to environmental change’ Principal Investigator; total grant: £ 117,502

2013 AHRC Connected Communities Environment and Sustainability Development grant: Journeys through Environmental Change Co-Investigator; total grant: £13K

2013 The Ashden Trust Culture and Climate Change book series publication and event funding

2011 The Frederick Soddy Trust: book publication funding: ATLAS: Geography, Architecture and Change in an Interdependent World

2009: CILASS (Centre for Inquiry Based Learning, University of Sheffield); Project: `Theory Forum´ as part of Research Group AGENCY (£4K)

2009 CILASS (Centre for Inquiry-based learning in the Arts and Social Sciences) IBL Grant, University of Sheffield (£3960) for Theory Forum; Critical Pedagogy as part of AGENCY Research Centre ( with colleagues Peter Blundell Jones, Prue Chiles, Florian Kossak, Doina Petrescu, Tatjana Schneider, Stephen Walker)

2006–2008 ESRC/NERC/OU Interdependence Day (ID) project funding for Sheffield based ID project activities (£10K)

2006 Stroud Award, Society of Architectural Historians of Great Britain (SAHGB) publication grant

Professional Standing and Distinctions

British Academy Mid-Career Fellow 2013-2014

Visiting Scholar, Architecture, University of Cambridge 2013-2014

Future Scenarios Workshop, Harbin, PRC, 2011 Future Scenarios Mapping detail, Harbin, PRC, 2011 ATLAS- <> 2011 ATLAS


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


  • Tyszczuk RA (2017) Provisional Cities: Cautionary Tales for the Anthropocene. London: Routledge. View this article in WRRO RIS download Bibtex download
  • Smith J, Tyszczuk R & Butler R (2014) Culture and Climate Change: Narratives. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Tyszczuk R (2012) Atlas: Geography, Architecture and Change in an Interdependent World. Black Dog Publishing. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Kossak F (2010) Agency: Working with Uncertain Architectures. Taylor & Francis. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Tyszczuk R (2007) The Story of an Architect King Stanislas Leszczynski in Lorraine 1737-1766. Peter Lang. RIS download Bibtex download

Journal articles


  • Tyszczuk RA (2014) The automated gardens of Lunéville: from the self-moving landscape to the circuit walk, Architecture and Movement the Dynamic Experience of Buildings and Landscapes (pp. 196-203). Routledge RIS download Bibtex download
  • Tyszczuk RA (2014) The fly and the satellite: transgressing 'planetary boundaries' in the Anthropocene, Transgression Towards an Expanded Field of Architecture (pp. 19-39). Routledge View this article in WRRO RIS download Bibtex download
  • Tyszczuk RA (2014) Cautionary Tales: The Sky is Falling! the World is Ending! In Smith J, Tyszczuk R & Butler R (Ed.), Culture and Climate Change: Narratives (pp. 45-57). RIS download Bibtex download
  • Tyszczuk RA (2012) Mappa Mundi In Tyszczuk R, Smith J, Clark N & Butcher M (Ed.), ATLAS Geography, Architecture and Change in an Interdependent World (pp. 10-14). Artifice Incorporated RIS download Bibtex download
  • Tyszczuk RA (2012) Future Worlds: To-ing and Fro-ing In Tyszczuk R, Smith J, Clark N & Butcher M (Ed.), ATLAS Geography, Architecture and Change in an Interdependent World (pp. 132-139). Artifice Incorporated RIS download Bibtex download
  • Tyszczuk RA (2010) L'utopie architecturale du roi bienfaisant In Hatzenberger A (Ed.), Utopies des Lumières ENS RIS download Bibtex download