China’s Urban Transformation and Railway Development
My current research explores China’s urban transformation through railway development. My work covers the following areas: 1. analysing the modernisation of China through railway stations; 2. defining a ‘good’ railway station within the urban context; 3. exploring urban transformation through high-speed railways; and 4. investigating the development of infrastructure in relation to social equality. In addition, I enjoy railway-related cultural events, and my two favourite films are Brief Encounter (1945) and Last Train Home (2009).
My PhD investigated the design and functional performance of transportable buildings through four elements: function, finance, timescale and aesthetics. This led to the ambition to make significant contributions to architects’ and designers’ knowledge of transportable buildings, not only in terms of theoretical advances in relation to contemporary designs, but also in the techniques of combining and transferring knowledge from existing evaluation methods to the building industry. I have continued this research through different areas: for example, I have proposed using flexible structures as temporary railway stations to meet the demands of the fast construction of high-speed railway stations in China. I am currently writing an article about the hidden power of street vendor economy in the post Covid-19 era.
Traditional Chinese Architecture
I have a keen interest in traditional Chinese architecture, in particular Huizhou traditional residences. I cannot forget the most enjoyable time spent with my students measuring the Huizhou folk residence Gen Xin Tang in Hongcun Village (UNESCO World Heritage Site) in 2015. Currently, I am exploring the imaginary space (human interaction, landscape, architecture, colour, light, sound and fragrance) in traditional Chinese paintings and literature.
I am currently interested in receiving applications for PhD or MPhil studies in the following research areas:
• Portable or transportable architecture
• Flexible architecture and its application
• The use of public buildings
• Urban transformation
• Railway development
• The use of infrastructures
If you are interested to pursue research on the above topics, please get in touch and I would be delighted to discuss this with you.
Research Group Membership
2016 Allocation, Wellcome Trust ISSF 3
WELLCOME TRUST (UK)
October 2016 - March 2023
Professor Adnan Morshed, Dr Paco Mejias Villatoro
Project: Documenting grass-roots resilience against COVID 19 Pandemic: Case studies from the informal settlements of Dhaka, Bangladesh
External: BRAC University, Bangladesh, Estudio Abierto/Open Studio
This research investigates grass-roots urban resilience by analysing how vulnerable communities in informal settlements cope with a multitude of urban disasters, focusing on the Covid-19 pandemic. The research is funded by BRAC University, 2022.
Dr Paco Mejias Villatoro
Project: Sustainable Globalisation: Creating Public Awareness to Monitor both sides of the UK-Bangladesh Readymade Garment Supply Chain
External: University of Suffolk
Funded by Research England’s Policy Support Fund (formerly Strategic Priorities Fund), 2021.
Dr Chia-Lin Chen
Project: Re-thinking Marginalised Railway Heritage in England’s Cities – Using Liverpool as A Pilot Study
This research evaluates the railway heritage in Liverpool and investigates why it has been partly marginalised and even neglected in the past. The research aims to propose a solution for re-activating Liverpool’s lost railway heritage and connect this once again with the local community with an ambition to bring back its local pride, presenting an equal, sustainable, friendly and cultural image of Liverpool as a UNESCO world heritage site. This research is funded by ECRRF, University of Liverpool, 2021.
Professor Adnan Morshed, Dr Paco Mejias Villatoro, Dr Tanzil Shafique
Project: Improving sanitation safety through soft engineering design solutions in informal settlements: Karail (Dhaka) and the pollution at Banani Lake
External: BRAC University, Bangladesh, Estudio Abierto/Open Studio, Informal Urbanism Research Hub, University of Melbourne, Australia
We have been awarded £9,811 from Official Development Assistance (ODA) Research Seed Funding to investigate informal settlements in Karail (Dhaka). Working in collaboration with colleagues from Bangladesh, UK and the US, the project will map sanitation management (systems, locations and networks) in Karail, around the Banani Lake, with the aim of designing how to integrate soft engineering water-treatment solutions into the public space, close to the water’s edge. The project starts from September 2020 and is expected to conclude in August 2021. This project is further funded by the Spanish embassy in Bangladesh through the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID).
Mr Sun Shisheng (Chief Architect), Professor Wang Yi, Dr Paco Mejias Villatoro
Project: Applying Transportable Structures in Provisional Railway Stations in China (01/2017-12/2019)
External: China Railway Group Limited, Tsinghua University
I obtained an external funding valued 500,000 RMB (£50,000) from China Railway Group Limited to explore the use of flexible architecture and structures in the design of public buildings. As an addition to this funding, I later received 50,000 RMB (£5,000) from Anhui Government to investigate the Transformation of China’s Urban Tourism through High-Speed Railway Stations.