MOBILITIES OF DESIGN: Transnational Transfers in Asian Architecture and Urban Planning, 1960-Present

This conference investigates the transnational transfer of architectural expertise to, from, and within Asia from 1960 to the present–as well as its consequences for contemporary conditions of urbanization in the region today. The goal of the event is to uncover the multidirectional exchanges in architecture, planning, engineering, design pedagogy, and building technology that have taken place in Asia over the past 50 years; and to show how this acquired knowledge has been developed, appropriated, mixed, and modified in professional practice. Bringing academic research papers into dialogue with the insights of practitioners, the event will offer a heterogeneous genealogy of the current material, economic, and institutional conditions of urbanization in the contemporary Asian city. By developing an innovative historical framework, the conference aims to contextualize examples of cross-cultural knowledge transfer that are taking place in Asian cities such as Singapore today.


The event is a collaboration between the ETH Zurich’s Future Cities Laboratory (FCL) and the Manchester Architecture Research Centre (MARC). It is organized by Max Hirsh (FCL) and Lukasz Stanek (MARC).


FCL is an interdisciplinary research center focused on urban sustainability in a global frame. Based in Singapore, it is the first research program of ETH Zurich’s Centre for Global Environmental Sustainability. The Future Cities Laboratory is home to a community of more than 100 PhD, post-doctoral and senior researchers working in the fields of architecture, engineering, and urban planning.


MARC was established at Manchester University in 2006. The Centre is developing a research agenda that aims at critically understanding the co-evolution of design and development strategies and the socioeconomic processes shaping cities.


To register please email your full name, designation and organisation to Max Hirsh at by 10 Nov 2013.






1730: Singapore in Transit: Historicizing and Contextualizing Architectural and Planning Exchanges
Chang Jiat Hwee, NUS-SDE
Lee Kah Wee, NUS-SDE


1800: Panel Discussion: Practioners’ Perspectives
Moderator: Jane Jacobs, Yale-NUS
Lim Chin Chong
Kuan Chee Yung, CPG
Kevin Sim, Newspace Design


1915: Reception




1000: Registration & Coffee


1030: Welcome Address
Max Hirsh, FCL


1040: Introduction: Mondialisation of Architecture
Lukasz Stanek, MARC


1100: Genealogies of Globalisation
Chair: Lukasz Stanek


Australian Educated Architects and the Professionalisation of Practice and Training in Malaysia, 1960 -1980
Peter Scriver, University of Adelaide


Building the Non-Aligned Babylon
Vladimir Kulic, Florida Atlantic University


Australians and Africans in a Post-Colonial Asian Empire: The Oberoi Hotel Group in the 1960s and 1970s
Amit Srivastava, University of Adelaide


1230: Lunch


1330: Transfer Typologies
Chair: Max Hirsh


The International Hotel in Post-Revolutionary China
Cole Roskam, University of Hong Kong


Constructing Masdar City
Gökçe Günel, Columbia University


The Nation’s I/Eye. The National Art Gallery Singapore, 2010-2015
Mechtild Widrich, ETH Zurich


1500: Coffee Break


1530: Urban Geographies
Chair: Stephen Cairns, FCL


After Transnationalism: Indian Modernism in the Age of Globalisation
Vikramaditya Prakash, University of Washington, Seattle


Practical Utopias: Global Urbanism in Hong Kong, Seoul, Shanghai, Singapore & Tokyo
Jonathan Solomon, Syracuse University


Songdo: Transnational Networks in the Reproduction of a Ubiquitous Ecocity
Sofia T. Shwayri, Seoul National University


1700: Wrap-Up & Final Discussion


1730: Apéro



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