A/Prof Jianfei Zhu

Associate Professor in Architecture


Jianfei Zhu studied architecture at Tianjin University China (1985) and obtained PhD at University of London in the UK (1994). He has taught in China, the UK and Australia. He has delivered 40 guest lectures at institutions worldwide including Harvard University, MIT, UC Berkeley, Cambridge University, the Architectural Association (London), the Berlarge Insitutte (Rotterdam), Vienna Architectural Center, and many in China (including Tsinghua, Tongji and China Academy of Art) and the Asian region (NUS and HKU). He is Guest Professor at Southeast University (Nanjing) where he teaches a theory class every November. Jianfei teaches design studios and theory subjects at the University of Melbourne, in addition to supervision of PhD students.

Jianfei’s research has been centering on relations between politics and architecture, spatial politics of dynastic Beijing, episodes of modern and current Chinese architecture, modern state design institutes, and a new interpretation of Chinese urbanism/architecture in relation to the embedded notions of scale and statehood as different from those in the European tradition.

He is the author of Chinese Spatial Strategies: Imperial Beijing (London: Routledge 2004) and Architecture of Modern China: A Historical Critique (London: Routledge 2009). He is also the editor of Sixty Years of Chinese Architecture (1949-2009): History, Theory and Criticism (Beijing: CABP/China Architecture & Building Press 2009). Jianfei has authored many articles including ‘A Celestial Battlefield’ (AA files, no. 28, 1994), ‘Criticality in between China and the West’ (Journal of Architecture, vol. 10, no. 5, 2005), ‘Robin Evans in 1978: Between Social Space and Visual Projection’ (Journal of Architecture, vol. 16, no. 2, 2011), ‘Political and Epistemological Scales in Chinese Urbanism’ (Harvard Design Magazine, no. 37, 2014), and ‘Empire of Signs of Empire: Scale and Statehood in Chinese Culture’ (Harvard Design Magazine, no. 38, 2014).



Research directions

Architectural and Urban Past

See all staff profiles