Programme: Architecture - PhD/MPhil/MSc by Research

Start date: September 2014

Mode of study: Full time

Research title: Is Dashilar a Paradigm? Approaching the Intelligence of Event-Narrative Urbanism

Peng Xue is a second-year PhD Candidate in Architecture at ESALA, sponsored by China Scholarship Council/University of Edinburgh joint scholarship. Her current doctoral research explores the paradigmatic qualities in the production and representations of Dashilar, which may inform a proactive theory of urbanism. Prior to her doctoral research, Peng received her master degree in Architectural Design and Theory from Tsinghua University (THU) in 2014. She also worked as a research assistant in the Urban Studies Group at Department of Sociology (THU) since 2013. Before specializing in theory study, Peng was trained as an architect in both China and Germany. She got her BArch(Hons) degree in 2011 and have worked on various design projects since 2010.


This research brings specific thinking to be found in western architectural, philosophical and literary/cultural studies on conceptions of 'event' and 'narrative' into the context of Dashilar, an urbanity on the margins of the Forbidden City in Beijing. As a historic district of over 600 years, Dashilar is adjacent to the centre but without a legislative situation, presenting itself as a space of productive marginality and heterogeneous complexity. Following an Agambenian Paradigmatic Turn, this research tries to bring about a deeper understanding both of how we might conceive of the notion of an Urban Paradigm but also how we might elaborate Dashilar as a specific kind of Urban Paradigm. The thesis might suggest that urban projects do not conform to the same formal principles, and open a further discussion on how to propose and develop processes of heterogenesis in contemporary urban practices.