Programme: Architecture by Design - PhD

Start date: September 2011

Mode of study: Full time

Piotr J. Leśniak holds a first class BSc in Architecture and Urban Planning from the Warsaw University of Technology (2006), a MArch in Architecture from the University of Edinburgh (Warszawa: Projects for the Post-Socialist City, 2009) and a Masters by Research from the same institution (2010, funded by the AHRC).  His MArch project, Restituted Spaces, was nominated to the 2009 RIBA President's Silver Medal Award, awarded the Architecture Prize by the Royal Scottish Academy of Arts and Architecture (2010), and published in "eVolo Skyscrapers". Piotr's core interest in architecture spans between professional practice, pedagogy and research, all linked by design as method. Piotr has worked for practices in Poland, Cyprus and the UK. He has taught architectural theory and history at the University of Edinburgh and reviewed studio design work there. He co-organised and chaired the symposium Plenitude and Emptiness on research by-design, and co-founded the architectural design research journal Drawing On. 

Piotr's interest in curating research through architectural drawing has led him to design involvement with several research-led public exhibitions, including Cold War Neons (The Lighthouse, Glasgow, 2009; curator: Dr Ella Chmielewska) and Kompas (Edinburgh College of Art, Sculpture Court, 2012; collaborative curation). His most recent design for a mobile exhibition Edinburgh Jews, (with Jane McArthur) used a complex layering of images, text and maps to present history of Jewish communities in Edinburgh.

Currently developed in by-design mode, Piotr's doctoral thesis, Spatial Destructions, Political Remedies, brings together architectural imagining and drawing in the context of exhibition, and the role of architecture in constructing social imaginaries at times of major political changes. Taking a 1936 exhibition in Warsaw's National Museum as a pivot for the inquiry, the thesis draws together three fragments of the city's history during which radical reconstructions of imaginaries of the city were advanced through architectural processes of designing, exhibiting and building.