XIANWEN ZHENGreceived architecture education from both Aalto University in Finland and the Oslo School of Architecture and Design (AHO) in Norway. His academic interests started from the experience he participated in a research program about ‘Egypt heritage protection’ led by Prof. Mari Lending and Prof. Tim Anstey. After that, he started a two-years research program which focus on the dynamic relationships between the religious ritual and the corresponding space. In the spring of 2020, this program was ended by his Master thesis: Farming & Meditation- a Zen Buddhist monastery proposal driven by the religious ritual. Now, he pays special attention to the contemporary spiritual crisis caused by the loneliness, and how should modern people realise a new type of poetic dwelling in the digital era.
DEGREESDoctoral Candidate- Architecture 17.1.2023 – Now
The Faculty of Built Environment, School of Architecture, Tampere University, Tampere, Finland.
Master of Science - Architecture 1.9.2014 - 25.5.2020
The Department of Architecture, School of Art, Design and Architecture, Aalto University, Helsinki, Finland.
Bachelor of Arts - Environmental Design 1.9.2006 - 24.6.2010
The Department of Environmental Design, The School of Design, Jiangnan University, Wuxi, China.
OTHER EDUCATIONErasmus exchange program 1.9.2016 - 31.5.2017, Oslo, Norway
The Institute of Architecture, The Oslo School of Architecture and Design (AHO).
BISS-Baltic international summer school 8.2016, Hamburg, Germany
HafenCity Universität Hamburg (HCU).
Sewing a small town-Architecture summer school 7.2015, Gassino Torinese, Italy
Polytechnic University of Turin & the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL).
LANGUAGEChinese, native language
English, IELTS: 7.0, Test Report Form NO. 12CN067931ZHEX002A
CURRENT EMPLOYMENTDoctoral candidate, Tampere University, 17.1.2023 - Now
(temporarily on parental leave from 1.2.2023-1.11.2023)
Institute: SPREAD (Spatial & Speculative Research in Architectural Design) research group, Faculty of Built Environment | Architecture
Supervisor: Fernando Nieto Fernandez
Second supervisor: Rosana Rubio Hernandez
PREVIOUS WORK EXPERIENCE3.2021 - 2.2023, Furniture & Spatial designer (Part-time), Yingjie Design Oy, Helsinki, Finland.
5.2021 - 2.2023, Remote Architect, Freelab Architecture Office, Shanghai, China.
8.2017 - 6.2018, Architect, Niels Torp+ Arkitekter, Oslo, Norway.
4.2016 - 8.2020, Co-founder & Remote Architect, Lefun Intelligence Home, Changsha, China.
9.2010 - 6.2013, Architect & Project manager, GDADRI Co, Guangzhou, China.
CAREER BREAKS3.2020- 5.2021, Visual artist
I worked as a visual artist to resist the widespread spiritual crisis during the pandemic. By exploring how phenomenological reduction can be used as a working method of art creation, I aim to return to the fundamental life-world in which we live. It is always already there, existing in advance for us, but the human being has already forgotten about it. I utilized oil painting as a tool to delve deeper into the concept of 'solitude in space', and I have made intriguing connections between paintings and architectural space. The final result of my art exploration Back to Life-world was presented in the ArtNordic 2022, Copenhagen.
9.2018- 9.2019, Ethnographic fieldwork
The exchange study experience at AHO has enlightened my academic interests. Especially the teaching philosophy of B3 studio founded by Sverre Fehn, “architectural space has the ability to be generated by almost everything” has aroused my great interest in cultural anthropology. After completing the study in Oslo I embarked on my first architectural research project, focusing on the constraints between religious rituals and the corresponding spaces. I spent a year conducting ethnographic fieldwork in two ancient Buddhist monasteries in the mountains of central China. I Visited lots of hermits and learned Zen meditation in the Zhenru Monastery on the Yunju mountain.
6.2013- 7.2014, Autoethnography research
I employed autoethnography as the main research method to study the seclusion tradition of China. Autoethnography differs from ethnography in that autoethnography embraces and foregrounds the researcher's subjectivity rather than attempting to limit it as in empirical research. So I lived in solitude in the Yuelu mountain for a whole year to observe my own subjective experiences.
RESEARCH OUTPUTArt research: Back to Life-world, ArtNordic 2022, Lokomotivværkstedet, Copenhagen, Denmark.
Master thesis: Farming and meditation - A Zen Buddhist monastery proposal driven by the religious ritual
Awards and Honours
My master thesis has won
the main prize of 2020 in the annually thesis competition
organized by the Traditional rural culture foundation (Finnish: Talonpoikaiskulttuurisäätiö).
OTHER KEY ACADEMIC MERITSI had involved in a research program about Egypt heritage protection led by Prof. Mari Lending in AHO. My academic contribution was collected historical documents about how did the Obelisk be transported from Egypt to Paris in the 19th century.
I had participated in a research project on traditional high-altitude terraced vineyards in Tuscany which led by Prof. Dr. Michael U. Hensel. My academic contribution was involved in the student team responsible for the preparation and implementation of various on-site surveys involving photogrammetry, thermography, and microclimate data collection.
Dec. 2022 // BRAIN CAKE,
International Contemporary Art exhibition, Casa Milà, Barcelona, Spain.
Jun. 2022 // VISCERAL, International Contemporary Art exhibition, M.A.D.S art gallery, Milan, Italy.
Jun. 2022 // Back to Life-world, Art Nordic 2022, Lokomotivværkstedet, Copenhagen, Denmark.
Mar. 2020 // Farming & Meditation, Väre, Aalto University, Helsinki, Finland.
Nov. 2018 // Floating, International Prefabricated Building & Construction Technology EXPO, Changsha, China.
Jun. 2017 // Tipitaka Gardens, AHO Gallery, Oslo, Norway.
May. 2017 // Images of Egypt, AHO Gallery, Oslo, Norway.
Sep. 2016 // Edited-unreadable books, Habitare Fair, Helsinki, Finland.