Research / Academic 


As part of the "Architecture and/for Photography" research project (on-going) at the Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA) 2016-17, supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

"The objective of the collective research project “Architecture and/for Photography” is to understand if and how a photography collection such as the CCA’s is capable of fostering critical reflection on architectural practice, public education, civic memory and social awareness. An interdisciplinary team of researchers and cultural producers was selected in a peer-reviewed process, following an international “call for captions,” to work out micro-histories of how architecture and photography relate."

(more info to follow)


PhD research project in the School of Architecture, CUHK. (2012-2015)
Completed in December 2015.
Supervisor: Prof. Hendrik Tieben

The Urgent Modernity - Reviewing the Displays of New Urban China amidst the Curatorial Turn and Global Biennalization

"My research deals with exhibition practices and curated representations related to contemporary Chinese urbanism from the mid-1990s onward, as cities within the Pearl River Delta started to garner attention from the international community of designers, architects, artists, critics, curators and scholars. Throughout the early 2000s, China's urbanization became a major topic for contemporary cultural production, curatorial debates, art and architecture publications as well as the subject of many large-scale biennials and expos that at the time continued to spread and expand rapidly around the globe. Within China, biennials such as the Shanghai Biennale, Guangzhou Triennial or the subsequent Shenzhen & Hong Kong Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism \ Architecture, became not only sites of construction for a new Chinese modernity but also vehicles tied to regional attempts of city-branding and promotion. Even outside of Asia, Chinese urbanization became a regularly displayed theme, often accompanied with the rhetoric of growth and the visual iconography of urban transformation. As a result, the idea of a contemporary Chinese city, became a largely debated topic within the cultural genre while the actual urbanization process remained as the centrally planned goal of the Chinese state. The research reviews the development of the thematic in curatorial platforms and exhibition materials in comparison with the ideals and histories of Western, non-Western and Chinese modernities and urbanization. While aiming to clarify the theories of the historical and contemporary Chinese city in these contexts, the work also suggests a critical reviewing of what has become a rather self-replicating view of the Chinese urbanism, as a way to gain a more robust understanding of one of the world's main urban conditions in the coming decade."


"What to Do with 1,715 Museums? – The Guggenheim Helsinki Design Competition"

Paper presented at the The Future of Museum and Gallery Design conference at the University of Hong Kong, October 2015.

"Guerilla Eats and Bicycle Espresso – Reviewing the Changing Contemporary Food Culture in Urban Helsinki"

Paper presented at the Past Present and Future of Public Space International Conference on Art, Architecture and Urbanism held at the University of Bologna, Italy, June 2014.

The paper has been since been published in the Journal of Public Space Vol 1, No 1 (2016) ISSN 2206-9658 as "Guerilla Eats and Bicycle Espresso. The Changing Contemporary Food Culture of Urban Helsinki." (read)

"The Biennial as a Creative Cluster – Case: Shenzhen & Hong Kong Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism \ Architecture."

Paper presented at 7th International Forum on Urbanism (IFoU) Conference - Creative Renaissance, October 2013, The College of Planning and Design at National Cheng Kung University (NCKU) Tainan, Taiwan.

"The Modern Trajectories and the Contemporary Narrative of New Chinese Urbanism.

Paper presented at 18th Inter-University Seminar on Asian Megacities (IUSAM): Asian Urbanism and Beyond 2013, August 2013, The Chinese University of Hong Kong.


URBAN LAB+ (website)
Member of the CUHK team in the International Network of Urban Laboratories (2013-2015) - funded by the Action 3 of the Erasmus Mundus program.

"Composed of a total of eight established Urban Laboratories URBAN LAB+ aims to expand currently established laboratory approaches by creating a platform for dialogue and cooperation that will allow different partners in Europe as well as from major regions of urban growth – in South Africa, Asia, and Latin America – to expand and intensify their knowledge and therewith to strengthen their educational capacities."


In collaboration with participants from the URBAN LAB+ network, the Babel Project was developed as an open-ended series of interdisciplinary experiments and dialogues on urban space conducted on various online platforms with an open-ended result.

Methodologically, the project is interested in producing cross-continental and interdisciplinary content through a curatorial setup, aiming to produce directly displayable end-products (image and video galleries, texts, publications and installations) for facilitating and documenting discourse on the URBAN LAB+ network's thematic. It tackles the foreseeable and experienced problems of group work and co-production by experimenting with the use of social media as tools of collaboration, production and evaluation.

Project team:
Mika Savela (CUHK) and Mo Kar Him (CUHK) with

Diego Asenjo Muños (PUC), Constanza Ulriksen (PUC), Felipe Valenzuela (PUC), Francisca Zegers (PUC), Mandy Held (TU Berlin)