Revitalising Frozen Architecture: Recording the non-physical significance of ruins
PhDs and postgraduate research
Self-funded PhD students only
School of Architecture
October and February
Applications accepted all year round
Applications are invited for a self-funded, 3 year full-time or 6 year part-time PhD project.
This project will:
- Explore how interdisciplinary practice is preserving cultural heritage beyond its materialistic authenticity and revitalizing its embedded potential using new technologies.
- Develop cross-disciplinary exploration and engage with cutting edge technology in the Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries (CCI) to test how new methods and tools can contribute to better heritage preservation and community engagement.
- The successful candidate will work directly with internationally regarded heritage experts and scholars in Architecture, conservation and digital preservation studies as well as national heritage bodies that manage heritage sites.
- The successful candidate will also enjoy access to world-leading digital facilities within the University's Centre for Creative and Immersive XR, providing them the opportunity to work with equipment including (but not limited to) professional-grade virtual reality headsets, laser and photogrammetry scanning and advanced multi-modal input and display interfaces.
Ruined structures are significant monuments that embody valuable historic and cultural qualities tied to local communities and their ancestral lineage. However, the cultural values and authenticity of such sites are sometimes not fully interpreted thus undermining their role in contributing to contemporary debates. This suggests that reframing a ruin’s non-physical historic values and architectural experience could greatly enhance the appreciation and engagement of local community members, particularly younger generations, as well as ensure better integration into academic research fields. The authenticity and significance of ruins is not only anchored in their materiality. Looking beyond extant physical ruins and their representations to consider the authentic intangible values and experiences of place revitalises a ruin and offers opportunity for a potentially more authentic experience and understanding of the site.
This research aims to develop a framework for testing the revitalisation, exploration and representation of ruins through conceptual conservation and architectural reconstruction by digital technologies. It aims to focus on the intangible, non-physical values and experiences of place in order to deepen critical engagement, analysis and understanding of ruins. The research aligns with the principles of international charters such as London Charter, 2009, and Seville Charter, 2011, to ensure effective use of new digital technologies for better conservation, interpretation, management and dissemination of heritage cultural values. Therefore, the key research question is:
“How can digital technologies enable the conceptual conservation and reconstruction of historic ruins in order to revitalise and record the non-physical potentiality and significance of ruined structures and enhance the on-site experience of place?”
To realise this aim, the successful PhD candidate will conduct various research activities including, but not limited to:
- Explore the interdisciplinary contexts of conservation and heritage, digital technologies and architectural design history and principles.
- Review existing literatures concerning the conceptual conservation and reconstruction of the historic environment; the application of digital technologies to the interpretation of historic environment; and contemporary innovation in digital approaches to architectural, spatial and immersive experience.
- Define the parameters of the investigation to enable a careful selection of case studies that match the research focus, intention and approach (e.g. a cross-selection of ruined sites from different periods).
- Develop critical analysis of its architectural, historic, archaeological and cultural aspects of selected case studies in order to highlight the embedded architectural and cultural values in the ruins and enrich the framework with up-to-date interpretations.
- Establish conceptual conservation and architectural principles to map the identified intangible values and experience.
- Use digital reconstruction as a tool to convey the conceptual conservation and architectural principles and produce engaging materials which could be used for educational, community engagement and/or any other purposes based on the intangible experience that needs to be revitalised and where the authentic aspects are anchored.
- Test the work through a range of onsite activities (e.g. interviews, questionnaires and focus groups).
Self-funded PhD students only
PhD full-time and part-time courses are eligible for the UK Government Doctoral Loan (UK and EU students only - eligibility criteria apply).
2021/2022 entry (for October 2021 and February 2022 entries)
PhD and MPhil
Home full-time students: £4,407 p/a*
Home part-time students: £2,204 p/a*
International full-time students: £17,600 p/a*
International part-time students: £8,800 p/a*
PhD by Publication
External Candidates £4,407 p/a*
Members of Staff £1,720 p/a*
*All fees are subject to annual increase.
If you are an EU student starting a programme in 2022/23 please visit this page.
Some PhD projects may include additional fees – known as bench fees – for equipment and other consumables, and these will be added to your standard tuition fee. Speak to the supervisory team during your interview about any additional fees you may have to pay. Please note, bench fees are not eligible for discounts and are non-refundable.
You'll need a good first degree from an internationally recognised university (minimum upper second class or equivalent, depending on your chosen course) or a Master’s degree in a relevant subject. In exceptional cases, we may consider equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications. English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.
How to apply
We’d encourage you to contact Dr Tarek Teba (firstname.lastname@example.org) to discuss your interest before you apply, quoting the project code.
When you are ready to apply, please follow the 'Apply now' link on the Architecture, Interiors and Urbanism PhD subject area page and select the link for the relevant intake. Make sure you submit a personal statement, proof of your degrees and grades, details of two referees, proof of your English language proficiency and an up-to-date CV. Our ‘How to Apply’ page offers further guidance on the PhD application process.
When applying please quote the project code: ARCH4561023.