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Supervisor: Prof. James Campbell



Research overview:

Di Zhao is a Ph.D. student studying architectural history of the 19th and 20th centuries. Her research explores cross-cultural architectural exchange, with an emphasis on the interchanges between British, German, Belgian, and Chinese interests in the development of railways in East Asian port cities. The project focuses on the interaction between different types, techniques, styles and personnel networks surround railway architectures in a context of competing imperial ambitions. It aims at showing what the built heritage of railways can illuminate about the complex process of transfer and adaptation. The central questions concerned are: what were the vehicles that delivered European architecture traditions to the Far East; and what were the connections between the socio-economic conditions, media of transfer and resulting buildings? Her further interests include the roles of media and the materialist study of art and architectural circulation. 



Supported by MLAC Department of Durham University, Di took a Photo Archives Intern at The National Railway Museum in York, where she gained her first experience with railway archives. She also served as an architectural editor in Domus China Editorial Office in Beijing, during which she had interviewed a range of European and East Asian architects. Di is a 2019 MSc Architectural History and Theory alumna of ESALA. She received an M.A. in Visual Culture from Durham University in 2018, and a B. Eng. in Urban Planning from Jinling College, Nanjing in 2016.