Tel: +44 (0)131 651 5745
Prof. Paul Jenkins is an architect, planner and social scientist and has worked during most of the past 40 years across a wide range of the built environment fields: architecture, construction, housing, planning and urban studies – in practice, policy-making, teaching/training, and research. Over 20 years of this have been based in Sub-Saharan Africa, in Malawi, Botswana, South Africa, Angola and especially Mozambique. Since 1999 he has also links with Brazil.
Paul entered academia in 1996, after more than twenty years in professional work. He is currently half-time in ESALA, and half time at the School of the Built Environment (SBE), Heriot-Watt University, where he is Professor of Architecture & Human Settlements. See: http://www.sbe.hw.ac.uk/staffprofiles/J/PaulJenkins.htm. He also currently plays a lead role in promoting further collaboration between ESALA and SBE in research and knowledge exchange.
Paul is a Visiting Professor at the University of Sao Paulo, University of the Witwatersrand (Johannesburg) and Eduardo Mondlane University, Maputo. He publishes widely on architecture, planning, housing and urban design, as well as in urban history and African studies publications and undertakes many international speaking engagements.
He occasionally undertakes consultancy and professional training work, and was recently on the international jury of the Open Architecture Network competition: http://openarchitecturenetwork.org/competitions/challenge/2011. His opportunities for architectural practice have been limited in recent years but he is currently undertaking a research by design project in Africa.
The two main areas of Paul's research from a conceptual point of view are: “Emerging Urbanism" and “Social Dimensions of Design”. While the former ranges from human geography through urban history, urban design and urban planning to urban land issues, the latter ranges from architecture, through housing, social and cultural studies to anthropology.
A major element of Paul's research work focuses on social and cultural issues and much of his work is in the global ‘South’ – mainly Sub-Saharan Africa, but also Brazil. His work in the ‘North’ (mainly UK and Europe) includes research development within architectural academia and the profession, and research & knowledge interfaces between these and other social partners.
In the most recent period he has been involved in research into the nature of the ‘urban’ in fast urbanising situations worldwide (working in several African countries and Brazil) and has had a long involvement in social architecture, including professional practice. His current interests focus on architecture as a cultural medium. Part of his work also focuses on the conceptual nature of and organisational development for architecture research.
Paul has recently (2012) completed a 2 year Knowledge Transfer Partnership with ARK Housing Association - which provides social care and housing in Eastern Scotland. ARK approached Paul to help them undertake a study into how changing the built environment in their housing stock leads to quality improvements for service users / residents and also more efficient care provision. This was an example of a client undertaking research in order to brief architects more adequately. It led on from previous research which Paul undertook which worked with Glasgow architects gm+ad on how they led research for the award-winning design of Hazelwood School - and prior to that a research project for RIAS on research by the architecture profession in Scotland - see http://www.scotmark.eca.ac.uk/?view=3. See also the book "Architecture, Participation and Society" in publications below - the result of a speculative AHRC project which Paul led - which also examines how other parties bring knowledge to the architectural process.
Paul has also recently (2012) completed a 3 year international multi-disciplinary research programme on Sub-Saharan Africa cities, entitled 'Home Space in the African city', with Danish Research Council funding. This involved planning, housing and architecture as well as socio-economic, ethnographic and contextual political economic analysis, and focussed on the peri-urban area of Maputo (capital of Mozambique). The study included unique longitudinal material from previous studies Paul undertook in the city in 1990 and 2000. Paul designed the programme, led on quality and authored the Contextual and Synthesis Reports. See: http://www.homespace.dk/
Paul is currently preparing a book from the Home Space research and one with Prof Richard Williams (Art History, University of Edinburgh) on 'order' and urban design - arguing how the global North can learn from the global South (focussed on Brazil). He is also undertaking a research by design project in Mozambique, focussing on key elements of 'tropical regionalism': climate design and grounded aesthetics. In parallel with this he plans to study the links between architectural modernism, modernisation and modernity in a sabbatical during Semester I of academic year 2012_13. Watch this space....
This article was published on Jul 14, 2011