The Federation Of Chinese Scholars In Australia



Birth Year 1965
Position Professor of Architecture
Professional / Institution Affiliation and address
Faculty of the Built Environment, The University of New South Wales, UNSW Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia
Telephone 02-93854957

II. CAREER SUMMARY (Education and employment history, List major past positions and current positions):

  Academic Positions:

  • Professor of Architecture (2004 onwards), Faculty of the Built Environment, University of New South Wales, Sydney

  • Chair of Architecture Discipline (2005 -2009), Faculty of the Built Environment, University of New South Wales, Sydney

  • Associate Professor of Architecture and Head of Department of Architecture (2002-2004), Faculty of Design, Architecture and Building, University of Technology Sydney

  Professional Positions:

  • Consulting Architect (2000 onwards), atelier s-h, Sydney

  • Architectural Design Consultant (2007 -2010), BVN Architecture, Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne and Canberra

  • Third Prize, UIA (the Union of International Architects) International Competition: research papers in Architecture and Urban Design, 2011.

  • Curtin University Innovative Teaching Award 2001.

  • First Prize, Kunming City Planning Department Competition 1987: design of Huguo Mansion – a 24-storey building complex located in downtown Kunming (with Dongmin Zhao), built between 1988-91.


  • Co-editor (with Ronald Knapp, 2004 onwards), Spatial Habitus: Making and Meaning in Asia’s Architecture (Book Series), University of Hawai‘i Press

  • Member, Editorial Board (2003 onwards), The Architect, China Architecture and Building Press

  • Member, Editorial Board (2011 onwards), Frontiers of Architecture and Civil Engineering in China, Springer and Higher Education Press

  • Member, Editorial Advisory Board (2007 -2011), Architectural Theory Review, Routledge

As the Chair of Architecture Discipline at the University of New South Wales (2005-09), and the Head of Department of Architecture at the University of Technology Sydney (2002-2004), Professor Ruan led the redesign of, and was instrumental in reshaping, two of the top architecture schools in Australia.

Professor Ruan is a scholar of international standing. He has published on architecture and anthropology, architectural education, Louis Kahn, China’s modern and contemporary architecture, as well as Australian contemporary architecture. His books have received critical acclaim and enthusiastic appraisal both in academic journals and from some mainstream media outlets around the world.

Professor Ruan’s essays have appeared in some of the world’s leading academic journals, such as the Journal of Society of Architectural Historians. He is co-editor, with Ronald Knapp, of the book series Spatial Habius: Making and Meaning in Asia’s Architecture published by the University of Hawai’i Press. This is the first and so far the only scholarly book series focusing on Asia’s built world in the English language. Books in this series are fast becoming a primary source for understanding the built environment for more than half of the world’s population, as well as their increasing cultural and economic impact. He has also contributed, as a critic, to professional architecture journals in Australia and China. The research impact of Professor Ruan’s work is also evidenced by frequent invitations to give keynote addresses at international conferences and public lectures around the world.

VI. BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF YOUR MOST IMPORTANT PUBLICATIONS (publication number, impact and citations):
Professor Ruan has authored and co-edited four books, has published more than 50 essays in his academic career so far. Here are a few examples of his major publications:
Ruan, X. Allegorical Architecture: Living Myth and Architectonics in Southern China, Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2006. ISBN 13:978-0-8248-2151-7 &10:0-8248-2151-3
This is an elaboration of an architectural theory based on the interaction between human occupation and architectural configuration. The book has received critical acclaims from numerous top academic journals and architectural magazines around the world.
Ruan, X. New China Architecture, Singapore: Tuttle/Periplus, 2006. ISBN 0-7946-0389-0
A critical history of Chinese architecture from 1990 to 2005 written for a wide audience. Received rave reviews from major newspapers, travel and airline magazines, radio interview, film and architectural journals. Rated by “” as one of the top 10 design books.
Ruan, X. “The Character of a Building”, in Xing Ruan and Paul Hogben eds. Topophilia and Topophobia: Reflections on the Human Habitat in the Twentieth Century, London and New York: Routledge, 2007, p. 92-113.
Examines the impact of Beaux-Arts teaching of human character on one of the most significant twentieth-century architects Louis Kahn. Published in good accompany with some of the most influential thinkers and scholars in the world.
Ruan, X. “Ephemeral China/Handmade China”, in Footprint – Delft School of Design Journal, Delft University of Technology, (Spring 2008) 2: 5 – 13. ISSN: 1875 – 1504.
Impact on an understanding of cultural endurance in China. Keynote lecture at the International Conference on the Handmade 2007, public presentations, as well as interviews featured in the documentary film New Beijing screened at the 2010 Sydney Film festival and Beijing International Film Festival.
Ruan, X. “Rethinking Architectural Design Teaching – on the significance of parti and poché” International research paper competition winning essay, UIA, 2011.
Won the third prize in the first UIA (International Union of Architects) International Competition of Research Papers in Architecture and Urban Design.
Ruan, X. “Accidental Affinities: American Beaux-Arts in Twentieth-century Chinese Architectural Education and Practice”, in JSAH (Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians), Chicago: the Society of Architectural Historians. (March, 2002) 61 (1): 30-47. ISSN: 0037-9808
The pioneering work on China’s modern architectural education and practice. Published in the world’s most prestigious architectural journal and widely cited as a key reference of twentieth-century Chinese architecture.

Architectural Education, Architectural Design, Architectural History and Theory, Housing

VIII. VISIONS (related to China and Australia from the area of expertise):
In the field of architectural education, research and practice, the exchange between China and the English speaking world could in a significant way enhance not only a better understanding of China from the west, but also, and of more importance, a critical self reflection of Chinese culture against the overarching globalized context. Architecture, as a material manifestation of cultural inspirations and the way of life, is one of the most effective vehicles through which such exchange can occur at the most tangible level. More specifically, through research and its discourse in both Chinese and English, and through a gradual enhancement of China’s architectural education towards a true international player, China’s finest cultural traditions and the way of life may gain a new lease of life as well as a kind of legitimacy that shall generate a healthy and sustainable cultural renewal in China and a profoundly salutary impact on the world.