Dr Gabriel Tang

Dr Gabriel Tang BA Hons, DipArch, MBA, PhD, ARB, PGCLTHE

Senior Lecturer in Architecture


Gabriel Tang is an architect and Senior Lecturer in Architecture. He trained at the Bartlett, University College (UCL) London, UK, and worked in the offices of Foster + Partners, London. He holds a PhD from the University of Edinburgh, UK, on the novel use of deployable gridshells as formwork for concrete shell construction. His research interests lie in technology culture, material tectonics and the innovation synergies between architecture, structure and construction processes. He is interested in research consultancy and/ or PhD supervision.


A qualified and practising architect, Gabriel joined the permanent staff of the architecture group in summer 2008. He was invited to join the offices of Norman Foster during his external examinations. At Foster and Partners, he worked on projects such as the Stirling Prize nominated McLaren Group Headquarters in Woking, UK. He was a key team member which designed and delivered The Leslie L Dan Pharmacy Building in Toronto, Canada, amongst other international projects.


His teaching interests are based upon his personal experiences. 

Gabriel teaches construction and technology at undergraduate level. He heads Concept and Design module at masters level for Technical Architecture (MScTA) for which he explores the use of lightweight deployable/ demountable structures for international disaster relief with his students

With an emphasis on practical and hands-on learning based on his research interests in both architecture and engineering, Gabriel also teaches design studio at various levels. His teaching practices focus on practical construction, innovative technology and architectural tectonics.

He has supervised 7 master's thesis from both architecture and engineering disciplines from within and beyond the university. 

Nominated for Inspirational Teacher nomination 2011 – 2016, Gabriel is passionate about teaching and student learning and was voted one of 21 inspirational tutors by students university-wide in 2012. 

His students regularly win national and international design competitions including RIBA White Rose Awards (Bronze 2011, 2012, 2016, Silver 2017 and Gold 2013), a first place at The International EDUCATE PRIZE 2012 (Jacob Szikora) and first prize IABSE (International Association of Bridge and Structural Engineering) Student Design Award 2017 (Adam Rich).


Gabriel is an active researcher of architecture, engineering and tectonics. 

His PhD from The University of Edinburgh, entitled Deployable Gridshells as Re-usable, Re-configurable and Intuitive Concrete Shell Formwork looks into the relationship between concrete shells and their formwork and proposes a novel technology to address formwork issues that concrete shells experienced.

He frequently speaks at international conferences. He was invited to teach and speak about his research at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts School of Architecture at Copenhagen (2010), The Politecnico di Torino in Italy (2013), ORT University at Montevideo, Uruguay (2017), Engineering Faculty University of Sheffield (2017), IStructE meeting (Institution of Structural Engineers) (2017) amongst others. 

In 2016, he delivered a keynote address on his work on gridshells and fabric formwork at Nanjing Southeast University, China. 

Also in 2016, his co-authored book TIMBER GRIDSHELLS-Architecture, Structures and Craft was published by Routledge. 

In summer 2017, he delivered a public evening lecture on architecture, structure and craft at The 
Weald and Downland Jerwood Gridshell, Sussex. 

In March 2016, he was an invited speaker at a symposium/ workshop entitled Making Homes, Making Rural- Artist in Residence in Berwick-Upon-Tweed: Sanders van Raedonck organised by the Centre of Rural Economy, University of Newcastle and Northumbria County Council.

In 2015, he was interviewed by BBC Earth to talk about organic and bio-mimetic architecture and how architecture can be shaped by nature http://www.bbc.co.uk/earth/story/20150913-nine-incredible-buildings-inspired-by-nature. (online)

In 2006, he received a travelling scholarship to spend time in Malmo, Sweden, examining the sustainable regeneration in the Vastra Hamnen (Western Harbour) area. 

Tang G, 16th June 2017 
Research Presentation 
Concrete and Earthquake Engineering Research Group CECR,
Department of Civil and Structural Engineering,
University of Sheffield

Tang G, 4 September 2014
Material Connections in Shell Principles
AAE Conference (Association of Architectural Education)
University of Sheffield

Tang G, March 2013
International ICAT (Architectural Technology) Conference presentation 
RE-SURFACE: An Investigation into the use of Deployable Gridshell as reusable, reconfigurable and intuitive formwork for the design and construction of Form-active concrete shells at Sheffield Hallam University 

Tang G, Nov 2012
Research Matters 
Annual RIBA research symposium 
at RIBA Portland Street London 
RE-SURFACE: An Investigation into the use of Deployable Gridshell as reusable, reconfigurable and intuitive formwork for the design and construction of Form-active concrete shells

Workshops/ Exhibitions 

Magnolia Gridshell/Catalyst Student Construction Workshop 
31st-4th November 2016
Sheffield Hallam University
Sheffield, UK

Timber Gridshells Book Exhibition
Millennium Gallery, Sheffield UK  
4th Nov - 10th Nov
Owen Building Level 5, Sheffield, UK
10th Nov- 1st December 2016

The Swells and The Leaf Timber gridshells
March-April 2011
Sheffield Hallam University
Sheffield, UK


Key Publications

Tang, G., & Chilton, J. (2019). Constructing correctly in wood: new insights into timber technology approaches through purist and liberalist schools of thought. Digital Wood Design: Innovative Techniques of Representation in Architectural Design, 24 (24), 871-894. http://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-03676-8

Journal articles

Tang, G., & Pedreschi, R. (2020). Gridshell as Formwork: Proof of Concept for a New Technique for Constructing Thin Concrete Shells Supported by Gridshell as Formwork. Journal of Architectural Engineering, 26 (4), 04020036. http://doi.org/10.1061/(asce)ae.1943-5568.0000430

Tang, G. (2015). An overview of historical and contemporary concrete shells, their construction and factors in their general disappearance. International Journal of Space Structures, 30 (1), 1-12. http://doi.org/10.1260/0266-3511.30.1.1

Tang, G. (2013). Timber gridshells: beyond the drawing board. Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers. Construction Materials, 166 (6), 390-402. http://doi.org/10.1680/coma.12.00046

Conference papers

Veenendaal, D., Augustynowicz, E., & Tang, G. (2017). Magnolia: a glass-fibre reinforced polymer gridshell with a novel pattern and deployment concept. Proceedings of IASS Annual Symposia, IASS 2017 Hamburg Symposium: Conceptual & Structural Design, 1-9. https://www.ingentaconnect.com/search/article?option1=tka&value1=Magnolia.+a+glass.fibre+reinforced+polymer+gridshell+with+a+novel+pattern+and+deployment+concept&pageSize=10&index=1

Tang, G. (2016). Structural Intuition and Creative Play: An Architectural Perspective to Shell Pedagogies. Proceedings of the IASS Annual Symposium 2016 “Spatial Structures in the 21st Century” 26–30 September, 2016, Tokyo, Japan.

Tang, G., & Pedreschi, R. (2015). Deployable Gridshells as Formwork for Concrete Shells. Proceedings of IASS Annual Symposia, IASS 2015 Amsterdam Symposium: Future Visions – Symposium on Flexible Formwork (ISOFF 2015). https://www.ingentaconnect.com/search/article?option1=tka&value1=Deployable+Gridshells+as+Formwork+for+Concrete+Shells&pageSize=10&index=1

Tang, G. (2014). The birth of shell forms without computers - a student construction workshop. Proceedings of IASS Annual Symposia, IASS 2014 Brasilia Symposium: Shells, Membranes and Spatial Structures. https://www.ingentaconnect.com/search/article?option1=tka&value1=The+birth+of+shell+forms+without+computers&pageSize=10&index=1

Tang, G., Chilton, J., & Beccarelli, P. (2013). Progressive Development of Timber Gridshell Design, Analysis and Construction. Proceedings of International Association for Shell and Spatial Structures (IASS) Symposium 2013, 23-27 September, Wroclaw University of Technology, Poland, J.B. Obrębski and R. Tarczewski (eds.). 6. https://www.ingentaconnect.com/search/article?option1=tka&value1=Progressive+Development+of+Timber+Gridshell+Design.+Analysis+and+Construction&pageSize=10&index=1

Tang, G. (2012). The Rise and Fall of The Thin Concrete Shell. Proceedings of the Second International Conference on Flexible Formwork, 324-333. https://researchportal.bath.ac.uk/en/publications/proceedings-of-the-second-international-conference-on-flexible-fo

Tang, G. (2012). Deployable Gridshells and their application as temporary, reusable and Flexible Concrete Formwork. Proceedings of the Second International Conference on Flexible Formwork, 324-333. https://researchportal.bath.ac.uk/en/publications/proceedings-of-the-second-international-conference-on-flexible-fo

Tang, G. (2012). Deployable Gridshells and their application as a Physical Form Finding Tool: Constructing an innovative life-size Strained Timber Gridshell. Proceedings of IASS (International Association of Shells and Spatial Structures) Conference From Spatial Structures to Space Structures, Seoul, South Korea, 23rd May 2012.

Tang, G., Popovic Larsen, O., & Lee, D. (2010). Innovative spatial timber structures: workshops with physical modeling explorations from small to full scale. Proceedings of The International Association for Shell and Spatial Structures (IASS) Symposium 2010, Shanghai Spatial Structures – Permanent and Temporary November 8-12 2010, Shanghai, China.

Tang, G. (2010). Masdar - The Sustainable Desert City: A Theoretical Mirage or A Realistic. CSAAR (7:2010: Amman) Vol III/ p 175-189 Sustainable Architecture and Urban Development/ Edited by Steffen Lehmann. Husam Al Waer, Jamal Al-Qawasami. Proceedings of Conference of SAUD 2010 Conference, 175-189.

Book chapters

Tang, G., & Chilton, J. (2019). Constructing Correctly in Wood: New Insights into Timber Technology Approaches Through Purist and Liberalist Schools of Thought. In Lecture Notes in Civil Engineering. (pp. 871-894). Springer International Publishing: http://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-03676-8_35


Chilton, J., & Tang, G. (2016). Timber gridshells : architecture, structure and craft. Oxon, UK: Routledge. https://www.routledge.com/Timber-Gridshells-Architecture-Structure-and-Craft/Chilton-Tang/p/book/9781138775305

Other activities

Working Group 12 (Timber and Bio-based Spatial Structures)
International Association of Shells and Spatial Structures (IASS)

Member of the IASS (International Association of Shells and Spatial Structures) 
Madrid, Spain.

Scientific Committee/ Reviewer
Architecture and Civil Engineering Conference ACE

Research interest group on Sustainable Design and Construction 
Department of  Natural and Built Environment, Sheffield Hallam University.

Professional Membership
Registered member of Architects Registration Board (ARB)

Associate Member of HEA (Higher Education Academy) FHEA

Editorial And Journal Peer-Reviewer
Gabriel has peer-reviews journal papers in various journals that deal with architecture and structural design regularly.  He also reviewed book proposals for various publishers in the field of architecture and structural engineering. 

Guest Journal Reviewer (Peer Review)
Journal of Construction in Developing Countries (based in University Sains Malaysia)
Book and Book Proposal Reviewer
CRC Press (Taylor and Francis)
Routledge (Taylor and Francis)

Follow me on twitter @shellrevivalist

I am open to consultancy enquires
I am open to PhD supervison enquiries in the field of architecture, structures, engineering and tectonics.  

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