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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.

  • About

    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.

  • Teaching

    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).

  • Research

    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 (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. 

    PRESENTATIONS (Selected)
    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

  • Publications

    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.

    Journal articles

    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.

    Tang, G. (2013). Timber gridshells: beyond the drawing board. Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers. Construction Materials, 166 (6), 390-402.

    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.

    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 K. Kawaguchi, M. Ohsaki, T. Takeuchi (eds.).

    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).

    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.

    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.

    Tang, G. (2012). The Rise and Fall of The Thin Concrete Shell. Proceedings of the Second International Conference on Flexible Formwork.

    Tang, G. (2012). Deployable Gridshells and their application as temporary, reusable and Flexible Concrete Formwork. Proceedings of the Second International Conference on Flexible Formwork.

    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.

    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).


    Chilton, J., & Tang, G. (2016). Timber gridshells : architecture, structure and craft. Oxon, UK: Routledge.

  • 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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