Dr. Fadi Shayya
School of Science, Engineering and Environment
Lecturer in Architecture & Urbanism
Dr Shayya is an architect, urbanist, and researcher working at the intersection of theoretical exploration, speculative design strategies, and professional practice. Through an active community engagement, his transdisciplinary research advocates realist and pragmatist approaches to studying the relational politics of sociotechnical and eco-infrastructural entanglements of the built-ruined environment. His PhD entitled Politics of Survivability: How Military Technology Scripts Urban Relations, scrutinises the spatialisation of contemporary urban warfare by embracing a symmetric approach to study military technologies and their potential to script urban relations. His research and advocacy work on Horsh Al-Sanawbar and post-war urbanism in Beirut had instrumental societal impacts revitalizing public debates on collective memory, stimulating policy discussions on urban citizenship, and building research capacity for non-profits.
He is the editor of At the Edge of the City: Reinhabiting Public Space Toward the Recovery of Beirut’s Horsh Al-Sanawbar (2010). He consults for international planning companies like Dar Al-Handasah, United Nations agencies, non-profits, and creative start-ups. He has taught in the UK, the US, and Lebanon.
Areas of research
Technical Thought, Gilbert Simondon, Science & Technology Studies, Actor-Network Theory, Relational Thinking, Sociotechnical Associations, Spatial Theory, Urbanism, Machine Ethnographies, Design Ecologies, Militarization, Survivability, Infrastructural Landscapes, Patents
Areas of supervision
Social Studies of Architecture, Architectural Humanities, Urban Studies, Public Space, Master Planning, Urban Design, Regional/Landscape Planning, Philosophy of Technology, Digital Practices, Spatial Studies, Critical Military Studies, War/Post-war Geographies, Mobilities, Design Approaches, Ethnography, Visual Methods, Counter Cartography, Digital Humanities
I convene design studios and technology modules, and I supervise dissertations, for students in four undergraduate courses: Architecture; Architectural Engineering; Interior Architecture; and Architectural Design and Technology. I also convene seminars, supervise dissertations, and teach research methods and studio for postgraduate students in the Master of Architecture programme.
My research’s implications for architecture, the architectural humanities, and urban studies, broadly construed, can be summarized in four key ideas that align with the university’s strategic focus “to strengthen our position specifically in robotics, digital and smart living.” 1) Studying the technical thought that assembles buildings and performs mediation, which addresses environmental modelling, digital studies, and even fabrication technologies in architectural research. 2) Pushing the architectural humanities to rethink “the architectural” as a mode of atmospheric enclosure in an increasingly mobile world and beyond the figure of “the building.” 3) Expanding the scope of architectural and urban studies to examine urban spaces as addressed in Gilbert Simondon’s philosophy, including construction sites, shipyards, factories, workshops, train depots, and other infrastructural landscapes. 4) Studying how the human body “progressively” and partially enrols in the survivability and mobility scripts as “affects” and “speeds” relational to anticipated breakdowns, which addresses gendered spaces, standards of dis/ability spectrums, and legal cultures in architecture.
Currently, I am planning three publications. These include a paper on “terraining” the urban and the regional as differential landscapes of flows and infrastructural saturation; a paper proposing a sociotechnical lens of “survivability” to critique Haussmannisation as the paradigmatic lens to explain interventions in the urban fabric; and a paper on the elemental notion of “survivability” and how it extends architectural associations from the body to the landscape.
Recently, I submitted a speculative visual essay about the militarization of the Salisbury Plain in England, co-authored with Dr Matthew Flintham for the Remote Sensing publication. I was commissioned by the Institute for Palestine Studies to write two essays to recount the story of my extended family’s journey during the 1982 Israeli Invasion of Lebanon. And I was invited to convene the “Intimate Legacies: Tracing the Spatiality of Actors during the 2019 Lebanon Protests” workshop, as part of the Lebanon Unsettled project with Dr Deen Sharp and Dr May Farhat.
In October 2022, I have been invited as a peer reviewer to “Panel 6: Design for Partnerships for Change” of the UIA World Congress 2023 Copenhagen Science Track. Last Summer, I was invited to become a member of the Arab Center for Architecture, which is “a non-profit organization addressing modern urban design, architecture, design, and planning in the Arab world.”
My earlier research-advocacy work on public space and post-war urbanism in Beirut had instrumental societal impacts revitalizing public debates on collective memory, stimulating policy discussions on urban citizenship, and building research capacity for non-profits. I authored a public policy memo on the governance of public space and submitted – to the then Deputy Mayor – a public-private partnership proposal to operate the park. Professor Éric Verdeil, at Sciences Po Paris, dubbed my research on public space among “the new front lines of urban research” in Beirut (2013). I organized public talks and panels, authored a policy brief, participated in festivals and street fairs, and interviewed in 8 languages for local and international news media. Public Space campaigns referenced the book, and I held training workshops for non-profits on tactical urbanism.
- 2021 PhD Architecture, University of Manchester
- 2016 MA Theories of Urban Practice, The New School
- 2007 MUD Urban Design, American University of Beirut
- 2002 BAE Architectural Engineering, Alexandria University + Beirut Arab University