The Bartlett School of Architecture

Prof CJ Lim

Prof CJ Lim

Professor of Architecture & Urbanism

The Bartlett School of Architecture

Faculty of the Built Environment

Joined UCL
1st Sep 1999

Research summary

I engage in multi-disciplinary research in urban planning, architecture and landscape, focusing on cultural, social and sustainability issues. My research of cities is developed through a new urban paradigm - the ‘Smartcity’. The work addresses what the spatial and phenomenological implications are when sustainable design is applied to a city, what new hybrid typologies of programme and landscape are birthed, and the role that we as citizens will play in the production of a relevant social space. A central component of the Smartcity is urban agriculture and the establishment of an ecological symbiosis between nature and built form. New-built or retrofitted, the Smartcity promotes the significance of local food culture, global food security and food as energy. On a different scale, my architectural research is in the physical potential and the intellectual relationships between the ‘drawing’, the ‘assembly’ and architecture as ‘built cultural assemblage’. My most celebrated piece of research architecture as ‘built cultural assemblage’ is ‘Virtually Venice’, a project commissioned by the British Council UK for the Venice Architecture Biennale 2004 and exhibited in the British Pavilion; the research investigated differences and similarities of East-West cultures and identities. Other key research projects include 'London in two-and-a-half dimensions', ‘Multi-Cultural’, ‘How Green is your Garden?’ and ‘Sins’.

The resulting research outputs have been internationally published in books, periodicals and newspapers, won numerous international awards, and are part of the permanent architectural collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum London, Fonds Regional d’Art Contemporain du Centre [FRAC] France, and RIBA British Architectural Library London. Solo and group international exhibitions have been in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Frankfurt, Istanbul, Lisbon, Melbourne, Beijing, and also at ARCHILAB and FRAC Orleans France; in London at the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Royal Academy of Arts, Dulwich Picture Gallery and Barbican Arts Centre’s ‘Future Cities’, Venice Architecture Biennale 04: British Pavilion, Mackintosh Museum Glasgow, Chicago Architecture Foundation, Storefront Gallery New York, Academie de France Rome, Canadian Institute of Architecture Montreal, Nara World Architecture Triennale, UIA 2011 Tokyo Convention, National Gallery Museum Athens, and Museo Nazionale Rome. 

I have authored eight books based on my urban planning and architecture design research - ‘Short Stories: London in two-and-a-half dimensions’ (Routledge UK + USA, 2011), ‘Smartcities + Eco-warriors’ (Routledge UK + USA, 2010), ‘Virtually Venice’ (The British Council UK, 2006), ‘NeoArchitecture: Studio 8 Architects’ (Images Publishing Australia, 2005), ‘Museums [work in process]’ (Glasgow School of Art Press, 2004), ‘How Green is Your Garden?’ (Wiley Academy UK + USA, 2003), ‘Sins + Other Spatial Relatives’ (Ind-E 8 Publishing London, 2001), and ‘441/10…we’ll reconfigure your space when you’re ready’ (Ind-E 8 Publishing London, 1996). The four books I edited ‘Devices’ (Architectural Press Elsevier UK + USA, 2005) and ‘Realms of Impossibility: Air, Ground + Water’ 3 volumes (Wiley Academy UK + USA, 2002) were critical enquiries into the potential of innovative architecture, utopian ideals and unorthodox methodologies of spatial explorations.

Teaching summary

Since 1993, my main teaching contribution has been at Postgraduate MArch Diploma level. The current discourse of my teaching is ‘Sustainable Cities: Planning, Constructing, and Inhabiting’, with previous themes being ‘Architecture as Spatial Devices’ and ‘Architecture as Cultural Assemblage’. Over the years, I have continuously created innovative teaching/learning materials to assure freshness in the discourse of my teachings and provided leading-edge education at international levels. From 1993-2011, the RIBA President’s International Medals for Education were awarded to my students as follows:  7 Silver Medal (postgraduate) winners, 3 Silver Medal runner-ups, 2 Bronze Medal (undergraduate) winners, and 3 Bronze Medal runner-ups, 2 Skidmore Owings Merrill Travelling Fellowships and 9 Serjeant Awards for Excellence in Drawing. On a personal level, I have been awarded 4 Royal Institute of British Architects International Teaching Awards for contribution to architectural education; the highest number ever awarded to a single individual.

I am a regular international Visiting Critic and RIBA External Examiner; Visiting Professor at RMIT Melbourne (2012), Aarhus School of Architecture, Denmark (2002, 2009, 2012-), Seoul National University South Korea (2012), Mackintosh School of Architecture Glasgow (2001-2011), Technological University, Lund Sweden (2001, 2003, 2005-2010), University of Girona, Spain (2008), Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts (2006), The Oslo School of Architecture + Design, Norway (2005), Chiba Institute of Technology Japan (2004), Waseda University, Tokyo Japan (2002), Stadelschule, Frankfurt Germany (1997, 2000), and Curtin University, Perth Australia (1996). I have presented over 100 international lectures and conference papers, including in Australia, Austria, China, Denmark, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Netherlands, Norway, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, the UK and the USA.


I am the Professor of Architecture and Urbanism, and Director of International Development; and served as Vice-Dean of International and Pro-Provost of UCL. I am also the founding director of Studio 8 Architects (www.cjlim-studio8.com), an international award-winning practice in urban planning, architecture and landscape.

With over 25 years experience in planning and design of the built environment, I have been the principle investigator/designer of over 160 projects, with recent eco-cities planning and architecture commissions from the Chinese and Korean Governments. I am listed in Debrett’s People of Today and the Who’s Who for architecture and academic contributions; and included in the top-ten talent listings of the Guardian and the Independent newspapers, and the Iakov Chernikhov Foundation Moscow. I am the recipient of the Royal Academy of Arts London ‘Grand Architecture Prize’, the prestigious award with past winners including Lord Richard Rogers, and Lord Norman Foster.

I have worked in a number of knowledge transfer initiatives with impact beyond the academic community. The following contributions were intended to significantly enhance the quality of life in communities and bring greater cultural and social awareness: Victoria + Albert Museum London, the Mayor of London’s Office, Arts Council England, British Council UK, RIBA Trust UK, Berkshire Medical Heritage Centre UK, Guardian Newspaper UK, London Association Skater Hockey UK, the Queensland Government Australia and the Aga Khan Foundation. For my research in China with Shenzhen Government Planning Bureau, Tangshan Government Planning Bureau, and Guangzhou Government Planning Bureau, the commissions are to influence their environmental policies and have direct economic, social and cultural impact in the various regions of China.