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Professor François Penz

Professor François Penz

Principal Investigator

Department of Architecture, University of Cambridge


François Penz is an architect by training and Professor of Architecture and the Moving Image at the University of Cambridge.  He is the Head of the Department of Architecture, a former Director of The Martin Centre for Architectural and Urban Studies and a Fellow of Darwin College. He has written widely on issues of cinema, architecture and the city and recently co-edited ‘Urban Cinematics: Understanding Urban Phenomena Through the Moving Image (Intellect 2011) and Cinematic Urban Geographies (Palgrave macmillan 2017).  His monograph on Cinematic Aided Design: an everyday approach to architecture was published by Routledge in 2017.  Since 2010 he has been the co-director of the Cambridge – Nanjing Research Centre on Architecture and Urbanism. In 2015 he produced the film Recovering the lost church of San Pier Maggiore as part of the National Gallery’s exhibition ‘Visions of Paradise’. His current AHRC research project, ‘A cinematic musée imaginaire of spatial cultural differences’ (2017-2020), expands many of the ideas developed in his Routledge book applied to other cultures (China and Japan in particular), construing films of everyday life as a revelator of deep spatial cultural differences.

Key Publications

  • Penz, F. (2017) Cinematic Aided Design: An Everyday Life Approach to Architecture. Routledge.
  • Penz, F. & Koeck, R. (eds.) (2017) Cinematic Urban Geographies. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Penz, F. (2017) ‘Absorbing cinematic modernism: from the Villa Savoye to the Villa Arpel’, in Graham Cairns (ed.) Visioning technologies: the architectures of sight. Abingdon, Oxon; New York: Routledge. pp. 121–135.