An Tairan is a writer and an editor currently pursuing a PhD in History and Theory of Architecture at Princeton University. His ongoing dissertation project investigates how the unpredictability of natural processes and the stabilizing nature of architecture collided and coalesced in nineteenth-century Italy, where a series of anomalous encounters between architecture and this other force which we now call the environment were induced.
A proponent of a kind of essayism that abrogates indubitable certainty as an ideal, in 2021, Tairan co-founded Tangent Essays (www.tangentessays.com), an online and paper-based publishing platform that periodically features writings about architecture.
An architectural historian with a professional training in urban planning and a background in art history, with his own writings, Tairan mulls over the theoretical problems of mobility and impurity in time and space since the early modern period, and seeks to productively embrace the notion of temporal instability as a historiographical postulate. Stretching across a wide spectrum of historical periods, his articles have appeared in publications including Lapis, Log, e-flux Architecture, Time+Architecture 时代建筑, Wallpaper*, Phile Magazine, etc. As an English-Chinese translator, he has co-authored many translations of significant books and articles including those by Keller Easterling, Peter Eisenman, and Antoine Picon.
His research has been supported by grants from the Canadian Centre for Architecture, the Lemmermann Foundation for Research in Rome, Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies, the High Meadows Environmental Institute of Princeton University, as well as by a Harvard University Frederick Sheldon Traveling Fellowship.