History, theory and heritage are fields of expertise of increasing importance in contemporary China. In a context of profound economic and social transformations, issues such as the relation between modernisation and tradition have taken centre stage. This applies in particular to the Suzhou region, where a number of significant historical sites and artefacts are located.
Owing to a staff with strong and diversified backgrounds in history and theory of architecture and in building heritage, the Department of Architecture is ideally placed to engage in studies and research on these subject matters. The history, theory and heritage research area covers a variety of fields of interest (including history and theory of architecture, city history, landscape history, building heritage, cultural and material history, and industrial heritage); it also provides a common ground for the engagement of colleagues from other departments (such as Urban Planning and Design, China Studies, and Industrial Design) and university research groups (such as the Research Institute of Urbanisation), as well as professional figures outside academia.
In line with XJTLU’s mandate, this area aims to create a bridge between Eastern and Western research practices and themes, and to offer at the same time opportunities for study campaigns at local levels.
Fields of interest and expertise pertaining to the area include:
- Chinese architectural history in a global context
- transnational relations and exchanges between architectural cultures
- regeneration of historical districts, centres, and villages
- conservation and restoration of historical buildings
- assessment, enhancement, and promotion of historical heritage in relation to tourism strategies (as in the case of World Heritage Sites)