Research Highlights

Appropriating Vernacular Space: Ideology, Identity and Architecture – Yuhu Elementary School Expansion Project, Lijiang, Yunnan Province, People's Republic of China

Principal Investigator : A/P Li Xiaodong
Contact : 68743526
Email :


The project is intended as an academic design/research hands-on program to understand the local vernacular architecture through the basic comprehension of environment, social and building conservation in UNESCO World Heritage site in Lijiang , Yunnan , China . The research work is funded by NUS, with sponsorships from Lee Foundation, Singapore International Foundation (SIF/YEP) and others for the construction of Yuhu Elementary School expansion in Lijiang.

Deliverables and Achievements to-date

Book Citation :

The project is featured in Liane Lefaivre's article on "Critical Regionalism. A Facet of Modern Architecture since 1945" in Liane Lefaivre & Alexander Tzonis (Eds.), Critical Regionalism: Architecture and Identity in a Gobalized World, Prestel Verlag, 2003. Pp 52.

Invitation with full funding to present paper at international forum :

International forum on Architectural Education and Regionalism (IFAE 2003), held at Southeast University Nanjing, China December 2003.

Building :

The Yuhu Elementary School Expansion and Community Centre is now completed.

Architectural & Photographic Exhibition :

A display of the works on Lijiang Project was be held from 17 to 24 Feb 04 at the SDE Exhibition Hall, NUS.

Publications :

The project is accepted to be featured in Architecture Review ( UK , one of the top Architectural practice publications). Also will be featured in Places ( US ) in October 2004.


The design on Yuhu School won EDRA/Places (Environment Design and research Association, US) best design award 2004.

Significance / Impact

This Project covers a wide range of investigations from folklore to structural engineering, from sociology to aesthetics, the results of which have been interpreted into the construction of a real project. It is a combination of research, pedagogy, practice and community service, which complies with Union Internationale des Architectes (UIA) Beijing Charter – 2000, in searching of the continuity of the history of the Human Habitat.

  • It attempts to satiate a research gap in this important field of study
  • It offers an alternative framework to sustain vernacular architecture.
  • It testifies new ground of developing curriculum based on hands-on project.
  • The wide range of major publications in the world on the project so far – international recognition.
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