Shuishan Yu’s research focuses on Chinese architecture, modern architecture and its theoretical discourse, literati arts, and Buddhist architecture in East Asia. His book Chang’an Avenue and the Modernization of Chinese Architecture was published in English by the University of Washington Press (2012) and in Chinese by the Sanlian Shudian Press (2016). He has also published articles, book chapters, and exhibition catalogs and presented conference papers on the city and architecture of Beijing, Tibetan Buddhist architecture, Chinese literati art, Chinese garden, and modern architectural historiography. Yu’s research projects are mostly case studies aiming for the demystification of a specific historical site, issue, or phenomenon, and highlight the significance, nature, and problem of cross-cultural translation of architectural forms, practices, and theories.
Before joining Northeastern University, Yu has worked as an architect in the Ministry of Construction Architectural Design Institute in Beijing and taught in the Department of Art and Art History at the Oakland University in Michigan. Yu is also a distinguished qin musician and the current chair of the North America Mei’an Guqin Society. He has been invited for performance and lecture on qin music both in the US and internationally. His groundbreaking book Yu Shuishan Guqin Etudes was published by the Zhonghua Book Company in 2019.
Yu has been teaching Architecture and Global Cultures, Pre-Modern Chinese Architecture, and the Modernization of Chinese Architecture at Northeastern. He has taught Western Architectural History in Beijing, Chinese Architecture in the School of Architecture at the University of Washington, and Chinese Architecture, Buddhist Art, Chinese Art, Japanese Art, Asian Art Survey, and Applied Guqin Performance at Oakland.
Yu’s current research projects include case studies of historic streets in China and the role they played in the modernization of Chinese cities, architecture and urbanism of Beijing, literati gardens of the Ming-Qing dynasties, and the fingering motif concept of guqin performance and its application in the study, analysis, and composition of guqin music. He is a key member and contributor to the GAHTC (Global Architectural History Teaching Collaboration), an organization of architectural historians aiming for the integration of global history of architecture and the development of new pedagogical strategy in teaching architectural history. He has created the course Modules of “East Asian Architecture from A Global Perspective: Cultural Transactions and the Development of Traditions” (12 lectures, in collaboration with other scholars) and “Asian Architecture on the Cultural Borders” (5 lecture, single author), which are published on the GAHTC website.
于教授正在从事的研究课题包括历史街道及其在中国城市现代化进程中演变、北京的建筑与城市变迁、文人园林与明清时期的艺术活动、指法母题的概念与古琴音乐的演奏、分析与创作。于教授是美国学术组织GAHTC (Global Architectural History Teaching Collaboration 全球建筑史教学联合会) 的主要成员和撰稿人，这一组织致力于突破国界的桎梏、以全球一体的视野研究和讲述建筑历史，并由此发展出新的建筑史教育的思想和方法。迄今为止，于教授为该组织的网站贡献了两部课程模块：“全球视野下的东亚建筑：文化交流与传统的进程”（共12讲，与他人合作）和“文化边界上的亚洲建筑”（共5讲，单一作者）。
PublicationsBook and Book Chapters
Yu Shuishan guqin lianxiqu ji (Fifty-six Guqin Etudes), Beijing: Zhonghua Book Company, November 2018
Changanjie yu zhongguo jianzhu de xiandaihua (Chang’an Avenue and the Modernization of Chinese Architecture, Chinese edition), Beijing: Sanlian Chubanshe, September 2016
Chang’an Avenue and the Modernization of Chinese Architecture, Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2012
“Revolution and Nostalgia: Chang’an Avenue, Liang-Chen Scheme and the Redefinition of Beijing’s Axis,” Sixty Years of Chinese Architecture (1949-2009): History, Theory and Criticism (Edited by Zhu Jianfei), pp. 018-032, Beijing: China Architecture and Building Press, 2009
“The Origins and Meanings of Standard Themes in Tibetan Buddhist Architecture,” in Fazang Wenku – A Collection of Chinese Academic Works on Buddhism, Vol. 76, pp. 107-302, Kaohsiung, Taiwan: Foguang wenhua, 2004
Articles and Conference Papers
“Legation Quarter and the Disruption of Imperial Order in Beijing,” paper presented at Panel 164 – Spatial Statecraft: Urban Political Narratives in Late Imperial and Early Republican Beijing, 2018 Annual Conference of The Association for Asian Studies (AAS), March 22 – 25, 2018, Washington DC
“The Cell Cycle of Old Beijing: Courtyard Residences from Collectivization to Urban Redevelopment,” article accepted for publication in Jian Zhu Xue Bao (Architectural Journal) (Chinese: Zhongguo jianzhu gongye chubanshe) on December 1 2017
“Courtyard in Conflict: The Transformation of Siheyuan during Revolution and Gentrification,” JA (Journal of Architecture) (London: Taylor & Francis), November 1, 2017 (Volume 22, 2017 – Issue 8, Pages 1337-1365 | Published online: 01 Nov 2017)
“Street as Public Space: the Demise and Resurrection of the Imperial Avenue in Hangzhou,” 13th International Conference on Urban History, European Association for Urban History, August 24-27, 2016, Helsinki, Finland.
“Gardens in Pre-modern China,” Article in the Encyclopedia of Asian Design, Volume One, London: Bloomsbury Publishing Plc., scheduled to be published in November 2017.
“Within and Without Siheyuan: the Courtyard Experience during Revolution and Gentrification,” Architecture_MPSInternational Conference HOUSED by CHOICE, HOUSED by FORCE – Homes, Conflicts and Conflicting Interests, January 21 – 22, 2016, Nicosia (Lefkoşa), Cyprus.
“Ito Chuta and the Narrative Structure of Chinese Architectural History,” in JA (Journal of Architecture), Volume 20, Number 5, 16 Oct. 2015, 1-35.
“The Formation of the Basic Narrative Structure of Chinese Architectural History as Reflected in Ito Chuta’s Scholarship,” in Zhongguo jianzhu shilun huikan (The Journal of Chinese Architecture History) 11, May 2015, 3-30.
“The Phoenix Temple (Fenghuang-si) and the Reception of Islamic Art and Culture in Song-Yuan Hangzhou,” iaSU 2015 International Conference “Archi-Cultural Interactions through the Silkroad”, March 25-27 2015, Istanbul, Turkey.
“Zhuozheng-yuan: the Picturesque Garden or the Tourable Painting?” 67th Annual Meeting of the Society of Architectural Historians (SAH), April 9 – 13, 2014, Austin, Texas
“Hangzhou’s Yu-jie: The Recreation of A Historic Street as A Public Space,” 2014 Hawaii University International Conferences on Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences, January 4-6, 2014, Honolulu, Hawaii
“Modern, Modernization, Avant-Garde, and Kitsch – And on the Collective Creation in Socialist Chinese Architecture,” Jianzhushi (The Architect) 154, December 2011, 33-38.
“Inbetween Avant-Garde and Kitsch: The Collective Creation in Socialist Chinese Architecture,” keynote lecture for the Conference on Chinese Architectural History, June 3-4, 2011, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China.
“To Counter the “Non-historical” – Early Writings on History of Chinese Architecture by Ito Chuta,” SAH 64th Annual Meeting, April 13-17, 2011, New Orleans, Louisiana.
“In the Name of Modernization – The Design of Chairman Mao Memorial and the Rise and Fall of Hua Guofeng,” CAA 96th Annual Conference, Dallas, Texas, February 20-23, 2008.
“Redefining the Axis of Beijing – Urban Planning during the Time of Revolution,” JUH (Journal of Urban History), May 2008, volume 34, No. 4, 571-608.
“Cultural Specificity versus Universality: Controversies on Guqin Notation since the Early Twentieth Century,” article submitted to Asian Music for publication (accepted).
“Redefining the Axis of Beijing – Urban Planning during the Time of Revolution,” chair and speaker for “Panel I: Urban Development Strategies in Asia,” International Conference of Asian Scholars 4, August 20-24, 2005, Shanghai, China.
“Liang-Chen Scheme and the Struggle for the Dominating Axis of Beijing,” Western Conference of the Association for Asian Studies 2004, October 1, 2004, Seattle, Washington.
“Beijing’s Chang’an Avenue and the National Identity of China,” 57th Annual Meeting of the Society of Architectural Historians, April 14-17, 2004, Providence, Rhode Island
“Limit, Passage and Chinese ·National ·Theatre: Paul Andreu Interview,” IAOC (Interior Architecture of China), Vol. 015, March, 2004
“The Construction of A High-Tech Savage: Art and Technology in the Experience Music Project,” World Architecture, Vol. 5, 2001
“Outline of the Historical Development of Tibetan Architecture and Architectural Decoration,” Architectural Journal, Vol. 6, 1998
“Color World of Traditional Tibetan Architecture,” Art Observation, Vol. 11, 1996