Harvard CAMLab

Harvard CAMLab seminar review | ‘Liang Sicheng and Lin Huiyin: the Life Story of My Father and Mother’: A Book Launch with Family Dialogue in Observance of Liang's 120th Anniversary


Liang Sicheng (1901-1972) and Lin Huiyin (1904-1955) are figures of critical importance in the study of Modern Chinese architectural history and a prime exemplar of intellectuals that emerged in the Republic of China. The recount and study of their life stories thrusts us into their personal joys and sorrows while also providing us with insights into the evolution of ideologies in 20th century China. Moreover, it provides a lens for us to reflect on the formation and development of architectural and urban planning knowledge frameworks post World War II.

Books of remembrance and special issues memorializing spring up, charged by how we continue to be moved by those in our past: the 60th anniversary of the Department of Architecture of Tsinghua University; the 90th anniversary of the Society for Research in Chinese Architecture; and the 85th and 100th anniversaries of Liang Sicheng have all reverberated a history of accomplishments. At various turning points in history, persistence and doubts that dotted their way in times of glory and loss are well worth the deliberation and inquiry of generations of architects and scholars. In commemoration of the 120th anniversary of Liang Sicheng, a series of events has been held by Tsinghua University including exhibitions and launches of catalogues. The book Liang Sicheng and Lin Huiyin: the Life Story of My Father and Mother published by their offspring is yet another tribute to their devotion and legacy.

Liang Sicheng and Lin Huiyin: the Life Story of My Father and Mother is the first exclusively oral-history-based book of its kind, dictated by Liang Zaibing and written by Yu Kui. It’s also the only memoir of Liang and Lin from the perspective of their family. At the historical moment of Liang’s 120th anniversary, the Harvard CAMLab’s China Builders project is deeply honoured to invite Mr. Liang Jian (son of Liang Congjie), Mr. Yu Xiaodong (son of Liang Zaibing) and Ms. Yu Kui (daughter of Liang Zaibing) to come together and to start a dialogue about their recollections and the new book.

The distant timber towers and ancient bridges surveyed by the Society for Research in Chinese Architecture still stand in silence and solemnity. Looking back at the magnificent life of Liang Sicheng and Lin Huiyin, we realize beyond hailing the pair’s achievements, we must constantly reflect back through history and face the future with utmost sincerity in order to carry forward their initial ambition of building an ideal China.




Guest Speakers

Yu Kui
Author of Liang Sicheng and Lin Huiyin: the Life Story of My Father and Mother, granddaughter of Liang Sicheng and Lin Huiyin, daughter of Liang Zaibing


Liang Jian
son of Liang Congjie


Yu Xiaodong
son of Liang Zaibing


Tong Ming
Professor, School of Architecture, Southeast University; Principal Architect, TM Studio


Ding Yao
Associate Professor, School of Architecture, Tianjin University; Head of Institute of Architectural History and Theory, Tianjin University.



Academic Moderators


Zhang Qin
Research Associate, Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies, Harvard University


Zhang Jinwei
PhD Candidate in Architectural History & Theory, The Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London




Seminar Recap



[00:00] Jinwei Zhang:Introduction to China Builders and the “Surveying time through Survey Illustrations” short

[00:11] Jian Liang: Tsinghua University’s exhibition and reminiscence of Liang and Lin

[00:33] Xiaodong Yu:Events of remembrance dedicated to Liang Sicheng and reviews of his academic career



[00:00] Kui Yu:Introduction of Liang Sicheng and Lin Huiyin: the Life Story of My Father and Mother

[00:20] Qin Zhang:Liang Sicheng and Tong Jun




[00:00] Ming Tong: Liang and Lin from the perspective of the family

[00:17] Yao Ding:Reflections to Liang and Lin’s academic career





Guest speakers: Kui Yu, Jian Liang, Xiaodong Yu, Ming Tong, and Yao Ding.

Academic moderators: Qin Zhang, Jinwei Zhang

Simultaneous interpretation/ subtitle translation: Ning Zhu

Video editing: Borou Yu

Content editing: Jiajian Min, Yijia Yang, Qilin Huang

Please visit our website of China Builders for more information about Liang and Lin. Stay tuned for updates on future seminars and events organized by China Builders.



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