Weedon Professorship in Asian Architecture-Saunders Match
The William Stone Weedon Professorship in Asian Architecture was made possible by a gift from the Ellen Bayard Weedon Foundation, with matching funds provided by the Saunders Family Challenge, created by the family of Thomas A. Saunders, III (Darden '67), to endow faculty professorships in architecture, education and nursing. The late William Stone Weedon (Col '29, Grad '36) was a faculty member in the School of Architecture with noted authority on Asian art and culture, exploring the relationships between Buddhism and Platonism. During his long tenure at the University, Professor Weedon advanced the understanding of East Asian architecture through highly popular courses that imparted both his knowledge and passion for the subject. For his service to the University, he received the Raven Award, the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award and, in 1976, the Thomas Jefferson Award, the University's highest honor. He was a veteran of World War II and a recipient of the Bronze Star for his work in breaking enemy codes. The professorship supports a recognized leader in the field of architecture, landscape architecture, architectural history, or urban and environmental planning who has a demonstrated commitment to teaching.
Shiqiao Li took up his position in 2012 as Weedon Professor of Asian Architecture and as a Full Professor jointly appointed in the Departments of Architecture and Architectural History.
At the School of Architecture, Li teaches and researches into emerging issues in contemporary Chinese cities. This adds to a teaching portfolio which includes history and theory courses and design studio instruction; under his studio instruction, his students won several first prizes in international student design competitions, and were nominated and shortlisted for RIBA President's Medal. Li practiced architecture in London and Hong Kong, and initiated design proposals which were published and exhibited in journals and international exhibitions. He is widely published and is recognized as a leading scholar in his field. His books include Understanding the Chinese City (London: Sage, 2014), Architecture and Modernization (xiandai sixiang zhongde jianzhu, Beijing, 2009) and Power and Virtue, Architecture and Intellectual Change in England 1650-1730 (London and New York: Routledge, 2007).
In addition to reinvigorating teaching and research in Asian architecture at the School, Li contributed crucially to many strategic operations of the School and the University. He played important roles in setting up the PhD in Constructed Environment Program, the Urban Design and Urban Curriculum development, and a proposal for a Pan-University Institute on the City based in School of Architecture. He was central to the establishment of UVA's Shanghai Office, organized a panel on China's urbanization at the Opening Event in Shanghai in March 2015, established Center for Asian Architecture in January 2016, and now serving as a member of President's Task Force on Asia Strategies. He is also a member of Provost Committee for Promotion and Tenure.
Li's recent publication, Understanding the Chinese City, has garnered worldwide attention, including keynote speeches in TU Delft and Southeast University in Nanjing, and invited lectures in AA School in London, Goldsmith College in London, Asia Society in Hong Kong, Society of Fellows at UVA, School of Medicine UVA, and several universities in China. His book is also positively reviewed in many key international journals such as Urban Studies, Town Planning Review, Journal of Urban History, as well as South China Morning Post.
During the Fall of the 2016-2017 academic year, Li taught architectural design studio Biophobia at the graduate level and a Renaissance Architecture seminar at 9000 level. In addition, he supervises three PhD students (main advisor) and three art history PhD students (committee member). Li serves in a wide range of committees at the Department of Architecture, Department of Architectural History, School, College, and University levels.
Li took a sabbatical for the Spring 2017 semester. During the sabbatical, he focused on developing a new research agenda. Building on this new agenda, he delivered guest lectures in London, Helsinki, Guangzhou, Nanjing, Hunan, Tianjin, Harbin; he has written a draft new book outline, a new course “Cities as Material Orders”, a new agenda for a conference organized by the Center for Asian Architecture and Urbanism, and a much anticipated event at UVA—a dialogue between Francois Jullien, Scott Lash, and Shiqiao Li.
One of the major goals of this past year, and of the coming years, is the establishment of the Center for Asian Architecture and Urbanism (CAAU). This past June, CAAU has made tremendous progress towards achieving its goals: 1) Dean Ila Berman visited Southeast University (SEU) in Nanjing; 2) UVA and SEU organized a successful international conference at SEU in Nanjing; 3) UVA, SEU, and the leading school of architecture in India, CEPT University, have agreed on a MOU to become core members of the CAAU, setting out the research agenda for the next 5 years.
The International Conference of CAAU attracted academic leaders such as Bimal Patel, President of the CEPT University, Ila Berman, Dean of UVA School of Architecture, Richard Engelhardt, Regional Advisor for Culture in Asia, Unesco, Juegen Rosemann, Future Cities Lab Singapore) it is also honored by the presence of internationally renowned architects such as Chang Yongho and Yushiharu Tsukamoto.
Li has been invited by the editorial board of Theory Culture & Society to edit a special issue on the idea of a civilizational divide between the Indo-European and the Sinitic formulations, “The Great Sound and Image Divide”, for the top ranked journal Theory Culture & Society. The estimated publication date is 2018. Theory Culture & Society has also commissioned a three-way conversation at UVA between Francois Jullien, one of the leading philosophers today, Scott Lash, renowned sociologist, and Shiqiao Li in November 2017. This will be an important conversation on the future of western civilization, and a new world intellectual order that may emerge as the world economic and political forces change. This is a great opportunity to invite Francois Jullien to give this year's Weedon Lecture in November, 2017.