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Endowments at UVA

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 in Asian Architecture as a Full Professor jointly appointed in the Departments of Architecture and Architectural History. Professor Li received his undergraduate degree in architecture from Tsinghua University in Beijing and his Master of architecture and Ph.D. in London, from the AA School of Architecture of the University of London. In this new position, Professor 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 zhong de jianzhu, Beijing, 2009) and Power and Virtue, Architecture and Intellectual Change in England 1650‐1730 (London and New York: Routledge, 2007).

During 2015‐16, Professor Shiqiao Li played an important role in reinvigorating teaching and research on Asian architecture, as well as renewing the agenda of UVA’s longstanding China Program; recently, Li has become a key member of the University’s Task Force on Asia Strategies, set up by the Provost Office following two Asia trips by President Sullivan. Dean Ila Berman brought to the School of Architecture a new agenda to take on the challenge of the global. Through normal teaching and service duties, and through specialized development areas, Professor Li is building an international platform to enable research in Asian Architecture, an area that demands new ideas to reflect on the decades of unprecedented urbanization that has challenged our existing frameworks of understanding.

In 2015-16, Professor Li led the way to significant developments in major areas of activities at the University of Virginia School of Architecture in relation to Asian architecture.

  1. The China Program: Urban Research and Design: Co‐directed by Shiqiao Li and Esther Lorenz, The China Program, in its 23rd year, is one of the longest running study abroad programs at UVA. In 2015-16, it became more integrated into a larger research framework on the global impact of China’s urbanization. UVA Architecture China program in the summer 2015 and 2016 identified, documented, and analyzed emerging architectural and urban typologies in two of China’s most dynamic city‐regions, the Yangtze River Delta and the Pearl River Delta.
  2. Center for Asian Architecture: In a historic development, UVA School of Architecture, through Professor Shiqiao Li as its founding Director, played a leading role in the world of development research in Asian architecture by establishing the Center for Asian Architecture, a joint research center between Southeast University of Nanjing and the University of Virginia. Professor Li’s publications had a decisive influence on the establishment of this Center. The Opening Ceremony in Nanjing in January 2016 attracted extensive state media attention, lauding the establishment of the Center as a development of a new era of research in Asian architecture. The Center for Asian Architecture advances a research agenda to establish intellectual frameworks, beyond orientalist and regionalist constructs, that inform designers and planners to imagine better principles of design and organization in the constructed environment. The economic activities in Asia also have the greatest impact on the environment, and the construction of the city and its architecture is the foundational activity in the economic development. The research of the Center for Asian Architecture therefore has the potential to make a long term and significant contribution to our viable future.

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