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People  •  Architecture  •  Associate Professor

Shuishan Yu

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, 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.

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, and literati gardens of the Ming-Qing dynasties, and a new theory and method of qin music to be published by the prestigious Zhonghua Book Company. He is a key member and contributor to the GAHTC, 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.




  • 2006 Ph.D in Art History Division of Art History, School of Art, University of Washington, Seattle, USA

Research Focus

  • Chinese Architecture
  • Tibetan Architecture
  • Buddhist Art and Architecture
  • Chinese Architectural Historiography
  • Literati Arts in East Asia
  • Guqin music

Courses Taught

  • Architecture and Global Cultures: Prehistory to 1400
  • Architecture and Global Cultures: 1400 to 1800
  • Topics in Architectural History: The Modernization of Chinese Architecture
  • Topics in Architectural History: Pre-Modern Chinese Architecture