Chinese architecture is as old as the Chinese civilization itself. The graphic and literary testaments that we have today clearly suggest that ancient Chinese architects always followed an indigenous process of construction and décor. The core principles abide even to present day structures. From the sancai to the pagodas, the taste of Chinese architects have always been unique and to this day we experience the same finesse.

These 10 critically-acclaimed Chinese architects have successfully continued to combine the rich heritage and modern architectural principles.

10. Naihan Li

Born on January 5th, 1981, Naihan Li is an independent architect and designer, Naihan Li came to the spotlight with her collaboration in the Jinhua Architectural Park, under the supervision of Ai Weiwei. Naihan went on to establish her own furniture design brand in 2010.

9. Yansong Ma

Popular as the founder of MAD architects, Yansong Ma graduated from Beijing University of Civil Engineering and Architecture and went on to be awarded the prestigious RIBA International Fellowship in 2010. His popular projects include Absolute Towers, Chayong Park Plaza, Ordus Museum, Harbin Cultural Island, Wood Sculpture Museum and the Hutong Bubble 32.

8. Wang Shu

Born on the 4th of November, 1963, Wang Shu is the current dean of School of Architecture under the China Academy of Art. He and his partner, Lu Wenyu founded the Amateur Architecture Studio. Wang Shu holds the prestigious Pritzker Prize and has buildings like the Ningbo Museum to his name.

7. Lin Huiyin

A famous 20th century architect and author from China, Lin Huiyin is also the first female architect of modern China. She is also the wife of the noted “Father of Modern Chinese Architecture”, Mr. Liang Sicheng. Her motto in life was the restoration of several cultural heritage sites from the post imperial era.

6. Yung Ho Chang

Now, a professor of architecture at the MIT Architecture, Yung Ho Chang has served as the dean of the MIT Architecture Department. He was awarded the New York Alliance of Architecture Award in 1992 and is among the most widely published architect.

5. Qingyun Ma

Born in 1965, Qingyun Ma graduated from Tsinghua University, Beijing and went on to pursue architecture at The University of Pennsylvania. Qingyun Ma is the founder of MADA which worked in prestigious projects including the Qingpu Community Island, Shanghai, the Tianyi Square at Ningbo and the Centennial TV and Radio Center, Xi’an.

4. He Jingtang

A prominent Chinese architect from South China University of Technology, He Jingtang worked on the 2008 Beijing Olympics venue and also the famous “Crown of China” or the Chinese Pavilion. His most recent work includes the University of Macau.

3. Li Xinggang

The director at Atelier Li Xinggang, Li Xinggang has been the vice chief architect of the China Architecture Design and Research Group. Mr. Li Xinggang has received several international and national awards including the Gold/Silver Prize of China, World Youth Chinese Architects Award 2007, National Outstanding Architecture Award (2000/09/10) and many others.

2. I.M. Pei

Born in 1917, I.M. Pei is a legendary Chinese American artist who went on to establish the reputed I.M. Pei & associates in 1955. An Alma matter of MIT, he holds the Royal Gold Medal, the AIA Gold Medal, the Pritzker Prize, the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Praemium Imperiale.

1. C. Y. Lee

Based out of Taiwan, C.Y. Lee was the director of the Taipei 101, the tallest skyscraper in the world when it was completed in 2004. He also designed the Hung Kuo Building, the Grand 50 Tower, the Grand Fermosa, W Taipei and many other notable structures.

With China’s design and architecture industry booming, these personalities have been the inspiration for many young designers. However, every designer has a common respect for the traditional Chinese materials, craftsmanship and heritage.

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