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    A Century Later, China’s First Female Architect Gets Her Due

    After a nearly 100-year wait, one of China’s best-known architects finally has her degree.
    May 19, 2024#history

    On May 18, the University of Pennsylvania’s Weitzman School of Design awarded the architect and poet Lin Huiyin a posthumous Bachelor of Architecture degree, part of a broader effort by the school to recognize the achievements of female students who attended before the program was opened to women in 1934.

    Lin, who was born in 1904 in the eastern city of Hangzhou, was among the first Chinese students to enroll at the University of Pennsylvania. Although she completed most of the coursework required for an architecture degree, she was barred from formally joining the program due to contemporary concerns about women’s ability to work late nights and conduct fieldwork.

    Lin graduated with a degree in fine arts in 1927. The following year, she and her husband, fellow University of Pennsylvania graduate Liang Sicheng, returned to China, where they helped found the country’s second architecture department at Northeastern University.

    Advocates for preservation, Lin and Liang spent much of the next 25 years traveling across China documenting at-risk architecture and traditional building practices. The sections on Liao (915–1125) and Song (960–1279) dynasty architecture in Liang’s famed “History of Chinese Architecture” were largely written by Lin.

    In addition to her architectural practice, Lin was one of China’s preeminent 20th-century romantic poets.

    Editor: Ding Yining.