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1995 …2023

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Last updated 17th March 2023


Dr. Yun Gao works as an academic and an architect. She is a Reader in Architecture and Director of Sustainable Living Research Centre at the Department of Architecture and 3D Design, the University of Huddersfield. Yun received her PhD in Architecture from the University of Edinburgh in the late 1990s. Her academic research explores design of socially responsible and environmentally sustainable built environment, traditional and cultural changes reflected in architectural and urban development in developing countries, and cross-cultural architectural design and education. After receiving her Ph.D, Yun worked with architectural practices in Bristol and became an RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) Chartered Architect and ARB (Architects Registration Board) Registered Architect before subsequently joining the University of Huddersfield in 2005.

Yun’s book Architecture of Dai Nationality in Yunnan, China was published by Beijing University Press in 2003. She was funded by HEA (Higher Education Academy) in the UK to publish the book Being There on cross culture architectural design in 2010. Yun is currently completing another book, co-authored with Professor Nicholas Temple, entitled The Temporality of Building: European and Chinese Perspectives on Architecture and Heritage, which will be published by Routledge in 2022.

Research funding Yun has been awarded include those from a British Academy/Leverhulme Small Grant 2016-2019, to examine The Temporality of Building: Chinese Perspectives on Architecture and Heritage; an AHRC Research Networking Highlight for International Development (2017-2019), on the subject of Sustainable and Creative Villages Research Network in SW China, a Chongqing Education Ministry grant (2016 -2019) from China, on the subject of urban and rural sustainable developments in Southwest China, and a Higher Education Academy to publish a book on cross culture architectural education. She was recently awarded a Chinese Natural Science Research funded project (2018-2021) as CI in the construction and culture of houses of the Shi and Qian ethnic groups in Southwest China.

Yun worked as academic editor for Special Issues for the Journal of Architecture, Sustainability, Buildings. She is member of the Editorial Board for the AAE (Association of Architectural Educators, UK) journal Charrette and a reviewer for journals such as Habitat International, Sustainability and Buildings etc., and reviewer for Research Development Fund in Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool University, China. Yun is supervising about 10 PhD students.

Yun has held a Visiting Professorship at the Yunnan Arts University in China since 2010 and recently have been awarded the title of Distinguished Professor in Chongqing Jiaotong University from 1st January 2017 to 30th April 2019.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

External positions

Visiting Professor, Yunnan Arts University

2010 → …

Research Expertise and Interests

  • Sustainable architectural development
  • sustainable urban development
  • China
  • Social changes
  • cultural changes
  • Development in developing countries
  • Cross cultural design
  • Cross cultural education
  • Vernacular architecture
  • Architectural culture heritage
  • Environmentally sustainable built environment
  • Traditional and cultural architecture
  • Urban development in developing countries
  • Relationships between European and Chinese Building Practices
  • Cross-cultural architectural design and education
  • Work place learning in architecture


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