Main theme: Vernacular & Earthen Architecture towards Local Development 

The issues regarding how to promote the sustainable development of local economy and society through the conservation of vernacular architecture has been a trend topic among the international community (e.g. the main theme of ICOMOS 2019 International Conference is Rural Landscape), and it is one of the most demanding problems faced by local authorities of heritage sites. The main theme will be explored and interpreted in the following sub-themes:


Subtheme 1: The architectural features, values and conservation

Vernacular & earthen architecture was developed under the influence of the unique geographical, climatic and cultural factors, which was adapted to the local topographic and environmental conditions, constituting a unique rural landscape, with Yaodong (cave dwelling) and pit yards in China`s Loess Plateau as the exceptional examples of vernacular and earthen architecture. This sub-theme aims at analyzing the features to interpret values and to propose reasonable solutions for the scientific conservation through comparative studies with the vernacular and earthen architecture from different regions of the world.


Subtheme 2: Challenges and Possible Solutions

With large-scale urbanization processes, areas undergoing population outflow are facing prominent problems of aging and rural abandonment, which exacerbates the difficult situation already encountered when protecting the widely-distributed vernacular architecture. To deal with the situation, this sub-theme aims at addressing the conservation and use of vernacular and earthen architecture from a sustainable-development perspective at the local level by planning, policies and management, etc.


Subtheme 3 :Contemporary conservation and technical innovation

Vernacular architecture as a product of traditional building systems is a vivid reflection of local wisdom to adapt to specific geographical and climatic conditions. With the loss and the alteration of these construction systems over time, the application of modern technology to the conservation and restoration of vernacular architecture and the incorporation of traditional wisdom into modern structures have become more and more relevant topics towards sustainable approaches.


Subtheme 4: Adaptive reuse and revitalisation towards local development

Economic development in the modern age has brought dramatic change to the historical functions of many vernacular buildings. Issues such as creative revitalization and reuse of vernacular and earthen architecture for local development, and the balance between its conservation and tourism development are topics to be further explored.


Special Theme: Heritage Conservation Going Public: Case Studies of Pingyao International Workshop

In recent years, the Urban and Rural Heritage Conservation of Pingyao has implemented a new approach open to the public, with the outcome of the ‘Conservation Guidelines for Traditional Courtyard Houses and Environment in the Ancient City of Pingyao’ facing the stakeholders and ‘Subsidy Policy for the Rehabilitation of Traditional Dwellings in the Ancient City of Pingyao’, establishing the Public-Private Partnerships as a model. In 2018, Pingyao County People’s Government established the ‘Pingyao International Workshop’ aimed at strengthening the cooperation on protecting urban and rural heritage through interdisciplinary professional teams with local governments, local residents and the public. The conference will be intended to display, report and promote the phased outcome of the Pingyao International Workshop while receiving the suggestions from domestic and foreign experts.


  • International Council on Monuments and Sites- International Committee on Vernacular Architecture (ICOMOS-CIAV)
  • International Council on Monuments and Sites- International Scientific Committee on Earthen Architectural Heritage (ICOMOS-ISCEAH)
  • Chinese National Committee for the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS CHINA)
  • World Heritage Institute of Training and Research for the Asia and the Pacific Region under the auspices of UNESCO (WHITRAP Shanghai)
  • The Academic Committee of Historical and Cultural City Planning, the Urban Planning Society of China (ACHCCP-UPSC)
  • Committee of Urban and Rural Built Heritage-ASC (CURBH-ASC)
  • Tongji University, CHINA

Academic Supporting Partners

  • Urban Planning Society of China
  • Architectural Society of China
  • Heritage Architecture
  • Built Heritage


  • Shanghai Tongji Urban Planning & Design InstituteCO.,LTD.
  • Tongji Architectural Design (Group) Co., Ltd.(TJAD)


  • Pingyao County CPC Committee
  • Pingyao County People’s Government




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