liyuan-combinedLiyuan Gu


Academic Qualifications:

2012 – present: Ph.D. in Landscape, University of Sheffield

2010 – 2012 M.A Landscape Studies, University of Sheffield

2006 – 2010 B.A Landscape Architecture, Jiangxi Agricultural University

PhD Research:

‘History and Conservation of Rockwork in Chinese Gardens’
Since studying landscape architecture in China I have become fascinated by rockwork in historic gardens. Rockwork appears as one of these features that at first instance is difficult to understand but then starts to intrigue. There is considerable variation in how rockwork is formed, and the various techniques employed are not only revealing of the philosophy, but also of the era and region in which they were conceived. The question arises about how notions of aesthetics, religion and philosophy changed fashions in rockwork over time. In addition to the curiosity about the history of rockwork, I also noticed that many are in a poor condition. It is often suggested that ancient rock arrangements were mainly destroyed by wars and civil strife. While this is true, the fact is that rockwork has continued to be damaged and destroyed afterwards. Some were appreciated by connoisseurs and survived, while others have been heavily modified. Some rockwork was insensitively transformed either during the conservation as a result of limited knowledge of appropriate techniques, in the course of maintenance, or for health and safety requirements.
Thus, my research aims to provide a critical review of the theory and practice of rockwork in Chinese gardens by exploring how fashions evolved, together with an analysis of techniques in different eras and regions. It is my intent that increasing knowledge of the cultural context of these structures will inform conservation and maintenance.

- To critically review the changes in garden culture, philosophy and policies relating to gardens, and demonstrating how that affects the changes in the fashion of rockwork and to inform the development of rockwork.
- To survey techniques of constructing rockwork, and critically analyse the works of different craftsmen and genres.
- To explore historic and present day conservation techniques of historic rockwork.
Dr. Jan Woudstra and Dr. Alison Hardie

Research Interests:

I am particularly interested in gardens with rockwork, and to explore history and building techniques, paying close attention to various rock types and construction methods. Although my current research concentrates on Chinese rockwork, I am equally fascinated by rockwork in other cultures and explore this also.