About 思成 梁
Liang Sicheng (20 April 1901 – 9 January 1972) was the son of Liang Qichao, a well-known Chinese thinker in the late Qing Dynasty. Liang Sicheng returned to China from the United States after studying at the University of Pennsylvania. His first wife was Chinese architect Lin Huiyin and his niece is Chinese American architect/artist Maya Lin.
Liang is the author of China's first modern history on Chinese architecture and founder of the Architecture Department of Northeast University in 1928 and Tsinghua University in 1946. He was the Chinese representative in the Design Board which designed the United Nations headquarters in New York. He, along with Lin Huiyin (1904–1955), Mo Zongjiang (1916–1999), and Ji Yutang (1902–c. 1960s), discovered and analyzed the first and second oldest timber structures still standing in China, located at Nanchan Temple and Foguang Temple at Mount Wutai.
He is recognized as the “Father of Modern Chinese Architecture”. To cite Princeton University, which awarded him an honorary doctoral degree in 1947, he was “a creative architect who has also been a teacher of architectural history, a pioneer in historical research and exploration in Chinese architecture and planning, and a leader in the restoration and preservation of the priceless monuments of his country.”
Liang was born in 1901. The early twentieth century was a tumultuous time in China's history. Tradition and modernity were in sharp conflict, eventually leading to momentous change, while a nascent sense of nationhood was beginning to form.
During the waning years of the Qing Dynasty, China’s last feudal regime, the empire endured a series of foreign invasions and vicious domestic struggles, beginning with the first Opium War in 1840. Foreign powers soon divided China into spheres of influence, while the weak and corrupt Qing Dynasty could do little to stop them. In 1898, in an attempt to stem the decay and bring China onto the path to modernity, the Guangxu Emperor, led by his circle of advisers, attempted to introduce drastic reforms. Liang Qichao, a well-educated and energetic man, was a leader of this movement, also called the Hundred Days' Reform. However, in the face of opposition from conservatives in the Qing court, the movement failed. The Empress Dowager Cixi (the emperor's adoptive mother and the power behind the throne) imprisoned him, and executed many of the movement's leaders. Liang Qichao took refuge in Japan, where his eldest son Liang Sicheng was born on April 20, 1901.
After the Qing Dynasty was overthrown in 1911, Liang Qichao, Liang Sicheng's father, returned to China from his exile in Japan. He briefly served in the government of the newly-established Republic, which was unfortunately taken over by a faction of warlords in Northern China. (Called the "Beiyang" clique, meaning Northern Ocean) Liang Qichao quit his government post and initiated a social and literary movement to introduce modern, Western thought to Chiense society. Liang Sicheng was educated by his father in this progressive environment.
Liang's wife, Lin Huiyin (known in the United States as Phyllis Lin), was an equally renowned scholar in modern Chinese history. She was recognized as an artist, architect and poet. She was admired by and maintained good friendship with several well famed scholars at the time. Among them were poet Xu Zhimo (whom she also had a brief relationship with), philosopher Jin Yuelin and economist Chen Daisun.
In 1915, Liang entered Tsinghua College, a preparatory school in Beijing. (This college later became Tsinghua University, now among the best universities in China.) In 1924, he and Lin went to University of Pennsylvania funded by Boxer Rebellion Indemnity Scholarship to study architecture under Paul Cret. Three years later, Liang received his master's degree in architecture. He greatly benefited from his education in America, which also prepared him for his future career as a scholar and professor in China.