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2019 Joint Annual Meeting & International Conference on

Vernacular & Earthen Architecture towards Local Development

September 6th-8th, 2019


Pingyao, China

Official website:



1. Introduction to the theme and Subthemes

The International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) is a non-governmental organization founded in 1965, dedicated to the preservation of cultural heritage worldwide. ICOMOS gathers more than 10.000 professionals that contribute to the international charters and recommendations for conservation doctrine, and best practices in cultural heritage conservation. As a World Heritage Advisory Body of UNESCO, ICOMOS contributes with World Heritage Technical Evaluations and the Monitoring of the State of Conservation of World Heritage sites.

ICOMOS-CIAV, the International Committee on Vernacular Architecture and ICOMOS-ISCEAH, the International Scientific Committee on Earthen Architectural Heritage are two of the 28 International Scientific Committees and 110 National Committees that constitute ICOMOS. The two International Committees aim at promoting cooperation and conservation of vernacular and earthen architectural heritage at the local and international level. Each year, the International Committees select a country to hold a global high-level international conference and annual meeting to discuss the world's cutting-edge theories and practices in the conservation of vernacular and earthen architecture, also providing advice on local conservation and sustainable development.

Pingyao has been highly visible internationally because of its extremely rich tangible and intangible cultural heritage. It was listed as a National Historical and Cultural City in 1986 and successfully nominated to the World Heritage List in 1997. In the past two decades, the Pingyao County Government has put a lot of effort into the conservation and development of ancient cities, which has achieved remarkable outcomes, such as the establishment of refined management system for heritage conservation, improvement of human settlement, inheritance and innovation of culture, etc. However, World Heritage cities face new challenges nowadays.

The ICOMOS CIAV & ISCEAH 2019 China Joint Annual Meeting & International Conference on “Vernacular & Earthen Architecture towards Local Development” (hereafter abbreviated as ‘2019 Pingyao Conference’) is proposed to be held in Pingyao. The international high-level conference aims to promote the communication and cooperation on the conservation of vernacular and earthen architecture as well as the rural landscape towards local development, and to propose the ‘ICOMOS Pingyao Recommendation’ to contribute to the conservation of cultural heritage worldwide. At the same time, this conference will provide recommendations and suggestions to improve the conservation of the authenticity and integrity of Pingyao World Heritage site and the local urban and rural conservation and sustainable development.

1.1  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:


1.2  Subthemes:

Subtheme I: 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 II: 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 III: 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 IV: 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.

2. Conference Organization

2.1  Organisers




  • WHITRAP Shanghai



  • Tongji University, CHINA

2.2  Academic Supporting Partners

  • Urban Planning Society of China

  • Architectural Society of China

  • Heritage Architecture

  • Built Heritage


2.3  Co-organizer 

Shanghai Tongji Urban Planning & Design Institute CO., LTD.

2.4  Host


Pingyao County People's Government

3. Conference Program

The ICOMOS CIAV & ISCEAH 2019 Joint Annual Meeting & International Conference on “Vernacular & Earthen Architecture towards Local Development” will be held in Pingyao China on September 6th to 8th.

The updated Conference Program(draft) is attached below:

Pre-Event : 2019 Pingyao CIAV-VERNADOC Camp

Time:August 23th-September 5th
Venue:Hunqizhai Mansion, Jixiang Temple

August 23th: Camp Opening CeremonyVenue:Hunqizhai  Mansion

August 24th- September 4th: Measuring and  Inking Venue:Hunqizhai  Mansion

September 5th: Closing Ceremony Venue:Jixiang  Temple

September 2nd, Monday: Day 1


September 3rd, Tuesday: Day 2


September 4th, Wednesday: Day 3


Note: During the week (from Sept.2nd to Sept.8th), there will be related exhibitions and interactive activities in Pingyao Festival Palace and Jixiang Temple, which are free and open to general public.

ICOMOS  CIAV & ISCEAH 2019 International ConferenceVernacular & Earthen Architecture towards Local Development


Time:September 6th-September 8th
Venue:Pingyao Festival Palace


September 5th, Thursday: On-site Registration


September 6th, Friday: DAY 1


September 7th, Saturday: DAY 2


September 8th, Saturday: DAY 3


Post-conference Tour

Time:September 9th-September 18th

Destination:Shanxi, Fujian, Guangdong

Short-distance tour (Sept. 9th-Sept. 10th)

World heritage sites and vernacular villages nearby, including: Shuanglin Temple, Zhenguo Temple, Liang Village, Dongquan Village, Shuimotou Village, etc.

Long-distance tour (Sept. 11th-Sept. 18th)

World heritage sites and vernacular architecutures in Fujian and Guangdong Provinice, including: Xiamen, Kulangsu Island, Quanzhou Ancient City, Fujian Hakka Tulous, Chaozhou Ancient City, Longhu ancient village.

Find more details, please refer to :


4. Online Registration Deadline Extended to August 10th !!

Since the announcement of initial draft program on the official website, we have received widespread feedbacks and responses. Due to numerous requests for extending the registration deadline, the conference commitee has decided toextend the deadline of online registration to August 10th. 


If you haven't registered for the conference or made accommodation reservation, please follow the instructions on our website to complete it by August 10th. Otherwise, you may not enjoy the corresponding services provided by the organizers. The deadline for payment transfer will still be August 20th, remaining unchanged.


Note: The luxury queen bedrooms of Hongshanyi Hotel have already been sold out. If you need the accommodation reservation service, please choose other rooms or  hotels recommended on our official website.


For any inquiry,  please contact us by email

Or contact by phone:(86)15121032882 Mr. Xu      (86)13611270328 Mrs Li

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