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An Architect’s Great Ride of China

For those who don’t know, my partner in crime, Amy Mathieson, is an architect by trade. Since coming to China she has found herself increasingly interested in building restoration, preservation, and China’s architectural heritage. China is of course both a perfect place to pursue this type of interest due to its millennia of continuous history but also challenging as China has a complex past of preserving and tearing down cultural relics. With this in mind, Amy started one of the only English language websites on the subject called Project: China Building Restoration, where she can share her research and opinions on the topic. The Great Ride of China for Amy was thus not just the opportunity for a really really long motorcycle trip (like it was for me 🙂 ) but also a chance to explore the different architectural styles and preservation techniques (or lack there of) around the country. It was tough to keep up with all the different places we saw while on the road, since her posts require a bit more research than our daily journals over here, but she took notes and photographs along the way. So if you’re interested in hearing about our trip from the perspective of an architect interested in China’s cultural building heritage, head on over to, and make sure to sign up for the newsletter (there’s a form in the sidebar) to get the monthly digest of new posts. Here are some of the posts that have been posted so far:

Half a Day in Chengde

Our first stop on the road! Ancient gardens of a bygone age and former imperial classes.

Exploring Historic Harbin

Russian influence in a major Chinese city. St. Sophia church and a Jewish district.

Manzhouli- China’s Russian Dollhouse Town

(the title says it all)

An Accidental Night in a Mongolian Yurt

More narrative style about the night we got stuck in a massive rainstorm, but also very interesting information about the nomadic Mongolian habitations.

The Heart of Ming and Qing Dynasty Architecture

The most recent post about the ancient city of Pingyao and the surrounding areas. A lot of hidden gems here for tourists.

Lijiang and Dali – Two Historical Towns and Their Different Approaches to Cultural Preservation

Two old towns in Yunnan, very close together, that have become very popular with tourists but have very unique feels about them.

About Buck

Buck, originally from New York, first came to China in 2006 traveling with some friends and immediately fell in love with the country, returning frequently including a semester studying at Tsinghua University in 2009. He finally moved to Beijing after graduating from the University of Toronto in 2010. He has a passion for adventure and travel, completing numerous long distance motorcycling and hiking trips around the U.S., Canada, and China including a circumnavigation of the U.S. (13,840km) and a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail (3,500km). When he's not wandering (and sometimes when he is), Buck works as a web developer and marketing consultant in Beijing.