Conservation Practice of the Wooden Gaochi Instrument, An Exploration in Architectural Tools and Design

Activity: SupervisionCompleted SURF Project


The gaochi instrument is a kind of architectural drawing used by traditional carpenters to organize construction of vernacular houses in rural China. Many of these valuable pieces of cultural heritage are disappearing, sometimes being sold as cultural relics, or unrecognizably thrown into scrap heaps of deconstructed wood buildings. The research project seeks to define a best conservation practice which addresses the traditional use, current condition and future legibility of the details particular to the gaochi instrument. The ink markings on its wooden surface represent precious information of not only the technical vocabulary and categorical thinking of traditional Chinese carpentry practice, but also its situatedness within a world view, and the semiologically charged historical environment of Qing Dynasty. The project will seek methods to preserve, record, and decode the information contained in these instruments.
Period20 Jun 202130 Aug 2021
Degree of RecognitionNational


  • Vernacular Architecture
  • Conservation Practice
  • Construction Drawing