Lin Huiyin

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Lin Huiyin

Lin Huiyin, known as Phyllis Lin, was an outstanding Chinese architect and writer of the 20th century.

In October 1904, Lin was born to a wealthy family in Hangzhou, though her family had roots in Minhou, Fujian Province. Lin received the best education a woman could at that time. She went to London with her father in 1919 where she attended St Mary’s College. It was there she met Chinese poet Xu Zhimo, who became an admirer of Lin. However, Lin refused Xu’s love and returned to China two years later without bidding him farewell. Lin devoted herself to writing new vernacular literature in China.

In 1923, she went to the United States to study architecture and stage set design with her future husband Liang Sicheng, a noted architect and son of the famous reformist Liang Qichao. She studied at the University of Pennsylvania as an undergraduate and Yale University as a graduate student. From 1930 to 1931, she taught architecture at Northeast China University in Shenyang, Liaoning Province.

In the wake of the September 18th Incident, Lin left for Beijing, where she studied ancient Chinese architecture. She moved to Kunming and Sichuan after 1937 but was confined to bed for a while with tuberculosis. Despite her ill health, she returned to Beijing when the War of Resistance Against Japan ended.

Fond of painting, sculpture and drama in her younger days, Lin later wrote free verse, novels and prose in the vernacular, contributing many poems to influential periodicals. These poems appeared in a variety of publications, including a supplement to the Beijing Morning Post, Crescent Monthly, Poetry and the Dipper (published by the Crescent Book Company) and the newspaper L’ impartiale in Tianjin.

Lin Huiyin was generally regarded as one of the foremost talents of the Crescent Society, her poetry having come under the influence of English aestheticism. After 1949, she became professor of architecture at Tsinghua University, took part in designing the Chinese national flag, the national emblem, Tian’anmen Square and the Monument to the People’s Heroes. She also took part in the standardization of Beijing city planning. She died of illness in Beijing in April 1955.

Her main works include: Smile, Ninety-nine Degrees, Don't let our land be lost again! and Meizhen and Them.