Dr Mengbi Li holds a PhD in Built Environment from the University of New South Wales, Sydney. As one of the members of the pedagogic revolution, First Year Model of Victoria University, Mengbi joined VU on a permanent basis in 2018.

Mengbi is passionate about exploring and implementing innovative teaching methods and curriculum design to address pedagogic challenges and help students reach their full potential. She is interested in nurturing curiosity in her students and an enduring enthusiasm for the discipline of built environment in today’s rapidly changing society.

Mengbi’s research interest is in promoting an understanding of the history of architecture, with a particular focus on the pre-modern architecture and settlements in China. She seeks pathways to intellectual understanding and response in architecture from its own history. She is striving for a critical rethink of a series of dogmas, mind-sets and vigorously imposed goals in the production of cities and buildings.

Currently, Mengbi’s research is contributing better practices for low-carbon living and sustainability to architecture by challenging existing principles that clash with these objectives.

Areas of expertise

  • Architectural history and theory
  • Architectural history in China
  • Vernacular architecture
  • Sustainability in the built environment
  • Architectural Design
  • Digital design

Contact details

+61 (3) 9919 5879

Research grants

  • National University Students Innovative Experimentation Scheme from China’s Ministry of Education (Grant No.: 101067417) (2010–2012)
  • Postgraduate Research Student Support Scheme Grant, The University of New South Wales (2015)


Refereed journal articles

Li, M.(2020) The Evolution of the Zhaobi: Physical Stability and the Creation of Architectural Meaning. The Journal of Architecture 25, no. 1 : 45–64. https://doi.org/10.1080/13602365.2020.1734049

Li, M., (2019) Reviewing the Notion of Progress in the Quest for Sustainability: The Example of Chinese Architecture. Journal of Architecture and Urbanism 43, no. 2 : 174–180. https://doi.org/10.3846/jau.2019.8820

Li, M., (2020) Looking back to Quiddity Between Traditional Chinese Architecture and Ancestor Worship.” Journal of Chinese Architecture and Urbanism 2, no. 1 : 1–14. http://dx.doi.org/10.36922/jcau.v2i1.908

Li, M., Chau, H.W. and Aye, L., (2020) Biophilic design features in vernacular architecture and settlements of the Naxi. Journal of Architecture and Urbanism 44, no. 2 : 188-203. https://doi.org/10.3846/jau.2020.13266

Xie, J. and Li, M., (2019) Zaoqi Qingtongqi Dougong zhi Wenhua Hanyi Tantao Discussion on the Cultural Connotation of Bracket Set in Early Bronze Vessels.” Traditional Architecture no. 12: 29-38.


Conference presentations

Li, M. (2018) Technology, Craft Culture and Sustainability: The Case of Pre-modern Chinese Architecture. 35th Annual Conference of the Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand.

Li, M. (2015) Le Corbusier’s Promenade Architecturale and Hidden Courtyards. Urban Identity, Space Studies and Contemporary Arts

Li, M. (2014) The ‘Translation’ of Zhaobi in China across Time and Space. 31st Annual Conference of the Society of Architectural Historians, Australia & New Zealand.

Li, M. (2014) A More Vivid China for Utzon—in the Case of Shazi. Fourth International Utzon Symposium, The University of New South Wales.

Professional experience

Professional memberships

  • The Society of Architectural Historians, Australian & New Zealand (SAHANZ)
  • ​Society of Architectural & Urban Historians of Asia (SAUH Asia)
  • Editorial Board of the Journal of Chinese Architecture and Urbanism

Appearances in the media

  • Denham, P. (2016) Chinese Government Awards to a Built Environment PhD Student, UNSW Built Environment News.
  • Report on Mengbi Li winning both First Prize and People’s Choice Award in the 2016 Built Environment 3 Minute Thesis (3MT) Competition, UNSW Built Environment Research News.