With nearly five millennia of architectural heritage, China boasts the longest continuous architectural lineage in history. A hundred years after the dawn of the 20th century, the urban landscape of the world's most populous country has now been transformed completely. The pivotal link between the ancient traditions of China's imperial past and the high-rise, glass-clad, lust-for-wealth that characterises China's 21st-century architectural aspirations is a period of modernisation that revolutionised its architectural language and urban fabric.
Despite the fact that the reach of Modernism was as effective in early 20th-century China as elsewhere in the world, China remains conspicuously absent from written histories of Modernism - as Modernism does from written histories of China. Modernism in China confronts this by investigating China's unique experience of Modernism, its remarkable variety, striking contradictions and recurrent paradoxes. Modernism in China acquired its own unique language forged from geographical, cultural, historical and political circumstances. This extensive study analyses, for the first time, the role of Modernism in the development of China's architectural and urban landscapes throughout the 20th century and, consequently, offers valuable context to the country's recent resurgence.
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Modernism in China highlights the contribution of a whole forgotten generation of Chinese and Western architects working in China during the early 20th century, as well as Japanese architectural firms practising in former Manchuria. Featured architects include:
Yang Ting Bao
Liang Si Cheng
Poy Gum Lee
Palmer & Turner
Xi Fu Quan
Lu Qian Shou
Dong Da You
Fan Wen Zhao
Lü Yan ZhiAbout the Author:
Edward Denison and Guang Yu Ren are specialists in the field of the built environment, with a particular focus on cultural heritage and development. Their work is regularly featured in publications and broadcast media and at international symposia. Their co-authored publications include: Asmara – Africa’s Secret Modernist City (Merrell 2003 & 2007) and Building Shanghai – the Story of China’s Gateway (Wiley Academy, 2006 & 2007). These works form the basis of two travelling exhibitions that continue to disseminate these unique subjects to audiences as far apart as Europe, the Middle East, Africa and America.
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