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Sino-Identity

University of Florida Institutional Repository
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0022717/00001

Material Information

Title: Sino-Identity The Consideration of Methods in the Modernization of China
Physical Description: 1 online resource (101 p.)
Language: english
Creator: Daniels, Jennifer
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2008

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: architecture, china, modernization, westernization
Architecture -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: Architecture thesis, M.S.A.S.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation

Notes

Abstract: Throughout recent decades, China has emerged as a leader in economic and capitalist reform. In a rapid response to these changes, Chinese culture has been exposed to influences of Western lifestyle and societies, as the West has become an image of success. In this exposure, the exchange of cultural perspectives and lifestyles has led to a surge in modern architecture within China's urban centers. Impressive projects by world-renown architects are making their way to this country, as the architecture world observes with anticipation. Although the developments of modern architecture in China are an image of their achievements, the question of its Chinese authenticity brings another question: what is Chinese design? In researching this question, Chinese methodologies, beliefs, and practices must be fully understood. Through this understanding, an architectural response to China as a context can be both imaginary and sensitive. Through this paper, I will discuss the issues of modern China in its relationship to aesthetic, culture, politics, and architecture. In a more internalized perspective, I will also follow the research of Sinologist Francois Jullien, as I apply his research on Chinese lifestyle and process to the field of design and urban planning, to gain the perspective of a Chinese citizen. Through this research, The Chinese lifestyle can be understood, allowing process and generation to become affective and applicable. The implementation of technique is further pursued in the academic institution, where students are required to execute techniques specific to Chinese methodologies and spatial organization techniques. Through this application, strategies for approaching design in China can simultaneously be accurate and cross-cultural. The context that drives design expands beyond a physical realm and intersects issues of time, space, and perspective. These design strategies result in considerate, culturally charged projects that are generated from their context.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility: by Jennifer Daniels.
Thesis: Thesis (M.S.A.S.)--University of Florida, 2008.
Local: Adviser: Hofer, Adeline.
Local: Co-adviser: Gundersen, Martin G.
Electronic Access: RESTRICTED TO UF STUDENTS, STAFF, FACULTY, AND ON-CAMPUS USE UNTIL 2010-08-31

Record Information

Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2008
System ID: UFE0022717:00001

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0022717/00001

Material Information

Title: Sino-Identity The Consideration of Methods in the Modernization of China
Physical Description: 1 online resource (101 p.)
Language: english
Creator: Daniels, Jennifer
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2008

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: architecture, china, modernization, westernization
Architecture -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: Architecture thesis, M.S.A.S.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation

Notes

Abstract: Throughout recent decades, China has emerged as a leader in economic and capitalist reform. In a rapid response to these changes, Chinese culture has been exposed to influences of Western lifestyle and societies, as the West has become an image of success. In this exposure, the exchange of cultural perspectives and lifestyles has led to a surge in modern architecture within China's urban centers. Impressive projects by world-renown architects are making their way to this country, as the architecture world observes with anticipation. Although the developments of modern architecture in China are an image of their achievements, the question of its Chinese authenticity brings another question: what is Chinese design? In researching this question, Chinese methodologies, beliefs, and practices must be fully understood. Through this understanding, an architectural response to China as a context can be both imaginary and sensitive. Through this paper, I will discuss the issues of modern China in its relationship to aesthetic, culture, politics, and architecture. In a more internalized perspective, I will also follow the research of Sinologist Francois Jullien, as I apply his research on Chinese lifestyle and process to the field of design and urban planning, to gain the perspective of a Chinese citizen. Through this research, The Chinese lifestyle can be understood, allowing process and generation to become affective and applicable. The implementation of technique is further pursued in the academic institution, where students are required to execute techniques specific to Chinese methodologies and spatial organization techniques. Through this application, strategies for approaching design in China can simultaneously be accurate and cross-cultural. The context that drives design expands beyond a physical realm and intersects issues of time, space, and perspective. These design strategies result in considerate, culturally charged projects that are generated from their context.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility: by Jennifer Daniels.
Thesis: Thesis (M.S.A.S.)--University of Florida, 2008.
Local: Adviser: Hofer, Adeline.
Local: Co-adviser: Gundersen, Martin G.
Electronic Access: RESTRICTED TO UF STUDENTS, STAFF, FACULTY, AND ON-CAMPUS USE UNTIL 2010-08-31

Record Information

Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2008
System ID: UFE0022717:00001


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SINO-IDENTITY: THE CONSIDERATION OF METHODS IN THE MODERNIZATION OF
CHINA





















By

JENNIFER CHONG DANIELS


A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
MASTER OF SCIENCE IN ARCHITECTURAL PEDAGOGY

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA

2008


































2008 Jennifer Chong Daniels








































To my family who always support me, and to Hofer and Gundersen who never stopped educating
me.









ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

I never realized the importance of effective education until I became a part of the student

body at the University of Florida School of Architecture. I thank the faculty for their roles as

professors, advisors, and colleagues. They challenged and supported me, and allowed me to

become a responsible designer and educator. In particular, I thank Professor Hofer, Professor

Gundersen, and Professor Bitz for supervising me through my research, and supporting my

teaching. Their guidance and richness of knowledge and advice allowed me to push my research

and define myself as a designer. I am also thankful for my parents who educated me as a person,

and encouraged me to be considerate and thorough. Lastly, I thank my sisters, Linda and Lisha,

who have been my friends through all events of my life, challenging me to persevere through my

problems and giving me advice along the way.









TABLE OF CONTENTS



A C K N O W L E D G M E N T S ..............................................................................................................4

LIST OF FIGURES ............................................. .. .......... ............ ...............7

A B S T R A C T .................................................................................................................... ......... .. 9

CHAPTER

1 A N IN T R O D U C T IO N .............................................. ............................................... 11........

C h in a S e arch in g ...................................................................................................................... 1 1
C h in a R e sp o n d in g ................................................................................................................... 1 1
Architecture as Clothing...................................................................... 12
C hinese E education and Practice ....................................... ....................... ................ 13
H yper-M odernism .............. .............................................................................. 14
T h e B lo sso m S ty le ........................................................................................................... 16
C critical R egionalism ............... .. ................. ................. .............................. ..... .... ........... 17
G lobal and L ocal P perspective ......................................... ......................... ............... 18
The rapid, the G eneric: the Sinocity ........................................................... ................ 20

2 ZOOM OUT: THE SITUATION ..................................................................................... 28

T he P physical as C context ............... .. .................. .................. ......................... ............... 28
U understanding M odern C hina ......................................... ........................ ................ 28
Urban Blending: Beijing...................................................................... 31
A action an d R action ........................................................................................................ 37
Movement as Context ................ ............................................ 39
L inking M modernization to C ulture.............................................................. ................ 40
Defining Modernization and Modernism ..................................................40
Westernization and Modernization..........................................................................40
Intersections of E ast and W est.. ...................................................................... ................ 42
O ccidentalism and F orm ... ....................................................................... ................ 42
T h e C ity as a B o dy .......................................................................................................... 4 3
Distance and Viewing the Whole ............................................................................ 44

3 Z O O M IN ............................................................................................................. ....... .. 53

In tro du ctio n ............................................................................................................ ........ .. 5 3
C h in ese P rin cip les ........................................................................................................... 5 3
T h e S tatic ....................................................................................................... ....... .. 5 3
T h e d y n am ic ............................................................................................................. 5 4
T h e o b je c t ............................................................................................................. .. 5 5
Sh i an d X ing ......................................................................................................... ....... .. 56









S p atial Su g g estion .................................................... ............................................... 57
M im esis vs. A ctualization .................... ................................................................ 58
P oetry and C alligraphy as L ens........................................ ....................... ................ 59
Blandness ....................................................... ... ..................... 60
L landscape Scrolls as a L ens .................................................................... ................ 60
H a rm o n y ..........................................................................................................................6 1
Hierarchies ............................................. .............................. 62
Translating into Space .......... ............. .. ........... .....................................63
B landness in Society ............. .. .................. .................. ............ ........ .... ... ........... 63
A architectural A application ... ..................................................................... ................ 64

4 1 TO 1: RESPONDING THROUGH ARCHITECTURE................................................ 70

In tro d u c tio n ............................................................................................................................. 7 0
T h e D ia g ra m ...........................................................................................................................7 0
Pedagogic Alternatives ................ ........................................ 71
Introduce E education as M ethod ........................................ ....................... ................ 71
T o w e r P roje ct .............. ...................................................................................................7 2
Context: existing urban places ........................................................ 72
Issues: zoom out ................................................................................................. 73
D iagram : Z oom In .............. .............................................................................. 74
D desert P project .................................................................................. ....................... 75
C ontext: void, nothingness ........................................ ....................... ................ 76
Issu e s : z o o m o u t .............. ........................................................................................7 6
Balance: intervention and landscape .................................................. 76
B landness .............. ........................................................................ . ......77
Program m ing ............................................................................................. . 77
T he desert: zoom in .............. ................... ................................................ 78
D iagram m ing the desert ................................................................... ................ 79
Call for Recollection ........................................... .............................79

APPENDIX : TEACHING ASSIGNM ENTS ........................................................... ................ 88

T o w e r ...................................................................................................................................... 8 8
Desert .................................................... ............................. 91

BIBLIOGRAPHY ....................................................... ............................. 98

B IO G R A PH IC A L SK E T C H .................................................... ............................................. 101












6









LIST OF FIGURES


Figure page

1-1 Beijing: contrasting the old and the new (Photo by Adam Gayle) ...............................23

1-2 The Olympic National Stadium by Architects Herzog & DeMeuron (Photo by Adam
G ayle) ............................................................................................ ........ .. 23

1-3 CCTV Headquarters by OMA Architects (Photo by Adam Gayle) ............................... 24

1-4 The National Beijing Theater by Architect Paul Andreau (Photo by Adam Gayle) .........25

1-5 Skyscraper with bamboo scaffolding (Photo by Adam Gayle) ....................................26

1-6 Temporary calligraphy with water (Photo by Adam Gayle) ........................................27

2-1 Juxtaposing contemporary architecture in Beijing (Photo by Adam Gayle)..................48

2-2 Tiananmen Square and the axis to the heavens (Photo by Adam Gayle)......................49

2-3 Boundary and Scale, Tiananmen Square (Photo by Adam Gayle)...............................50

2-4 National Swimming Center by PTW Architects (Photo by Adam Gayle) ....................... 51

2-5 Human scale within an urban field (Photo by Adam Gayle)......................................52

3-1 Beijing city w alls (Photo by A dam G ayle).................................................. ................ 67

3-2 Beijing's landm arks (Photo by Adam Gayle).............................................. ................ 68

3-3 M odem calligraphy (Photo by Adam Gayle)............................................... ................ 69

4-1 Shanghai Mapping (Model by Rudy Dieudonne)........................................................81

4-2 Programmed Section (Drawing by Takuya Saeki) .......................................................82

4-3 Programmatic Diagram (Drawing by Igor Kobyzev)................................................. 83

4-4 Diagram negotiations (Drawings by Igor Kobyzev)................................................... 84

4-5 Desert context study 1 (Plaster casts by Jerrell Pittman) ....................... ..................... 84

4-6 Desert context study 2 (Plaster casts by Jerrell Pittman).............................................84

4-7 Desert m apping (Drawing by Takuya Saeki)............................................... ................ 85

4-8 Intervention within landscape (Model by Christopher Saunders) ...............................86









4-9 Sections of intervention in landscape (Drawing by Rudy Dieudonne)..........................87

4-10 B eijing haze (Photo by A dam G ayle) .......................................................... ................ 87









Abstract of thesis presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in partial fulfillment of the
requirements for the Degree of Master of Architecture

SINO-IDENTITY: THE CONSIDERATION OF METHODS IN THE MODERNIZATION OF
CHINA

By

Jennifer Chong Daniels

August 2008

Chair: Adeline Hofer
Cochair: Martin Gundersen
Major: Architecture

Throughout recent decades, China has emerged as a leader in economic and capitalist

reform. In a rapid response to these changes, Chinese culture has been exposed to influences of

Western lifestyle and societies, as the West has become an image of success. In this exposure,

the exchange of cultural perspectives and lifestyles has led to a surge in modem architecture

within China's urban centers. Impressive projects by world-renown architects are making their

way to this country, as the architecture world observes with anticipation.

Although the developments of modern architecture in China are an image of their

achievements, the question of its Chinese authenticity brings another question: what is Chinese

design? In researching this question, Chinese methodologies, beliefs, and practices must be fully

understood. Through this understanding, an architectural response to China as a context can be

both imaginary and sensitive.

Through this paper, I will discuss the issues of modern China in its relationship to

aesthetic, culture, politics, and architecture. In a more internalized perspective, I will also follow

the research of Sinologist Francois Jullien, as I apply his research on Chinese lifestyle and

process to the field of design and urban planning, to gain the perspective of a Chinese citizen.









Through this research, The Chinese lifestyle can be understood, allowing process and generation

to become affective and applicable.

The implementation of technique is further pursued in the academic institution, where

students are required to execute techniques specific to Chinese methodologies and spatial

organization techniques. Through this application, strategies for approaching design in China

can simultaneously be accurate and cross-cultural. The context that drives design expands

beyond a physical realm and intersects issues of time, space, and perspective. These design

strategies result in considerate, culturally charged projects that are generated from their context.









CHAPTER 1
AN INTRODUCTION

China Searching

There is no doubt that China is in pursuit of an identity. Throughout its history, this fragile

country has oscillated between and evolved from internal and more recently through global

conflict. With ethnic and technological juxtapositions, China is just beginning to define itself.

Because of dramatic shifts in their political and social exposure, the Chinese people are left to

question: What is Chinese? Identity determines how a society will function and contribute,

especially within the context of globalization. Without this stability within identity, China

endangers the preservation and dedication to a long history of tradition and community. (Fig. 1-

1) During this time of physical development, the designer is then left to interpret and respond to

this intangible concept. This challenge cannot be detached from the design process, as the

designer becomes a participant of this social context.

China Responding

Everyone is trying to map out the affects of Western influences in China. Although being

recently exposed to the West, China has implemented foreign cultural infrastructures within its

own urban societies. Specifically, there are several design approaches that have been applied

with their own reasoning and concerns. The authenticity of these adopted techniques must be

identified and challenged; therefore it is crucial to examine these approaches critically and

through several vantage points. Issues of time and space become variables within these methods

of approach, as architects and urban planners take on the challenge of interpretation. What is

Chinese versus non-Chinese begins to be understood, or misunderstood, as elements of culture

are placed into specific perspectives. Methods of Chinese designers take on an internalized









understanding of Chinese culture, while contributions from the West must begin by questioning

the very nature of identity and its manifestation into design.

Architecture as Clothing

I must begin with the quote from the architectural historian Liang Sicheng "for my

fellow-countrymen, architecture is like clothing." The role of architecture is at a constant state

of flux. Yung Ho Chang claims that architecture can determine the "potential for transformation

and reinvention" of a city.1 It should be preserved and challenged, understood and transformed.

The struggle to find a balance becomes more complex than the blossom style or the construction

of pure replicas. It must first be accepted that the Chinese way of life is moving toward a more

Westernized lifestyle. Since the 1980's, the "functional and visual landscape" of Beijing has

been transformed into a city of specialization.2 Urban form and organization reflects this

revolution. Architecture can either catalyze this shift through the continued invitation of foreign

architects to build, often at vast scales, an environment for the developing society. Or it might

choose to hamper this progression, if even as a moment of reflection and self-awareness.

Regardless of approach, architecture in Beijing has become a forefront in moving China into a

thriving nation.

Recent construction has emphasized the object within the landscape. In the previous

section, the discussion of Chinese spatial strategies applied conditions of Chinese perspectives

and methodologies to determine inter-relationships within and around given environments. The

challenge is to interpret current construction through the understanding these principles. Several

works, including the Beijing National Stadium by Herzog and De Meuron, CCTV Headquarters

by Rem Koolhaas and OMA, and the National Beijing Theater by Paul Andreau, are designed by

prominent global architects. (Fig. 1-2, 1-3, 1-4) These projects become objects, iconic of

national achievement or identity, which creates "a sublime landscape"3, also becoming a









materialization of the success of China as a world power. China is the focus of architecture

advancement, as these projects challenge contemporary technique and aesthetic. This method of

design demonstrates a new occidental perception where architecture is the measure that separates

China from western principles. Ironically, it is the intersection of these principles that creates the

architecture that in turn stages the interaction of cultures.

Place now becomes defined by the architecture, not by the city. The object within the

landscape exists as the object, not as an active relationship between objects. Architecture as an

icon communicates an international language that responds to change of a nation. This change

determines and defines a new technique or process. Traditional methods have now been

abandoned, rippling into the application of design and the structure of society. The identity of

place is in a state of flux, and change cannot be measured or predicted. The blandness that was

once interpreted in the landscape of China has been challenged by global influences, pressuring

China to form an identity that can be converse beyond one culture and into other modern

societies.

Chinese Education and Practice

The development of design education within China provides a framework for

understanding the theories and positions of the future Chinese architect. While architecture was

once only developed through traditional methods of generational passing of information, the

introduction of institutional structures allow more explicit translations and conversion of

architecture as a practice. Chinese education in architecture now severs the link between

historical Chinese architecture and modem and westernized construction. Historic architecture is

only learned as a means for preservation that only responds to pre-existing architecture, voiding

the important issue of the mass construction occurring within the country. In design education,

architecture and construction now focuses on the development of style and technique.4 This









learning adjusts to the influences of global architecture, with emphasis on Western design

practice. There is an importance in the education of architecture that has yet to be implemented.

Szesny5 compares the mentality of the Chinese people that experienced the reign of Chairman

Mao as an erased computer hard disk. Through recent history, the Chinese people have been

stripped from their traditional roots, making way for a new defining on the functions of society.

This incidental Tabula Rosa gives opportunity for evolution of culture, but also becomes a risk in

the depreciation of cultural and historic depth. In response to recent globalization movements,

China has been exposed to western lifestyle and values. The adaptation of foreign lifestyle

becomes easier for the Chinese that have recently experienced such cultural erasure. The

thought that to accept modernization is seen as movement forward and the clinging to

traditionalist ideals is backward keeps developing China in constant pursuit of a new

international culture.

Hyper-Modernism

Can there be a Chinese transformation of Western Modernism and Hyper-Modernism in a
constructive manner in the following years and decades in Beijing and other cities in
China? What are the forces in the Chinese tradition that are capable of delivering a
cultural transformation of modern architecture and urbanism as originated from the West?

This is in fact not about transformation between cultures horizontally, but about
transforming instrumental modernity through the use of tradition and locality as cultural
resource, a universal problem encountered everywhere.6

There is a current rush to understand the possibilities for this transformation, although the

bounds within working seem absent beyond localized constraints. Instead of a horizontal

exchange, which encourages overlap or replacement, can there be this transformation that is

evolutionary, symbiotic and progressive? Does this extend beyond finding a Chinese typology?

There becomes a necessity on intersecting culture with urbanism, tradition with architecture.

These intersections form a context that is constantly in flux, adjusting to the surge of change.









But the determination between native and foreign becomes fused. Through the concerns of

cultural assimilation, Western lifestyles cannot replace what is Chinese. But as a proactive

response to this understanding, we can ask: What is Chinese that can impact beyond its physical

boundaries? The challenge of balancing appropriate application of tradition and scale with the

insertions of intense modernism forces the designer to have a position on place, time and

technology. Hyper-Modernism deviates from this balance, pulling towards establishing a new

landscape, challenging and re-defining the concept of harmony between the old and the new.

Jianfei Zhu's propositions for a Chinese transformation of Western modernism and hyper-

Modernism include: Chinese think and develop large projects holistically; they are interrelated

and collective. There is a coexistence of large and small scales; there are macro frames and

micro spaces, xing and shi. The position of the human subjects and subjectivity become

apparent without the subjective object.7 The city is about the space: courtyards, alleyways and

streets, without buildings becoming objects.

The following composition intersects Chinese positions with Western positions of

architecture. In these relationships, Zhu demonstrates an understanding of the condition and

proposes a spatial consideration that responds directly to that condition. This begins to establish

a Chinese interpretation of a Western approach, proposing a methodology specific to Chinese

culture. Within this solution, the strength of architecture is contained in Chinese principles.

The object within the landscape transforms into an interactive condition based on Chinese

perspective. Although this proposition of Zhu's understands the value of Chinese interpretation

and application, it neglects process, as a means of working, ultimately focusing on the product-

this becomes a transformation of Hyper-Modernism.









The Blossom Style

Some current Chinese architects and city planners choose to imitate traditional

architecture, especially in the 1990's, sometimes harshly juxtaposing these elements with

modern design. This insensitivity leads to a jumbled identity with unintentional repercussions on

society. The vocabulary of traditional architecture is haphazardly applied, as paint, onto

buildings. China's attempt to preserve or update traditional architecture is in direct response to

the socialist and modern styles of architecture that were imported during the mid 1900's. This

response parallels the post-modernism that was simultaneously occurring in Western countries.

Post-modernism, as a disillusioned reaction to the harshness of modernism, re-visits and re-

interprets classical styles and superimposes these with modem elements.

Traditional architecture now becomes a material, applied in details as a facade. This strips

away the meaning of historic architecture, as an awareness of architecture over time is falsified.

This style has been labeled as "blossom-style architecture," and refers to the utilization of

historic features not as a response to function or belief, but to create a Chinese version of

Modernism.8 The Dong-An Shopping Center, located a few blocks from the Forbidden City in

Beijing, is an example of the blossom-style, with a traditional architectural identity in overall

design and form, with modern detailing. This building promotes simultaneous unity of historic

and modem architecture simply through its physical combination of styles. Yan believes that in

Beijing, "contextual designs often refer to those that present a harmony with their context, never

a contrast to it," rather than using the contrasting of architectural characteristics as a means for

observed preservation, or by relying on more subtle guidelines such as details, proportions, or

rhythms within the immediate context. This is seen through buildings like the Palace of

Nationals and the National Gallery of Arts. Today's construction is pulling toward the latter,

such as the Dong-An shopping center that was previously mentioned. Criticizing this method of









design, Zhan Wang, an artist in Beijing, built his Artificial Mountain Rock sculpture in front of

Beijing's West Train Station to mock the "face reconstruction of a traditional architectural

idea."9 Because of these direct intersections of cultural, social and design shifts, I will be using

Beijing later on as a local study of the issues I will investigate.

Critical Regionalism

Western theories of new architecture often require a simultaneous and balanced co-

existence between the old and the new. Critical regionalism is an approach that allows

contemporary design to explore elements or concepts of historic context and to redefine those

ideas into an architectural style that reflects current aesthetics and methods of construction.

Although this approach is directed for areas with deep traditions as a method of participating in

modernism, the push for modem architecture can seem to suggest the abandonment of traditional

practices. Timber as a disposable material has historically allowed for demolition of buildings at

points where there were shifts in history. This separated historic China from neighboring Europe

that built with permanent mentalities. Also, the use of wood was "additionally reinforced by the

interpretative framework of traditional Chinese thought, which saw cyclical change as the will of

heaven." 10 Replacement is a method of rejuvenation and restoration. In contrast, timber

construction in China today is extremely rare. In following modern architecture, glass, steel and

concrete become materials of choice- all of which evoke a sense of permanence that blocks the

ability to re-gather and cycle through. This permanence can be contrasted with traditional

calligraphy that is used with water instead of ink as a temporal expression that can be replaced

with other characters in a short period of time. (Fig. 1-5, 1-6) The disregard for cyclical change

that Szesny mentions separates the Chinese citizen from traditional expression, narrowing

architectural experience and interpretation into a more westernized channel of thought. The co-









existence of the old and the new requires that the new understands the principles and context of

the old.

In addressing the idea of universalism, Kenneth Frampton argues:

we have the feeling that this single world civilization at the same time exerts a sort of
attrition or wearing away at the expense of the cultural resources which have made the
great civilization of the past. This threat is expressed, among other disturbing effects, by
the spreading before our eyes of a mediocre civilization which is the absurd counterpart of
what I was just calling elementary culture... It seems as if mankind, by approaching en
masse a basic consumer culture, were also stopped in masse at a subcultural level. Thus
we come to the crucial problem confronting nations just rising from underdevelopment. In
order to get on to the road toward modernization, is it necessary to jettison the old cultural
past which has been the raison d'etre of a nation? "

This argument is fascinating because it includes the impact of modernization in many fields and

respects issues of time as well as place as considerations for defining culture. The challenge now

becomes: how can a culture "sustain and absorb the shock of modern civilization" without

abandoning the historic layers that define that culture? Modernization of science, technology

and politics can be prescribed only to a blank society- cultural differences hinder this easy

transition. There is an unfamiliar juxtaposition in countries like India or China where

technological advancement has grafted itself on an unchanged people. What is the detriment to

these scenarios? There is more to intersecting modem sources with cultures deeply involved in

historic traditions.

Global and Local Perspective

Other architects feel that in order to move forward, one cannot look back. Architecture

should not involve the overemphasis or preservation of heritage and seek to incorporate historic

architectural elements- these buildings are considered to lack a response to current culture. As

reformers, these designers pursue unsympathetic buildings that require occupants to look toward

an innovative way of living. Yan proposes that this change is to "appropriately express the ideas

of contemporary philosophy, spirit, and culture." This often includes the warm welcoming of









foreign offices to intervene and re-define the environment in which they are building, as

mentioned with the constructions paralleling the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Foreign architectural

influence is the beginning of what is hoped as a leap into modem lifestyle.

This method of zooming out can be applied in all directions of architecture- from the urban

grid to the architectural floor plan, as well as to all dimensions of process. The impact of the

gesture must be strong enough to carry the project through transformation, clear enough to affect

all parts of development. The diagram becomes a reference as well as a generator- stagnancy is

not an option. Although it is questionable whether to consider the diagram, being a Western

perspective, in Chinese scenarios, there is extensive research and commitment to this idea in

architecture and urbanism in the United States and Europe that can be translatable or applied.

Andrew Boyd, in comparing town planning of China and Europe, understands that Chinese

approach grew from few principles that were set from the beginning, or through tradition and

culture. This holistic approach thus creates harmony and unity of the entire city.12 In viewing

the city as a whole, which corresponds to Yung Ho Chang's city as a body concept, overall

composition begins to bring importance to the diagram as a scale-less element that can determine

the functioning of the city. Formal composition is not reliant on individual structures, as

Western cities allow, but through social and political influences that impact organization and

interaction simultaneously at all scales.

Chinese modernization has demanded urban and architecture research using international

channels. Often, these are through the hosting of international competitions, or to the direct

commissioning of projects to architects outside of their own country. Therefore, the question is:

does the integrity of holistic thought get transferred to these external influences? Through

examination of recent proposals and built work, it is arguably true to think that this transfer is not









pursued or even required. The immediacy of modernization replaces these values set by a nation

deep in tradition and theory. These issues are presented later on through the careful mapping of

current development.

The rapid, the Generic: the Sinocity

Now, modernization is developing at a speed that makes the status of its end unpredictable.

Anthropologists, sociologists, urban planners, and even artists are desperately struggling to

record its movements, and follow its rippling effect within Chinese identity.

In efforts to understand this movement, architects are rushing ahead to catch development

in its tracks. In 2006, a competition was launched that demanded the exploration of public space

within a generic Chinese city, the Sinocity.13 The aim was to retrofit urban public space into the

city, requiring participants to establish a position on the growth of urban China, and also create a

design that responds to that position. The results of the competition become individual

interpretations of the situation. In analyzing their responses, we can begin to understand the

intentions of architects intervening within China.

The first place entry, submitted by a Chinese firm, was a social response, giving each

family unit a one meter by one meter box that becomes the individual family's 'greenspace.'

This commentates on several issues: first, that Chinese life is pulling toward a life on

individualism, in comparison to the communal nature of Chinese people. The shift from

community to the individual suggests that the importance of the singular takes precedence in the

establishing of a society. The modernization of this country allows a re-ordering of priorities.

The object within a field becomes the focus, rather than the inter-relationships that pre-determine

object or place. Second, this entry proposes that green space cannot be retrofitted into an urban

plan. Instead, it is expected to adapt to physical and social constraints- constraints that have

become more restricting with the speed of modernization. The greenspace becomes privatized,










similar to capitalistic principles, giving ownership of the idea, but not the physical making of the

city. The Chinese people are forced to sit back and watch the cities get constructed right in front

of them, with little consent, or time, to challenge. Perhaps this is in an attempt to keep up with

development, as a progressive movement toward something perceivably better. Public space

therefore cannot be planned: it is only by giving the people their city that they can take

ownership. It strengthens Jeinfei Zhu's position where urban public space in Western cities

occur as beginning markers that the city conforms around, while Chinese cities define "nodes"

within the built environment, re-defining and challenging the identity and function of spaces

within the city.14


1 Yung Ho Chang/ Atelier FCJZ, A Chinese Practice. Pg 47. In his teaching process, Chang challenges his students
to be highly flexible as a response to the intensity and speed of current lifestyles and demands. Instead of
replacement of the historic elements of China, Chang attempts to intervention as a "voluntary action" where the
architect must challenge conventional ideas of urban living.
2 Piper Gaubatz, 1995.

3 Zhu. Beijing: A Dialogue. Pg 330

4 Nancy Shatzman Steinhardt, China: Designing the Future, Venerating the Past, In The Journal of the Society of
Architectural Historians, Vol. 61, No. 4, Pp. 537-548, Society of Architectural Historians, 2002. Steinhardt
compares education practices of China, noting its lack of incorporation of architectural history and a key component
in an architect's training, including historical trends, social movements or human experience. She addresses the
difficulty of accessing historic information on Chinese architecture because of its inaccessibility of texts and
documents, and the difficulty of performing fieldwork, both because of political tensions and the destruction of
many historic buildings. She gives credit to Liang Sicheng for bringing China's architecture and history to public
attention after his studies at Harvard University in 1927.

5 Andreas Szesny, "A2: Changing Chinese Architectural and Building Traditions," Bert Bielefeld and Lars-Phillip
Rusch, Building Projects in China: A Manual For Architects and Engineers (Basel: Birkhauser Publishers for
Architecture, 2006) 14-24.
6 Jianfei Zhu, "Beijing: A Dialogue between Imperial Legacy and Hyper-Modernism," Gregor Jansen, Totalstadt:
Beijing Case (Karlsruhe: Cornerhouse Publications, 2006) 330-334.

7Zhu. "Beijing: A Dialogue."

8Dr. Bert Bielefeld, Lars-Phillip Rusch. Bielefeld and Rush approach this issue sympathetically, noting that most
intentions are to solve the issue of tradition vs. modernism. The application, however remains premature and
inconsistently.

9 Francesca Dal Lago. Space and Public: Site Specificity in Beijing, In Art Journal, No. 59, Pp. 74-87. College Art
Association, 2000. Dal Lago interviews four Beijing artists on their perspectives of art and the new urbanism of











Beijing. She notices the massive transformation of Beijing, and investigates this impact on a local level. Site
specificity of art becomes a challenge, as site is constantly being shifted.

10Dr. Andreas Szesny 2006.

11 Kenneth Frampton, The Evolution of 20th Century Architecture. Pg 85. Frampton discusses this condition as
Universal Civilization and National Cultures, from 1935 to 1998. He studies this idea of exchange of regionalism,
challenging the very definition as it is only to be discovered elsewhere. He also warns of a "subtle destruction" of
culture and tradition, which in turn can eliminate what he determines as the "ethical and mythical nucleus of
mankind."
12 Andrew Boyd, Chinese Architecture and Town Planning

13 Sinocity Competition, 2006. www.sinocities.net

14Zhu. Pg 52. Zhu argues that the Chinese do not require a central space for gathering, and that "urban space in the
Chinese tradition lacks such a space being defined, open and urban" as Western public space. This difference is a
response to difference in lifestyles. The Chinese are more inclined to gather at spaces that are already conducive to
congestion, such as street intersections, city gates, bridges, or river banks. This difference also demonstrates the
lack of urban planning in historic Chinese cities, and also the structural breakdown of localized communities within
the city.




































Figure 1-1. Beijing: contrasting the old and the new (Photo by Adam Gayle)


Figure 1-2. The Olympic National Stadium by Architects Herzog & DeMeuron (Photo by Adam
Gayle)





V,


Figure 1-3. CCTV Headquarters by OMA Architects (Photo by Adam Gayle)


































Figure 1-4. The National Beijing Theater by Architect Paul Andreau (Photo by Adam Gayle)








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Figure 1-5. Skyscraper with bamboo scaffolding (Photo by Adam Gayle)


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Figure 1-6. Temporary calligraphy with water (Photo by Adam Gayle)









27









CHAPTER 2
ZOOM OUT: THE SITUATION

The Physical as Context

This section will lie out the situation through the writings of Jianfei Zhu and other

Sinologists and designers that work specifically with China.

China is a country responding to the pressures of globalization and modernization. A

country that was once focused internally on issues of cultural identity and tradition is now

challenged- and has determined as a goal- to establish a national identity that reflects outward.

Historic political, social and physical impacts have created a country fragile yet eager for this

change. The attempt to 'update' must critically negotiate between cultures and methods of

thinking. The contrast between the East and the West has never been clearer, and their

intersection more applied.

Through zooming out, we will get the opportunity to view speculative issues of urbanism

and the process of modernization. Through these issues, we can understand the problematic

situation of modern China.

Understanding Modern China

Through theoretical formulas and studies, China as a nation has addressed, in various

degrees, the impacts of Westernization and modernization, and has recently embraced it-

politically, economically and socially. The definition of culture is now constantly being updated,

and the importance of national identity is stronger than ever. Architecture and the development

of urbanism become essential methods of establishing an iconic identity. Cities are being

constructed and scattered as economic pockets within China, although their social and cultural

identities have yet to be fully understood. China has developed into an aggressive country with

desire to push modern principles into the development of cities.1 Shenzhen became an









experiment of modernism and economic development, labeled by Deng Xiaoping as the

xingxiang gongcheng- or outward appearance project. The demand for visible skyscrapers

surpassed the funding available, as many buildings remained unfinished. Although only partly

successful, this project recognized the role of architecture as a marker and generator for a

society. One of the advertisements states, "Just development is a consistent principle," evoking

an understanding of development as necessity for success.

After the communists took control in 1949, the City Planning Bureau was established as a

group that would define the relationship between context and modern architecture. They

understood that preservation was crucial in retaining the culture and heritage of Beijing. In

1958-1959, Chairman Mao Tse-tung restored Tiananmen Square as an iconic node within the

city. He found importance in preserving the Tiananmen Rostrum and the Qian-Men Gate Tower,

since socialist principles required the "utilization of national heritage within the framework of a

new culture." 2 This awareness clearly recognizes the role of architecture and its importance

within a society. The City Planning Bureau knew that the architectural styles of the city would

serve as historic markers of the country's culture. As a result, Beijing's identity has, and

continues to be only contextualized and preserved in concentrated fragments. More importantly,

architectural style is valued. The Bureau formed a sub-committee in 1983 that would focus

solely on monitoring the aesthetics of new buildings, and their relationship to its historic context

with regard to height, scale, form, color, landscape, and environment.

Current trends of the building boom, following the Communist movement create a

superficial awareness of value and tradition. As early as the 1950's, influences within China

pushed for a new attitude that argued for new design to be juxtaposed with the old. This applies

beyond small-scaled elements of ornamentation and detail, but to spatial organizations that









structure a household. The traditional courtyard house, the hutong, is now replaced by cruciform

towers. This inversion creates a new construct that severs the interaction between and within

households. By removing the courtyard, there is no longer a smaller scale space for family or

multi-family gatherings. The inward reflective organization of the hutong house is inverted in

the cruciform plan that pushes views to the outside. If allowed, I might propose that this very

organization that has been in place within China is largely responsible for the family-oriented

culture that defines the values and beliefs of the Chinese people. By disrupting this with the

cruciform or other dense housing structure, the strength of the family is severely altered. This

will become the beginning of modern life within China, leaping away from the value of family

structure and into the individualized drive of a modem society.

Szesny also compares the idea of transition within the Chinese culture. In ancient culture,

change -yi was understood as a phenomenon of shift and transformation. Current China refers

also to development -fazhan as a key element that drove the Cultural Revolution and the

Chinese people into accepting external influences of lifestyle. Deng Xiaoping coined the motto

"development is the absolute principle", further emphasizing the need to move forward into

change. This re-interpretation establishes the ability of a society ingrained in tradition to adjust

to transformations in culture, politics, and national pursuits. After the Cultural Revolution,

China was left stripped of a coherent understanding of history and its value. They were

constantly being pushed forward into fazhan, creating a progressive nation. As a result, Chinese

society, and Beijing at the head, is anticipating modernization, often keeping only a superficial

focus on historic preservation.

Often, there were negative connotations of political and national turmoil that created

indifference or protest against contextual-ism and preservation. The desire of the Chinese people









to sever themselves from their past allows for their rejection of symbolic architecture. Chang

defines modernity for China as:

A modernity from without:
Modernity = opening-up = influences from outside, mainly the West
The most important Western theory imported: Marxism
The notion of architecture as a body of knowledge as well as profession was also
introduced from the West. In other words, architecture is modern in China.
As a result, the issue of cultural identity has existed from the very beginning of modernity.

A split modernity:
On one hand, a modernity that is nothing but ideology Marxism and Socialism
On the other, a modernity voided of- and sometimes avoided of- substance:
Modernist style vs. modernity: as discussed above in architecture.

Modernization vs. modernity: technology, in the form of a flushable toilet, automobile, and
air conditioner, is valued above science and other forms of modern thinking. 3

In this definition, Chang understands the parallels of modernity to the political structure of

socialism. Concurrently, he sees architecture as a principle that becomes imported as part of

modernization. Through the ultimate rejection of Marxism, there is a contrast between these

acquired importations (the toilet, the automobile) and the void of identity.

Urban Blending: Beijing

Beijing was established through carefully considered layers of tradition and history. From

the focus of inward traditional organization during Imperial China, construction of monumental

Sino-Soviet architecture, and contemporary Westernized design and methods has brought great

shifts in the city developments. (Fig. 2-1) These juxtapositions of style and organization create a

patchwork of cultural identities, as the Chinese nation struggles to understand and preserve

ethnicity and culture. My aim is to understand Chinese methodologies, and their execution into

spatial configurations. The turbulence of China's history requires that the city atmosphere be

surveyed critically within these three eras, but also the transitions into each in attempts to

understand internal and external influences and the reactions that resulted. The city is often









understood and defined as a plan. The city plan of Paris gives the city a specific identity that

separates it from New York or Tokyo. The plan generates a holistic and often iconic image of

the city, allowing the occupant to navigate and interact. This vantage point does not exist at the

human scale, nor contains the layered qualities of city life. The city in perspective delves into

the simultaneous atmospheric conditions that result in the definition of experience. In this

perspective, the occupant is also constrained, masking out conditions that might be understood in

plan, allowing movement, itinerary and scale to become the primary components that define the

urban experience.

While a plan represents intentions of designers and authority, that is, ideology, a spatial
field reveals a domain of embodied, day-to-day social practice, which includes naturally
political practice. In other words, space contains a field of power relations.
-Jianfei Zhu, Chinese Spatial Strategies


What becomes the perception of space? Can it be generalized or stereotyped? Can its

definition cross cultural borders? Within these questions, Beijing can be analyzed in how it can

define an urban identity. Through conditions of culture and history, Beijing- being

representative of China as a country- contains immaterial factors that push the bounds of the

physical plan of the city. It now involves spatial perspectives and cultural lifestyles, requiring

the designer to consider issues beyond what can be generalized. These conditions must become

specific to China and the Chinese culture, furthering the pursuit for identity.

Jianfei Zhu, in trying to discover spatial strategies, determined that his research should not

"restrict itself to the confines of Chinese architectural history or the history of Chinese city

planning... (nor) follow a chronological or descriptive approach" as these methods result in

restricted or shallow research. Instead, there must be an analysis of history, subjecting

"historical material to social and synchronic analysis, and critical debate and theorization."4 The









challenge, therefore, is to look at historic and contemporary environments- geographic and

cultural/ cross-cultural. There needs to be a full understanding of cultural perspectives as well as

influences, pushing beyond issues of architecture. Due to limitations in which my research is

pursued, I will agree with Zhu and zoom in on the local condition of Beijing.

Because of the depth of its history, Beijing's architecture is, according to X. Winston Yan

"a comprehensive expression of the meanings and beliefs of traditional Chinese culture".5 The

city becomes a palimpsest of history, consisting of layers of infrastructure for living for several

centuries. The contrast of densely placed one-story houses and colorful imperial buildings create

an interesting balance within the city, both sharing architectural elements that create a close

relationship between the two.

Beijing's role of being the most important city in China has shifted over centuries of

China's history. After its establishment around 2400 B.C., it became the capital during the

Yuan, Ming, and Qing dynasties. It re-assumed the role when Chairman Mao Zedong

established the People's Republic of China in 1949. It is considered by the Chinese to be the

center of the cosmos, referred to spatially as the "axis mundi." (This concept of location as place

is challenged later on.) Monumental architecture was aligned with these cosmic axes. (Fig. 2-2)

These buildings demonstrated physical and aesthetic quality, but also communicated beyond into

spiritual compositions, connecting the emperor to the heaven and the earth. Zhu discusses two

sites: the celestial and the terrestrial. Each type corresponds to the ritual performed, and the role

of that ritual as a connector between two sides. Celestial sites are distributed to the periphery of

the city, possibly in attempt to connect back to the natural and harmonious landscape of China.

The implementation of distance becomes a method of detaching oneself from the constraints of

the city. Terrestrial sites accumulate within the center, as a means to allow access to the city and









all classes of the citizens. Through cultural application, these sites are activated through two

conditions: lines of movement and points of interface.6 This activation is precise and spatially

considered through the organization of the sites, their relationships to each other and the city, and

their importance within national identity, belief and tradition.

Massive stone walls established barriers for the imperial city and the houses and temples of

the city's elite. (Fig. 2-3) This barrier system severs the Chinese people, and hierarchy between

classes became more apparent. Internalized neighborhoods developed their own cultures that

specialized in crafts and trades specific to the needs of other groups. Through specialization and

trade, cultural exchange was frequent. The wall as a barrier becomes as powerful as space itself

by determining access and communication between and within the city. The concept of figure-

ground relationships is challenged as mass, void, positive and negative space is visible in the city

map, and understood through the physical occupation of the city.

During the rise and occupation of Communism, from the 1950's through the 1970's,

Chairman Mao destroyed all but one of the historic gates of the city, possibly as a rejection of

historic conditions of the city, or as an effort to "cling on to local manifestations of the idea of

centralized power through Tiananmen Square and the surrounding area."7 The destruction of the

urban structural element was a means to open the society, allowing interaction physically with

the city; symbolically it opened Beijing to the world. Beyond this change in historic Beijing,

new significant constructions were placed accordingly to respect the traditional approach of

placement on the north-south axis. Large multi-function buildings re-structured the social layers

of the city, almost eliminating the need to venture beyond a small neighborhood.8 The city of

Beijing becomes a city layered in section as well as plan. This concept is visible through

comparison of the plan and elevations of the city. Although there are harsh north-south routes









running through the city, this permeability is only conceived in plan, as the section of the city de-

constructs the city as a whole, but as a series of contained areas. The scale of the city's

architecture undermines the strength of these axes. Though compacted spatially through scale

the section of the city, boundaries tend to overlap and slip past the other, allowing breath-ability,

access and movement between parts. And ultimately, the attempt to over-structure Beijing into

self-sustaining compartments failed, as concentrations of "functional specialization" developed

in pockets within and on the outskirts of the city.

As cultural erasure became a national process, the Chinese attached to Soviet principles,

relying on Socialist outlooks to define their lifestyles. Education was strictly limited, as readings

of the Red Book were required. Monumental architecture became crucial in establishing Beijing

as a business and administrative center for the newly established People's Republic of China.9

Tiananmen Square and the Great Hall of the People were just a few of the 10 Key Architectures

constructed to establish Beijing as an industrial and business hub. Through the Cultural

Revolution (1966-1976), the people of Beijing over-ran the city with illegal construction,

disregarding tradition and ancient buildings. Ancient Chinese architecture became fragmented

between densely constructed housing units as a result of the growth of the city, and the nation, as

a business power.

The Great Hall of the People, one of the 10 Key Architectures celebrating the PRC, reflects

the monumental scale and proportion of fascist architecture. The flattened traditional roof cannot

emphasize the horizon, as large vertical columns bring attention to height, possibly to represent

the growth and expansion of China. The National Museum of China, also built in 1959, anchors

the east side of Tiananmen Square. Massive pilasters anchor the corners of the building facade,

with the traditional style roof wedged between, as mere ornamentation. The Chairman Mao









Memorial Hall disregards the height of the historic city, pushing up 110 feet tall, with thick

columns creating a shell around the building core. This building resembles buildings constructed

in neighboring Socialist and Fascist nations, rather than the traditional architectural style of

Beijing. This juxtaposition between two styles marks the Chinese nation at a junction of political

and cultural structures. In 1962, the China National Museum of Fine Arts was constructed in

traditional Chinese style in a new attempt to reflect the purpose and function of the building and

to preserve the nation's traditional architecture.

Post 1979 urban development of Beijing aimed at establishing zones within the city that

were divided by the city's axes. Since 1979, the city has accepted Western principles in urban

planning, and citizen input was disregarded in the overall scheme. This contrast to the

internalized and localized development of historic China shifts Chinese society into a more

structured and sterile environment. The city becomes a field that requires adjustment and

adaptation by the citizen, instead of the reactionary role of the city to Chinese lifestyle and

heritage. Preservation of historic courtyard houses occurred in clumps as an effort to keep hold

of traditional Chinese architecture through "stylistic references."10 Other, often dilapidated,

housing neighborhoods were either redeveloped or planned for redevelopment, taking over six

million square meters of urban Beijing and its immediate vicinities. The large amount of

remaining poorly constructed courtyard houses is a result of the Chinese people refusing to

abandon the traditional architecture. Instead of adjusting during turbulent times, they fled to the

countryside, but when the re-occupied the structures, they often converted the courtyards to infill

for subdivided dwelling. This re-defining of the function of a courtyard house emphasized a

change in social structure and Chinese culture. Severing itself from tradition, Beijing citizens









began to pursue development and occupation of the city that maximized function. This marks

the conforming to modernist principles and the focus on functionality and productivity.

With the contrast of frantic building and rich historic context, the city of Beijing is

becoming a focus of attention for Modern architects. Beijing has been established as a testing

ground for architects from the West to experiment beyond what their home countries would

tolerate. Through its reconstruction, Beijing has become a great opportunity to many of these

architects, as a city that is in need of and desires updating. Chinese architect Wang Yun states

that with the highly publicized World Olympics campaign, Beijing can be described as "Po-Jiu-

Li-Xin", or destroying the old and establishing the new.11 The architecture world observes the

progress of the CCTV tower by Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas, looking at the building as a

branding of an architect rather than a piece that fits perfectly in its Asian context. The National

Stadium by Swiss firm of Herzog & de Meuron is a self-contained disk that refuses to reference

the environment it has landed in. And the National Swimming Center by PTW Architect,

including Chinese architects, is a scale-less illuminated box that only communicates internal

program of the building. (Fig. 2-4) The National Grand Theater by French Architect Paul

Andreu is a blank white egg-shaped building, indifferent to its close proximity to the Great Hall

of the People and Tiananmen Square. As a new urban culture is developed, understanding and

respect for the old is challenged; these constructions reject the insertion of Chinese architectural

style and are perceived as icons in a faceless landscape.

Action and Reaction

Historical events (from Imperial China through the Great Chinese Cultural Revolution,

CCP and execution of Marxist principles) have forced a development of the city that becomes a

generator for cultural identity, as in most cities with historical context. Due to the specific nature

of China, the typical understanding of developing architecture as a reflection of culture cannot be









applied accurately. Instead, current insertions of modem architecture reverse the role of

architecture as being responsive to changes in culture, as architecture is now placed in a culture

that has yet to be identified. Architecture is now used to focus identities, instead of being a

direct byproduct of environmental changes. The void of identity pushes China into the pursuit of

global recognition, although the methodologies are not quite aligned. The current status of

Chinese modem architecture, and its force within the redefining of this developing nation,

greatly contrasts, through westernized methods, the role and aesthetics of historic architecture.

This change in cultural environment in Beijing indicates the beginning of an assimilation process

of cultures into a generalized China, redefining the identity of China as a nation, especially

through the perspective of the citizen. In this process, the connection to cultural renewal is lost,

as there is an uncommitted acceptance of superficiality.12 This merger contrasts traditional

definitions and understandings of Chinese architecture, as identity adjusts to modernization.

Architecture now becomes popularly injected with characteristics of western architectural

elements as a method of cultural re-defining, taking out issues of preservation and cultural

individuality. Social and ethnic identity and consciousness is challenged and redefined as the

Chinese citizen adjusts to this environmental change.

Modem China has committed itself to economic growth, since its exposure by Deng

Xiaoping. The push toward modern lifestyle has forced development to accommodate desired

urbanism. Gaubatz even argues that economic change influences urban planning which then

influences the functioning of a society. Abandonment of "outdated" concepts becomes

necessary in the struggle to keep up with this demand. He summarizes the development of

Beijing as: reflectingn) both shifts in planning philosophy and policy and external influences

and capitalization."13 Architecture evolves from economy, derailing itself from culture-driven









forces and principles. Matthias Wehrlin predicts that the next movement within China's

societies will call for a "period of self-confident reflection" on own traditions and values. This

will result in construction that will rely on specific place, people, and need instead of mass

building of "faceless cities" that are occurring today in China.

The introduction of Western lifestyle into Chinese culture has impacted the growth of

China as an emerging world power. Westernization, as a strong contrast to this typically

traditional environment serves as a catalyst for economic and socio-political growth, in both

positive and negative directions. Mass invasion of these influences have created a fragile

definition of modern Chinese society, and its often awkward relationship to the tradition and

history of China.

Perhaps the current issues of architecture and its role in Chinese society is a necessity, and

will become as significant in Chinese history as Imperial China in its role in establishing a rich

and dynamic Chinese culture. The consequences of the Communist movement leave a blank

cultural slate. Modernization imposes learning in multiple dimensions, strictly contrasting the

education experienced by the generation during the Communist era. China must adapt to this

new mentality. Architecture, as a physical structure for society is taking the first steps toward a

new era. Through intervention of Western practice, often by foreign architects, China's cities are

experiencing uprooting at large densities of traditions and heritage. Preservation as a strategy

might be the solution for the scale of a building, such as the Tiananmen Square complex or other

monumental constructions, but the way of life of the Chinese people will constantly adjust to

new architecture and urban development

Movement as Context

In addressing issues of context, one must question the dimension of its definition. With

consideration of culture and history, time sets up another context in which people occupy. It is









within this context where lives are formed and developed, communities emerge, and society

evolves. This moving context requires its occupants to recognize change and adjust appropriate

to its application to physical place.

Linking Modernization to Culture

To begin the investigation of the relationship of modernism and contemporary process in

design to Chinese society, I must first preface with explaining the role of modernism within

culture. The definition of modernism is controversial and contradictory, and the influences of

modernization are blurred. With consideration of these challenges, I will attempt to describe this

concept that will help structure its unique application within China, as well as its effect to

Chinese culture.

Defining Modernization and Modernism

Initial assumptions on modernism focus mainly on science and technology, in large part to

the surge of scientific advancements beginning from the Industrial Revolution. The progression

of a society follows these issues, but only as a response. In this light, modernism expands far

beyond technology, and forces these responsive interactions between cultures, politics, and social

movements. It characterizes development toward higher and better living, compared to non-

progressive lifestyles of traditions and working. It creates a social field that revolves around

specific trends on social infrastructures, i.e. politics, consumerism, religion.

Westernization and Modernization

In beginning this section, I must first disclose the differences between Westernization and

modernization. The interstitial separation between Westernization and Modernization can be an

opportunity for China to transform methods based on internal principles. Westernization limits

the perspective based on cultural constraints; which China cannot mimic. The adoption of









Western theologies would require long lengths of exposure and an inevitable abandonment of

what can be defined as Chinese culture.

Within China, modernism has been tightly linked with Westernization, and movement

away from traditional philosophies. The Chinese regard modernization as "signifying mainly

national wealth and power as well as a vision of a better society and human existence."14

Chinese scholars, as advocators for the modernization of China, defined modernization as the

"development of natural sciences, industry, the cultivation of scientific thinking and the

rationalization of ideas, attitudes and social behavior. 15 This perceived awareness of inferiority to

Western culture challenges China to re-discover their traditional values within the context of

modernity. Interpretations of Confucian teachings stress the importance of human development

as a continual process, allowing the individual to adjust to accommodate progression forward.

Therefore, Chinese culture is now being challenged through newly impressed values of

modernization. Conservative reformers invented the 'zhongxue wei ti, xixue weiyong' formula

that calls for Chinese learning for the fundamental principles of social life and Western learning

for practical application.16 The preservation of values allows culture to transform while

maintaining its critical role within a society. Raymond Williams described it as:

Culture emerges as an abstraction and an absolute; an emergence which, in a very complex
way, merges two responses- first, the recognition of the practical separation of certain
moral and intellectual activities from the driven impetus of a new kind of society; second,
the emphasis of these activities as a court of human appeal, to be set over the processes of
practical social judgment and yet to offer itself as a mitigating and rallying alternative.17

It must be emphasized that modernization steps beyond material and physical measurements- it

shifts the mind of a society.18 Governmental impositions on society have a huge impact on how

the nation adapts to change. The Cultural Revolution severely encouraged the updating of

lifestyles and investing in Westernized societies. The national identity within China becomes

shaped through politics, war and social movements. National identity theory priorities









"domestic societal factors" as more critical in the defining of identity than are external causes

that formulate a physical country- this search for identity within China becomes "situation

specific."19 Modernism strictly forbids complete replicas of the past; it must generate from

history into a progressive culture that intersects with technology and innovation.

Intersections of East and West

Within this context of time, the contact between different cultures gives opportunity for

interpretation. Often translation and status can challenge the effectiveness of interpretation, as

the perspective of an individual begins to understand a society and culture. Through

intersections of Asian and Western cultures, the need for appropriate and accurate interpretation

has never been more in demand. Through interpretation, a culture can learn and respond to

issues of lifestyle and approach.

Occidentalism and Form

The perspective on Western culture as The Occidental Other has given China an

opportunity to identify through comparison. The Italian missionary Matteo Ricci was the first

westerner to be accepted by the Chinese in 1582, and was able to inform the Chinese that they

were not at the center of the universe, but only located in the northern hemisphere of the earth.

This geographic categorization contrasted Chinese method of thinking, where placement was

determined not by the physical, but through the movement and balance of energy. Through the

awareness of western thinking, China has been challenged to develop a Chinese approach, and to

understand it through labeling, a western methodology. This idea of label and form contrasts

traditional thought of shi, yet occurs only as a result of interaction with western culture.

"At the heart of the search for Chinese modernity in Chinese thinking and in some of
China's most important intellectuals stands a huge paradox."

Wang Hui, "Contemporary Chinese Thought and the Question of Modernity"









The attempt to modernize China while rejecting Western ideals has formed an internalized

controversy that requires intense filtration and criticism. While trying to avoid conformity to

Western lifestyle, Eastern cultures have pushed toward modernization as a means to establish

achievement globally. Through the Cultural Revolution, China made efforts to determine a

modern society without the adoptions of Westernism. This denial was to preserve a national

identity, which was crucial during Mao and post-Mao rule. The paradox that Wang Hui presents

states that although there is a strong attempt to push toward a modern China technologically

while rejecting socio-political or capitalistic mindsets, the Chinese cannot deny the awareness of

these issues, therefore allowing their existence to effect the process of modernization. The

lifestyle is criticized yet unavoidable.

The perspective of the individual also determines the effect of modernization. The claim

that the Chinese individual does not internalize Western influences suggests that there is an

attempt to preserve Chinese values while pushing toward a more modern society as a whole.

Although this infiltration of modem perspective can quickly present Western values and trends

as acceptable. The sensitive balance of this filter cannot be controlled or adjusted to

accommodate the attempts to preserve the Chinese culture. Instead, focus on what is modern

incidentally pushes China to follow all components of a modem society that can result in

contrasting and overlapping cultural positions.

The City as a Body

Yung Ho Chang refuses to move into a site without warning, instead he finds a discreet
means of infiltration. This is not classical medicine or surgery, but intervention by an
acupuncturist who considers the body as a whole and makes an overall diagnosis of the
problem. Unlike Western medicine, which isolates the problem and works solely on the
affected area, Chinese medicine treats the body as a system in its own right. If the city is
such a system, each building, each piece of architecture is an essential part of the totality.
-Project for the 21st Century- Laurent Guttierez and Valerie Portefaix









In comparing the city to the body, the architect becomes the acupuncturist, fully aware of

the whole while focusing the close relationships between points. The vitality of the body, qi,

moves within the channels or meridians, jngmai. There is an interplay of relationships- a

chicken vs. egg argument- that gives urban-ists confidence that their role as master planners of

these channels is crucial to the functioning of the city. But this analogy that Guttierez and

Portefaix construct provides a different mentality to addressing urban issues through the

application of Chinese thought. It explores a more crucial issue: the impact of one point should

resonate something beyond its local context. Perhaps it becomes the stimulus for something

beyond its physical extremities, or the solution to the inner workings of the city. The systems

within the city are required to submit to this underlay, the qi of the city, and not contrast the

city's importance and identity. Transportation, zoning, even the installation of a stop sign or a

traffic light must inevitably consider its effect to the city as a living form.

Distance and Viewing the Whole

There is a perceived understanding in viewing the whole. The scales of things begin to

avoid detail, as seams between zones become simplified into lines. This distance allows one to

understand the gesture of the idea; to see the city as a body. It can be argued wither this scale is

relatable to human occupation, that perhaps it does not affect the actual experience of the person.

I would choose to disagree. Francois Jullien claims that distance "makes it possible to take in a

vaster landscape (and) also renders it more accessible to contemplation, for distance, as it were,

rids the landscape of all the weight of inessentials and restores it to the simple movement that

gives it form and existence."20 There is a method of functioning, of circulating and engaging that

is determined by configurations- the organization of the city. This structure determines a

different- seemingly non-Western- approach on viewing the detail and the whole simultaneously.









This method also allows for the integration of the intangible and immeasurable influences of

culture and society. (Fig. 2-5)

Active participation within the city cannot exist solely on localized issues, but should

address the city holistically. This approach allows the architect to intervene neutrally,

integrating their building into the fabric of the city. Although this neutrality should be a

reflection of an understanding of the city, it does not restrain the architect, as they should

challenge the function of the site locally while juxtaposing it with the urban strata. Through this

perspective, the control is self-determined without compromising the awareness of the city as

context. How can an architect respond to a local project with this attitude?

Historically, China has disengaged urban planning from social conditions. Although there

is a severe lack of research regarding these issues, as stated by Jianfei Zhu, China is now

undergoing massive transformations through globalization and modernization that require

analysis of urban growth and cultural development. "Today, the question about a Chinese

approach to spatial design acquires a new significance. In the past two decades, amidst the

forces of globalization, China has managed to regenerate itself, and is transforming itself into a

modern, industrial and mercantile power."21 So the challenge becomes: what are Chinese spatial

and architectural strategies? Can the identification of these issues be determined through

examination of precedents or current analysis of Chinese lifestyle? The next question becomes:

does today's development of China abide by such principles? Western perspective has a large

influence on the modernizing of China, but is it possible that this foreign lens is becoming

principle in the design of modern China? To determine this first requires extensive mapping of

current and past design and the relationship of design to process and methodology. The










transformation of this country in response to modernization can be analyzed in their relationship

to culture and to architecture.


1 Luna, Ian, Structural Contradictions, In On the Edge: Ten Architects from China edited by Ian Luna and Thomas
Tsang, Pp. 27-34, New York: Rizzoli International Publications, Inc, 2006. Luna states that architecture becomes an
expression that results from a very unique series of events, especially focusing on the last three decades where
politics and economic stabilities have generated a re-defining of culture.

2X. Winston Yan, 1996. The Great Hall of People and the Museum of History were designed to fit the historic
context, as a rejection of Western modernism architectural style. This built a large amount of nationalism within the
country, as they placed more value on historic Chinese architecture over current external architectural trends.

3Yung Ho Chang, A Very Brief History of Modernity. On the Edge. Pg 11.

4 Jianfei Zhu, Chinese Spatial Strategies, pg 9.

5X. Winston Yan, 1984.
6Zhu, pg. 209. Zhu discusses in great detail the five different religious rites: Auspicious, Commending, Military,
Guest and Inauspicious (ji li, jia li, jun li, bin li, xiong li). Each of these scenarios are defined and categorized
through three structures: Semantic differentiation, Spatial location within the city, and temporal fixation on the
calendar. He uses this categorization to understand the effects of the ritual on spatial organization, orientation, and
location. The intense analysis of these events further structures China as a place, but also a culture with order,
tradition, and persistence.

7Dr. Andreas Szesny, 2006.

8Piper Gaubatz, Changing Beijing, In Geographical Review, Vol. 85, No. 1, Pp. 79-96, American Geographical
Society, Jan 1995. Socialist China established a structure that stratified cities into degrees of occupation. This
reconstruction only occurred in fragments, as the historic hutongs and maze-like organization of courtyard housing
constrained development.

9Fang Yong, Beijing- History and Historical Architecture, in Beijing, Shanghai Architecture Guide, A+U, May
2005, A+U Publishing Co, Tokyo 2005. Yong states that Chinese experts debated on the importance of protecting
the ancient city, but issues of preservation were halted to pursue more important political projects.

0 Piper Gaubatz, 1995.

11 Wang Lun, The Coexistence of History and Modem Times, in Beijing, Shanghai Architecture Guide, A+U, May
2005, A+U Publishing Co, Tokyo 2005.

12Eduard KOgel, The Last 100 Years: Architecture in China. Pg326-327. In this synopsis of Chinese architectural
history, Kogel runs through movements that often shadow Western trends. The Postmodern concept is paralleled to
"Symbolic Form", where "simplified forms and metaphors established themselves as references in order to ensure a
sense of continuity and identity." Unfortunately, this resulted in a simplification of cultural response and a
heightened commitment to the commercial industry.

13 Gaubatz, Piper, Changing Beijing, In Geographical Review, Vol. 85, No. 1. Pp. 79-96, American Geographical
Society, 1995. The new form of Beijing is stated: "In a remarkably short time Beijing has experienced proliferation
of high-rise architecture and its incorporation as a main feature of the expanding central business district; separation
of residential and industrial areas, the development of mixed residential and commercial neighborhoods, economic
differentiation of neighborhoods, creation of enclaves for foreigners, industrial-development zones, adjustments to
accommodate additional vehicular traffic, and beginnings of a subway system."











14 He Ping, Chinas Search for Modernity: Cultural Discourse in the Late 20th Century, pg. 1. Ping states that it is
through this perception that a cultural discourse for modernity was developed and pursued. According to the
Chinese, culture evolved from the meaning 'to tattoo' and to 'transform.' This definition transfers from historic
application into the modernization process. Ping also argues that culture is a constant, unchangeable parameter of
history, as the mode of thought and pattern of behavior underlying the political structure, economy, science and
technology of society [that comes] to the fore of intellectual discourse."(pg 74.) This in parallel to the meanings of
'to tattoo' and to 'transform' understands culture as a moving body that can adjust to its context, while
simultaneously affecting its context. This interplay can be challenged in the Zoom In section of this paper that
investigates the relationships of culture and architecture.

15Ping. Pg 13.

16 Ping. Pg. 77. this cautious modernization allowed for a "practical separation" that gave alternatives to adopting
full principles of Westernization. One Chinese philosopher, Zhang Zhidong established the term guocui (national
essence) as a way to describe aspects of Chinese lifestyles that were significant to national identity, and which
departed from the realities of the modem West.

17 Raymond Williams, Culture and Society, 1780-1950 New York: Harper & Row, 1958

18 Zi Zhongyun. Notes The Relationship of Chinese Traditional Culture to the Modernization of China: An
Introduction to the Current Discussion. In Asian Survey, Vol. 27, No. 4, Pp. 442-458. University of California
Press. 1987.

19Kim, Samuel and Lowell Dittmer, Whither China's Quest for National Identity, In China's Quest for National
Identity, Pp. 237-290. 1993
20Francois Jullien, The Propensity of Things. Pg. 95

21 Jianfei Zhu, Chinese Spatial Strageies: Imperial Beijing 1420-1911. pg 1. Jianfei Zhu presents Beijing as an
indicator for understanding order within the city through geography, the city as a whole, palaces as political systems,
ceremonial events, and the aesthetic and composition of space.






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Figure 2-2. Tiananmen Square and the axis to the heavens (Photo by Adam Gayle)




















































Figure 2-3. Boundary and Scale, Tiananmen Square (Photo by Adam Gayle)

























Figure 2-4. National Swimming Center by PTW Architects (Photo by Adam Gayle)












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Figure 2-5. Human scale within an urban field (Photo by Adam Gayle)









CHAPTER 3
ZOOM IN

Introduction

This section will discover a set of spatial principles at work in Chinese culture through the

work of French Sinologist, Francois Jullien.

Francois Jullien is a French Sinologist who, in pursuing his own historic theological roots,

has questioned the nature of Western- namely Greek and Roman- principles and methodologies.

In the beginnings of his research, Jullien pushed toward understanding these cultures by

contrasting them to what can be considered as Western, opening his research to China. Jullien

has since invested his scholarship in taking and understanding Chinese methodologies as a

Westerner. His work becomes a translation of what is Chinese, opening the mind of this

enclosed nation and presenting his discoveries in contrast to typically Western values.

Chinese Principles

Chinese methods and positions are deeply engrained through centuries of understanding

identity. Principles that are strictly cultural contrast methods applied by Western societies. This

sever is crucial to recognize. Though China pushes toward a modernized society, positions on

tradition and cultural belief determine principles that are applied- especially in literature and art.

Through zooming in, we can analyze these techniques, allowing us to gain a clearer

understanding on what is Chinese compared to what can be determined as typical or typically

Western.

The Static

Western perspective has assumed architecture as being a reflection of a society- how they

live and function within urban and domestic scales. It is often reactionary to the programs of the

city that it contains. Nieuwenhuys Constant describes a theoretical city, titled New Babylon, and









its flexibility. "It follows that New Babylon could not be structured to a determined plan. On

the contrary, every element would be left undetermined, mobile and flexible. For the people

circulating in this enormous social space is expected to give it its ever-changing shape; to divide

it, to vary it, to create its different atmospheres and to play out their lives in a variety of

surroundings."1 The malleable city should conform to a society's needs and methods. At the

same time, the city changes the way people find identity and ultimately define themselves as a

culture or group. Stevan Harrell focuses on the "negotiated nature of ethnic identity," and how

identity is determined through the individual and their role within the group. These definitions

disappear and reappear within groups of people, and ownership emerges. Imagined boundaries

also give identity, while political unity of a nation becomes juxtaposed within the structure of

local communities.2 The materialized boundaries and the structure of the community give

architecture its role in influencing the identity of a group. (Fig. 3-1)

The dynamic

Effects of time and occupation wear away and constantly re-define context. Fragments

and their boundaries shift and overlap, reacting to the function and programming that the

fragments of society contain. Therefore, the city is constantly in a state of change- the Chinese

people are constantly changing. It transforms beyond the diagram as a whole, becoming a

dissection, a comparison of contrasting of rather different and changing cultural conditions. The

instability provides a rhythm that is responsive and real. Society is expected to exist within this

context. Culture becomes defined and refined. There is a dynamic dichotomy between

architecture and culture that questions the very nature of action and reaction. In most situations,

culture reflects itself within the architecture- design follows the cultural trends of a society.

China however, has experienced a cultural erasure within the past 40 years through the rise and

fall of the Communist reign, the implementation of the Cultural Revolution, and the opening of









the nation to the world. Chinese designers today have a convoluted history of de-emphasized

traditionalism and progressive thinking.3 This specific impact will be discussed later on.

The city is a body. It is a center of population, commerce, and culture- a reaction to multi-

dimensional demands, productions, and needs. Transportation systems are the accommodations

needed to allow these elements to move. Interactions between people establish a society, and

with time, a culture. The city must learn to preserve that culture while pursuing worthwhile

advancements. Architecture is the framework, or infrastructure that contains these interactions.

It must allow for public gathering and personal identity, for exploration and personalized

certainties. Space "develops through the tensions and interrelationships between figures."4

Public space must be identified and functional. It must be approachable and understand the

demands for flexibility and utility.

The object

Within and throughout the city, landmarks are established. Within the Chinese model,

place becomes relative, as identity is reflected and contrasted to ones surroundings. (Fig. 3-2)

"In effect one can suggest that the organization of the environment is a mental act before it is a

physical one."5 Transition spaces are those that situate between; space that passes and recorded

in memory as a texture. The landmark defines the scale of the urban fabric beyond size; the

understanding of the city extends into other dimensions of time and space. Tendencies to walk

through the familiar develop understanding and ownership- of a street, an area, a neighborhood.

The landmark in Western methods is designed with intention of being a point of reference: a

statue in a plaza can define and distinguish that plaza as a specific place. Juxtapositions between

objects, architecture, and space can begin to form personalized landmarks, almost as an icon, and

with time, can become the means of existing within a city. This interstitial between creates the

qi movement through channels that structure Chinese city.









China has historically focused on traditional architecture to characterize heritage and

ethnicity. Understanding and practice overlaps and carries through dynasties and revolutions,

shifting to adjust to changes within culture. Currently, China is transforming to accommodate

contemporary lifestyle. Liang Sicheng claims: "For my fellow countrymen, architecture is like

clothing"-architecture must adjust to these transformations, becoming the framework for all

interactions and relationships. The scale of this agility is constantly getting smaller and smaller,

as architecture movements and trends shift quickly and leave harsher conditions of living within

freshly defined urbanism. Clay Lancaster states-"in architecture, as in painting, the Chinese

always have taken scrupulous care to conform to ancient models."6 Unfortunately, this statement

is challenged by this newly occurring method of construction within the city. The Chinese

people are now forced to conform to uncertainty, relying only on faint memories of tradition and

the overbearing fashions of the West.

Shi and Xing

The structure of all space is determined by shi. It impacts and gives vitality to a landscape.

It is compared to as the vein, or channel, as well as the skeleton, or structure. This dynamic

condition "is crucial.. .because the reality of things only exists- and thus only manifests itself- in

a totality, through the force of propensity that links its various elements as a whole."7 In

viewing the whole, blandness is re-discovered through the configurations of objects.

Xing relates to form. It is specific and is visible locally.

Shi is propensity and force. It is dynamic, unfolding through and over. It is observed at a

distance.

Through xing, there is an understanding of human scale and form. Shi becomes the

connection to the unattainable, the distant, and the sublime. By balancing between xing and shi,

the architect can be sensible and flexible. The intervention becomes intertwined in its site,









beyond its physical placement and form. As the blurred areas of a traditional Chinese landscape

painting, the architecture can simultaneously define and suggest, speed up and slow down. The

active role of the architecture is its propensity and form. The interactive nature of these elements

can be defined and regulated, becoming design. "Compose a set of forms against a distant

backdrop of a propensity, or gather forms carefully to unfold a propensity."8 The interplay of the

form and the propensity further emphasizes flexibility, yet recognizes the importance of

intention. In this scenario, although geometrically these forms and their organization can be the

same, their purpose is determined and specific. The propensity remains active, working around

the forms to establish a context.

Spatial Suggestion

Methods of representation have historically developed through narrative and descriptive

texts in Western culture, as opposed to the lyrical content in Chinese literature. The use of

poetry as representation evolved into the allegory, becoming "based on a metaphysical split

between the perceptive and the intelligible, with one reflecting the other."9 The direct

interpretation is seen as imitation, or mimesis. This difference highly impacts the interpretation

of the reader. In Chinese texts, the xing, or 'allusive incitement', in combination with a bland

context, allows a juxtaposition of interactions. The reader can involve the image with emotion,

while pushing further into propensity. "Unlike the cartographic reduction of space, which is

proportioned in a pedestrian manner, the aesthetic perception strives to apprehend space, whether

pictoral or poetic, through the tensions expressed by its lifelines."10 The cartographic reduction

mentioned refers to Western rational thought that, in its representation, eliminates the possibility

of interpretation. In this situation, suggestions are maximized, guaranteeing a sense of

authenticity. Understanding moves past speculation and allegorical situations, becoming a

shifting experience constantly pursuing meaning.









In interpreting xing and shi into architecture, the object is now challenged to transcend its

own physical bounds.

"The world is not an object for consciousness but a partner with consciousness in a process

of interaction""11 The active role of the object separates it from a stagnant Western definition. In

the organization of objects, a "succession of varied space in a related sequence [avoids] no one

climax, but rather a series of architectural events."12 Movement between architecture can then

interact, creating space between, emphasizing the importance of propensity within the city.

Mimesis vs. Actualization

After the removal of empiric rule, China has sought an independent mindset, developing

critical measures of aesthetics- a severe contrast from the political logic established during

centuries of dynasties. This shift has pushed China away from Western thought, as Jullien

relates to mimesis, or the imitation of nature or the real. Instead, the Chinese focused on

actualization as understanding the dynamics within and between things.13 As the setup or

configuration, the gesture being the equivalent in art, determines form, the form must also be

convertible to the gesture. This interplay of contradictions defines the artistic ideology of shi.

Through shi, the relationship of the city to the body takes on massive transformation in response

to modernization. As the environment changes, so does its movement and the body adapts.

Movement within the city happens both vertically and horizontally, building tall and expanding

out. Through this movement, "the city dictates the spatial structure, and thus organizes the

process of a body's movement within the space and time in which it is located."14 This act of

actualization deters from relying on imitating the past. It is fully responsive to current

conditions, and expects a response that pushes a movement forward and within.









Poetry and Calligraphy as Lens

The writing of gu-shi, translated "old poetry" does not rely or formal structures. This

narrative approach allows the writer to pursue relaxed and imaginative styles. Jinti-shi,

translated "modern-style poetry", is more regulated by tonal inflections to create a rhythm.

Through this structure, the poem becomes dynamic and animated. Composition extends beyond

form and into gesture. The object becomes the skeleton and the mind, able to shift from gesture

to form, back into gesture and into form again. This flexibility separates process and product

relationship in Chinese thought, bonding their two identities. The ancient Chinese scholar Yang

Xin states, "Aesthetic phenomena are expressed more through a series of polarities than through

concepts!"15 The contrast between the two poem styles, the modem style of Jinti-shi promoting a

rigid structure- demonstrates the developing push to control process as a means of emphasizing

the unique qualities and dynamics. This individuality preserves an underlying tradition while

integrating the innovation of independent expression.

The traditional art of calligraphy is also making adjustments in response to given modern

lifestyles. In comparison to traditional calligraphy, modern calligraphy allows the artist

flexibility in individual expression. In contrast to modern poetry techniques, modern calligraphy

de-structures the rigidity of its traditional form, which extends this opportunity for expression.

Although this allows more variety, it devalues the importance of technique, and the artist is often

criticized as exploiting a traditional and cultural artifact to take advantage of economic profit.

Shi, a critical element of traditional calligraphy is demonstrated through the requirement of

completing the work in one attempt. Modem calligraphy does not hold this requirement, pushing

the focus on the product, further confirming a cultural adaptation of modernization. (Fig. 3-3)









Blandness

As a harmonious relationship between diverse qualities or capabilities, blandness expresses
an optimal and discreet equilibrium in which no one quality manifests itself in such a way
to exclude another- and so where all qualities may coexist simultaneously and manifest
themselves appropriately according to the diversity of the circumstances.
-Francois Jullien, Graham Parks,
The Chinese Notion of "Blandness" as a Virtue

In its application to Chinese methodologies, blandness must first be redefined, requiring

the removal of preconceptions. In the above description, Jullien detaches from blandness being

the absence of something, but rather the harmonious co-existence of everything. This balance

does not result in neutrality- blandness becomes activated only through circumstance. This

concept is fascinating in that it deviates from Western connotations of the term, allowing it to

transform and serve as an environment.

Jullien also discusses blandness as something that has shifted in connotation through

history in China. This evolution is evident in the development of literature, where it became a

"flavor" that made the subject intangible and inexhaustible. This allowed the subject to hold

integrity, while allowing it to move, to diffuse and envelop. The ability of something bland to

have action gives authenticity that is based on the individual's perception. Participation

determines the context without physically changing the context. The environment therefore

remains bland in definition becoming active only within the individual.

Landscape Scrolls as a Lens

The object is only as important as its surroundings, both in front and behind the object.

This is understood in traditional Chinese landscape painting, where perspective is understood as

a series of layers. In Western thought and representation, depth is translated through gradual

fading of detail, convergence or diminishing of scale, line weight or boldness of the line. In

Chinese painting, these progressive depth cues are eliminated. Instead, the layers fade into each









other, establishing an understanding of depth, activating the mind of the viewer as they attempt

to connect the layers. The harmonious co-existence between the object and a mountain far away

relies on the observer's ability to interpret space between the two. Jianfei Zhu categorizes these

approaches as16

1. folding and unfolding- with the physical folding of a horizontally rolled painting,
"there is always another point of view absent at any one moment", de-centralizing the
focus and creating active viewing

2. moment and temporality- with many centers and viewpoints, the movement becomes
an experience

3. dispersion and fragmentation- "diverse and localized areas and points" allow attention
to detail at varied dispositions

4. largeness and infinity- spaces becomes fragmented, yet represents large scales

In these categories, blandness results from the de-centralization, as the viewer activates the

painting. Through the movement of the viewer, each element holds a temporary focus, giving

value to different parts individually within a certain itinerary. This parallels the importance of

blandness being the co-existence of all parts. Also presented in Zhu's categories is the capability

of capturing scale. In contrast to Western perspective techniques, the layered sections of the

Chinese landscape can push infinitely into the paper, instead of to a defined vanishing point. The

scales and distance within the painting are also open to interpretation through this method. The

viewer controls movement, pace, and scale- elements critical in urban and architectural design.

Through this application, blandness remains the context, while the viewer determines experience.

Harmony

Harmony is achieved through this neutrality of context, and guarantees an authenticity of

perspective. Interestingly, Jullien argues that harmony should not exist at the apex, but rather to

either side, to prevent stagnancy and monotony. "If harmony reaches an extreme, it culminates

in total indifference, and, by virtue of the element of blandness, it could become monotonous and









boring, which would then naturally lead to the next poetic mode in which delicacy and

luxuriance attract the eye...far from being a concept, blandness represents a balance, an

intermediate moment, a transitory stage constantly threatened with obliteration."17 The challenge

of offsetting harmony further emphasizes its importance as a process, rather than a result. The

application to spatial design and aesthetic allows movement of the subject or focus, instead of

placing importance on the object. The object becomes secondary to the conditions around it, and

only exists as a part of this 'process'. Assume that composition moves. In plan, the dynamics of

the composition allow movement, separating itself from rational or analytic thought. What is

lost in the physical presence is understood metaphysically. The flexibility of this composition

gives multi-valence of roles with each component. This is understood in the discussion of the

layout of Beijing's ritual sites discussed later on. Though each individual building is within

itself an object with a specific function, the meaning or interpretation of each object can only be

determined with thoughtful awareness of its relationship to Beijing and Chinese culture as

context.

Hierarchies

In describing blandness, there is an underlying flatness of hierarchy. This flatness does not

suggest or oppose, but rather allows the individual to suggest and determine potential. This

gives the individual the role of being the activator for transformation. Blandness is not a lack of,

but rather a harmonious co-existence of elements. Without the individual to experience a

context, hierarchy detaches from all objects, and the context remains bland. The movement of

discovery is a process established by the individual, as they push through and negotiate within

this co-existence. Once the individual occupies context, whether through viewing a painting or

walking through a city, hierarchies are assigned and become specific to the individual. The

translation into an aesthetic requires attachment of integrity to the process, rather than disjoining









the roles of aesthetics and morality that Jullien recognizes as Western principles. This

emphasizes the role of the individual, appropriate to the search for and response of Chinese

identity.

Translating into Space

Let us return to the landscape scroll example. These issues resonate within conditions of

architecture. In folding and unfolding, there must be a movement that pushes out of the

constraints of the physical canvas. Literally, the unrolling of a scroll incites movement of the

body. In the revealing of the scroll, the movement of the eye forms itinerary, allowing an

occupant to engage- physically and visually- within the architecture. As a viewer is

simultaneously scanning and moving within the painting, the occupant becomes aware of space

through de-centralized configurations. Through movement and temporality, time is introduced

as an element of experience. The landscape painting can jump between and through spaces at

different depths and interest, as space and architecture can conform to or challenge boundaries,

juxtapose scales, simultaneously understanding the detail and the context. "Distance thus not

only makes it possible to take in a vaster landscape but also renders it more accessible to

contemplation, for distance, as it were, rids the landscape of all the weight of inessentials and

restores it to the simple movement that gives it form and existence."18 This issue activates the

blandness that is required to create movement.

Blandness in Society

The term bland covers a large range of connotations. While Western culture discerns

blandness as a negatively neutral quality, i.e. bland food, bland film- the term bland can be

interpreted as favorably neutral. Through the omission of harshness or taste, suggestion cannot

persuade the observer's opinion one way or another. "There is little question that this

interpretation of blandness appears to us in the West as the least appealing, accustomed as we are









today of separating morality from aesthetics."19 In a capitalistic society, this lack is

unacceptable, as information must be presented to assist in decision-making. The demand for

advertisements and campaigns encourages a dependence on external influences to determine our

perspective on issues, whether it is brand loyalty or political party registration. There is a

reliance on these influences' validity, as specialization in these issues is expected and considered

advantageous as a skill.

Perhaps we can consider a distinct approach- to imagine a place where specialization and

opinions are not a concern and neutrality is crucial in keeping balanced socio-political and

economic societies. Within this neutral environment, decisions must be made, and lifestyles

established. The method of decision-making is developed only within this culture, and exists

within contextual- physical, cultural, and historic- constraints. The "allusive incitement" of xing

pushes toward a stimulation, rather than the suggestive bounds of inspiration that is principle to

Western culture. These constraints are characterized as responses to an existential condition that

determines energy and form. Shi "follows no rigid route or pre-established model... however, it

structures all space, permeating it with its dynamic power.20 The activity of shi, while neutral in

connotation charges and determines the configuration of objects in space, which become

environment.

Architectural Application

Although my research extends beyond limitations of the built environment, I feel it

necessary to indulge in understanding the role of traditional Chinese architecture and its impact

on China as a culture. From this understanding, organization and spatial positioning can be

interpreted from specific examples, and can be directly juxtaposed to the current construction of

architecture in China.










Historically, Chinese architecture was formed to envelop the object within the landscape.

Form reflects local and distant conditions of an environment. Large roofs often emphasized a

connection to the horizon and landscape. Vertical beams and walls were less emphasized to

create an effect of a highly ornamented roof floating above the ground. Lancaster argues that the

swooping roofs of traditional Chinese architecture elegantly mimic the sagging of wood beams

from old roofs, as a "refinement, giving a certain buoyancy to the one heavy element of the

Chinese building, and being both beautiful in itself and harmonious with the pines and hills of

the Chinese landscape."21 Through this argument, Lancaster credits the Chinese people with a

value for elements of history and context and simultaneously current architecture.


1 Constant Nieuwenhuys, New Babylon 'An Urbanism of the Future', New Babylonians,In Architectural Design,
Vol 71 No 3 (June 2001), p. 14. Constant insists that Unitary Urbanism should be based on experience of social
spaces, "through the conscious and collective creation of an environment based on the possibilities inherent within
the present". This provides a approachable scale to urbanism.
2 Stevan Harrell, Introduction. In Violence in China: Essays in Culture and Counterculture. Jonathan N. Lipman and
Stevan Harrell, Pp. 63-91. Albany: State University of New York Press. 1990.

3 Dr. Andreas Szesny, A2: Changing Chinese Architectural and Building Traditions, In Building Projects in China:
A Manual For Architects and Engineers, edited by Bert Bielefeld and Lars-Phillip Rusch, Pp. 14-24, Basel:
Birkhauser-Publishers for Architecture, 2006. Szesny maps out the generation that was affected as Red Guards or
enemies, stating that they were the generation to be directly involved with Deng Xiaoping's project- xingxiang
gongcheng.

4 Wolf Prix, "Space is no longer predetermined but rather develops through the tensions and interrelationships
between figures. This is the basis for a vigorous new model of urbanism." b5 2 c6: Public Space, The State of
Architecture at the Beginning of the 21st Century, edited by Bernard Tschumi and Irene Cheng, Pp. 11-24, New
York: The Monacelli Press, 2003. Prix highlights the necessity of urban planning as fundamental in creating the
framework in which interactions occur. The dynamic use and accessibility of public space can create a successful
urban model.

5 Human Aspects of Urban Form, pg. 15
6 Clay Lancaster. The Origin and Formation of Chinese Architecture. In The Journal of the Society of Architectural
Historians, Vol.9, No. 1/2. Pg. 4.

7Jullien. The Propensity of Things. Pg. 99.

8Wang Qiheng (quoted by Jullien in Praise of Blandness)

9 Ibid. 163

10 Ibid. 103.












11 Jullien. Detour and Access. Pg. 142.


12 Andrew Boyd, Chinese Architecture, pg. 72-73.

13Franqois Jullien, The Propensity of Things

14Mara Kurotschka. Beijing Moves. Kurotschka defines the important movements of group to individual and vice
versa. There is an awareness of affects, as pieces respond to one another. This dynamic keeps the city moving and
developing.

15 Yang Xin. 3rd and 4th Century, AD
16 Jianfei Zhu, Chinese Spatial Strategies, pg 231. Zhu convincingly yet simplistically compares these categories to
the layout of Beijing, understanding the dynamics of the historic city. Although this comparison is noteworthy in
my research, I will refrain from discussing Beijing until later on, and hopefully in a more thorough approach.

17 Jullien, In Praise of Blandness, pg 93.

18 Franqois Jullien. The Propensity of Things. Pg. 95. Jullien states that through aesthetic reduction, one can
understand immensity despite the limited perspective of the individual. By standing at a distance, "even the most
imposing [mountain] will retreat by one inch." The impact and awareness of scale maximizes the content of the
painting.

19 Juillien. In Praise of Blandness. Pg. 96. It is because of our heritage of Romanticism that is embedded in our
culture that we feel obliged to sway in response to inspiration or other external influences.
20 Jullien. The Propensity of Things. Pg 93

21 Clay Lancaster, 1950.





















































Figure 3-1. Beijing city walls (Photo by Adam Gayle)


































Figure 3-2. Beijing's landmarks (Photo by Adam Gayle)



























































Figure 3-3. Modern calligraphy (Photo by Adam Gayle)



69









CHAPTER 4
1 TO 1: RESPONDING THROUGH ARCHITECTURE

Introduction

This section will respond to the situation through the lens of architecture.

Although modernization has been strictly attached to Western values, the adoption of

development is flexible. The approach should move parallel to current conditions of culture

instead of clashing or replacing those conditions. The focus moves toward the importance of

process- how do contextual understandings determine the way we work as architects? This is not

the solution to the architectural modernization of China, but an attempt to determine various

methods that apply issues of modernization within Chinese perspective.

Through the measure of 1:1, we can begin to gauge these applications as possibilities, in

hopes to charge the architect to dream responsibly.

The Diagram

Since the mid 1900's, implementation of the diagram within the realm of architecture

developed a validity in the methods of Western design. Its active role in design gives the diagram

clarity in the concept and the process. In understanding to the previous section, the diagram

becomes an anti-mimetic element of communication. Instead of replicating what has previously

been given, typical of methods that are implemented in the development of Western architecture,

the diagram creates a new simultaneous understanding of approach and process. The graphic

value is superseded by its capability to communicate the idea of the project.

The critical role of the diagram influences decisions within the process, giving the diagram

its movement. Peter Eisenman described the diagram as "historically understood in two ways: as

an explanatory or analytic device and as a generative device" 1 This concept that a diagram is

active proposes a shi that can be understood in Western perspectives, as well as the pedagogic









positioning of the University of Florida School of Architecture. Interestingly, the development

of the diagram parallels the expansion of globalized industrialization, where communication is

challenged by translations. Through the diagram, understanding is unconstrained by these limits.

It is then utilized as an international communicator, and in response to globalization, has become

crucial for cross-cultural projects, especially between the East and the West. Diagrams

communicate universal systems, understood at different extents. In addition to clarity within the

process of design, the diagram also certifies concepts and their architectural translation. Through

the diagram, one can understand the intentions of the architect, and directly see the manifestation

of the diagram into a physical form.

Pedagogic Alternatives

Through the School of Architecture at the University of Florida, I was given the

opportunity to teach a second year design studio of nine students. Though the program, I was

able to use the studio as an experimental environment to execute positions of design processes.

The role of process became critical in determining the success of the project in addition to its

product and presentation. As such, the assignment structure will define the approach and

process, and will be supplemented by student response. The structure of the course is then

intended to determine appropriate alternatives to designing within China.

Introduce Education as Method

With considerations of blandness and the interactive roles of the individual, the context of

a field can determine the point. The challenge is to define and understand that field, and then

discover the role of the point within the context. Through two projects, each assigned to second

year students at the school of architecture at the University of Florida, the field was defined as: 1.

the city (Shanghai), and 2. the desert (Taklimakan desert). Each context must be first understood

in several of its conditions, and then activated and enhanced by the intervention, or point. The









intervention then relies on its context as the container of the point. The application of these two

projects will appropriately be presented in two modes: the positioning of the product (zoom out),

and the development or process (zoom in). Through their analyses, a direct intersection and

technique of approach can be mapped and evaluated.

Tower Project

The curriculum required the investigation of a vertical structure within an urban context,

defined by each studio instructor. The course syllabus states the aim of the project:

Design will be responsive to issues and analysis of a given context. This project will
engage a large scale urban context and resolve issues of program and its positioning within
the city, understanding importance of density, movement, and formal development.2

The challenge of the project is to understand and design juxtaposed scales of program,

establish sophisticated and speculative languages of tectonics and construction, and position the

project within its given context. Through the project, the student is capable of bringing personal

understanding of urbanism and occupation within the city, while researching specifically one

place and site, as given within the studio.

Context: existing urban places

In understanding the idea of place within China, there is the opportunity for reflection of

non-place. The Sinocities project called for a redefining of public space within a generic

Chinese city. The winning project proposed a simple, programmatic idea of giving every citizen

a small cube- a "scube"- filled with soil, onto which he or she can project stories or dreams. The

choosing of the project emphasizes the trend in individualist ideas replacing the communal base

of defined public space.

More fascinating than the actual submittals, this competition brought on an interesting

question: What is a Chinese city, and what kind of impact does their rapid development have on

Chinese culture? The Sinocity accepts the speed of development, but also brings into









conversation the necessity to respond by providing theoretical cultural infrastructures. This

method however, questions the nature of a city as being an accumulation of history and life over

a physical place. The concept of a Sinocity envelops China as a field, although the 'point' does

not take an individual form. This context relies on a theoretical base at the scale of a country,

while the winning entry attempted to define the context of the invidivual. Therefore, the

application of the Sinocity requests an attention that is zoomed out and generalized. The detail is

not addressed in these generalizations, and can limit the extent of investigation within an

academic setting.

Although the Sinocity proposes an interesting framework for architectural intervention, the

contextual information was inadequate for a lower level studio given time restraints within the

project. Instead, the students were required to analyze and occupy Shanghai because of its

physical manifestation of historic and economic containment. The architecture within the city

becomes layered and intersected, with urban planning applied in the 1990's. Through the urban

plan, the question of a city identity has already been proposed with several responses. In

addition to Shanghai having covered specific planning credentials, the restraints on intense

information that have already been translated limited the city to being one that is highly

researched and published by both Asian and Western authors.

Issues: zoom out

The challenge becomes as follows:

This project will be a speculative and theoretical positioning within the urban context. The
city of Shanghai is a constant and active juxtaposition of traditional and modern
architecture. Although historically significant, Shanghai's identity has become
increasingly in a state of flux as China adjusts to modern lifestyles. The economic, social
and cultural development of China is responding to modernization, as China rises as a
world power. The perspective of the citizen- in addition to the scale of the city- becomes
crucial in responding thoughtfully and appropriately.3









Mapping of the city extends beyond a picturesque exercise in aerial graphics, but rather,

pushes into the dense strata of the city. Shanghai, being similar to Chinese ancient cities, is a

stacked palimpsest as well as a city expanding concentrically. There is an awareness and

requirement to first determine multiple issues within the city beyond the physical environment,

and then to understand their intersections and relationships. Scale is then implemented to

speculate and criticize.

The method of representation determines each approach. The plane of vision rotates, as

perspective creates a new way to view the analysis of the city. (Fig. 4-1) This technique serves

to generate and contain additional layers of information, and the construction becomes more

understood, revealing the intentions and position of the designer. Its application views the city in

an interesting state of flux, allowing the occupant to view the diagram as a whole, and

simultaneously, its critical moments.

Issues of time at different scales become as crucial as physical space in determining the

function of the city. The city becomes the body and the intervention is only one point that is

contained within.

Diagram: Zoom In

The structure of the assignments required the students to exist within an architectural void.

Formal compositions and aesthetics become crucially avoided in attempts to focus on the energy

between. This becomes the structure for the project, as each design is required to understand

architecture as a reaction to culture. This oblique approach allows the object to be responsive to

the physical as well as social and cultural context of Shanghai. (Fig. 4-2)

The main issue that is recognized is the recognition of the historic city. Although students

are often encouraged to re-define the context, Shanghai required careful understanding of the city

as a collage of eras.









The tower becomes the city.

places to Live the unit, repeated

places for Work & Play internal and external

places for Movement itinerary, horizontal and vertical

places to Gather eventspace

places of Exhibition the gallery, pause

places for Study scaled elements4

The program for the tower is categorized in a way that generalizes the city, primarily due

to the fragile vantage point of a second year studio. Although this innocence is deceiving as

students are able to bring individualized perspectives and positions on the project. The challenge

automatically steps away from overformal interventions, but into a critical organization of

components. (Fig. 4-3) These components within themselves are challenged, as well as their

relationship to the whole- similar to the viewing of a part and its role to the city. This approach

gives control over main components, but also requires a re-assessment of their intersections, as

students are challenged to consider or predict outcomes from human occupation. (Fig. 4-4)

Desert Project

Within the second project, students were required to exit a project driven by contextual

charges. The environment determined the program, which in turn, generated the diagram and

form. The desert project was proposed in opposition to this setting. The project is introduced as

follows:

The program will be one that utilizes the extreme conditions of the desert over seasons and
times of the day, and engages the cultural history of the desert. Handling environmental
conditions such as sun direction and intensity, temperature changes, direction and handling
of water will be important. The designs will reflect these assumptions.5









Although the project has a large impact in the school's curriculum that creates anticipation

and excitement by the students, the immense shift in context from the desert project emphasized

its challenge.

Context: void, nothingness

The desert as a landscape is an interesting contrast to the urban environment discussed thus

far. In looking at the desert, there is the provocative challenge to make a mark within emptiness.

In viewing the desert, blandness as described by Jullien becomes interestingly appropriate:

"Nothing here strives to incite or seduce; nothing aims to fix the gaze or compel the attention."6

The object within the landscape should attempt to understand and record this condition, and then

establish a relationship with the context. (Fig. 4-5, Fig. 4-6) This challenge can reflect issues of

scale within the Chinese landscape painting, where simultaneity of scales and objects allow

balance and movement.

Issues- zoom out

The relationship between the intervention and the landscape must become symbiotic and

harmonious. Students are challenged to first define their context, and then understand the impact

of the intervention with respect to that definition. The program then synchronizes the desert

occupant and the landscape, as it negotiates between person and place. Within this design

process, the students are given several organizing tools to assist in alternative approaches to

designing within a given context.

Balance: intervention and landscape

The students were given three categories: place, ritual, and container. In these categories,

the location, the person, and the architecture become realized and intertwined through issues of

scale, program, and aesthetic.

Place: relative place, scale: genius loci









Ritual: component, action; culture, native and foreigner
Container: form, appearance, and detail; architecture and materiality7

Through the challenge of intersecting these categories, the students understand the

generative significance of the context. The desert becomes unavoidable, as there is

responsibility to place.

Blandness

The existential blandness of the landscape should be transferable into any context,

assuming that its foundation is purely of a Chinese mindset (Fig. 4-7). Through the analysis of

nothing, there is an appreciation of everything. Monochromatic studies emphasize the emptiness

of the desert, yet are worked in parallel to reflections of the city. Focus is constantly moving,

adjusting to subject changes and climatic dispositions. Time is the mechanism of measure,

where the movement of the sun and the severity of the environment require a method that

structures design. Design can only evolve in response to these issues. Personal observation and

research creates an understanding the formless, allowing the designer to simultaneously express

conformity and innovation.

Programming

A non-formula was contrasted with a standard organization, typical of a given program at

the school and also in the profession. The categories for a standard organization were

Prayer- Oratory, chapel

Dining- refectory

Work / Study- library, reading rooms

Leisure- garden, landscape8

Through the application of context- the desert- alternative categorizations were established

and assigned in the consideration of each student's design:









Environment- light / shadow, materiality

Quantity- singular / communal

Time- hour / day / month

Movement- circulation / approach9

Through the non-formula, the context became the generator for the project, allowing the

project to adjust and form in response to the demands and qualities of its context (Fig. 4-8).

The Desert, zoom in

The image of the landscape is a powerful perspective for the Chinese. The flexibility of

the observer to move within the landscape painting communicates the very workings of the

landscape. Although the physical techniques of painting are specific to art, its principles can be

applied to observation and analysis of the landscape. Through this observation, design as a

process can engage effectively within its site.

Students were given the following principles of traditional Chinese painting. Through this

as a resource, one can step away from architecture and focus on the energies that structure space.

These principles detach the student from the design, as they work on the non-object: what can

exist as a response of what is already there.

Six Principles of Chinese Painting, Xie He, 5th Century

1. "Spirit Resonance", or vitality, and seems to translate to the nervous energy transmitted
from the artist into the work. The overall energy of a work of art. Xie He said that without
Spirit Resonance, there was no need to look further.

2. "Bone Method", or the way of using the brush. This refers not only to texture and brush
stroke, but to the close link between handwriting and personality. In his day, the art of
calligraphy was inseparable from painting.

3. "Correspondence to the Object", or the depicting of form, which would include shape
and line.

4. "Suitability to Type", or the application of color, including layers, value and tone.









5. "Division and Planning", or placing and arrangement, corresponding to composition,
space and depth.

6. "Transmission by Copying", or the copying of models, not only from life but also the
works of antiquity. 10

Paralleling the process of Chinese painting with making architecture allows for

understanding of Chinese methodologies and principles. The result is a detachment from

product, as the process of making becomes primary.

Diagramming the desert

The students are given an outline that gives 3 conditions in which to occupy the desert.

The diagram that allowed options on how they were to intervene within the desert. The

categories above, on, and below are physical organizers, while the cloud, shifting plane, and well

are spatial strategies that can generate placement and programmatic organization.

ABOVE ON BELOW
[] [] [] [] [] []-[]-[]-[]-[]
------- shifting [] [] [] [] []
cloud plane well

The occupation becomes a theoretical position, not a concern of the object or aesthetic

(Fig. 4-9). The intervention relies on contextual understanding of the desert as a primary

condition for design.

Call for Recollection

Ultimately, China is in the crucial state of tension between tradition and modernity.

Somewhere between is an identity that gives China confidence and pride. The negotiation

between conformity and continuity challenges the very nature of identity, as the China becomes

a place of contradictions." Modem architecture is objectified, yet bleeds into the inner workings

of alleyways and ancient tea rooms. Through the oscillation of these contradictions, the city

becomes an active body, communicating within itself and responding to the needs of society.










This simultaneous existence forms a continuous dialogue between the old and new, forming and

re-defining the shi that makes China (Fig. 4-10).

This final section is only intended to investigate opportunities for making that can

approach the ideas of development of China. These theoretical exercises were meant to

challenge issues of design and architecture, and to equip students to consider alternative

approaches that are appropriate to space and time (Fig. 4-11). Contextual understanding will

result in sensible and creative design, as the designer can be involved in the layers that exist

within that context.


1 Peter Eisenman "Diagram: An Original Scene of Writing"
2 See Appendix for Second year design 4 course syllabus

3This is an excerpt from an introductory assignment given to a second year design studio at the UF school of
architecture. Although research on the city was individually pursued, the human scale to the whole was highly
emphasized, as the students were constantly challenged to demonstrate flexibility within the scale of the city.

4 Categories taken from Building a New Millennium: Architecture Today and Tomorrow

5 See Appendix for Second year design 4 course syllabus
6 Jullien. In Praise of Blandness. Pg. 37.

7See Appendix

8 See Appendix

9 See Appendix

10 Xie He, 5th Century

11 Totalstadt: Beijing case. Pg. 307



































Figure 4-1. Shanghai Mapping (Model by Rudy Dieudonne)



























































Figure 4-2. Programmed Section (Drawing by Takuya Saeki)



82







TERMIH
VERTICAL TRANSPORTATION CORE
MARKET PROMENADE
CORPORATE HOSTING HUB
CONVERSATION PLAZA


PRODUCTION PLATFORM
READING ATRIUM
INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY TOWERS
HOMES
)N LOOP/ART STORAGE


urn


* --
-I


Figure 4-3. Programmatic Diagram (Drawing by Igor Kobyzev)


OBSERVATIC










L


Figure 4-4. Diagram negotiations (Drawings by Igor Kobyzev)


Figure 4-5. Desert context study 1 (Plaster casts by Jerrell Pittman)


*/ ... "
...........


Figure 4-6. Desert context study 2 (Plaster casts by Jerrell Pittman)














































Figure 4-7. Desert mapping (Drawing by Takuya Saeki)

















85





































Figure 4-8. Intervention within landscape (Model by Christopher Saunders)

















-c


Figure 4-9. Sections of intervention in landscape (Drawing by Rudy Dieudonne)


Figure 4-10. Beijing haze (Photo by Adam Gayle)


- ---- L ------- J I-t* h









APPENDIX
TEACHING ASSIGNMENTS

Tower

Project 2: The Urban Box: Vertical Occupation

Location: Shanghai, China

This project will be a speculative and theoretical positioning within the urban context. The city
of Shanghai is a constant and active juxtaposition of traditional and modem architecture.
Although historically significant, Shanghai's identity has become increasingly in a state of flux
as China adjusts to modern lifestyles. The economic, social and cultural development of China
is responding to modernization, as China rises as a world power. The perspective of the citizen-
in addition to the scale of the city- becomes crucial in responding thoughtfully and appropriately.

Assignment 2.1: Due MONDAY, January 28th

1. Construct 1 mapping relief model of Shanghai, contrasting the old and the new. This should
begin an understanding of systems within the city and how the city functions and is perceived.
This model should be not exceed beyond a 10" x 20" x 2" boundary, and should have
concentrated details in addition to larger scale infrastructural systems.

2. Construct 1 section drawing at 1:30 scale of a typical tower (min. 60 floors). This should
explore multiple techniques and media that capture the cultural and physical conditions of
Shanghai.

The following must be included*:
places to Live the unit, repeated
places for Work & Play internal and external
places for Movement itinerary, horizontal and vertical
places to Gather eventspace
places of Exhibition the gallery, pause
places for Study scaled elements

*categories taken from Building a New Millennium: Architecture Today and Tomorrow

Both parts of the assignment must display qualities and intensities of your own response to
Shanghai. Consider bringing in other resources that might give cues on how to intervene within
the city.

Project 2: The Urban Box: Vertical Occupation

Location: Shanghai, China









The impossibility to understand Shanghai in all its complexity gives us a narrow (individualized)
viewpoint in which to continue this project. Because of the focused nature of the project, there
must be a lucid position of its role within the city as well as ideas of internal and internal to
external relationships. Program should be determined- both general and specific- and space
accurately proportioned to each programmatic element.

Assignment 2.2: Due FRIDAY, February 1st

1. Scan and super-impose your mapping relief model of Shanghai into the section drawing of
your tower. RE-WORK the drawing studying the following:

FIGURE / GROUND relationships: Negotiate between masked and empty zones. What becomes
void in the drawing? Does this translate into space, or something else? How might this
characterize programmed spaces even further?

SEAMED languages: Work between your drawing and the 'foreign' scan. How do the two
pieces start to communicate? What parts are implied and others explicitly understood?

ENVELOPE methods: Understand this new generated edge, and its impact on interior and
exterior program. How can these forced overlaps interlock into the drawing? Can a new and
improved system of enclosure be implied?

(NEW) PROGRAM development: Strengthen the program by injecting the tower with
programmatic elements that challenge and re-define scale and human experience. What does a
city need to function or be entertained? Think outside of the box here, as it can be the driving
component to your project. Suggest this program through techniques specific to your process.

PROCESS investment: Look critically at your process through this project. Reflection on past
work can be a valid generator. Understand all aspects of this project, and challenge the
perspective in which they are interpreted. What are the critical ideas to your project, and how
can they be preserved and strengthened? Remember, it is more than what is required, but what is
beneficial for you to develop your project.

This drawing is expected to be intensely worked, actively combining all aspects of your process.
Remember that although this is still investigative, precision and sensitivity to 1:30 scale is
extremely important. Although you determine the method of combining the two, you might want
to consider scanning your drawing and digitally super-imposing the two and then work-either
digitally or by hand- over the drawing.

Project 2 The Urban Box: Vertical Occupation

Assignment 2.3: Due MONDAY, February 4th

Graphically and textually construct a proposal of a program for your tower. This should include
cohesive understandings of scale, access/movement, architectural intent, and an overall










sophistication of program complexity. A clear and well-thought position of the tower's
relationship to Shanghai as context should be fully integrated within the program.

Construct a relief model of your drawing, 2" thick max., using Bristol, acetate, museum board,
and printed media as the structure. The following must be addressed:

Suggest conditions transversal to your section cut, and begin to understand relationships of the
connections between programmed spaces.
Develop critical moments within your drawing and spatial-ize their conditions in more
volumetric nodes within the drawing. These moments can extend beyond the 2" dimension to
emphasize certain hierarchies and spatial complexities.
Understand the delicacy of the scale, and be able to successfully communicate a comprehension
of systems and detail.

Models must be capable of standing and be read on both sides. ONE transverse section can be
implied for structure as well as to clarify specific moments within your tower, and their layered
relationships. This is a tool to push the depth of your project through the more direct exploration
of layered and complex space. Wire can also be used as structural and graphic support.

Preliminary programs should be e-mailed to me no later than Saturday at 8:00pm. I will review
all proposals and reply with comments and suggestions. Program is crucial to the success of this
tower, so clarity and specificity is necessary. The city should be developed further as we
approach placement of the tower within a site.

Project 2: The Urban Box: Vertical Occupation

Assignment 2.4: Due MONDAY, February 11th

The next assignment will explore your tower in two parts. The juxtaposition of two extremes
should amplify the clarity of your project while surfacing specific issues that need further
investigation. There must be a flexibility to work between the two, as ideas should be precisely
communicated in both parts.

1. the LARGE SCALE

Construct 1 section at 1/16" scale that intensely investigates the tower as an itinerarial mapping.
When drawing, consider the following:

the diagram understand programmatically how the tower functions, and its relationship to the
city
the transversal speculate on what is in front and behind the section cut- spatially and
programmatically
the detail moments should be understood at 1/16" scale, with sensitivity to methods of
construction and materiality
the language consider synthetic techniques that are informative to your ideas and
methodologies











Re-evaluation and proportioning of your tower is imperative at the point in the process.
Understand that this project's aim is to understanding vertical occupation and movement.

2. the SMALL SCALE

Construct two models at 1:100 scale that re-assesses the diagram of your project.

Mass model: diagrams public and private spaces through use of a solid mass (i.e. wood, foam,
chipboard) and transparent mass (i.e. plexi, resin, wire framing). Challenge how these materials
can be detailed, imply scale, and how the two systems connect to each other.

Sensory model: maps out the experience of the building- considering light, exposure, materiality,
program, scale, density, relationship to Shanghai- through intentional use of specific materials.

These models must communicate clearly the positions of your tower, the sequencing of program,
and implied internal / external relationships. They will also explore the tower beyond a single
section cut, pushing through multiple axes to understand volumes of space and their proportions
within the tower. They should be well crafted and articulated to display as much information
clearly and accurately.

Both parts must be completed by Monday, February 11th at the beginning of class.

Project 2 The Urban Box: Vertical Occupation

Final Model parameters:

Scale: 1:30
Materials: any or all of the following: wire plexi metal museum board poured material
(resin, plaster, concrete)

Must be sectional, allowing viewing within the model
Must specifically address ground
Must communicate intensity of Shanghai urbanism
Must suggest circulation, structure and programmatic sequencing

In addition to the above requirements, include elements crucial to your project. Practice good
craft, as this will be the final product for this project.

Desert

Project 3: The Desert Landscape: Horizontal Occupation

Location: Taklamakan Desert, China

This project will study the physical and phenomenological extremes of the desert environment.
The beginning part of the project will focus on the analysis and understanding of the desert as









place, specifically the Taklamakan Desert. The juxtaposition of the desert landscape to the urban
context requires critical generators and cultural boundaries. Especially important will be the
cultural understanding of the practice of Chinese art and culture, as well as the concept of the
city, as studied in the previous project.

Assignment 3.1: Due MONDAY, February 25th

1. Research the conditions of the Taklamakan Desert, understanding its scale, material, weather,
occupation, climate, availability of water, etc. Be prepared to present information and hold a
discussion for Monday.

2. Read the article given as a contrast to the desert.

3. Construct one section drawing of the desert at 1"=50km scale (approx. 20" in length, 8" in
height). Explore the section in both ground and sky, understanding the research of the desert and
intertwining themes of the article. Technique is critical in the exploration of this drawing.
Consider all parts of the drawing to communicate ideas of the desert and city.

Project 3: The Desert Landscape: Horizontal Occupation

Location: Taklamakan Desert, China

I i gu6 hua
72JK- shui-mo hua

Six Principles of Chinese Painting, Xie He, 5th Century

"Spirit Resonance", or vitality, and seems to translate to the nervous energy transmitted from the
artist into the work. The overall energy of a work of art. Xie He said that without Spirit
Resonance, there was no need to look further.
"Bone Method", or the way of using the brush. This refers not only to texture and brush stroke,
but to the close link between handwriting and personality. In his day, the art of calligraphy was
inseparable from painting.
"Correspondence to the Object", or the depicting of form, which would include shape and line.
"Suitability to Type", or the application of color, including layers, value and tone.
"Division and Planning", or placing and arrangement, corresponding to composition, space and
depth.
"Transmission by Copying", or the copying of models, not only from life but also the works of
antiquity.

Assignment 3.3: Due MONDAY, February 25th

You now have 4 drawings that understand the relationships during the day and year within a
certain area of the desert. In furthering the investigation of site, we will now zoom in on the site
by 200% (approx 1:25m). In doing so, detail must be lucid and refined.











1. Construct 2 plaster molds, constructed from wood and textured surfaces that can accommodate
for a 1" pour. The two molds will be a combination of the following:

1 Day + 1 Year
1 Day + 1 Year

Remember, the monochromatic nature of the plaster will require that you interpret your ideas
into a language that can be readable and precise within this material constraint. Careful
awareness of craft is crucial in the success of the pour. There will be discussion of the molds
before plaster is poured, covering both theoretical and pragmatic issues.

Project 3 The Desert Landscape: Horizontal Occupation
Location: Taklamakan Desert, China

There are 3 conditions in which to occupy the desert:

ABOVE ON BELOW

[] [] [] [] [] []-[]-[]-[]-[] - -
- -[] [] [] [] []

cloud shifting well
plane

Assignment 3.4: Due MONDAY, February 25th

PROGRAM: Monastery Complex

standard ORGANIZATION

Prayer ................. oratory, chapel
Dining................ refectory
Work / Study ....... library, reading rooms
Leisure............... garden, landscape

OTHER CATEGORIZATIONS

Environment.......... light / shadow, materiality
Quantity.............. singular / communal
Time.................. hour / day / month
Movement.............circulation / approach

Scale: individually scaled to fit on 12" x 18" (scale must be stated)










Construct a set of layered drawings with 3 separate layers, each exploring the conditions stated
above of cloud, plane, and well. Techniques of collage must be combined with line and tone to
begin organizing programmatic components within the landscape. Use several methods of
interpreting and grouping program. The drawings must relate specifically as well as indirectly to
each other. Consider the occupants of this construct: who is staying? Who is visiting? How
many can stay or visit? When is the monastery occupied? How does one get there?

Have your drawings completed by class on Friday and be prepared to present your work.

Day 1
The PLACE
Location: Taklamakan Desert, China

As the art which creates, architecture both shapes it and leaves it free. It not only embraces all
the decorative aspects of the shaping of space, including ornament, but is itself decorative in
nature. The nature of decoration consists in performing a two-sided mediation; namely to draw
the attention of the viewer to itself, to satisfy his taste, and then to redirect it away from itself to
the greater whole of the context of life which it accompanies.

Hans-George Gadamer, Truth and Method

Think and record through narrative the approach of the monastery in the desert.
technique- the diagram, collage

Day 2
The RITUAL
Location: Culturally defined

There is an important difference between two kinds of actions, actions done by man and actions
done by man in the belief that their efficacy is not human in any reducible sense, but proceeds
from elsewhere. Only the second kind of action can be called ritual.

Roger Grainger, The Language of the Rite

Construct a narrative on the co-existence of native and the foreign occupant.
technique- text, image

Day 3
The CONTAINER

The breath of a house is the sound of voices within.
The house gains immortality when it becomes only a thought that ceases to exist.
When a woman smiles in a house, Death tries to imitate her.
John Hejduk, "Sentences on the House and Other Sentences"










On the Theory of calligraphy: "When shi comes, do not stop it; when it departs, do not hinder
it,"- on the one hand there is the "configuration", on the other, the "potential"... one "considers"
the "form" of the character from the perspective of its appearance, on the other one pursues"
the shi through the lines traced, appreciating the effects of tension produced by the alteration of
different strokes. The body of the character is seen as evolving.
Francois Jullien, The Propensity of Things
Attempt a "dialogue" between architecture and person.
technique- sketch, freehand

Project 3: The Desert Landscape: Horizontal Occupation

Location: Taklamakan Desert, China

There are 3 conditions in which to occupy the desert:


ABOVE


BELOW


[] [] [] [] [] []-[]-[]-[]-[] - -
- -[] [] [] [] []


cloud


shifting
plane


well


There are three dimensions of the project


RITUAL CONTAINER


relative place
scale

genius loci
native &
foreigner


component
action

culture
materiality


form/appearance
detail

architecture


Assignment 3.7: Due Wednesday, March 18th

Construct a relief model using three sheets of material

1 thin transparent (acetate)
1 thick opaque (museum) or 1 thick transparent (plexi, plexitate)
1 thin opaque (Bristol)

Each layer must be assigned to one of the 3 conditions of the desert- above, on, and below. The
relief model should explore the three issues of place ritual and container; meaning scale,
program, diagram, and detail must all be included in addition to conceptual or speculative


PLACE









qualities. Treatment of the materials (scoring, spraying, drawing) as well as excavation should
fuse the three layers physically and/or conceptually. Separate small scale pieces can be added to
connect the layers and explore issues of occupation and architecture. All models must be
constructed at 1" = 30'. The precision of this step is critical in understanding the scale and
design of the project, so be meticulous in craft and content.

Project 3: The Desert Landscape: Horizontal Occupation

Location: Taklamakan Desert, China

The desert is now understood as two hemispheres: one of ground, one of sky. The design of the
monastery is a device that connects and negotiates between the two. Concepts of
phenomenology, temporality, movement, and position have been driving the project forward as
atypical strategies of establishing design. Now we will look at fragments as cues into
understanding the whole. This will further compose systems within your design, as the
requirement of the detail affecting the whole will give intention to all scales addressed.
Programmatic conditions should still be pursued, and are required to influence the internal and
external conditions of space.

Assignment 3.9: Due Monday, March 24th

Part 1

Construct one map that fuses the three sections together through architecture, landscape,
itinerary, or other phenomenological reasoning. The mapping should investigate these issues
holistically, as well as through fragments and detail. This process should be completed through
strategically staggering and locating the sections within the map, and selectively drawing
conceptual tangencies between each- through plan, section, perspective, or other
controlled/measured technique. Consider influences in Chinese painting and analyze technique
of using layered elevations and monochromatic materials. Materiality will be self-determined.

Part 2

Make three fragments of the monastery at 1/8" scale, being sensitive to human proportion and
issues of materiality, program, and context. These three will become the generators to assist in
completing the project. Therefore, these fragments should be carefully and thoughtfully chosen
and crafted, with possibility to communicate and organize ideas beyond its own content. The
size and amount to include in each fragment should be intentional in every dimension.

Remember to continue developing positions on program- their organization and inter-
relationships- as well as conditions of ground and sky. Maps and models will be discussed
thoroughly on Monday as a project midterm, so please be on time and ready to present with
completed work.

Location: Taklamakan Desert, China









The experience of parallax-the change in the arrangement of surfaces defining space due to the
change in position of a viewer-is transformed when movement axes leave the horizontal
dimension. Vertical or oblique directions of movement through urban space multiply its
experience. Spatial definition is ordered by angles of perception.
Steven Holl, Parallax

Due Friday, April 11th

Perspective Constructs

Construct 3 perspectives that explore internal conditions of the intervention. Conditions of light,
proportion, materiality, program, and connection to context should all be investigated critically
and clearly. Technique should further analyze these conditions, considering the drawing as
collage. All perspectives will start with an internal photo of the model, and layered with drawing
and other media. They should be printed and/or worked on 3 separate 1 1x17 sheets of paper.
The drawing should not cover more than 60% of the paper, and its position within the sheet
should be carefully considered.










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Chang, Yung Ho. "A Very Brief History of Modernity." Luna, Ian and Thomas Tsang. On the
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Chen, Xiaomei. Occidentalism: A Theory of Counter-Discourse in Post-Mao China. New York:
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Dal Lago, Francesca, et al. "Space and Public: Site Specificity in Beijing." Art Journal 2000: 74-
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Dawson, Layla. China's New Dawn: An Architectural Transformation. Munich: Prestel Verlag,
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De Silva, Anil. The Art of Chinese Landscape Painting. New York: Crown Publishers, Inc.,
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Gaubatz, Piper. "Changing Beijing." Geographical Review 85.1 (1995): 79-96.

Goodman, Bryna. "Improvisations on a Semicolonial Theme, or, How to Read a Celebration of
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Hui, Wang. "Mixing: 2008 Beijing Olympics, City and Architecture." Beijing Shanghai
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Huters, Theodore. Bringing the World Home: Appropriating the West in Late Qing and Early
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Jullien, Francois and Graham Parkes. "The Chinese Notion of "Blandness" as a Virtue: A
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Kogel, Eduard. "The Last 100 Years: Architecture in China." Jansen, Gregor. Totalstadt. Beijing
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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

Jennifer Daniels graduated from the University of Florida School of Architecture with a

Master of Architecture in 2007, and graduated with a bachelor of design in 2005. While

studying at the University of Florida, Jennifer focused her research on the cultural stresses of

Asia, and completed her master's research project on the cities of Dandong and Sinuiju, located

on the border of the DPRK and China. She has spent the past year researching the developments

of China economically, culturally and architecturally. She also has participated in projects that

focus on urban development in Korea. She is now residing in New York City and is employed

with Belmont Freeman Architects.





PAGE 1

SINO-IDENTITY: THE CONSIDERATION OF METHODS IN THE MODERNIZATION OF CHINA By JENNIFER CHONG DANIELS A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLOR IDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF SCIENCE IN ARCHITECTURAL PEDAGOGY UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2008 1

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2008 Jennifer Chong Daniels 2

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To my family who always support me, and to Ho fer and Gundersen who never stopped educating me. 3

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I never realized the importance of effective education until I became a part of the student body at the University of Florida School of Archite cture. I thank the facu lty for their roles as professors, advisors, and colleagues. They challenged and supported me, and allowed me to become a responsible designer and educator. In particular, I thank Professor Hofer, Professor Gundersen, and Professor Bitz for supervising me through my research, and supporting my teaching. Their guidance and richness of knowledge and advice allowed me to push my research and define myself as a designer. I am also thankful for my pare nts who educated me as a person, and encouraged me to be considerate and thorough. Lastly, I thank my sist ers, Linda and Lisha, who have been my friends through all events of my life, challenging me to persevere through my problems and giving me advice along the way. 4

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TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS...............................................................................................................4 LIST OF FIGURES.........................................................................................................................7 ABSTRACT.....................................................................................................................................9 CHAPTER 1 AN INTRODUCTION...........................................................................................................11 China Searching......................................................................................................................11 China Responding...................................................................................................................11 Architecture as Clothing..................................................................................................12 Chinese Education and Practice......................................................................................13 Hyper-Modernism...........................................................................................................14 The Blossom Style...........................................................................................................16 Critical Regionalism........................................................................................................17 Global and Local Perspective..........................................................................................18 The rapid, the Generic: the Sinocity................................................................................20 2 ZOOM OUT: THE SITUATION...........................................................................................28 The Physical as Context..........................................................................................................28 Understanding Modern China.........................................................................................28 Urban Blending: Beijing..................................................................................................31 Action and Reaction........................................................................................................37 Movement as Context............................................................................................................ .39 Linking Modernization to Culture...................................................................................40 Defining Modernization and Modernism........................................................................40 Westernization and Modernization..................................................................................40 Intersections of East and West................................................................................................42 Occidentalism and Form..................................................................................................42 The City as a Body..........................................................................................................43 Distance and Viewing the Whole....................................................................................44 3 ZOOM IN...................................................................................................................... .........53 Introduction................................................................................................................... ..........53 Chinese Principles...........................................................................................................53 The Static.........................................................................................................................53 The dynamic.............................................................................................................54 The object.................................................................................................................55 Shi and Xing ............................................................................................................................56 5

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Spatial Suggestion...........................................................................................................57 Mimesis vs. Actualization...............................................................................................58 Poetry and Calligraphy as Lens.......................................................................................59 Blandness................................................................................................................................60 Landscape Scrolls as a Lens............................................................................................60 Harmony..........................................................................................................................61 Hierarchies.......................................................................................................................62 Translating into Space.....................................................................................................63 Blandness in Society........................................................................................................63 Architectural Application................................................................................................64 4 1 TO 1: RESPONDING THROUGH ARCHITECTURE......................................................70 Introduction................................................................................................................... ..........70 The Diagram...........................................................................................................................70 Pedagogic Alternatives......................................................................................................... ..71 Introduce Education as Method.......................................................................................71 Tower Project..................................................................................................................72 Context: existing urban places.................................................................................72 Issues: zoom out.......................................................................................................73 Diagram: Zoom In...........................................................................................................74 Desert Project..................................................................................................................75 Context: void, nothingness.......................................................................................76 Issues: zoom out.......................................................................................................76 Balance: intervention and landscape........................................................................76 Blandness.................................................................................................................77 Programming............................................................................................................77 The desert: zoom in..................................................................................................78 Diagramming the desert...........................................................................................79 Call for Recollection.......................................................................................................... .....79 APPENDIX: TEACHING ASSIGNMENTS................................................................................88 Tower......................................................................................................................................88 Desert......................................................................................................................................91 BIBLIOGRAPHY..........................................................................................................................98 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH.......................................................................................................101 6

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LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 1-1 Beijing: contrasting the old a nd the new (Photo by Adam Gayle)....................................23 1-2 The Olympic National Stadium by Architects Herzog & DeMeuron (Photo by Adam Gayle).................................................................................................................................23 1-3 CCTV Headquarters by OMA Arch itects (Photo by Adam Gayle)..................................24 1-4 The National Beijing Theater by Architect Paul Andreau (Photo by Adam Gayle).........25 1-5 Skyscraper with bamboo s caffolding (Photo by Adam Gayle).........................................26 1-6 Temporary calligraphy with water (Photo by Adam Gayle).............................................27 2-1 Juxtaposing contemporary architectu re in Beijing (Photo by Adam Gayle).....................48 2-2 Tiananmen Square and the axis to the heavens (Photo by Adam Gayle).........................49 2-3 Boundary and Scale, Tiananmen Square (Photo by Adam Gayle)...................................50 2-4 National Swimming Center by PTW Architects (Photo by Adam Gayle).......................51 2-5 Human scale within an urba n field (Photo by Adam Gayle)............................................52 3-1 Beijing city walls (Photo by Adam Gayle).......................................................................67 3-2 Beijings landmarks (Photo by Adam Gayle)...................................................................68 3-3 Modern calligraphy (Photo by Adam Gayle)....................................................................69 4-1 Shanghai Mapping (Model by Rudy Dieudonne).............................................................81 4-2 Programmed Section (Drawing by Takuya Saeki)............................................................82 4-3 Programmatic Diagram (D rawing by Igor Kobyzev).......................................................83 4-4 Diagram negotiations (D rawings by Igor Kobyzev).........................................................84 4-5 Desert context study 1 (Plaster casts by Jerrell Pittman)..................................................84 4-6 Desert context study 2 (Plaster casts by Jerrell Pittman)..................................................84 4-7 Desert mapping (Drawing by Takuya Saeki)....................................................................85 4-8 Intervention within landscape (Model by Christopher Saunders)....................................86 7

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4-9 Sections of intervention in la ndscape (Drawing by Rudy Dieudonne).............................87 4-10 Beijing haze (Photo by Adam Gayle)...............................................................................87 8

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Abstract of thesis presente d to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Degree of Master of Architecture SINO-IDENTITY: THE CONSIDERATION OF METHODS IN THE MODERNIZATION OF CHINA By Jennifer Chong Daniels August 2008 Chair: Adeline Hofer Cochair: Martin Gundersen Major: Architecture Throughout recent decades, China has emerged as a leader in economic and capitalist reform. In a rapid response to these changes, Ch inese culture has been ex posed to influences of Western lifestyle and soci eties, as the West has become an im age of success. In this exposure, the exchange of cultural perspectives and lifesty les has led to a surge in modern architecture within Chinas urban centers. Impressive projects by world-renown architects are making their way to this country, as the architecture world obser ves with anticipation. Although the developments of modern archit ecture in China are an image of their achievements, the question of its Chinese authenti city brings another ques tion: what is Chinese design? In researching this question, Chinese methodologies, beliefs, and practices must be fully understood. Through this understanding, an architectural response to China as a context can be both imaginary and sensitive. Through this paper, I will discuss the issues of modern China in its relationship to aesthetic, culture, politics, and arch itecture. In a more internalized perspective, I will also follow the research of Sinologist Fran cois Jullien, as I ap ply his research on Chinese lifestyle and process to the field of design a nd urban planning, to gain the pe rspective of a Chinese citizen. 9

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10 Through this research, The Chinese lifestyle can be understood, allowing process and generation to become affective and applicable. The implementation of technique is further pursued in the academic institution, where students are required to execute techniques specific to Chinese methodologies and spatial organization techniques. Through this application, strategies for approaching design in China can simultaneously be accurate and cross-cultura l. The context that drives design expands beyond a physical realm and intersects issues of time, space, and perspective. These design strategies result in considerate, culturally charged projects that are generated from their context.

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CHAPTER 1 AN INTRODUCTION China Searching There is no doubt that China is in pursuit of an identity. Throughout its history, this fragile country has oscillated between and evolved fr om internal and more recently through global conflict. With ethnic and technolog ical juxtapositions, China is just beginning to define itself. Because of dramatic shifts in their political a nd social exposure, the Chinese people are left to question: What is Chinese? Identity determ ines how a society will function and contribute, especially within the context of globalization. Without this st ability within identity, China endangers the preservation and de dication to a long history of tr adition and community. (Fig. 11) During this time of physical development, the designer is then left to interpret and respond to this intangible c oncept. This challenge cannot be det ached from the design process, as the designer becomes a participant of this social context. China Responding Everyone is trying to map out the affects of Western influences in China. Although being recently exposed to the West, China has implemen ted foreign cultural infrastructures within its own urban societies. Specificall y, there are several design appro aches that have been applied with their own reasoning and concerns. The auth enticity of these adopted techniques must be identified and challenged; therefore it is crucia l to examine these approaches critically and through several vantage points. Issues of time and space become variables within these methods of approach, as architects and ur ban planners take on the challenge of interpretation. What is Chinese versus non-Chinese begins to be unders tood, or misunderstood, as elements of culture are placed into specific perspec tives. Methods of Chinese designe rs take on an internalized 11

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understanding of Chinese culture, while contribu tions from the West must begin by questioning the very nature of identity and its manifestation into design. Architecture as Clothing I must begin with the quote from the archit ectural historian Lia ng Sicheng for my fellow-countrymen, architecture is lik e clothing. The role of archit ecture is at a constant state of flux. Yung Ho Chang claims that architecture can determine the potential for transformation and reinvention of a city.1 It should be preserved and chal lenged, understood and transformed. The struggle to find a balance becomes more comp lex than the blossom st yle or the construction of pure replicas. It must first be accepted that the Chinese way of life is moving toward a more Westernized lifestyle. Since the 1980s, the f unctional and visual landscape of Beijing has been transformed into a city of specialization.2 Urban form and organization reflects this revolution. Architecture can either catalyze this shift th rough the continued invitation of foreign architects to build, often at va st scales, an environment for the developing society. Or it might choose to hamper this progression, if even as a moment of reflection and self-awareness. Regardless of approach, architecture in Beijing has become a forefront in moving China into a thriving nation. Recent construction has emphasized the object w ithin the landscape. In the previous section, the discussion of Chinese spatial strategi es applied conditions of Chinese perspectives and methodologies to determine inter-relationships within and around given environments. The challenge is to interpret current construction through the understa nding these principles. Several works, including the Beijing National Stadiu m by Herzog and De Meur on, CCTV Headquarters by Rem Koolhaas and OMA, and the National Be ijing Theater by Paul Andreau, are designed by prominent global architects. (Fig. 1-2, 1-3, 1-4) These projects become objects, iconic of national achievement or identity, which creates a sublime landscape3, also becoming a 12

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materialization of the success of China as a wo rld power. China is the focus of architecture advancement, as these projects ch allenge contemporary technique a nd aesthetic. This method of design demonstrates a new occident al perception where architecture is the measure that separates China from western principles. Iro nically, it is the intersection of these principles that creates the architecture that in turn stages the interaction of cultures. Place now becomes defined by the architecture, not by the city. The object within the landscape exists as the object, not as an active re lationship between objects. Architecture as an icon communicates an internationa l language that responds to change of a nation. This change determines and defines a new technique or pr ocess. Traditional methods have now been abandoned, rippling into the applicat ion of design and the structure of society. The identity of place is in a state of flux, and ch ange cannot be measured or predicted. The blandness that was once interpreted in the landscape of China has b een challenged by global influences, pressuring China to form an identity that can be converse beyond one culture and into other modern societies. Chinese Education and Practice The development of design education w ithin China provides a framework for understanding the theories and posit ions of the future Chinese architect. While architecture was once only developed through traditional methods of generational passing of information, the introduction of institutional structures allow more explicit translations and conversion of architecture as a practice. Chinese education in architectu re now severs the link between historical Chinese architecture and modern and west ernized construction. Hi storic architecture is only learned as a means for preservation that only responds to pre-existi ng architecture, voiding the important issue of the mass construction occurring within the country. In design education, architecture and construction now focuses on the development of style and technique.4 This 13

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learning adjusts to the influences of global architecture, with emphasis on Western design practice. There is an importance in the education of architecture that has yet to be implemented. Szesny5 compares the mentality of the Chinese people that experienced the reign of Chairman Mao as an erased computer hard disk. Through recent history, the Chinese people have been stripped from their traditional roots, making way for a new defini ng on the functions of society. This incidental Tabula Rosa gives opportunity for evolution of culture, but also becomes a risk in the depreciation of cultural and historic depth. In response to recent globalization movements, China has been exposed to west ern lifestyle and values. The adaptation of foreign lifestyle becomes easier for the Chinese that have recen tly experienced such cultural erasure. The thought that to accept modernization is seen as movement forward and the clinging to traditionalist ideals is backward keeps developing China in constant pursuit of a new international culture. Hyper-Modernism Can there be a Chinese transformation of Western Modernism and Hyper-Modernism in a constructive manner in the following years and decades in Beijing and other cities in China? What are the forces in the Chines e tradition that are capable of delivering a cultural transformation of modern architecture and urbanism as originated from the West? This is in fact not about transformati on between cultures horizontally, but about transforming instrumental modernity through the use of tradit ion and locality as cultural resource, a universal proble m encountered everywhere.6 There is a current rush to understand the po ssibilities for this transformation, although the bounds within working seem absent beyond locali zed constraints. In stead of a horizontal exchange, which encourages overlap or replacemen t, can there be this transformation that is evolutionary, symbiotic and progressive? Does this extend beyond finding a Chinese typology? There becomes a necessity on intersecting culture with urbanism, tradition with architecture. These intersections form a context that is constantly in flux, adju sting to the surge of change. 14

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But the determination between native and fore ign becomes fused. Through the concerns of cultural assimilation, Western lifes tyles cannot replace what is Chinese. But as a proactive response to this understanding, we can ask: What is Chinese that can impact beyond its physical boundaries? The challenge of balancing appropriate application of tradition and scale with the insertions of intense modernism forces the de signer to have a positi on on place, time and technology. Hyper-Modernism deviates from this balance, pulling towards establishing a new landscape, challenging and re-def ining the concept of harmony between the old and the new. Jianfei Zhus propositions for a Chinese tr ansformation of Western modernism and hyperModernism include: Chinese think and develop large projects holistically; they are interrelated and collective. There is a coexistence of larg e and small scales; there are macro frames and micro spaces, xing and shi. The position of the human subjects and subjectivity become apparent without the subjective object.7 The city is about the space: courtyards, alleyways and streets, without buildings becoming objects. The following composition intersects Chinese positions with Western positions of architecture. In these relationships, Zhu dem onstrates an understanding of the condition and proposes a spatial consideration that responds direc tly to that condition. This begins to establish a Chinese interpretation of a Western appro ach, proposing a methodology specific to Chinese culture. Within this solution, th e strength of architecture is cont ained in Chinese principles. The object within the landscape transforms into an interac tive condition based on Chinese perspective. Although this proposition of Zhus understands the va lue of Chinese interpretation and application, it neglects process, as a mean s of working, ultimately focusing on the productthis becomes a transformation of Hyper-Modernism. 15

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The Blossom Style Some current Chinese architects and city planners choose to imitate traditional architecture, especially in the 1990s, someti mes harshly juxtaposing these elements with modern design. This insensitivity leads to a ju mbled identity with unint entional repercussions on society. The vocabulary of traditional archit ecture is haphazardly a pplied, as paint, onto buildings. Chinas attempt to preserve or update tr aditional architecture is in direct response to the socialist and modern styles of architecture that were imported during the mid 1900s. This response parallels the post-modernism that was simultaneously occu rring in Western countries. Post-modernism, as a disillusioned reaction to the harshness of modernism, re-visits and reinterprets classical styles and superim poses these with modern elements. Traditional architecture now beco mes a material, applied in details as a faade. This strips away the meaning of historic architecture, as an awareness of architecture over time is falsified. This style has been labeled as blossom-style architecture, and refers to the utilization of historic features not as a res ponse to function or belief, but to create a Chinese version of Modernism.8 The Dong-An Shopping Center, located a few blocks from the Forbidden City in Beijing, is an example of the blossom-style, with a traditional architectural identity in overall design and form, with modern detailing. This bui lding promotes simultaneous unity of historic and modern architecture simply through its physical combination of styles. Yan believes that in Beijing, contextual designs often re fer to those that present a harmony with their context, never a contrast to it, rather than us ing the contrasting of architectural characteristics as a means for observed preservation, or by relying on more subtle guidelines such as details, proportions, or rhythms within the immediate context. This is seen through buildings like the Palace of Nationals and the National Gallery of Arts. Toda ys construction is pulling toward the latter, such as the Dong-An shopping center that was prev iously mentioned. Criticizing this method of 16

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design, Zhan Wang, an artist in Beijing, built his Artificial Mountai n Rock sculpture in front of Beijings West Train Station to mock the face reconstruction of a traditional architectural idea.9 Because of these direct intersections of cultural, social and design shifts, I will be using Beijing later on as a local study of th e issues I will investigate. Critical Regionalism Western theories of new architecture ofte n require a simultaneous and balanced coexistence between the old and the new. Critical regionalism is an approach that allows contemporary design to explore elem ents or concepts of historic context and to redefine those ideas into an architectural styl e that reflects current aesthetic s and methods of construction. Although this approach is directed for areas with deep traditions as a me thod of participating in modernism, the push for modern architecture can seem to suggest the abandonment of traditional practices. Timber as a disposable material has historically allowed for demolition of buildings at points where there were shifts in history. This separated historic Chin a from neighboring Europe that built with permanent mentalities. Also, th e use of wood was additionally reinforced by the interpretative framework of trad itional Chinese thought, which saw cy clical change as the will of heaven.10 Replacement is a method of rejuvenation and restoration. In contrast, timber construction in China today is extremely rare. In following modern architecture, glass, steel and concrete become materials of c hoiceall of which evoke a sense of permanence that blocks the ability to re-gather and cycle through. This permanence can be contrasted with traditional calligraphy that is used with wate r instead of ink as a temporal ex pression that can be replaced with other characters in a short period of time. (Fig. 1-5, 1-6) Th e disregard for cyclical change that Szesny mentions separates the Chinese citizen from traditional expression, narrowing architectural experience and inte rpretation into a more westerni zed channel of thought. The co17

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existence of the old and the new requires that the new understands the principles and context of the old. In addressing the idea of univers alism, Kenneth Frampton argues: we have the feeling that this single world ci vilization at the same time exerts a sort of attrition or wearing away at the expense of the cultural re sources which have made the great civilization of the past. This threat is expressed, am ong other disturbing effects, by the spreading before our eyes of a mediocre civilization which is the absurd counterpart of what I was just calling elementary cultureIt seems as if mankind, by approaching en masse a basic consumer culture, were also stopp ed in masse at a subc ultural level. Thus we come to the crucial problem confronting na tions just rising from underdevelopment. In order to get on to the road toward modernization, is it necessary to jettison the old cultural past which has been the raison detre of a nation?11 This argument is fascinating because it includes th e impact of modernization in many fields and respects issues of time as well as place as consid erations for defining culture. The challenge now becomes: how can a culture sustain and absorb the shock of modern civilization without abandoning the historic layers that define that culture? Mode rnization of science, technology and politics can be prescribed only to a blank societycultural differe nces hinder this easy transition. There is an unfamiliar juxtaposi tion in countries like India or China where technological advancement has grafted itself on an unchanged people. What is the detriment to these scenarios? There is more to intersecting modern sources with cultures deeply involved in historic traditions. Global and Local Perspective Other architects feel that in order to move forward, one cannot look back. Architecture should not involve the overemphasis or preservation of heritage and seek to incorporate historic architectural elementsthese build ings are considered to lack a response to current culture. As reformers, these designers pursue unsympathetic bu ildings that require oc cupants to look toward an innovative way of living. Yan proposes that th is change is to appropriately express the ideas of contemporary philosophy, spirit and culture. This often in cludes the warm welcoming of 18

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foreign offices to intervene and re-define th e environment in which they are building, as mentioned with the constructions paralleling the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Foreign architectural influence is the beginning of what is hope d as a leap into modern lifestyle. This method of zooming out can be applied in al l directions of architecturefrom the urban grid to the architectural floor pl an, as well as to all dimensions of process. The impact of the gesture must be strong enough to carry the projec t through transformation, clear enough to affect all parts of development. The diagram becomes a reference as well as a generatorstagnancy is not an option. Although it is questionable whethe r to consider the diagram, being a Western perspective, in Chinese scenarios, there is exte nsive research and commitment to this idea in architecture and urbanism in the United States an d Europe that can be translatable or applied. Andrew Boyd, in comparing town planning of China and Europe, understands that Chinese approach grew from few principles that were set from the beginning, or through tradition and culture. This holistic appro ach thus creates harmony and unity of the entire city.12 In viewing the city as a whole, which corresponds to Y ung Ho Changs city as a body concept, overall composition begins to bring importance to the diag ram as a scale-less element that can determine the functioning of the city. Formal composition is not reliant on indivi dual structures, as Western cities allow, but through social and poli tical influences that impact organization and interaction simultaneously at all scales. Chinese modernization has demanded urban and architecture research using international channels. Often, these are through the hosting of international competitions, or to the direct commissioning of projects to archit ects outside of their own countr y. Therefore, the question is: does the integrity of holistic thought get transf erred to these external influences? Through examination of recent proposals and built work, it is ar guably true to think that this transfer is not 19

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pursued or even required. The immediacy of mo dernization replaces thes e values set by a nation deep in tradition and theory. These issues ar e presented later on through the careful mapping of current development. The rapid, the Generic: the Sinocity Now, modernization is developing at a speed that makes the status of its end unpredictable. Anthropologists, sociologists, ur ban planners, and even artists are desperately struggling to record its movements, and follow its rippl ing effect within Chinese identity. In efforts to understand this movement, archite cts are rushing ahead to catch development in its tracks. In 2006, a competition was launche d that demanded the exploration of public space within a generic Chinese city, the Sinocity.13 The aim was to retrofit urban public space into the city, requiring participants to esta blish a position on the growth of urban China, and also create a design that responds to that position. The re sults of the competition become individual interpretations of the situation. In analyzi ng their responses, we can begin to understand the intentions of architects intervening within China. The first place entry, submitted by a Chinese firm, was a social response, giving each family unit a one meter by one meter box that becomes the individual familys greenspace This commentates on several issues: first, that Chinese life is pulling toward a life on individualism, in comparison to the communal nature of Chinese people. The shift from community to the individual suggests that the im portance of the singular takes precedence in the establishing of a society. The mode rnization of this country allows a re-ordering of priorities. The object within a field becomes the focus, rather than the inter-relationships that pre-determine object or place. Second, this en try proposes that green space cannot be retrofitted into an urban plan. Instead, it is expected to adapt to physical and so cial constraintsco nstraints that have become more restricting with th e speed of modernization. The greenspace becomes privatized, 20

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21 similar to capitalistic principles, giving ownership of the idea, but not th e physical making of the city. The Chinese people are forced to sit back and watch the cities get constructed right in front of them, with little consent, or time, to challenge. Perhaps this is in an attempt to keep up with development, as a progressive movement toward something perceivably better. Public space therefore cannot be planned: it is only by giving the people th eir city that they can take ownership. It strengthens Jein fei Zhus position where urban pub lic space in Western cities occur as beginning markers that the city confor ms around, while Chinese cities define nodes within the built environment, re-defining and ch allenging the identity and function of spaces within the city.14 1 Yung Ho Chang/ Atelier FCJZ, A Chinese Practice. Pg 47. In his teaching process, Chang challenges his students to be highly flexible as a response to the intensity and speed of current lifestyles and demands. Instead of replacement of the historic elements of China, Chang attempts to interventio n as a voluntary action where the architect must challenge conven tional ideas of urban living. 2 Piper Gaubatz, 1995. 3 Zhu. Beijing: A Dialogue. Pg 330 4 Nancy Shatzman Steinhardt, China: De signing the Future, Venerating the Past, In The Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, Vol. 61, No. 4, Pp. 537-548, Society of Architectural Historians, 2002. Steinhardt compares education practices of China, noting its lack of incorporation of architectural history and a key component in an architects training, including historical trends, social movements or human experience. She addresses the difficulty of accessing historic info rmation on Chinese architecture because of its inaccessibility of texts and documents, and the difficulty of perfor ming fieldwork, both because of politi cal tensions and the destruction of many historic buildings. She gives credit to Liang Sicheng for bringing Chinas architecture and history to public attention after his studies at Harvard University in 1927. 5 Andreas Szesny, "A2: Changing Chinese Architectural an d Building Traditions," Bert Bielefeld and Lars-Phillip Rusch, Building Projects in China: A Manual For Archit ects and Engineers (Basel: Birkhauser Publishers for Architecture, 2006) 14-24. 6 Jianfei Zhu, "Beijing: A Dialogue between Imperial Legacy and Hyper-Modernism," Gregor Jansen, Totalstadt: Beijing Case (Karlsruhe: Cornerhouse Publications, 2006) 330-334. 7 Zhu. Beijing: A Dialogue. 8 Dr. Bert Bielefeld, Lars-Phillip Rusch. Bielefeld and Ru sh approach this issue sympathetically, noting that most intentions are to solve the issue of tradition vs. modernism. The application, however remains premature and inconsistently. 9 Francesca Dal Lago. Space and Public: Site Specificity in Beijing, In Art Journal, No. 59 Pp. 74-87. College Art Association, 2000. Dal Lago interviews four Beijing artis ts on their perspectives of art and the new urbanism of

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Beijing. She notices the massive transformation of Beijing, and investigates this impact on a local level. Site specificity of art becomes a challenge, as site is constantly being shifted. 10 Dr. Andreas Szesny 2006. 11 Kenneth Frampton, The Evolution of 20th Century Architecture. Pg 85. Frampton discusses this condition as Universal Civilization and National Cultures, from 1935 to 1998. He studies this idea of exchange of regionalism, challenging the very definition as it is only to be discovered elsewhere. He also warns of a subtle destruction of culture and tradition, which in turn can eliminate what he determines as the ethical and mythical nucleus of mankind. 12 Andrew Boyd, Chinese Architecture and Town Planning 13 Sinocity Competition, 2006. www.sinocities.net 14 Zhu. Pg 52. Zhu argues that the Chinese do not require a central space fo r gathering, and that urban space in the Chinese tradition lacks such a space being defined, open and urban as Western public space. This difference is a response to difference in lifestyles. The Chinese are more inclined to gather at spaces that are already conducive to congestion, such as street intersections, city gates, bridge s, or river banks. This difference also demonstrates the lack of urban planning in historic Chinese cities, and al so the structural breakdown of localized communities within the city. 22

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Figure 1-1. Beijing: contrasting the ol d and the new (Photo by Adam Gayle) Figure 1-2. The Olympic National Stadium by Architects Herzog & DeMeuron (Photo by Adam Gayle) 23

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Figure 1-3. CCTV Headqua rters by OMA Architects (Photo by Adam Gayle) 24

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Figure 1-4. The National Beiji ng Theater by Architect Paul A ndreau (Photo by Adam Gayle) 25

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Figure 1-5. Skyscraper with bamboo scaffolding (Photo by Adam Gayle) 26

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27 Figure 1-6. Temporary calligraphy with water (Photo by Adam Gayle)

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CHAPTER 2 ZOOM OUT: THE SITUATION The Physical as Context This section will lie out the situation th rough the writings of Jianfei Zhu and other Sinologists and designers that work specifically with China. China is a country responding to the pressures of globali zation and modernization. A country that was once focused internally on issu es of cultural identity and tradition is now challengedand has determined as a goalto esta blish a national identity that reflects outward. Historic political, social and physical impacts have created a country fragile yet eager for this change. The attempt to update must critical ly negotiate between cultures and methods of thinking. The contrast between the East and the West has never been clearer, and their intersection more applied. Through zooming out, we will get the opportunity to view speculative is sues of urbanism and the process of modernizat ion. Through these issues, we can understand the problematic situation of modern China. Understanding Modern China Through theoretical formulas and studies, Ch ina as a nation has addressed, in various degrees, the impacts of Westernization and mo dernization, and has recently embraced itpolitically, economically and socially. The definition of culture is now constantly being updated, and the importance of national iden tity is stronger than ever. Architecture and the development of urbanism become essential methods of esta blishing an iconic iden tity. Cities are being constructed and scattered as ec onomic pockets within China, a lthough their social and cultural identities have yet to be fully understood. China has developed in to an aggressive country with desire to push modern principles into the development of cities.1 Shenzhen became an 28

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experiment of modernism and economic deve lopment, labeled by Deng Xiaoping as the xingxiang gongcheng or outward appearance project. The demand for visible skyscrapers surpassed the funding available, as many buildings remained unfinished. Although only partly successful, this project recognized the role of architecture as a marker and generator for a society. One of the advertisements states, Jus t development is a consis tent principle, evoking an understanding of development as necessity for success. After the communists took contro l in 1949, the City Planning Bu reau was established as a group that would define the relationship between context and modern architecture. They understood that preservation was crucial in retaining the culture and heritage of Beijing. In 1958-1959, Chairman Mao Tse-tung restored Tiananme n Square as an iconic node within the city. He found importance in preserving the Tian anmen Rostrum and the Qian-Men Gate Tower, since socialist principles required the utilization of national heritage within the framework of a new culture. 2 This awareness clearly recognizes the role of architecture and its importance within a society. The City Planning Bureau knew th at the architectural styles of the city would serve as historic markers of the countrys cultu re. As a result, Beijings identity has, and continues to be only contextuali zed and preserved in concentrated fragments. More importantly, architectural style is valued. The Bureau formed a sub-comm ittee in 1983 that would focus solely on monitoring the aesthetics of new buildings and their relationship to its historic context with regard to height, scale, form, color, landscape, and environment. Current trends of the building boom, follo wing the Communist movement create a superficial awareness of value and tradition. As early as the 1950s, in fluences within China pushed for a new attitude that argued for new design to be juxtaposed with the old. This applies beyond small-scaled elements of ornamentation a nd detail, but to spatial organizations that 29

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structure a household. The trad itional courtyard house, the hutong, is now replaced by cruciform towers. This inversion creates a new construct that severs the interaction between and within households. By removing the courtyard, there is no longer a smaller scale space for family or multi-family gatherings. The inward reflective organization of the hutong house is inverted in the cruciform plan that pushes views to the outsid e. If allowed, I might propose that this very organization that has been in place within Chin a is largely responsible for the family-oriented culture that defines the values and beliefs of th e Chinese people. By disrupting this with the cruciform or other dense housing stru cture, the strength of the family is severely altered. This will become the beginning of modern life within China, leaping away from the value of family structure and into the individualized drive of a modern society. Szesny also compares the idea of transition with in the Chinese culture. In ancient culture, change yi was understood as a phenomenon of shift and transformation. Current China refers also to development fazhan as a key element that drove the Cultural Revolution and the Chinese people into accepting external influences of lifestyle. Deng Xiaoping coined the motto development is the absolute principle, furthe r emphasizing the need to move forward into change. This re-interpretation establishes the abi lity of a society ingrained in tradition to adjust to transformations in culture, politics, and national pursuits. After the Cultural Revolution, China was left stripped of a c oherent understanding of history and its value. They were constantly being pushed forward into fazhan, creating a progressive nati on. As a result, Chinese society, and Beijing at the head, is anticipating modernization, often keeping only a superficial focus on historic preservation. Often, there were negative connotations of political and national turmoil that created indifference or protest against c ontextual-ism and preservation. The desire of the Chinese people 30

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to sever themselves from their past allows for their rejection of symbo lic architecture. Chang defines modernity for China as: A modernity from without: Modernity = opening-up = influences from outside, mainly the West The most important Western theory imported: Marxism The notion of architecture as a body of know ledge as well as profession was also introduced from the West. In other words, architecture is modern in China. As a result, the issue of cultural identity has existed from the very beginning of modernity. A split modernity: On one hand, a modernity that is nothi ng but ideology Marxism and Socialism On the other, a modernity voided ofand sometimes avoided ofsubstance: Modernist style vs. modernity: as discussed above in architecture. Modernization vs. modernity: tec hnology, in the form of a flus hable toilet, automobile, and air conditioner, is valued above scie nce and other forms of modern thinking.3 In this definition, Chang understands the parallel s of modernity to the political st ructure of socialism. Concurrently, he sees architecture as a principle th at becomes imported as part of modernization. Through the ultimate rejection of Marxism, there is a contrast between these acquired importations (the toilet, the automobile) and the void of identity. Urban Blending: Beijing Beijing was established through carefully consider ed layers of tradition and history. From the focus of inward traditional organization during Imperial China, construction of monumental Sino-Soviet architecture, and contemporary Westernized design and methods has brought great shifts in the city developments. (Fig. 2-1) These juxtapositions of style and organization create a patchwork of cultural identities, as the Chin ese nation struggles to understand and preserve ethnicity and culture. My aim is to understand Chinese methodol ogies, and their execution into spatial configurations. The turbulence of China s history requires that the city atmosphere be surveyed critically within these three eras, but also the transitions into each in attempts to understand internal and external influences and th e reactions that result ed. The city is often 31

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understood and defined as a plan. The city plan of Paris gives th e city a specific identity that separates it from New York or Tokyo. The plan generates a holistic a nd often iconic image of the city, allowing the occupant to navigate and interact. This va ntage point does not exist at the human scale, nor contains the laye red qualities of city life. The c ity in perspective delves into the simultaneous atmospheric conditions that resu lt in the definition of experience. In this perspective, the occupant is al so constrained, masking out conditi ons that might be understood in plan, allowing movement, itinerary and scale to become the primary components that define the urban experience. While a plan represents intentions of designe rs and authority, that is, ideology, a spatial field reveals a domain of embodied, day-to-day social practice, which includes naturally political practice. In other words, space contains a field of power relations. -Jianfei Zhu, Chinese Spatial Strategies What becomes the perception of space? Can it be generalized or st ereotyped? Can its definition cross cultural borders? Within these questions, Beijing can be analyzed in how it can define an urban identity. Through conditions of culture and history, Beijingbeing representative of China as a countrycontains immaterial fact ors that push the bounds of the physical plan of the city. It now involves spatial perspectives and cultu ral lifestyles, requiring the designer to consider issues beyond what can be generalized. These conditions must become specific to China and the Chinese culture, furthering the pursuit for identity. Jianfei Zhu, in trying to discover spatial strategies, determined that his research should not restrict itself to the confines of Chinese arch itectural history or the history of Chinese city planning (nor) follow a chronolog ical or descriptive approach as these methods result in restricted or shallow research. Instead, ther e must be an analysis of history, subjecting historical material to social and synchronic an alysis, and critical de bate and theorization.4 The 32

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challenge, therefore, is to look at historic and contemporary environmentsgeographic and cultural/ cross-cultural. There needs to be a full understanding of cultural perspectives as well as influences, pushing beyond issues of architecture Due to limitations in which my research is pursued, I will agree with Zhu and zoom in on the local condition of Beijing. Because of the depth of its history, Beijings architecture is, according to X. Winston Yan a comprehensive expression of the meanings and beliefs of tradi tional Chinese culture.5 The city becomes a palimpsest of history, consisting of layers of infrastructu re for living for several centuries. The contrast of densely placed one-sto ry houses and colorful imperial buildings create an interesting balance within the city, both shar ing architectural elemen ts that create a close relationship between the two. Beijings role of being the most important city in China has shifted over centuries of Chinas history. After its establishment ar ound 2400 B.C., it became the capital during the Yuan, Ming, and Qing dynasties. It re-assumed the role when Chairman Mao Zedong established the Peoples Republic of China in 1949. It is considered by the Chinese to be the center of the cosmos, referred to sp atially as the axis mundi. (This concept of location as place is challenged later on.) Monumental architecture was aligned with these cosmic axes. (Fig. 2-2) These buildings demonstrated phys ical and aesthetic quality, but also communicated beyond into spiritual compositions, connecting the emperor to the heaven and the earth. Zhu discusses two sites: the celestial and th e terrestrial. Each type corresponds to the ritual performed, and the role of that ritual as a connector betw een two sides. Celestial sites ar e distributed to the periphery of the city, possibly in attempt to connect back to the natural and harmonious landscape of China. The implementation of distance becomes a method of detaching oneself from the constraints of the city. Terrestrial sites accumulate within the ce nter, as a means to allo w access to the city and 33

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all classes of the citizens. Through cultural ap plication, these sites ar e activated through two conditions: lines of movement and points of interface.6 This activation is precise and spatially considered through the organization of the sites, th eir relationships to each other and the city, and their importance within national identity, belief and tradition. Massive stone walls established barriers for the imperial city and the houses and temples of the citys elite. (Fig. 2-3) This barrier syst em severs the Chinese peopl e, and hierarchy between classes became more apparent. Internalized neighborhoods devel oped their own cultures that specialized in crafts and trades specific to the needs of othe r groups. Through specialization and trade, cultural exchange was frequent. The wall as a barrier becomes as powerful as space itself by determining access and communica tion between and within the city. The concept of figureground relationships is challenged as mass, void, pos itive and negative space is visible in the city map, and understood through the physical occupation of the city. During the rise and occupation of Co mmunism, from the 1950s through the 1970s, Chairman Mao destroyed all but one of the historic gates of the city, possibly as a rejection of historic conditions of the city, or as an effort to cling on to lo cal manifestations of the idea of centralized power through Tiananme n Square and the surrounding area.7 The destruction of the urban structural element was a means to open th e society, allowing intera ction physically with the city; symbolically it opened Beijing to the world. Beyond th is change in historic Beijing, new significant constructions were placed accord ingly to respect the traditional approach of placement on the north-south axis. Large multi-functi on buildings re-structured the social layers of the city, almost eliminating the need to venture beyond a small neighborhood.8 The city of Beijing becomes a city layered in section as well as plan. Th is concept is visible through comparison of the plan and elevations of the c ity. Although there are harsh north-south routes 34

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running through the city, this permeabili ty is only conceived in plan, as the section of the city deconstructs the city as a whole, but as a series of contained ar eas. The scale of the citys architecture undermines the strength of these axes. Though compacted sp atially through scale the section of the city, boundaries tend to overlap and slip past the othe r, allowing breath-ability, access and movement between parts. And ultimatel y, the attempt to over-structure Beijing into self-sustaining compartments failed, as concentr ations of functional sp ecialization developed in pockets within and on th e outskirts of the city. As cultural erasure became a national process, the Chinese attached to Soviet principles, relying on Socialist outlooks to defi ne their lifestyles. Education was strictly limited, as readings of the Red Book were required. Monumental arch itecture became crucial in establishing Beijing as a business and administrative center for the newly established Peoples Republic of China.9 Tiananmen Square and the Great Hall of the Peop le were just a few of the 10 Key Architectures constructed to establish Beiji ng as an industrial and business hub. Through the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976), the people of Beijing ove r-ran the city with illegal construction, disregarding tradition and ancient buildings. Ancient Chinese architecture became fragmented between densely constructed housing units as a resu lt of the growth of the city, and the nation, as a business power. The Great Hall of the People, one of the 10 Key Architectures celebrating the PRC, reflects the monumental scale and proportion of fascist ar chitecture. The flattene d traditional roof cannot emphasize the horizon, as large vertical columns bring attention to height possibly to represent the growth and expansion of China. The Nationa l Museum of China, also built in 1959, anchors the east side of Tiananmen Square. Massive pila sters anchor the corners of the building faade, with the traditional style roof wedged between, as mere ornamentation. The Chairman Mao 35

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Memorial Hall disregards the hei ght of the historic city, pushing up 110 feet tall, with thick columns creating a shell around the building core. This building resembles buildings constructed in neighboring Socialist and Fascis t nations, rather than the trad itional architectural style of Beijing. This juxtaposition between two styles ma rks the Chinese nation at a junction of political and cultural structures. In 1962, the China National Museum of Fine Arts was constructed in traditional Chinese style in a new attempt to refl ect the purpose and function of the building and to preserve the nations trad itional archite cture. Post 1979 urban development of Beijing aimed at establishing zones within the city that were divided by the citys axes. Since 1979, the city has accepted Western principles in urban planning, and citizen input was disregarded in the overall scheme. This contrast to the internalized and localized devel opment of historic China shifts Chinese society into a more structured and sterile environment. The city becomes a field that requires adjustment and adaptation by the citizen, instead of the reactionary ro le of the city to Chinese lifestyle and heritage. Preservation of historic courtyard houses occurred in clumps as an effort to keep hold of traditional Chinese architectur e through stylis tic references.10 Other, often dilapidated, housing neighborhoods were either redeveloped or planned for re development, taking over six million square meters of urban Beijing and its immediate vicinities. The large amount of remaining poorly constructed courtyard houses is a result of the Chinese people refusing to abandon the traditional architecture. Instead of adjusting during turbulent times, they fled to the countryside, but when the re-occupied the structures they often converted th e courtyards to infill for subdivided dwelling. This re-defining of the function of a courtyard house emphasized a change in social structure and Chinese culture. Severing itself from tradition, Beijing citizens 36

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began to pursue development and occupation of th e city that maximized function. This marks the conforming to modernist principles and the focus on functionality a nd productivity. With the contrast of frantic building and rich historic context, the city of Beijing is becoming a focus of attention for Modern architec ts. Beijing has been established as a testing ground for architects from the West to experi ment beyond what their home countries would tolerate. Through its reconstruction, Beijing has become a great opportunity to many of these architects, as a city that is in need of and desires updating. Chinese architect Wang Yun states that with the highly publicized World Olympics campaign, Beijing can be described as Po-JiuLi-Xin or destroying the old and establishing the new.11 The architecture world observes the progress of the CCTV tower by Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas, looking at the building as a branding of an architect rather th an a piece that fits perfectly in its Asian context. The National Stadium by Swiss firm of Herzog & de Meuron is a self-contained disk that refuses to reference the environment it has landed in. And the National Swimming Center by PTW Architect, including Chinese architects, is a scale-less illuminated box that only communicates internal program of the building. (Fig. 2-4) The Na tional Grand Theater by French Architect Paul Andreu is a blank white egg-shap ed building, indifferent to its cl ose proximity to the Great Hall of the People and Tiananmen Square. As a ne w urban culture is developed, understanding and respect for the old is challenged; these constructi ons reject the insertion of Chinese architectural style and are perceived as icons in a faceless landscape. Action and Reaction Historical events (from Imperial China th rough the Great Chinese Cultural Revolution, CCP and execution of Marxist principles) have forced a devel opment of the city that becomes a generator for cultural identity, as in most cities with hist orical context. Due to the specific nature of China, the typical understandi ng of developing architecture as a reflection of culture cannot be 37

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applied accurately. Instead, current insertions of modern architecture reverse the role of architecture as being responsive to changes in cu lture, as architecture is now placed in a culture that has yet to be identified. Architecture is now used to focus identities, instead of being a direct byproduct of environmental changes. The void of identity pushes China into the pursuit of global recognition, although the methodologies are not quite aligned. The current status of Chinese modern architecture, and its force w ithin the redefining of this developing nation, greatly contrasts, through westernized methods, the role and aestheti cs of historic architecture. This change in cultural environment in Beijing indicates the beginning of an assimilation process of cultures into a generalized Ch ina, redefining the identity of China as a nation, especially through the perspective of the citizen. In this process, the co nnection to cultural renewal is lost, as there is an uncommitted acceptance of superficiality.12 This merger contrasts traditional definitions and understandings of Chinese architect ure, as identity adjusts to modernization. Architecture now becomes popularly injected with characteristics of western architectural elements as a method of cultura l re-defining, taking out issues of preservation and cultural individuality. Social and ethni c identity and consciousness is challenged and redefined as the Chinese citizen adjusts to this environmental change. Modern China has committed itself to economic growth, since its exposure by Deng Xiaoping. The push toward modern lifestyle has forced development to accommodate desired urbanism. Gaubatz even argues that economic change influences urban planning which then influences the functioning of a society. Ab andonment of outdated concepts becomes necessary in the struggle to keep up with this demand. He su mmarizes the development of Beijing as: reflect(ing) both shif ts in planning philosophy and po licy and external influences and capitalization.13 Architecture evolves from economy, de railing itself from culture-driven 38

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forces and principles. Matthias Wehrlin predic ts that the next movement within Chinas societies will call for a period of self-confident reflection on own traditions and values. This will result in construction that will rely on specific place, people, and need instead of mass building of faceless cities that are occurring today in China. The introduction of Western lifestyle into Chinese culture has impacted the growth of China as an emerging world power Westernization, as a strong contrast to this typically traditional environment serves as a catalyst fo r economic and socio-political growth, in both positive and negative directions. Mass invasion of these influences have created a fragile definition of modern Chinese society, and its often awkward relationship to the tradition and history of China. Perhaps the current issues of architecture and its role in Chinese society is a necessity, and will become as significant in Chinese history as Im perial China in its role in establishing a rich and dynamic Chinese culture. The consequences of the Communist movement leave a blank cultural slate. Modernization imposes learning in multiple dimensions, strictly contrasting the education experienced by the ge neration during the Communist era. China must adapt to this new mentality. Architecture, as a physical structure for society is taking the first steps toward a new era. Through intervention of Western practice, often by foreign archite cts, Chinas cities are experiencing uprooting at large de nsities of traditions and heritage. Preservation as a strategy might be the solution for the scale of a building, such as the Tiananmen Square complex or other monumental constructions, but the way of life of the Chinese peopl e will constantly adjust to new architecture and urban development Movement as Context In addressing issues of context, one must question the dimension of its definition. With consideration of culture and hist ory, time sets up another context in which people occupy. It is 39

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within this context where lives are formed and developed, communities emerge, and society evolves. This moving context requires its occupa nts to recognize change and adjust appropriate to its application to physical place. Linking Modernization to Culture To begin the investigation of the relationshi p of modernism and contemporary process in design to Chinese society, I must first preface w ith explaining the role of modernism within culture. The definition of modernism is controve rsial and contradictory, and the influences of modernization are blurred. With consideration of these challenges, I will attempt to describe this concept that will help structure its unique application within China, as well as its effect to Chinese culture. Defining Modernization and Modernism Initial assumptions on modernis m focus mainly on science and technology, in large part to the surge of scientific advancements beginning from the Indu strial Revolution. The progression of a society follows these issues but only as a response. In th is light, modernism expands far beyond technology, and forces these re sponsive interactions between cultures, politics, and social movements. It characterizes development to ward higher and better living, compared to nonprogressive lifestyles of traditions and working. It creates a social field that revolves around specific trends on social infrastructures, i.e. politics, consumerism, religion. Westernization and Modernization In beginning this se ction, I must first disclose the di fferences between Westernization and modernization. The interstitial separation between Westernization and Modernization can be an opportunity for China to transfor m methods based on internal prin ciples. Westernization limits the perspective based on cultural constraints; which China cannot mimic. The adoption of 40

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Western theologies would requir e long lengths of exposure and an inevitable abandonment of what can be defined as Chinese culture. Within China, modernism has been tightly linked with Westernization, and movement away from traditional philosophi es. The Chinese regard modern ization as signifying mainly national wealth and power as well as a visi on of a better society and human existence.14 Chinese scholars, as advocators for the moderni zation of China, defined modernization as the development of natural sciences, industry, the cultivation of scientific thinking and the rationalization of ideas, att itudes and social behavior.15 This perceived awareness of inferiority to Western culture challenges China to re-discover their traditional values within the context of modernity. Interpretations of Confucian teachings stress the importance of human development as a continual process, allowi ng the individual to adjust to accommodate progression forward. Therefore, Chinese culture is now being challenged through newly impressed values of modernization. Conservative reformers invented the zhongxue wei ti, xixue wei yong formula that calls for Chinese learning for the fundamental principles of social li fe and Western learning for practical application.16 The preservation of values allows culture to transform while maintaining its critical role within a society. Raymond Williams described it as: Culture emerges as an abstraction and an abso lute; an emergence which, in a very complex way, merges two responsesfirst, the recogni tion of the practical separation of certain moral and intellectual activities from the driv en impetus of a new kind of society; second, the emphasis of these activities as a court of human appeal, to be set over the processes of practical social judgment and yet to offer its elf as a mitigating and rallying alternative.17 It must be emphasized that modernization step s beyond material and physical measurementsit shifts the mind of a society.18 Governmental impositions on society have a huge impact on how the nation adapts to change. The Cultural Revolution severely encouraged the updating of lifestyles and investing in Westernized societies. The national identity within China becomes shaped through politics, war and social moveme nts. National identity theory prioritizes 41

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domestic societal factors as more critical in the defining of identity th an are external causes that formulate a physical countrythis search for identity within Ch ina becomes situation specific.19 Modernism strictly forbids complete repl icas of the past; it must generate from history into a progressive cu lture that intersects with technology and innovation. Intersections of East and West Within this context of time, the contact between different cultures gives opportunity for interpretation. Often translati on and status can challenge the e ffectiveness of interpretation, as the perspective of an individual begins to understand a society and culture. Through intersections of Asian and Western cultures, the need for appropr iate and accurate interpretation has never been more in demand. Through interp retation, a culture can learn and respond to issues of lifestyle and approach. Occidentalism and Form The perspective on Western culture as Th e Occidental Other has given China an opportunity to identify through comparison. The Italian missionary Matteo Ricci was the first westerner to be accepted by the Chinese in 1582, and was able to inform the Chinese that they were not at the center of the universe, but only lo cated in the northern hemisphere of the earth. This geographic categorization contrasted Ch inese method of thinking, where placement was determined not by the physical, but through the movement and balance of energy. Through the awareness of western thinking, China has been cha llenged to develop a Chinese approach, and to understand it through labeling, a we stern methodology. This idea of label and form contrasts traditional thought of shi yet occurs only as a result of in teraction with western culture. At the heart of the search for Chinese m odernity in Chinese thinking and in some of Chinas most important intellectuals stands a huge paradox. Wang Hui, Contemporary Chinese Thought and the Question of Modernity 42

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The attempt to modernize China while rejecting Western ideals has formed an internalized controversy that requires intense filtration and criticism. While trying to avoid conformity to Western lifestyle, Eastern cultures have pushed toward modernization as a means to establish achievement globally. Through the Cultural Revol ution, China made efforts to determine a modern society without the adoptio ns of Westernism. This deni al was to preserve a national identity, which was crucial during Mao and postMao rule. The paradox that Wang Hui presents states that although there is a strong attempt to push toward a modern China technologically while rejecting socio-political or capitalistic mi ndsets, the Chinese cannot deny the awareness of these issues, therefore allowing their existence to effect the process of modernization. The lifestyle is critici zed yet unavoidable. The perspective of the individua l also determines the effect of modernization. The claim that the Chinese individual does not internalize Western influences sugges ts that there is an attempt to preserve Chinese values while pushing toward a more modern society as a whole. Although this infiltration of modern perspective can quickly present Western values and trends as acceptable. The sensitive ba lance of this filter cannot be controlled or adjusted to accommodate the attempts to preserve the Chines e culture. Instead, focus on what is modern incidentally pushes China to follow all component s of a modern society that can result in contrasting and overlapping cultural positions. The City as a Body Yung Ho Chang refuses to move into a site without warning, instead he finds a discreet means of infiltration. This is not classical medicine or surgery, but intervention by an acupuncturist who considers the body as a whole and makes an overall diagnosis of the problem. Unlike Western medicine, which isol ates the problem and works solely on the affected area, Chinese medicine treats the body as a system in its own right. If the city is such a system, each building, each piece of architect ure is an essential part of the totality. -Project for the 21st CenturyLaurent Guttierez and Valerie Portefaix 43

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In comparing the city to th e body, the architect becomes the acupuncturist, fully aware of the whole while focusing the close relationshi ps between points. The vitality of the body, qi moves within the channels or meridians, j ngmi. There is an interplay of relationshipsa chicken vs. egg argumentthat give s urban-ists confidence that thei r role as master planners of these channels is crucial to th e functioning of the city. But this analogy that Guttierez and Portefaix construct provides a different ment ality to addressing urban issues through the application of Chinese thought. It explores a more crucial issue: the impact of one point should resonate something beyond its local context. Pe rhaps it becomes the stimulus for something beyond its physical extremities, or the solution to the inner workings of the city. The systems within the city are required to submit to this underlay, the qi of the city, and not contrast the citys importance and identity. Transportation, zoning, even the installation of a stop sign or a traffic light must inevitably consider its effect to the city as a living form. Distance and Viewing the Whole There is a perceived understand ing in viewing the whole. The scales of things begin to avoid detail, as seams between zones become simplif ied into lines. This distance allows one to understand the gesture of the idea; to see the city as a body. It can be argued wither this scale is relatable to human occupation, that perhaps it does not affect the actual experience of the person. I would choose to disagree. Fran ois Jullien claims that distance makes it possible to take in a vaster landscape (and) also renders it more accessi ble to contemplation, for distance, as it were, rids the landscape of all the wei ght of inessentials and restores it to the simple movement that gives it form and existence.20 There is a method of functioning, of circulating and engaging that is determined by configurationsthe organizatio n of the city. This structure determines a differentseemingly non-Westernapproach on viewing the detail and the whole simultaneously. 44

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This method also allows for the integration of the intangible and immeas urable influences of culture and society. (Fig. 2-5) Active participation within the city cannot exist solely on localiz ed issues, but should address the city holistically. This approach allows the arch itect to intervene neutrally, integrating their building into the fabric of th e city. Although this neutrality should be a reflection of an understanding of the city, it does not restrain the architect, as they should challenge the function of the site locally while juxtapos ing it with the urban strata. Through this perspective, the control is self -determined without compromising the awareness of the city as context. How can an architect respond to a local project with this attitude? Historically, China has disengaged urban pla nning from social conditions. Although there is a severe lack of research regarding these issues, as stated by Jianfei Zhu, China is now undergoing massive transformati ons through globalization and modernization that require analysis of urban growth a nd cultural development. Toda y, the question about a Chinese approach to spatial design acqui res a new significance. In th e past two decades, amidst the forces of globalization, China has managed to rege nerate itself, and is transforming itself into a modern, industrial and mercantile power.21 So the challenge becomes: what are Chinese spatial and architectural strategies? Can the identification of these issues be determined through examination of precedents or current analysis of Chinese lifestyle? The next question becomes: does todays development of China abide by such principles? Western perspective has a large influence on the modernizing of China, but is it possible that this foreign lens is becoming principle in the design of modern China? To determine this first requires extensive mapping of current and past design and the relationshi p of design to process and methodology. The 45

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46 transformation of this country in response to modernization can be analyzed in their relationship to culture and to architecture. 1 Luna, Ian, Structural Contradictions, In On the Edge: Ten Architects from China edited by Ian Luna and Thomas Tsang, Pp. 27-34, New York: Rizzoli International Publications Inc, 2006. Luna states that architecture becomes an expression that results from a very unique series of events, especially focusing on the last three decades where politics and economic stabilities have generated a re-defining of culture. 2 X. Winston Yan, 1996. The Great Hall of People and the Museum of History were designed to fit the historic context, as a rejection of Western mode rnism architectural style. This built a large amount of nationalism within the country, as they placed more value on historic Chinese architecture over cu rrent external arch itectural trends. 3 Yung Ho Chang, A Very Brief History of Modernity. On the Edge. Pg 11. 4 Jianfei Zhu, Chinese Spatial Strategies, pg 9. 5 X. Winston Yan, 1984. 6 Zhu, pg. 209. Zhu discusses in great detail the five different religious rites: Auspicious, Commending, Military, Guest and Inauspicious (ji li, jia li, jun li, bin li, xiong li). Each of these scenarios are defined and categorized through three structures: Semantic differentiation, Spatia l location within the city, and temporal fixation on the calendar. He uses this categorization to understand the effects of the ritual on spatial organization, orientation, and location. The intense analysis of these events further st ructures China as a place, but also a culture with order, tradition, and persistence. 7 Dr. Andreas Szesny, 2006. 8 Piper Gaubatz, Changing Beijing, In Geographical Review, Vol. 85, No. 1, Pp. 79-96, American Geographical Society, Jan 1995. Socialist China established a structure that stratified cities into degrees of occupation. This reconstruction only occurred in fragments, as the historic hutongs and maze-like organization of courtyard housing constrained development. 9 Fang Yong, BeijingHistory and Historical Architecture, in Beijing, Shanghai Architecture Guide, A+U, May 2005, A+U Publishing Co, Tokyo 2005. Yong states that Chinese experts debated on the importance of protecting the ancient city, but issues of preservation were halted to pursue more important political projects. 10 Piper Gaubatz, 1995. 11 Wang Lun, The Coexistence of History and Modern Times, in Beijing, Shanghai Ar chitecture Guide, A+U, May 2005, A+U Publishing Co, Tokyo 2005. 12 Eduard Kgel, The Last 100 Years: Architecture in China. Pg326-327. In this synopsis of Chinese architectural history, Kgel runs through movements that often shadow Western trends. The Postmodern concept is paralleled to Symbolic Form, where simplified forms and metaphors esta blished themselves as references in order to ensure a sense of continuity and identity. Unfortunately, this resulted in a simplification of cultural response and a heightened commitment to the commercial industry. 13 Gaubatz, Piper, Changing Beijing, In Geographical Review, Vol. 85, No. 1. Pp. 79-96, American Geographical Society, 1995. The new form of Beij ing is stated: In a remarkably short ti me Beijing has experienced proliferation of high-rise architecture and its incorporation as a main feature of the expanding central business district; separation of residential and industrial areas, the development of mixed residential and commercial neighborhoods, economic differentiation of neighborhoods, creation of enclaves for foreigners, industrial-development zones, adjustments to accommodate additional vehicular traffic, and beginnings of a subway system.

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14 He Ping, Chinas Search for Modernity: Cultural Discourse in the Late 20th Century, pg. 1. Ping states that it is through this perception that a cultural discourse for modernity was developed and pursued. According to the Chinese, culture evolved from the meaning to tattoo and to transform. This definition transfers from historic application into the modernization process. Ping also argues that culture is a constant, unchangeable parameter of history, as the mode of thought and pattern of behavior underlying the political structure, economy, science and technology of society [that comes] to the fore of intellectual discourse.(pg 74.) This in parallel to the meanings of to tattoo and to transform understands culture as a moving body that can adjust to its context, while simultaneously affecting its context. This interplay can be challenged in the Zoom In section of this paper that investigates the relationships of culture and architecture. 15 Ping. Pg 13. 16 Ping. Pg. 77. this cautious modernization allowed for a p ractical separation that gave alternatives to adopting full principles of Westernization. One Chinese philosopher, Zhang Zhidong established the term guocui (national essence) as a way to describe aspects of Chinese lifestyles that were significant to national identity, and which departed from the realities of the modern West. 17 Raymond Williams, Culture and Society, 178 0-1950 New York: Harper & Row, 1958 18 Zi Zhongyun. Notes The Relationship of Chinese Traditional Culture to the Modernization of China: An Introduction to the Current Discussion. In Asian Survey, Vol. 27, No. 4, Pp. 442-458. University of California Press. 1987. 19 Kim, Samuel and Lowell Dittmer, Whither Chinas Quest for National Identity, In Chinas Quest for National Identity, Pp. 237-290. 1993 20 Franois Jullien, The Propensity of Things. Pg. 95 21 Jianfei Zhu, Chinese Spatial Strageies: Imperial Beijing 1420-1911. pg 1. Jianfei Zhu presents Beijing as an indicator for understanding order within the city through geography, the city as a whole, palaces as political systems, ceremonial events, and the aesthetic and composition of space. 47

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Figure 2-1. Juxtaposing cont emporary architecture in Beijing (Photo by Adam Gayle) 48

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Figure 2-2. Tiananmen Square and the axis to the heavens (Photo by Adam Gayle) 49

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Figure 2-3. Boundary and Scale, Tianan men Square (Photo by Adam Gayle) 50

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Figure 2-4. National Swimming Center by PTW Architects (Photo by Adam Gayle) 51

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52 Figure 2-5. Human scale within an urban field (Photo by Adam Gayle)

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CHAPTER 3 ZOOM IN Introduction This section will discover a set of spatial principles at work in Chinese culture through the work of French Sinologist, Francois Jullien. Francois Jullien is a French Sinologist who, in pursuing his own histor ic theological roots, has questioned the nature of Westernnamely Greek and Romanprinciples and methodologies. In the beginnings of his research, Jullien pushed toward understanding these cultures by contrasting them to what can be considered as Western, opening his resear ch to China. Jullien has since invested his scholar ship in taking and understand ing Chinese methodologies as a Westerner. His work becomes a translation of what is Chinese, opening the mind of this enclosed nation and presenting his discoveries in contrast to typi cally Western values. Chinese Principles Chinese methods and positions are deeply en grained through centuries of understanding identity. Principles that are st rictly cultural contrast methods a pplied by Western societies. This sever is crucial to recognize. Though China pushes toward a modernized society, positions on tradition and cultural belief determine principles that are appliedespecially in literature and art. Through zooming in, we can analyze these t echniques, allowing us to gain a clearer understanding on what is Chinese compared to what can be determined as typical or typically Western. The Static Western perspective has assumed architecture as being a reflection of a societyhow they live and function within urban and domestic scales. It is often reactionary to the programs of the city that it contains. Nieuwenhuys Constant describes a theoretic al city, titled New Babylon, and 53

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its flexibility. It follows that New Babylon could not be structured to a determined plan. On the contrary, every element would be left undete rmined, mobile and flexible. For the people circulating in this enormous social space is expect ed to give it its ever-changing shape; to divide it, to vary it, to create its different atmosphe res and to play out their lives in a variety of surroundings.1 The malleable city should conform to a societys needs and methods. At the same time, the city changes the way people find id entity and ultimately define themselves as a culture or group. Stevan Harrell focuses on the n egotiated nature of ethn ic identity, and how identity is determined through the individual and their role within the group. These definitions disappear and reappear within groups of people, and ownership emerges. Imagined boundaries also give identity, while political unity of a na tion becomes juxtaposed within the structure of local communities.2 The materialized boundaries and th e structure of the community give architecture its role in influenci ng the identity of a group. (Fig. 3-1) The dynamic Effects of time and occupation wear away and constantly re-define c ontext. Fragments and their boundaries shift and overlap, reacting to the func tion and programming that the fragments of society contain. Ther efore, the city is constantly in a state of changethe Chinese people are constantly changing. It transfor ms beyond the diagram as a whole, becoming a dissection, a comparison of contrasting of rather different and changing cultural conditions. The instability provides a rhythm that is responsive and real. Society is expected to exist within this context. Culture becomes defined and refi ned. There is a dynamic dichotomy between architecture and culture that questions the very na ture of action and reacti on. In most situations, culture reflects itself within the architecturedesign follows the cultural trends of a society. China however, has experienced a cultural erasure within the past 40 years through the rise and fall of the Communist reign, the implementation of the Cultural Revolution, and the opening of 54

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the nation to the world. Chinese designers toda y have a convoluted hi story of de-emphasized traditionalism and progressive thinking.3 This specific impact will be discussed later on. The city is a body. It is a center of populat ion, commerce, and culturea reaction to multidimensional demands, productions, and needs. Transportation systems are the accommodations needed to allow these elements to move. Inte ractions between people establish a society, and with time, a culture. The city must learn to preserve that culture while pursuing worthwhile advancements. Architecture is the framework, or infrastructure that contains these interactions. It must allow for public gathering and persona l identity, for exploration and personalized certainties. Space "develops through the tens ions and interrelationships between figures."4 Public space must be identified and functional. It must be approachable and understand the demands for flexibility and utility. The object Within and throughout the city, landmarks are established. Within the Chinese model, place becomes relative, as identity is reflected and contrasted to ones surroundings. (Fig. 3-2) In effect one can suggest that the organization of the environment is a mental act before it is a physical one.5 Transition spaces are those that situate between; space that passes and recorded in memory as a texture. The landmark define s the scale of the urban fabric beyond size; the understanding of the city extends into other dime nsions of time and space. Tendencies to walk through the familiar develop understanding and owne rshipof a street, an area, a neighborhood. The landmark in Western methods is designed with intention of being a point of reference: a statue in a plaza can define and distinguish that pl aza as a specific place. Juxtapositions between objects, architecture, and space can begin to form personalized landmarks, almost as an icon, and with time, can become the means of existing within a city. This intersti tial between creates the qi movement through channels th at structure Chinese city. 55

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China has historically focused on traditional architecture to characterize heritage and ethnicity. Understanding and practice overlaps and carries th rough dynasties and revolutions, shifting to adjust to changes within culture. Currently, China is transforming to accommodate contemporary lifestyle. Liang Sicheng claims: For my fellow countrymen, architecture is like clothing-architecture must adjust to these transformations, becoming the framework for all interactions and relationships. The scale of this agility is constantly getting smaller and smaller, as architecture movements and tre nds shift quickly and leave hars her conditions of living within freshly defined urbanism. Clay Lancaster states-in architectur e, as in painting, the Chinese always have taken scrupulous car e to conform to ancient models.6 Unfortunately, this statement is challenged by this newly occu rring method of construction w ithin the city. The Chinese people are now forced to conform to uncertaint y, relying only on faint me mories of tradition and the overbearing fashions of the West. Shi and Xing The structure of all space is determined by shi It impacts and gives vitality to a landscape. It is compared to as the vein, or channel, as well as the skeleton, or structure. This dynamic condition is crucialbecause the reality of things only existsand thus only manifests itselfin a totality, through the force of propensity that links its va rious elements as a whole.7 In viewing the whole, blandness is re-discovered through the co nfigurations of objects. Xing relates to form. It is specific and is visible locally. Shi is propensity and force. It is dynamic, unfolding through and over. It is observed at a distance. Through xing there is an understanding of human scale and form. Shi becomes the connection to the unattainable, the distant, and the sublime. By balancing between xing and shi the architect can be sensible and flexible. Th e intervention becomes intertwined in its site, 56

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beyond its physical placement and form. As the bl urred areas of a traditional Chinese landscape painting, the architecture can simultaneously defi ne and suggest, speed up and slow down. The active role of the architecture is its propensity an d form. The interactive nature of these elements can be defined and regulated, becoming design. Compose a set of forms against a distant backdrop of a propensity, or gather forms carefully to unfold a propensity.8 The interplay of the form and the propensity further emphasizes flexibility, yet recogni zes the importance of intention. In this scenario, al though geometrically these forms and their organization can be the same, their purpose is determined and specific. The propensity remains active, working around the forms to establish a context. Spatial Suggestion Methods of representation have historically developed thro ugh narrative and descriptive texts in Western culture, as opposed to the lyrical content in Ch inese literature. The use of poetry as representation evolved into the al legory, becoming based on a metaphysical split between the perceptive and the intelligible, with one reflecting the other.9 The direct interpretation is seen as imitation, or mimesis. This difference highly im pacts the interpretation of the reader. In Chinese texts, the xing, or allusive incitement, in combination with a bland context, allows a juxtaposition of interactions. The reader can involve the image with emotion, while pushing further into propensity. Unlike the cartographic reduction of space, which is proportioned in a pedestrian manner, the aesthetic perception strives to apprehend space, whether pictoral or poetic, through the te nsions expressed by its lifelines.10 The cartographic reduction mentioned refers to Western rati onal thought that, in its representa tion, eliminates the possibility of interpretation. In this situation, suggestions are maxi mized, guaranteeing a sense of authenticity. Understanding moves past specu lation and allegorical situations, becoming a shifting experience consta ntly pursuing meaning. 57

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In interpreting xing and shi into architecture, the object is now challenged to transcend its own physical bounds. The world is not an object for consciousness but a partner with cons ciousness in a process of interaction11 The active role of the object separates it from a stagna nt Western definition. In the organization of objects, a succession of vari ed space in a related sequence [avoids] no one climax, but rather a series of architectural events.12 Movement between architecture can then interact, creating space between, emphasizing the im portance of propensity within the city. Mimesis vs. Actualization After the removal of empiric rule, China ha s sought an independent mindset, developing critical measures of aestheticsa severe cont rast from the political logic established during centuries of dynasties. This shift has pushed China away from Western thought, as Jullien relates to mimesis or the imitation of nature or the real. Instead, the Chinese focused on actualization as understanding the dynamics within and between things.13 As the setup or configuration, the gesture being th e equivalent in art, determines form, the form must also be convertible to the gesture. This interplay of contradictions defines the artistic ideology of shi. Through shi, the relationship of the city to the body takes on ma ssive transformation in response to modernization. As the environment change s, so does its movement and the body adapts. Movement within the city happens both vertic ally and horizontally, building tall and expanding out. Through this movement, the city dictates the spatial structure, and thus organizes the process of a bodys movement within the space and time in which it is located.14 This act of actualization deters from relying on imitating th e past. It is fully responsive to current conditions, and expects a response that pushe s a movement forward and within. 58

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Poetry and Calligraphy as Lens The writing of gu-shi translated old poetry does not rely or formal structures. This narrative approach allows the writer to pursue relaxed and imaginative styles. Jinti-shi translated modern-style poetry, is more regulated by tonal infl ections to create a rhythm. Through this structure, the poem becomes dyna mic and animated. Composition extends beyond form and into gesture. The object becomes the skeleton and the mind, able to shift from gesture to form, back into gesture and into form agai n. This flexibility separates process and product relationship in Chinese thought, bonding their two id entities. The ancient Chinese scholar Yang Xin states, Aesthetic phenomena are expressed mo re through a series of polarities than through concepts!15 The contrast between the two poe m styles, the modern style of Jinti-shi promoting a rigid structuredemonstrates the developing push to control process as a means of emphasizing the unique qualities and dynamics. This indivi duality preserves an underlying tradition while integrating the innovation of independent expression. The traditional art of calligraphy is also maki ng adjustments in response to given modern lifestyles. In comparison to traditional ca lligraphy, modern calligraphy allows the artist flexibility in individual expression. In contrast to modern poetry techniques, modern calligraphy de-structures the rigidity of its traditional form, which exte nds this opportunity for expression. Although this allows more variety, it devalues the importance of t echnique, and the artist is often criticized as exploiting a traditional and cultural ar tifact to take advantage of economic profit. Shi, a critical element of trad itional calligraphy is demonstrat ed through the requirement of completing the work in one attempt. Modern calligraphy does not hold th is requirement, pushing the focus on the product, further confirming a cult ural adaptation of mode rnization. (Fig. 3-3) 59

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Blandness As a harmonious relationship between diverse qualities or capabilities, blandness expresses an optimal and discreet equilibrium in which no one quality manifests itself in such a way to exclude anotherand so wh ere all qualities may coexist simultaneously and manifest themselves appropriately according to the diversity of the circumstances. -Franois Jullien, Graham Parks, The Chinese Notion of Blandness as a Virtue In its application to Chinese methodologies, blandness must first be redefined, requiring the removal of preconceptions. In the above description, Jullien detach es from blandness being the absence of something, but ra ther the harmonious co-existence of everything. This balance does not result in neutralityblandness becomes activated only through circumstance. This concept is fascinating in that it deviates from Western connotati ons of the term, allowing it to transform and serve as an environment. Jullien also discusses blandness as somethi ng that has shifted in connotation through history in China. This evolution is evident in the development of literature, where it became a flavor that made the subject in tangible and inexhaustible. Th is allowed the subject to hold integrity, while allowing it to move, to diffuse a nd envelop. The ability of something bland to have action gives authen ticity that is based on the indivi duals perception. Participation determines the context without physically changing the context. The environment therefore remains bland in definition becoming ac tive only within th e individual. Landscape Scrolls as a Lens The object is only as important as its surroundings, both in front and behind the object. This is understood in traditional Chinese landsca pe painting, where perspective is understood as a series of layers. In West ern thought and representation, dept h is translated through gradual fading of detail, convergence or diminishing of sc ale, line weight or boldness of the line. In Chinese painting, these progressive depth cues are eliminated. Inst ead, the layers fade into each 60

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other, establishing an understand ing of depth, activating the mind of the viewer as they attempt to connect the layers. The harmonious co-exi stence between the object and a mountain far away relies on the observers ability to interpret space between the two. Jianfei Zhu categorizes these approaches as16 1. folding and unfoldingwith the physical folding of a horizontally rolled painting, there is always another point of view absent at any one moment, de-centralizing the focus and creating active viewing 2. moment and temporalitywith many centers and viewpoints, the movement becomes an experience 3. dispersion and fragmentation- diverse and localized areas and points allow attention to detail at varied dispositions 4. largeness and infinityspaces becomes fragmented, yet represents large scales In these categories, blandness re sults from the de-centralizati on, as the viewer activates the painting. Through the movement of the viewer, each element holds a temporary focus, giving value to different parts individually within a certai n itinerary. This para llels the importance of blandness being the co-existence of all parts. Also presented in Zhus cate gories is the capability of capturing scale. In contrast to Western perspective technique s, the layered sections of the Chinese landscape can push infinitely into the pape r, instead of to a defined vanishing point. The scales and distance within the pa inting are also open to interpretation thro ugh this method. The viewer controls movement, pace, and scaleelemen ts critical in urban an d architectural design. Through this application, blandness remains the cont ext, while the viewer determines experience. Harmony Harmony is achieved through this neutrality of context, and gua rantees an authenticity of perspective. Interestingly, Julli en argues that harmony should not ex ist at the apex, but rather to either side, to prevent stagnancy and monotony. If harmony reaches an extreme, it culminates in total indifference, and, by virtue of the el ement of blandness, it could become monotonous and 61

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boring, which would then naturally lead to the next poetic mode in which delicacy and luxuriance attract the eye...far from being a concept, blandne ss represents a balance, an intermediate moment, a transitory stage constantly threatened with obliteration.17 The challenge of offsetting harmony further emphasizes its importan ce as a process, rather than a result. The application to spatial design and aesthetic allows movement of th e subject or focus, instead of placing importance on the object. The object be comes secondary to the conditions around it, and only exists as a part of this process. Assume that composition moves. In plan, the dynamics of the composition allow movement, separating itself from rational or analyt ic thought. What is lost in the physical presence is understood meta physically. The flexibility of this composition gives multi-valence of roles with each component. This is understood in the discussion of the layout of Beijings ritual sites discussed late r on. Though each individual building is within itself an object with a specific function, the mean ing or interpretation of each object can only be determined with thoughtful awareness of its re lationship to Beijing and Chinese culture as context. Hierarchies In describing blandness, there is an underlying flatness of hierarchy. This flatness does not suggest or oppose, but rather a llows the individual to suggest and determine potential. This gives the individual the role of being the activator for transforma tion. Blandness is not a lack of, but rather a harmonious co-existence of elemen ts. Without the individual to experience a context, hierarchy detaches from all objects, and the context remains bland. The movement of discovery is a process establishe d by the individual, as they pu sh through and negotiate within this co-existence. Once the indi vidual occupies context, whethe r through viewing a painting or walking through a city, hierarchies are assigned and become specific to the individual. The translation into an aesthetic requires attachment of integrity to the process, rather than disjoining 62

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the roles of aesthetics and mora lity that Jullien recognizes as Western principles. This emphasizes the role of the individual, appropria te to the search for and response of Chinese identity. Translating into Space Let us return to the landscape scroll example. These issues resonate within conditions of architecture. In folding and unfolding, there must be a movement that pushes out of the constraints of the physical canvas. Literally, the unrolling of a scroll in cites movement of the body. In the revealing of the scroll, the movement of the eye forms itinerary, allowing an occupant to engagephysically and visuallywithin the architecture. As a viewer is simultaneously scanning and moving within the painting, the occupant becomes aware of space through de-centralized configurations. Through movement and temporality, time is introduced as an element of experience. The landscape painting can jump between and through spaces at different depths and interest, as space and arch itecture can conform to or challenge boundaries, juxtapose scales, simultaneously understanding the detail and the context. Distance thus not only makes it possible to take in a vaster la ndscape but also renders it more accessible to contemplation, for distance, as it were, rids the landscape of all the weight of inessentials and restores it to the simple movement that gives it form and existence.18 This issue activates the blandness that is required to create movement. Blandness in Society The term bland covers a large range of connotations While Western culture discerns blandness as a negatively neutra l quality, i.e. bland food, bland filmthe term bland can be interpreted as favorably neutral. Through the omission of harshness or taste, suggestion cannot persuade the observers opinion one way or another. There is little question that this interpretation of blandness appears to us in the West as the least appealing, accustomed as we are 63

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today of separating morality from aesthetics.19 In a capitalistic society, this lack is unacceptable, as information must be presented to assist in decision-making. The demand for advertisements and campaigns encourages a dependence on external influences to determine our perspective on issues, whether it is brand loyalty or political party re gistration. There is a reliance on these influences validity as specialization in these issu es is expected and considered advantageous as a skill. Perhaps we can consider a distinct approach to imagine a place where specialization and opinions are not a concern and neutrality is cr ucial in keeping balan ced socio-political and economic societies. Within this neutral enviro nment, decisions must be made, and lifestyles established. The method of decision-making is developed only within th is culture, and exists within contextualphysical, cultural, and historicconstraints. The allusive incitement of xing pushes toward a stimulation, rather than the sugg estive bounds of inspiration that is principle to Western culture. These constraint s are characterized as responses to an existential condition that determines energy and form. Shi follows no rigid route or pr e-established modelhowever, it structures all space, permeating it with its dynamic power.20 The activity of shi while neutral in connotation charges and determines the configur ation of objects in space, which become environment. Architectural Application Although my research extends beyond limitatio ns of the built environment, I feel it necessary to indulge in understanding the role of traditional Chinese architecture and its impact on China as a culture. From this understan ding, organization and spatial positioning can be interpreted from specific examples, and can be dir ectly juxtaposed to the current construction of architecture in China. 64

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65 Historically, Chinese architecture was formed to envelop the object with in the landscape. Form reflects local and distant conditions of an environment. Large roofs often emphasized a connection to the horizon and landscape. Vert ical beams and walls were less emphasized to create an effect of a highly ornamented roof floating above the ground. Lancaster argues that the swooping roofs of traditional Chin ese architecture eleg antly mimic the sagging of wood beams from old roofs, as a refinement, giving a cer tain buoyancy to the one heavy element of the Chinese building, and being both beautiful in itsel f and harmonious with the pines and hills of the Chinese landscape.21 Through this argument, Lancaster credits the Chinese people with a value for elements of history and context a nd simultaneously current architecture. 1 Constant Nieuwenhuys, New Babylon An Urbanism of the Future, New Babylonians,In Architectural Design, Vol 71 No 3 (June 2001), p. 14. Constant insists that Unitary Urbanism should be based on experience of social spaces, through the conscious and collect ive creation of an environment based on the possibilities inherent within the present. This provides a approachable scale to urbanism. 2 Stevan Harrell, Introduction. In Violence in China: Essays in Culture and Co unterculture. Jonathan N. Lipman and Stevan Harrell, Pp. 63-91. Albany: State University of New York Press. 1990. 3 Dr. Andreas Szesny, A2: Changing Ch inese Architectural and Building Traditions, In Building Projects in China: A Manual For Architects and Engineers, edited by Bert Bielefeld and Lars-Phillip Rusch, Pp. 14-24, Basel: Birkhauser-Publishers for Architecture, 2006. Szesny maps out the generation that was affected as Red Guards or enemies, stating that they were the generation to be directly involved with Deng Xiaopings projectxingxiang gongcheng. 4 Wolf Prix, "Space is no long er predetermined but rather develops th rough the tensions and interrelationships between figures. This is the basis for a vigorous new model of urbanism." b5 2 c6: Public Space, The State of Architecture at the Beginning of the 21st Century, edited by Bernard Tschumi and Irene Cheng, Pp. 11-24, New York: The Monacelli Press, 2003. Prix highlights the nece ssity of urban planning as fundamental in creating the framework in which interactions occur. The dynamic use and accessibility of public space can create a successful urban model. 5 Human Aspects of Urban Form, pg. 15 6 Clay Lancaster. The Origin and Formation of Chinese Arch itecture. In The Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, Vol.9, No. 1/2. Pg. 4. 7 Jullien. The Propensity of Things. Pg. 99. 8 Wang Qiheng (quoted by Jullien in Praise of Blandness) 9 Ibid. 163 10 Ibid. 103.

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11 Jullien. Detour and Access. Pg. 142. 12 Andrew Boyd, Chinese Architecture, pg. 72-73. 13 Franois Jullien, The Propensity of Things 14 Mara Kurotschka. Beijing Moves. Kurotschka defines the important movements of group to individual and vice versa. There is an awareness of affects, as pieces respon d to one another. This dyna mic keeps the city moving and developing. 15 Yang Xin. 3rd and 4th Century, AD 16 Jianfei Zhu, Chinese Spatial Strategies, pg 231. Zhu convincingly yet simplistically compares these categories to the layout of Beijing, understanding the dynamics of the historic city. Although this comparison is noteworthy in my research, I will refrain from discussing Beijing until later on, and hopefully in a more thorough approach. 17 Jullien, In Praise of Blandness, pg 93. 18 Franois Jullien. The Propensity of Things. Pg. 95. Jullien states that through aesthetic reduction, one can understand immensity despite the limited perspective of the individual. By standing at a distance, even the most imposing [mountain] will retreat by one inch. The imp act and awarenss of scale maximizes the content of the painting. 19 Juillien. In Praise of Blandness. Pg. 96. It is because of our heritage of Romanticism that is embedded in our culture that we feel obliged to sway in response to inspiration or other external influences. 20 Jullien. The Propensity of Things. Pg 93 21 Clay Lancaster, 1950. 66

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Figure 3-1. Beijing city walls (Photo by Adam Gayle) 67

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Figure 3-2. Beijings landmarks (Photo by Adam Gayle) 68

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69 Figure 3-3. Modern calligraphy (Photo by Adam Gayle)

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CHAPTER 4 1 TO 1: RESPONDING TH ROUGH ARCHITECTURE Introduction This section will respond to the situat ion through the lens of architecture. Although modernization has been strictly att ached to Western values, the adoption of development is flexible. The approach should move parallel to curren t conditions of culture instead of clashing or replacing those conditions. The focus moves toward the importance of processhow do contextual understandings determine the way we work as architects? This is not the solution to the architectural modernization of China, but an attempt to determine various methods that apply issues of modern ization within Chinese perspective. Through the measure of 1:1, we can begin to ga uge these applications as possibilities, in hopes to charge the architect to dream responsibly. The Diagram Since the mid 1900s, implementation of the di agram within the real m of architecture developed a validity in the methods of Western design. Its active ro le in design gives the diagram clarity in the concept and the process. In understanding to the previ ous section, the diagram becomes an anti-mimetic element of communication. Instead of replicatin g what has previously been given, typical of methods that are implemen ted in the development of Western architecture, the diagram creates a new simu ltaneous understanding of approach and process. The graphic value is superseded by its capability to communicate the idea of the project. The critical role of the diagram influences de cisions within the pro cess, giving the diagram its movement. Peter Eisenman described the diag ram as historically und erstood in two ways: as an explanatory or analytic device and as a generative device 1 This concept that a diagram is active proposes a shi that can be understood in Western pe rspectives, as well as the pedagogic 70

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positioning of the University of Florida School of Architecture. Interestingly, the development of the diagram parallels the expansion of gl obalized industrialization, where communication is challenged by translations. Through the diagram, understanding is unconstr ained by these limits. It is then utilized as an international communicator, and in response to globalization, has become crucial for cross-cultural projects, especially between the East and the West. Diagrams communicate universal systems, under stood at different extents. In addition to clarity within the process of design, the diagram also certifies conc epts and their architectur al translation. Through the diagram, one can understand th e intentions of the architect, a nd directly see the manifestation of the diagram into a physical form. Pedagogic Alternatives Through the School of Architecture at the University of Florida, I was given the opportunity to teach a second year design studio of nine stude nts. Though the program, I was able to use the studio as an experimental enviro nment to execute positions of design processes. The role of process became critical in determinin g the success of the project in addition to its product and presentation. As such, the assignm ent structure will define the approach and process, and will be supplemented by student res ponse. The structure of the course is then intended to determine appropriate alternatives to designing within China. Introduce Education as Method With considerations of blandness and the inter active roles of the indi vidual, the context of a field can determine the point. The challenge is to define and understa nd that field, and then discover the role of the point w ithin the context. Through two pr ojects, each assigned to second year students at the school of architecture at th e University of Florida, the field was defined as: 1. the city (Shanghai), and 2. the dese rt (Taklimakan desert). Each context must be first understood in several of its conditions, a nd then activated and enhanced by the intervention, or point. The 71

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intervention then relies on its context as the container of the point. The application of these two projects will appropriately be presented in two modes: the positioning of the product (zoom out), and the development or process (zoom in). Th rough their analyses, a direct intersection and technique of approach can be mapped and evaluated. Tower Project The curriculum required the inve stigation of a vertical struct ure within an urban context, defined by each studio instructor. The cour se syllabus states th e aim of the project: Design will be responsive to issues and analysis of a given context. This project will engage a large scale urban context and resolve issues of program and its positioning within the city, understanding importances of de nsity, movement, and formal development.2 The challenge of the project is to understa nd and design juxtaposed scales of program, establish sophisticated and speculative language s of tectonics and construction, and position the project within its given context. Through the proj ect, the student is capable of bringing personal understanding of urbanism and occupation within the city, while research ing specifically one place and site, as given within the studio. Context: existing urban places In understanding the idea of place within Chin a, there is the opportuni ty for reflection of non-place. The Sinocities project called for a redefining of public sp ace within a generic Chinese city. The winning project proposed a simp le, programmatic idea of giving every citizen a small cubea scubefilled with soil, onto which he or she can project stories or dreams. The choosing of the project emphasizes the trend in individualist ideas replacing the communal base of defined public space. More fascinating than the actual submittals this competition brought on an interesting question: What is a Chinese city, and what kind of impact does their rapid development have on Chinese culture? The Sinocity accepts the speed of development, but also brings into 72

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conversation the necessity to respond by providing theoretical cu ltural infrastructures. This method however, questions the nature of a city as being an accu mulation of history and life over a physical place. The concept of a Sinocity envelops China as a field, although the point does not take an individual form. This context relies on a theoretical base at the scale of a country, while the winning entry attempted to define the context of the invidivual. Therefore, the application of the Sinocity requests an attention that is zoomed out and generalized. The detail is not addressed in these generali zations, and can limit the extent of investigation within an academic setting. Although the Sinocity proposes an interesting fr amework for architectural intervention, the contextual information was inadequate for a lowe r level studio given time restraints within the project. Instead, the students were required to analyze and occupy Shanghai because of its physical manifestation of historic and economic c ontainment. The architecture within the city becomes layered and intersected, with urban planning applied in the 1990s. Through the urban plan, the question of a city iden tity has already been proposed with several responses. In addition to Shanghai having cove red specific planning credential s, the restraints on intense information that have already been translated limited the city to bei ng one that is highly researched and published by both Asian and Western authors. Issues: zoom out The challenge becomes as follows: This project will be a speculat ive and theoretical positioning within the urban context. The city of Shanghai is a constant and activ e juxtaposition of traditional and modern architecture. Although historically significant, Shanghais identity has become increasingly in a state of flux as China adjust s to modern lifestyles. The economic, social and cultural development of China is respondi ng to modernization, as China rises as a world power. The perspective of the citizenin addition to th e scale of the citybecomes crucial in responding thought fully and appropriately.3 73

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Mapping of the city extends beyond a picturesqu e exercise in aerial graphics, but rather, pushes into the dense strata of the city. Shangha i, being similar to Chinese ancient cities, is a stacked palimpsest as well as a city expanding concentrically. There is an awareness and requirement to first determine multiple issues within the city beyond the physical environment, and then to understand their intersections and re lationships. Scale is then implemented to speculate and criticize. The method of representation de termines each approach. The plane of vision rotates, as perspective creates a new way to vi ew the analysis of the city. (Fig. 4-1) This technique serves to generate and contain additional layers of information, and the construction becomes more understood, revealing the intentions and position of the designer. It s application views the city in an interesting state of flux, a llowing the occupant to view the diagram as a whole, and simultaneously, its critical moments. Issues of time at different scales become as crucial as physical space in determining the function of the city. The city becomes the body and the intervention is only one point that is contained within. Diagram: Zoom In The structure of the assignments required the st udents to exist within an architectural void. Formal compositions and aesthetics become crucially avoided in attempts to focus on the energy between. This becomes the structure for the project, as each design is required to understand architecture as a reaction to culture. This obliq ue approach allows the object to be responsive to the physical as well as social and cultu ral context of Shanghai. (Fig. 4-2) The main issue that is recognized is the rec ognition of the historic city. Although students are often encouraged to re-defin e the context, Shanghai required ca reful understanding of the city as a collage of eras. 74

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The tower becomes the city. places to Live the unit, repeated places for Work & Play internal and external places for Movement itinerary, horizontal and vertical places to Gather eventspace places of Exhibition the gallery, pause places for Study scaled elements4 The program for the tower is categorized in a way that generalizes the city, primarily due to the fragile vantage point of a second year studio. Although this innocence is deceiving as students are able to bring individu alized perspectives and positions on the project. The challenge automatically steps away from overformal interv entions, but into a crit ical organization of components. (Fig. 4-3) These components within themselves are challenged, as well as their relationship to the wholesimilar to the viewing of a part and its ro le to the city. This approach gives control over main components, but also requ ires a re-assessment of their intersections, as students are challenged to consid er or predict outcomes from human occupation. (Fig. 4-4) Desert Project Within the second project, students were requ ired to exit a project driven by contextual charges. The environment determined the progr am, which in turn, generated the diagram and form. The desert project was proposed in oppositi on to this setting. The pr oject is introduced as follows: The program will be one that utilizes the extr eme conditions of the desert over seasons and times of the day, and engages the cultural hi story of the desert. Handling environmental conditions such as sun direction and intensit y, temperature changes, direction and handling of water will be important. The designs will reflect these assumptions.5 75

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Although the project has a large impact in the schools curriculum that creates anticipation and excitement by the students, the immense shift in context from the desert project emphasized its challenge. Context: void, nothingness The desert as a landscape is an interesting co ntrast to the urban envi ronment discussed thus far. In looking at the desert, th ere is the provocative challenge to make a mark within emptiness. In viewing the desert, blandness as described by Jullien becomes intere stingly appropriate: Nothing here strives to incite or seduce; nothing aims to fix the gaze or compel the attention.6 The object within the landscape shou ld attempt to understand and re cord this cond ition, and then establish a relationship with the context. (Fig. 45, Fig. 4-6) This challeng e can reflect issues of scale within the Chinese landscape painting, wher e simultaneity of scal es and objects allow balance and movement. Issueszoom out The relationship between the intervention and the landscape must become symbiotic and harmonious. Students are challenged to first define their context, and then understand the impact of the intervention with respect to that defini tion. The program then synchronizes the desert occupant and the landscape, as it negotiates between person and place. Within this design process, the students are given se veral organizing tools to assist in alternative approaches to designing within a given context. Balance: intervention and landscape The students were given three categ ories: place, ritual, and cont ainer. In these categories, the location, the person, and the architecture become realized and intertwined through issues of scale, program, and aesthetic. Place: relative place, scale: genius loci 76

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Ritual: component, action; cu lture, native and foreigner Container: form, appearance, and de tail; architecture and materiality7 Through the challenge of intersecting thes e categories, the students understand the generative significance of the context. The desert becomes unavoidable, as there is responsibility to place. Blandness The existential blandness of the landscape should be transferable into any context, assuming that its foundation is purely of a Chin ese mindset (Fig. 4-7). Through the analysis of nothing, there is an appreciation of everything. Monochromatic studies emphasize the emptiness of the desert, yet are worked in parallel to refl ections of the city. Fo cus is constantly moving, adjusting to subject changes a nd climatic dispositions. Time is the mechanism of measure, where the movement of the sun and the severity of the environment require a method that structures design. Design can onl y evolve in response to these i ssues. Personal observation and research creates an understanding the formless, allowing the designer to simultaneously express conformity and innovation. Programming A non-formula was contrasted with a standard organization, typical of a given program at the school and also in the pr ofession. The categories for a standard organization were PrayerOratory, chapel Diningrefectory Work / Studylibrary, reading rooms Leisuregarden, landscape8 Through the application of contextthe desertalternative cate gorizations were established and assigned in the consideration of each students design: 77

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Environmentlight / shadow, materiality Quantitysingular / communal Timehour / day / month Movementcirculation / approach9 Through the non-formula, the context became th e generator for the project, allowing the project to adjust and form in response to the demands and qualities of its context (Fig. 4-8). The Desert, zoom in The image of the landscape is a powerful perspe ctive for the Chinese. The flexibility of the observer to move within the landscape pain ting communicates the ve ry workings of the landscape. Although the physical tec hniques of painting are specific to art, its principles can be applied to observation and anal ysis of the landscape. Throug h this observation, design as a process can engage effectiv ely within its site. Students were given the following principles of traditional Ch inese painting. Through this as a resource, one can step away from architectur e and focus on the energies that structure space. These principles detach the student from the de sign, as they work on the non-object: what can exist as a response of what is already there. Six Principles of Chinese Painting, Xie He, 5th Century 1. "Spirit Resonance", or vita lity, and seems to translate to the nervous energy transmitted from the artist into the work. The overall energy of a work of art. Xie He said that without Spirit Resonance, there was no need to look further. 2. "Bone Method", or the way of using the brus h. This refers not onl y to texture and brush stroke, but to the close link between handwri ting and personality. In his day, the art of calligraphy was inseparable from painting. 3. "Correspondence to the Object", or the de picting of form, which would include shape and line. 4. "Suitability to Type", or the applicati on of color, including layers, value and tone. 78

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5. "Division and Planning", or placing and arrangement, corresponding to composition, space and depth. 6. "Transmission by Copying", or the copying of models, not only from life but also the works of antiquity.10 Paralleling the process of Chinese pain ting with making architecture allows for understanding of Chinese methodologies and princi ples. The result is a detachment from product, as the process of making becomes primary. Diagramming the desert The students are given an outline that gives 3 conditions in which to occupy the desert. The diagram that allowed options on how they were to intervene within the desert. The categories above, on, and below ar e physical organizers, while th e cloud, shifting plane, and well are spatial strategies that can generate placement and programmatic organization. ABOVE ON BELOW [] [] [] [] [] []-[]-[]-[] -[] shif ting [] [] [] [] [] cloud plane well The occupation becomes a theoretical position, not a concern of the object or aesthetic (Fig. 4-9). The intervention relies on contex tual understanding of th e desert as a primary condition for design. Call for Recollection Ultimately, China is in the crucial state of tension between tradition and modernity. Somewhere between is an identity that give s China confidence and pride. The negotiation between conformity and continuity challenges the very nature of identity, as the China becomes a place of contradictions.11 Modern architecture is objectified, yet bleeds in to the inner workings of alleyways and ancient tea rooms. Through the oscillation of these c ontradictions, the city becomes an active body, communicating within itself and responding to the needs of society. 79

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80 This simultaneous existence forms a continuous dialogue between the old and new, forming and re-defining the shi that makes China (Fig. 4-10). This final section is only intended to i nvestigate opportunities for making that can approach the ideas of developm ent of China. These theoretical exercises were meant to challenge issues of design and architecture, a nd to equip students to consider alternative approaches that are appropriate to space and time (Fig. 4-11). Contextual understanding will result in sensible and creative design, as the de signer can be involved in the layers that exist within that context. 1 Peter Eisenman Diagram: An Original Scene of Writing 2 See Appendix for Second year design 4 course syllabus 3 This is an excerpt from an introductory assignment given to a second year design studio at the UF school of architecture. Alth ough research on the city was individually purs ued, the human scale to the whole was highly emphasized, as the students were constan tly challenged to demonstrate flexibility within the scale of the city. 4 Categories taken from Building a New Millennium: Architecture Today and Tomorrow 5 See Appendix for Second year design 4 course syllabus 6 Jullien. In Praise of Blandness. Pg. 37. 7 See Appendix 8 See Appendix 9 See Appendix 10 Xie He, 5th Century 11 Totalstadt: Beijing case. Pg. 307

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Figure 4-1. Shanghai Mapping (Model by Rudy Dieudonne) 81

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Figure 4-2. Programmed Secti on (Drawing by Takuya Saeki) 82

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Figure 4-3. Programmatic Diagra m (Drawing by Igor Kobyzev) 83

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Figure 4-4. Diagram negotiations (Drawings by Igor Kobyzev) Figure 4-5. Desert context study 1 (Plaster casts by Jerrell Pittman) Figure 4-6. Desert context study 2 (Plaster casts by Jerrell Pittman) 84

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Figure 4-7. Desert mapping (Drawing by Takuya Saeki) 85

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Figure 4-8. Intervention within landscape (Model by Christopher Saunders) 86

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Figure 4-9. Sections of intervention in landscape (Drawing by Rudy Dieudonne) Figure 4-10. Beijing haze (Photo by Adam Gayle) 87

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APPENDIX TEACHING ASSIGNMENTS Tower Project 2: The Urban Box: Vertical Occupation Location: Shanghai, China This project will be a speculativ e and theoretical positioning within the urban context. The city of Shanghai is a constant and active juxtaposi tion of traditional and modern architecture. Although historically significant, Shanghais identity has become increasingly in a state of flux as China adjusts to modern lifestyles. The ec onomic, social and cultural development of China is responding to modernization, as China rises as a world power. The perspective of the citizenin addition to the scale of the citybecomes cruc ial in responding thoughtfully and appropriately. Assignment 2.1: Due MONDAY, January 28th 1. Construct 1 mapping relief model of Shanghai, contrasting the old and the new. This should begin an understanding of system s within the city and how the c ity functions and is perceived. This model should be not exceed beyond a 10 x 20 x 2 boundary, and should have concentrated details in addition to larg er scale infrastructural systems. 2. Construct 1 section drawing at 1:30 scale of a typical tower (min. 60 floors). This should explore multiple techniques and media that capture the cultural and physical conditions of Shanghai. The following must be included*: places to Live the unit, repeated places for Work & Play internal and external places for Movement itinerary, horizontal and vertical places to Gather eventspace places of Exhibition the gallery, pause places for Study scaled elements *categories taken from Building a New Millenn ium: Architecture Today and Tomorrow Both parts of the assignment mu st display qualities and intens ities of your own response to Shanghai. Consider bringing in other resources that might give cues on how to intervene within the city. Project 2: The Urban B ox: Vertical Occupation Location: Shanghai, China 88

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The impossibility to understand Sh anghai in all its complexity gi ves us a narrow (individualized) viewpoint in which to continue th is project. Because of the focused nature of the project, there must be a lucid position of its ro le within the city as well as id eas of internal and internal to external relationships. Program should be determinedboth general and specificand space accurately proportioned to each programmatic element. Assignment 2.2: Due FRIDAY, February 1st 1. Scan and super-impose your mapping relief m odel of Shanghai into th e section drawing of your tower. RE-WORK the dr awing studying the following: FIGURE / GROUND relationships: Negotiate between masked and empty zones. What becomes void in the drawing? Does this translate into space, or something else? How might this characterize programmed spaces even further? SEAMED languages: Work between your drawin g and the foreign scan. How do the two pieces start to communicate? What parts ar e implied and others explicitly understood? ENVELOPE methods: Understand this new gene rated edge, and its impact on interior and exterior program. How can these forced overlaps interlock into the drawing? Can a new and improved system of enclosure be implied? (NEW) PROGRAM development: Strengthen th e program by injecting the tower with programmatic elements that challenge and re-def ine scale and human experience. What does a city need to function or be ente rtained? Think outside of the box here, as it can be the driving component to your project. Suggest this prog ram through techniques specific to your process. PROCESS investment: Look critically at your pro cess through this project. Reflection on past work can be a valid generator. Understand a ll aspects of this proj ect, and challenge the perspective in which they are interpreted. What are the critical ideas to your project, and how can they be preserved and strengthened? Remember, it is more than what is required, but what is beneficial for you to develop your project. This drawing is expected to be intensely worked, actively combining all aspe cts of your process. Remember that although this is still investigative, precision and sensit ivity to 1:30 scale is extremely important. Although you determine the method of combining the two, you might want to consider scanning your drawi ng and digitally super-imposing the two and then work-either digitally or by handover the drawing. Project 2 The Urban Box: Vertical Occupation Assignment 2.3: Due MONDAY, February 4th Graphically and textually construc t a proposal of a program for your tower. This should include cohesive understandings of scale, access/movement, archit ectural intent, and an overall 89

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sophistication of program complexity. A clear and well-thou ght position of the towers relationship to Shanghai as c ontext should be fully integrat ed within the program. Construct a relief model of your drawing, 2 thick max., using Bristol, acetate, museum board, and printed media as the structure. The following must be addressed: Suggest conditions transversal to your section cu t, and begin to understand relationships of the connections between programmed spaces. Develop critical moments within your drawi ng and spatial-ize thei r conditions in more volumetric nodes within the draw ing. These moments can extend beyond the 2 dimension to emphasize certain hierarchies and spatial complexities. Understand the delicacy of the scale, and be ab le to successfully communicate a comprehension of systems and detail. Models must be capable of standing and be read on both sides. ONE transverse section can be implied for structure as well as to clarify specific moments with in your tower, and their layered relationships. This is a tool to push the depth of your project th rough the more direct exploration of layered and complex space. Wire can also be used as structural and graphic support. Preliminary programs should be e-mailed to me no later than Saturday at 8:00pm. I will review all proposals and reply with comments and suggesti ons. Program is crucial to the success of this tower, so clarity and specificity is necessary. The city should be de veloped further as we approach placement of the tower within a site. Project 2: The Urban Box: Vertical Occupation Assignment 2.4: Due MONDAY, February 11th The next assignment will explore your tower in tw o parts. The juxtaposition of two extremes should amplify the clarity of your project while surfacing specific issues that need further investigation. There must be a flexibility to wo rk between the two, as ideas should be precisely communicated in both parts. 1. the LARGE SCALE Construct 1 section at 1/16 scale that intensely investig ates the tower as an itinerarial mapping. When drawing, consider the following: the diagram understand programmatically how th e tower functions, and its relationship to the city the transversal speculate on what is in front and behind the section cutspatially and programmatically the detail moments should be understood at 1/16 scale, with sensitivity to methods of construction and materiality the language consider synt hetic techniques that are in formative to your ideas and methodologies 90

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Re-evaluation and proportioning of your tower is imperative at the poin t in the process. Understand that this projects aim is to unders tanding vertical occupation and movement. 2. the SMALL SCALE Construct two models at 1:100 scale that re-assesses the diagram of your project. Mass model: diagrams public and private spaces through use of a solid mass (i.e. wood, foam, chipboard) and transparent mass (i.e. plexi, resin, wire framing). Challenge how these materials can be detailed, imply scale, and how the two systems connect to each other. Sensory model: maps out the experience of the build ingconsidering light, exposure, materiality, program, scale, density, relationship to Shanghaithrough intentional use of specific materials. These models must communicate clearly the positi ons of your tower, the sequencing of program, and implied internal / external relationships. They will also explore the tower beyond a single section cut, pushing through multiple axes to understand volumes of space and their proportions within the tower. They should be well crafted and articulated to display as much information clearly and accurately. Both parts must be completed by Monday, Februa ry 11th at the beginn ing of class. Project 2 The Urban Box: Vertical Occupation Final Model parameters: Scale: 1:30 Materials: any or all of the following: wire plexi metal museum board poured material (resin, plaster, concrete) Must be sectional, allowi ng viewing within the model Must specifically address ground Must communicate intensity of Shanghai urbanism Must suggest circulation, stru cture and programmatic sequencing In addition to the above requirements, include elements crucial to your project. Practice good craft, as this will be the fi nal product for this project. Desert Project 3: The Desert Landscape: Horizontal Occupation Location: Taklamakan Desert, China This project will study the physical and phenomenol ogical extremes of the desert environment. The beginning part of the project will focus on th e analysis and understanding of the desert as 91

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place, specifically the Taklamakan Desert. The juxtaposition of the desert landscape to the urban context requires critical genera tors and cultural boundaries. Es pecially important will be the cultural understanding of the practice of Chinese ar t and culture, as well as the concept of the city, as studied in the previous project. Assignment 3.1: Due MONDAY, February 25th 1. Research the conditions of the Taklamakan Desert, understanding its scal e, material, weather, occupation, climate, availability of water, etc. Be prepared to present information and hold a discussion for Monday. 2. Read the article given as a contrast to the desert. 3. Construct one section drawing of the desert at 1=50km scale (approx. 20 in length, 8 in height). Explore the section in both ground and sky, understanding th e research of the desert and intertwining themes of the articl e. Technique is critical in th e exploration of this drawing. Consider all parts of the drawing to communicate ideas of the desert and city. Project 3: The Desert Landscape: Horizontal Occupation Location: Taklamakan Desert, China gu hu shui-mo hua Six Principles of Chinese Painting, Xie He, 5th Century "Spirit Resonance", or vitality, and seems to tran slate to the nervous ener gy transmitted from the artist into the work. The overall energy of a wo rk of art. Xie He said that without Spirit Resonance, there was no need to look further. "Bone Method", or the way of usi ng the brush. This refers not only to texture and brush stroke, but to the close link between handwriting and pe rsonality. In his day, th e art of calligraphy was inseparable from painting. "Correspondence to the Object", or the depicting of form, which would include shape and line. "Suitability to Type", or the application of color, including la yers, value and tone. "Division and Planning", or placing and arrang ement, corresponding to composition, space and depth. "Transmission by Copying", or the c opying of models, not only from life but also the works of antiquity. Assignment 3.3: Due MONDAY, February 25th You now have 4 drawings that understand the relationships duri ng the day and year within a certain area of the desert. In furthering the invest igation of site, we will now zoom in on the site by 200% (approx 1:25m). In doing so, de tail must be lucid and refined. 92

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1. Construct 2 plaster molds, constructed from wood and textured surface s that can accommodate for a 1 pour. The two molds will be a combination of the following: 1 Day + 1 Year 1 Day + 1 Year Remember, the monochromatic nature of the pl aster will require that you interpret your ideas into a language that can be readable and precis e within this material constraint. Careful awareness of craft is crucial in the success of the pour. There will be discussion of the molds before plaster is poured, covering both theoretical and pragmatic issues. Project 3 The Desert Landscape: Horizontal Occupation Location: Taklamakan Desert, China There are 3 conditions in wh ich to occupy the desert: ABOVE ON BELOW [] [] [] [] [] []-[]-[]-[] -[] [] [] [] [] [] cloud shifting well plane Assignment 3.4: Due MONDAY, February 25th PROGRAM: Monastery Complex standard ORGANIZATION Prayer.. oratory, chapel Diningrefectory Work / Study library, reading rooms Leisure..garden, landscape OTHER CATEGORIZATIONS Environment.light / shadow, materiality Quantity.singular / communal Time.. hour / day / month Movement.circulation / approach Scale: individually scaled to fit on 12 x 18 (scale must be stated) 93

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Construct a set of layere d drawings with 3 separate layers, each exploring the conditions stated above of cloud, plane, and well. Techniques of collage must be combined with line and tone to begin organizing programmatic components within the landscape. Use several methods of interpreting and grouping program. The drawings must relate specifically as well as indirectly to each other. Consider the occupants of this construct: who is staying? Who is visiting? How many can stay or visit? When is the mona stery occupied? How does one get there? Have your drawings completed by class on Friday and be prepared to present your work. Day 1 The PLACE Location: Taklamakan Desert, China As the art which creates, architecture both shapes it and leaves it free. It not only embraces all the decorative aspects of the shaping of space, including ornament, but is itself decorative in nature. The nature of decoration consists in pe rforming a two-sided mediation; namely to draw the attention of the viewer to itself, to satisfy his taste, and then to redirect it away from itself to the greater whole of the contex t of life which it accompanies. Hans-George Gadamer, Truth and Method Think and record through narrative the appro ach of the monastery in the desert. techniquethe diagram, collage Day 2 The RITUAL Location: Culturally defined There is an important difference between two ki nds of actions, actions done by man and actions done by man in the belief that their efficacy is not human in any reducible sense, but proceeds from elsewhere. Only the second ki nd of action can be called ritual. Roger Grainger, The Language of the Rite Construct a narrative on the co-existence of native and the foreign occupant. techniquetext, image Day 3 The CONTAINER The breath of a house is the sound of voices within. The house gains immortality when it become s only a thought that ceases to exist. When a woman smiles in a house, Death tries to imitate her. John Hejduk, Sentences on the House and Other Sentences 94

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On the Theory of calligraphy: When shi come s, do not stop it; when it departs, do not hinder it,on the one hand there is the configuration on the other, the pot entialone considers the form of the character from the perspectiv e of its appearance, on the other one pursues the shi through the lines traced, appreciating the effect s of tension produced by the alteration of different strokes. The body of th e character is seen as evolving. Francois Jullien, The Propensity of Things Attempt a dialogue between architecture and person. techniquesketch, freehand Project 3: The Desert Landscape: Horizontal Occupation Location: Taklamakan Desert, China There are 3 conditions in wh ich to occupy the desert: ABOVE ON BELOW [] [] [] [] [] []-[]-[]-[] -[] [] [] [] [] [] cloud shifting well plane There are three dimensions of the project PLACE RITUAL CONTAINER relative place component form/appearance scale action detail genius loci culture architecture native & materiality foreigner Assignment 3.7: Due Wednesday, March 18th Construct a relief model usi ng three sheets of material 1 thin transparent (acetate) 1 thick opaque (museum) or 1 thic k transparent (plexi, plexitate) 1 thin opaque (Bristol) Each layer must be assigned to one of the 3 conditions of the desertabove, on, and below. The relief model should explore the three issues of place ritual and container; meaning scale, program, diagram, and detail must all be incl uded in addition to con ceptual or speculative 95

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qualities. Treatment of the materials (scoring, spraying, drawing) as well as excavation should fuse the three layers physically and/or conceptual ly. Separate small scale pieces can be added to connect the layers and explore issues of occupation and archit ecture. All models must be constructed at 1 = 30. The pr ecision of this step is criti cal in understanding the scale and design of the project, so be meticulous in craft and content. Project 3: The Desert Landscape: Horizontal Occupation Location: Taklamakan Desert, China The desert is now understood as two hemispheres: one of ground, one of sky. The design of the monastery is a device that connects and ne gotiates between the two. Concepts of phenomenology, temporality, movement, and position have been driving the project forward as atypical strategies of establishing design. No w we will look at fragments as cues into understanding the whole. This will furthe r compose systems within your design, as the requirement of the detail affecting the whole will give intention to all scales addressed. Programmatic conditions should still be pursued, a nd are required to infl uence the internal and external conditions of space. Assignment 3.9: Due Monday, March 24th Part 1 Construct one map that fuses the three secti ons together through ar chitecture, landscape, itinerary, or other phenomenological reasoning. Th e mapping should investigate these issues holistically, as well as through fr agments and detail. This process should be completed through strategically staggering and lo cating the sections within th e map, and selectively drawing conceptual tangencies between eachthrough plan, section, perspective, or other controlled/measured technique. Consider influences in Chines e painting and analyze technique of using layered elevations and monochromatic material s. Materiality will be self-determined. Part 2 Make three fragments of the monastery at 1/8 scale, being sensitive to human proportion and issues of materiality, program, and context. Thes e three will become the generators to assist in completing the project. Therefore, these fragments should be carefully and thoughtfully chosen and crafted, with possibility to communicate and organize idea s beyond its own content. The size and amount to include in each fragment should be intentional in every dimension. Remember to continue developing positions on programtheir organization and interrelationshipsas well as conditions of ground a nd sky. Maps and models will be discussed thoroughly on Monday as a project midterm, so pl ease be on time and ready to present with completed work. Location: Taklamakan Desert, China 96

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The experience of parallax-the change in the ar rangement of surfaces defining space due to the change in position of a view er-is transformed when moveme nt axes leave the horizontal dimension. Vertical or oblique directions of movement through urban space multiply its experience. Spatial definition is ordered by angles of perception. Steven Holl, Parallax Due Friday, April 11th Perspective Constructs Construct 3 perspectives that explore internal conditions of the intervention. Conditions of light, proportion, materiality, program, and connection to context should all be invest igated critically and clearly. Technique should further analyze these conditions considering the drawing as collage. All perspectives will star t with an internal photo of the model, and layered with drawing and other media. They should be printed and/or worked on 3 separate 11x17 sheets of paper. The drawing should not cover more than 60% of the paper, and its posi tion within the sheet should be carefully considered. 97

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BIBLIOGRAPHY Cameron, Meribeth. "Notes: A Bi section of Chinese History." The Pacific Historical Review 8.4 (1939): 401-412. Certeau, Michel de. The Practice of Everyday Life Trans. Steven F. Rendall. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1984. Chang, Yung Ho. A Chinese Practice Ed. Laurent Gutierres and Vale rie Portefaix. Trans. Anna Koor. Hong Kong: Map Book Publishers, 2003. Chang, Yung Ho. "A Very Brief History of Modernity." Luna, Ian and Thomas Tsang. On the Edge: Ten Architects From China New York: Rizzoli Intenati onal Publications, Inc., 2006. 9-12. Chen, Xiaomei. Occidentalism: A Theory of Counter-Discourse in Post-Mao China New York: Oxford University Press, 1995. Dal Lago, Francesca, et al. "Space and P ublic: Site Specificity in Beijing." Art Journal 2000: 7487. Dawson, Layla. China's New Dawn: An Arch itectural Transformation Munich: Prestel Verlag, 2005. De Silva, Anil. The Art of Chinese Landscape Painting New York: Crown Publishers, Inc., 1967. Fei, Xiaotong. "Plurality and Unity in the Configuration of the Chinese People." Tanner Lecture, Chinese University of Hong Kong Hong Kong: Chinese University of Hong Kong, 1988. Gaubatz, Piper. "Changing Beijing." Geographical Review 85.1 (1995): 79-96. Goodman, Bryna. "Improvisations on a Semicolonial Theme, or, How to Read a Celebration of Transnational Urban Community." The Journal of Asian Studies 59.4 (2000): 889-926. Gu, Ming Dong. "Fu-Bi-Xing: A Metatheory of Poetry-Making." Chinese Literature: Essays, Articles, Reviews Dec 1997: 1-22. Hanlon, Don. "Architectural Edu cation in Post-Maoist China." Journal of Architectural Education Fall 1987: 26-29. Harrell, Stevan. "Introduction." Lipman, Jonathan N and Stevan Harrell. Violence in China: Essays in Culture and Counterculture Albany: State University of New York Press, 1990. 63-91. Hui, Wang. "Mixing: 2008 Beijing Olympics, City and Architecture." Beijing Shanghai Architecture Guide, Architecture and Urbansim May 2005: 68-69. 98

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Huters, Theodore. Bringing the World Home: Appropriating the West in Late Qing and Early Republican China Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press, 2005. Jullien, Francois and Graham Parkes. "The Chinese Notion of "Blandness" as a Virtue: A Preliminary Outline." Philosophy East and West Jan 1993: 107-111. Jullien, Francois. Detour and Access: Strategies of Meaning in China and Greece Trans. Sophie Hawkes. New York: Zone Books, 2004. In Praise of Blandness: Proceeding from Chinese Thought and Aesthetics Trans. Paula M. Varsano. New York: Zone Books, 2004. The Propensity of Things: Toward a History of Efficacy in China Trans. Janet Lloyd. New York: Zone Books, 1999. Kgel, Eduard. "The Last 100 Years: Ar chitecture in China." Jansen, Gregor. Totalstadt. Beijing Case Karlsruhe: Cornerhouse Publications, 2006. 319-330. Kim, Samuel and Lowell Dittmer. "Whither China's Quest for National Identity." Kim, Samuel and Lowell Dittmer. China's Quest for National Identity 1993. 237-290. Knapp, Ronald G. The Chinese House: Craft, Symbol, and the Folk Tradition New York: Oxford University Press, 1990. Lancaster, Clay. "The Origin and Formation of Chinese Architecture." The Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 9.1/2 (1950): 3-10. Luna, Ian. "Structural Contraditions." Luna, Ian and Thomas Tsang. On The Edge: Ten Architects From China New York: Rizzoli Internationa l Publications Inc., 2006. 26-37. Mingxian, Wang and Zhang Xudong. "Notes on Architecture and Postmodernism." Boundary 2 1997: 163-175. Moody, Peter R. "Trends in the Study of Chinese Political Culture." The China Quarterly 1994: 731-740. Nolan, Peter. Transforming China: Globalizati on, Transition and Development London: Anthem Press, 2004. Ping, He. China's Search for Modernity: Cultural Discourse in the Late 20th Century New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2002. Price, Maurice. "The Assumed Isolation of China and Autochthony of her Culture." American Sociological Review 10.1 (1945): 38-43. Rowe, Peter G. and Seng Kuan. Architectural Encounters With Essence and Form in Modern China Cambridge: The MIT Press, 2002. 99

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101 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Jennifer Daniels graduated from the University of Florida School of Architecture with a Master of Architecture in 2007, and graduated with a bachelor of design in 2005. While studying at the University of Florida, Jennifer focused her research on the cultural stresses of Asia, and completed her masters research proj ect on the cities of Dandong and Sinuiju, located on the border of the DPRK and China. She has sp ent the past year researching the developments of China economically, culturally an d architecturally. She also has participated in projects that focus on urban development in Korea. She is now residing in New York City and is employed with Belmont Freeman Architects.