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The dilemma of mass housing continues to exert an attraction to academics and researchers, especially the fundamental question, how can something which.
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In this regard, our research on the s buildings in Beijing could be considered as an attempt to recast the historiography of modernism in China. Their top priority was to end the Vietnam War by improving the relationship with China. At the same time, Zhou accelerated the restoration of Sino-American relations. Meanwhile, due to his deteriorating health, Mao gradually withdrew from the forefront of political leadership.

Until his death in , he could still steer the whole country from backstage by mediating between the two major leaders at the forefront, Zhou Enlai and Jiang Qing.


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The pragmatists, led by Zhou Enlai, took charge of foreign affairs and domestic economic development, while the leftists, led by Jiang Qing, continued to control the artistic production apparatus and the propaganda effort to promote far-leftist ideology. Working in two clearly defined and separated realms, both factions were backed by Mao, who wanted to continue economic development and strengthen the socialist faith at the same time. However, this dynamic balance was broken from onwards, largely due to a resurgence of the leftists and their intervention into the realms of foreign affairs and economy.

It was the first time after decades of seclusion that China opened to the West. Pei was invited to visit China. This was at the specific request of the Chinese architects, who wanted to avoid criticism from the leftists at home in China. But into the early s, with the support of Zhou Enlai, some of these officials were rehabilitated, and new programs for economic development and urban construction were proposed.

Wan Li a leader in Beijing government and Zhao Pengfei the secretary of the State Council , who had long worked in the area of urban construction, were rehabilitated. They began to assist Zhou Enlai in , although they were not officially appointed to their posts until It was the most important building project in Beijing at the time.


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From to , no more high-profile diplomatic buildings were proposed, because of the suppression of the pragmatists. Diplomatic buildings in the s. Beijing International Club; 2: Beijing Hotel East Wing. The Second Ring Road not finished yet, part of which was still the old city wall ; E: Drawn by the author, based on a Beijing Transportation Map published in In fact, a functionalism prevailed in the s as a result of the suppression of aesthetic concerns in architecture, especially during the Design Revolution launched in Courtesy of the archive at School of Architecture, Tsinghua University.

Yu Shuishan, Chang'an Avenue , p. Beijing International Club also provided various services, such as a hairdresser and reading room. The recreational activities it offered were billiards, bowling, ping-pong, the movies, tennis and swimming. The compound also housed venues for diplomatic activities, such as rooms for banquets, dining, receptions, meetings, and press conferences.

As a public building with complex programs, it attracted much attention from architects, political leaders, and foreign guests in the s. Now the intricate web of form, knowledge, and politics woven around this building can be revealed. Ground floor plan of International Club, and the five parts. These young architects were actually the main workforces in biad in the s.

Wu Guanzhang was born in and graduated from Tsinghua University in Another architect, Ma Guoxin, born in , graduated from Tsinghua University in When they took up this task in , they had little experience with designing large-scale public buildings, let alone buildings with such major political significance. It was an unusual historical phenomenon, reflecting a shortage of experienced architects at the time. To him, it was just a small, simple project, by comparison with the much larger and more complex projects he designed in the s.

This denouncement was formulated by the Chinese authority after the start of the reform and opening up in , serving for the political agenda at that time. Wu may have underestimated the historical significance of his design during the Cultural Revolution. It adopted an eclectic approach to mixing national form and modernism. Compared to the National Style of the s, it was much more simplified and restrained. This building signaled the shift in architectural character from austerity, solemnity, and economy in the s and the 60s to dynamism, intimacy, and exquisiteness in the s.

In this case, only simplified national forms were adopted, still reminiscent of traditional palatial architecture. The concrete roofs, beams, and balustrades all mimicked the wood structure of traditional Chinese architecture.

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Courtesy of biad Information Department. It is evidence of the latent infiltration of Western modernism in architectural education in the Mao era, when certain professors still secretly taught their students about the modernist masterpieces by Le Corbusier, Mies van der Rohe, and Frank Lloyd Wright, among others. Wang had worked at Taliesin for one year, from to , before assuming his teaching position at Tsinghua University. Even the drawing style of the floor plan was arguably Wrightian: They first learned the Beaux-Arts tradition embodied in the form of Western classical architecture and later received the impact of modernism that originated from Europe.

The Chinese architects referenced both Beaux-Arts tradition and modernism, because the former was effective in demonstrating monumentality, tradition, and national identity, and the latter was more innovative, playful, and compatible with modern programs. Compared with the other three, his architecture was both traditional and modern, and deeply rooted in regional traditions.

Therefore, his work was exemplary for Chinese architects seeking to combine elements from both the Beaux-Arts tradition and modernism, while maintaining a national tradition. Wright demonstrated the compatibility between the modernism of the West and the traditional philosophy and architecture of the East. Wright was naturally invoked as a major inspiration for Chinese architects seeking to reference and reinterpret the features of traditional Chinese architecture within a modernist approach.

In the Beijing International Club, certain features of traditional southern gardens were intentionally revived, especially the varied configuration of the labyrinthine interior space, the playful arrangement of landscape elements, and the penetration and continuity between interior and exterior.

Actually, Wu Guanzhang was born in Suzhou, a city famous for a rich collection of traditional gardens. Several representative art works were strategically deployed in the interior space fig.

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Tower and slab: histories of global mass housing | University of Nottingham

The first two were traditional ink-and-wash paintings on silk tapestry, or so-called Chinese painting. They were considered the most important, and deployed at the two main entrances facing east and south. Spatial distribution of selected artworks in Beijing International Club. Drawn by the author. Zhongguo Jianzhu Gongye Chubanshe, Li Kuchan, South entrance of International Club.

Tower and Slab: Histories of Global Mass Housing by Florian Urban (Paperback, 2011)

In particular, the two factions had contradictory views towards Chinese painting. The leftists considered Chinese painting backward and reactionary: Histories of Global Mass Housing Contributor s: Paperback - Other Formats Published: Tower and Slablooks at the contradictory history of the modernist mass housing block - home to millions of city dwellers around the world.

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