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Chinese Architecture and the Beaux-Arts

edited by Jeffrey W. Cody, Nancy S. Steinhardt, and Tony Atkin

Publication Year: 2011

In the early twentieth century, Chinese traditional architecture and the French-derived methods of the École des Beaux-Arts converged in the United States when Chinese students were given scholarships to train as architects at American universities whose design curricula were dominated by Beaux-Arts methods. Upon their return home in the 1920s and 1930s, these graduates began to practice architecture and create China’s first architectural schools, often transferring a version of what they had learned in the U.S. to Chinese situations. The resulting complex series of design-related transplantations had major implications for China between 1911 and 1949, as it simultaneously underwent cataclysmic social, economic, and political changes. After 1949 and the founding of the People’s Republic, China experienced a radically different wave of influence from the Beaux-Arts through advisors from the Soviet Union who, first under Stalin and later Khrushchev, brought Beaux-Arts ideals in the guise of socialist progress. In the early twenty-first century, China is still feeling the effects of these events.

Chinese Architecture and the Beaux-Arts examines the coalescing of the two major architectural systems, placing significant shifts in architectural theory and practice in China within relevant, contemporary, cultural, and educational contexts. Fifteen major scholars from around the world analyze and synthesize these crucial events to shed light on the dramatic architectural and urban changes occurring in China today—many of which have global ramifications.

This stimulating and generously illustrated work is divided into three sections, framed by an introduction and a postscript. The first focuses on the convergence of Chinese architecture and the École des Beaux-Arts, outlining the salient aspects of each and suggesting how and why the two "met" in the U.S. The second section centers on the question of how Chinese architects were influenced by the Beaux-Arts and how Chinese architecture was changed as a result. The third takes an even closer look at the Beaux-Arts influence, addressing how innovative practices, new schools of architecture, and buildings whose designs were linked to Beaux-Arts assumptions led to distinctive new paradigms that were rooted in a changing China. By virtue of its scope, scale, and scholarship, this volume promises to become a classic in the fields of Chinese and Western architectural history.

Published by: University of Hawai'i Press

Title Page, Copyright

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

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pp. vii-viii

At its core, this book is the result of an international conference, “The Beaux-Arts, Paul Philippe Cret, and 20th Century Architecture in China,” which took place at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Design from October 3 through 5, 2003.1...

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A NOTE ON CHINESE NAMES AND OTHER CLARIFICATIONS

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pp. ix-x

Romanizing Chinese names, places, and other words originally written with Chinese characters has posed the same kinds of challenges here that are found in all Englishlanguage books seeking to convey Chinese meanings with non-Chinese words. For most Chinese, family names (xing) precede given names (ming[zi]); this was the case through history and is still the practice in China today (for example, ZHAO Chen)...

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INTRODUCTION

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pp. xi-xxii

This book is the story of the convergence of two major architectural systems: Chinese traditional architecture and the French-derived methods of the École des Beaux-Arts. Unpredictably in the early twentieth century, the two systems coalesced in the United States as approximately fifty young Chinese students...

PART I

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CHINESE ARCHITECTURE ON THE EVE OF THE BEAUX-ARTS

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pp. 3-22

Chinese architecture on the eve of the appearance of buildings associated with the École des Beaux-Arts—from the 1820s through the 1860s—was remarkably unchanged from Chinese buildings of the mid-eighteenth, mid-fourteenth, mideleventh, or as far as we know, the mid-eighth century. Even by the third and fourth...

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JUST WHAT WAS BEAUX-ARTS ARCHITECTURAL COMPOSITION?

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pp. 23-38

Architectural composition—what the University of Pennsylvania’s Dean Laird refers to above as “design”—was the core of Beaux-Arts teaching in America. It was to teach this that Laird had brought Paul Philippe Cret to Penn in 1903 and what indeed he taught supremely well. But what precisely was it?

PART II

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CONVERGENCE TO INFLUENCE

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pp. 41-44

Two systems for creating space and form—one rooted in China and the other in Europe—evolved independently, coherently, and divergently. The Chinese system assumed that the individual designer should be relegated to the relatively obscure domains of building practice. Nancy Steinhardt has outlined many other key...

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CHINESE ARCHITECTURE STUDENTS AT THE UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA IN THE 1920S

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pp. 45-72

The Chinese architecture students attending the University of Pennsylvania in the 1920s and 1930s were part of a much larger vanguard of ambitious young Chinese determined to learn from Western technology and methods as a means of modernizing and reforming China. Western rationalism and science were attractive...

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AN OUTLINE OF BEAUX-ARTS EDUCATION IN CHINA

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pp. 73-90

Pedagogical methods associated with Beaux-Arts architectural education have been practiced in China for about eighty years. The historical development of this influence occurred in three major phases. The first phase began with the establishment of the first architecture school in China in 1927 and lasted until the...

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A CLASSICIST ARCHITECTURE FOR UTOPIA

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pp. 91-126

In the 1950s China received a massive economic aid package from the Soviet Union along with a constant stream of Soviet experts assisting in nearly all critical fronts of China’s socialist reconstruction. To provide political justification for the Soviet assistance, Chinese authorities launched a campaign called “Learning from the...

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BEAUX-ARTS PRACTICEAND EDUCATION BY CHINESEARCHITECTS IN TAIWAN

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pp. 127-144

The influence of Beaux-Arts methods in Taiwan should be assessed by examining architectural practice and education, both of which began to change significantly after Japan colonized Taiwan, from 1895 to 1945. The first part of this chapter will examine the implications of that colonization on the island’s architecture...

PART III

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INFLUENCE TO PARADIGM

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pp. 147-150

The nine chapters in the section Influence to Paradigm explore the results of the First Generation’s return to China in the 1920s and 1930s. Although some of the implications stemming from their return have been broached in the preceding section, the chapters that follow differ from those in Convergence to Influence...

YANG TINGBAO, DONG DAYOU, AND LIANG SICHENG

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YANG TINGBAO,CHINA’S MODERN ARCHITECTIN THE TWENTIETH CENTURY

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pp. 153-168

Yang Tingbao, who produced predominantly eclectic buildings in twentieth-century China, should be regarded as a modern architect. In 1983 a monograph of Yang’s architectural works and projects was published by the China Architecture and Building Press, the first such publication on an individual architect in the history of...

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BETWEEN BEAUX-ARTS AND MODERNISM

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pp. 169-192

Dong Dayou, also known as Doon Dayu, (1899– 1973), is best remembered today for his Beaux- Arts-influenced plans and buildings for the Greater Shanghai Civic Center, which he carried out between 1929 and 1937 (fig. 8.1). Much less known are a series of modernist houses, including his own home, which he designed during the same period. Despite...

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ELEVATION OR FAÇADE

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pp. 193-204

Liang Sicheng (1901–1972), founder of the modern study of Chinese architecture in China, was one of China’s most influential modern architects and China’s leading architectural historian from the late 1920s and even posthumously.1 Liang’s most influential work before the year 1949 was accomplished when he was the

LÜ YANZHI, ZHANG KAIJI, AND ZHANG BO

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FROM STUDIO TO PRACTICE

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pp. 207-222

In 1936 a Chinese scientist writing about the impact of young Chinese engineers and architects returning from the United States to China observed that “the introduction into China of railways, telegraphs, telephones, the new types of buildings and architecture, etc. which are distinctively inventions and achievements...

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RITUAL, ARCHITECTURE, POLITICS, AND PUBLICITY DURING THE REPUBLIC

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pp. 223-278

The founding of the Republic of China in 1911 meant the end of a ritual continuum tracing back two millennia and stretching from the court’s ceremonies to the marriages, births, and deaths of the common people. It had included ritual signals and arrangements ranging from a mandatory hair style for men—the...

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THE SUN YAT-SEN MEMORIAL AUDITORIUM

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pp. 279-300

In his pioneering work, A History of Building Types, Nikolaus Pevsner interprets the rapid increase and evolution of different building types in the nineteenth century as the response to the modern transformation of Western society.1 The book uses structures such as monuments, libraries, theaters, hospitals, prisons, hotels, and...

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ZHANG VS. ZHANG

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pp. 301-312

Zhang Bo and Zhang Kaiji were prominent figures in the field of architecture in China, particularly in the 1950s and 1960s. Although not related, the two Zhangs shared more than a family name. Zhang Bo (1911–1999) was born a year earlier than Zhang Kaiji (1912–2006), and both received their architectural education...

CHINESE CITIES

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THE BEAUX-ARTS IN ANOTHER REGISTER

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pp. 315-332

“Since the municipal government is the administrative organ for the entire city, it merits the respect of Chinese and foreigners alike. . . . Given that architecture reflects a nation’s cultural spirit . . . municipal government architecture should be in a Chinese style to earn the respect of urban citizens.”1 This 1929 injunction...

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CHINESE URBANISM BEYOND THE BEAUX-ARTS

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pp. 333-360

Beaux-Arts traditions in Chinese urbanism after 1949 were closely linked to authoritarianism, in which social values were promoted in architecture and urban design. However, after urban reforms were inaugurated in 1978, the nature of state power changed, resulting in the private and other sectors having greater...

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AFTERWORD

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pp. 361-368

Paul Philippe Cret was an almost notoriously loyal disciple of the Parisian École des Beaux-Arts, where he enrolled as a student in 1895 and where he took his diploma with much distinction in 1905. The brilliant graduate was hired by the University of Pennsylvania to make the Philadelphia school a true colonial outpost of the...

CONTRIBUTORS

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pp. 369-372

INDEX

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pp. 373-386


E-ISBN-13: 9780824861018
Print-ISBN-13: 9780824834562

Publication Year: 2011

Series Title: Spatial Habitus: Making and Meaning in Asia's Architecture

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Subject Headings

  • Eclecticism in architecture -- China -- Congresses.
  • Architecture -- China -- Western influences -- History 20th century -- Congresses.
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