Chang'an Avenue and the Modernization of Chinese Architecture
Publication Year: 2013
Published by: University of Washington Press
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Title Page, Copyright Page
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This book was developed from my PhD dissertation under the guidance of professors Meredith Clausen, Madeleine Yue Dong, Marek Wieczorek, Daniel Abramson, and Yomi Braester within the Department of Art History at the University of Washington. I thank them all for giving advice, sharing insights, and providing resources for my research, a true intellectual benefit that I can still feel strongly today. ...
A Note on Language
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Modern Chinese pinyin romanization is used throughout this book to represent the pronunciation of Chinese names and terms. English equivalents are used wherever possible, with occasional exceptions—such as Tiananmen (literally, “Heavenly Peace Gate”), which is well known worldwide by its romanized pinyin name. Readers may ...
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On January 8, 1976, Premier Zhou Enlai of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) died in the Beijing Hospital near historic East Chang’an Avenue.1 On the morning of January 11, Zhou’s body, in a white hearse followed by a hundred-car motorcade, was driven from the hospital to Babaoshan Crematorium near the terminus of West Chang’an Avenue. ...
Chapter One: The History of Chang’an Avenue in an Urban Context
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“Chang’an” means “eternal peace,” or “long peace” in a more literal translation, but the word will immediately remind the Chinese of two of their most powerful dynasties: the Han (202 BCE–220 CE), from which the Chinese ethnic majority acquired its name (Hanren), and the Tang (618–907 CE), from which the overseas Chinese communities ...
Chapter Two: National versus Modern: The 1950s
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In twentieth-century Chinese architecture, nationalism and modernism appeared simultaneously. Traditional Chinese architecture of the timber structure system had been in existence for millennia. By the Tang dynasty, it had reached maturity and produced large-scale halls and towers of pure wooden construction. During the Northern Song dynasty (960–1127), this system was standardized and recorded in the official ...
Chapter Three: Collective Creation: The 1964 Chang’an Avenue Planning
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Chinese communists considered artistic creation a special form of social production, one that generated spiritual and intellectual rather than material and physical products. Deeming individualistic expression bourgeois, the socialist approach to artistic production emphasized collective creation (jiti chuangzuo). Architecture, comprising both material and spiritual elements, followed the socialist model. ...
Chapter Four: Modernization in a Postmodern World: The 1970s and 1980s
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The 1964 Chang’an Avenue planning was the last nationwide collective creative project in Chinese architecture before the Cultural Revolution. After that, the political climate, with its stress on the collective spirit, eventually led to the total abandonment of institutionalized design. All that remain of the months of hard work by the six leading institutes in Beijing and of the heated discussions during the five-day-long ...
Chapter Five: Collage without Planning: Toward the New Millennium
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While detailed plans were prepared for Chang’an Avenue with few structures actually built before the 1990s, in the last decade of the twentieth century the thoroughfare became crowded with monumental façades without any comprehensive planning. Buildings of different historical styles stood side by side with new experiments for the coming millennium, turning Chang’an Avenue into a collage. ...
Chapter Six: Chang’an Avenue and the Axes of Beijing
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For more than five centuries the city of Beijing had been dominated by an imperial north-south axis, when Chang’an Avenue started to be constructed as the east-west thoroughfare of the socialist capital in the mid-twentieth century. As it grew during the early decades of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), the avenue soon overshadowed the north-south axis. While the issue of developing an east-west axis to ...
Conclusion: Chang’an Avenue in a Global Context
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The 2008 Olympics drew the world’s attention to Beijing. Many people were impressed by the Olympic Park and the opening ceremony held in its main stadium, popularly known as the “Bird’s Nest.” Some praised it as a masterpiece of modern art and engineering; others pointed to the enormous quantity of high-quality steel that went into its construction and criticized its high cost; still others saw it as a sign that ...
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Publication Year: 2013