Copertina Learning from China

AGORÀ talk: Learning from China


AGORÀ talk: Learning from China aims to be an opportunity for encounter between Western and Chinese cultures, overturning the usual intellectual relationship: Western culture will listen to the Asian one, first trying to understand, and then asking questions in order to understand better what Asian culture has to say about itself. This exercise will also be useful for Chinese guests, who are trying to develop a new architectural / cultural identity at this historic moment.

Therefore, the event stands as an educational opportunity both for the premises and for the modalities, in fact the guests will prepare five lessons specifically for this occasion, and their purpose will be to educate the participants on the issues that are driving contemporary Chinese architecture.

China has been, and still is, a place of architectural experimentation where different realities coexist; from hyper-dense urbanization to rural villages. Currently in China new issues are taking shape with which we must necessarily deal with, especially in a globalized world that sees the Chinese influence more and more preponderant: the phenomenon of the New Towns, the search for a national architectural language that distances itself from Western influence, the recent tendency to reject new anonymous megastructures, the near Green turn of Architecture. In China, the urbanization rate is 58%, returning a living laboratory to use as a litmus test to understand how we will live together, and which shows how the contemporary model of the city is moving towards the East.

Chapter 04

THE SYMBIOTIC STRUCTURE OF “SITE” + “RITE”– A Mnemonic System That Reflects The Rural World”: The specific “locality” mode of the mountain settlements in the rural region of Southwest China, and the “ritual” habits structure of the unique community of the local people. Haobo Wei is Chief Architect and co-founder of West-line Studio, professor at Tiangong University and Guizhou University, postgraduate’s tutor at Chongqing University, Special Allowance Expert of the Chinese State Council, expert of Experts Committee Architectural Society of China, and the judge of WAN, UNI International juror, Rethinking The Future (RTF)Global Architecture & Design Awards juror, etc. Haobo Wei established with its West-line Studio the basic working mode of “Commune by regional ties + Geopolitical Order + Public Life Mode + Compound Construction” providing a positive exploration way for the protection of human survival model in the subculture circle and the development of a modern symbiotic growth. Among the prizes won, there are the 2021 Civic Trust Award International Awards Winner, 2019 Wan Awards – Architect / Practice Of the Year – Gold, 2018 LEAF Awards – Best Public Building – Winner, 2018 German Design Award – Architecture – Gold, 2018 A+Awards – Architecture Stone/Concrete – Winner, etc.


Chapter 03

ARCHITECTURE AS CULTURESCAPE: By integrating historical and traditional context, architecture will restore the cultural identity for the place and people. Xu Tiantian is the founding principal of DnA _Design and Architecture. She has received numerous awards such as the WA China Architecture Award in 2006 and 2008, the Architectural League New York’s Young Architects Award in 2008, the Design Vanguard Award in 2009 by Architecture Record and the Moira Gemmill Prize for Emerging Architect in 2019. She has built a number of projects, such as Songzhuang Art Center and Ordos Art Museum. In the past years she has been engaged extensively in the rural revitalising process in Songyang County, China. Her groundbreaking “architectural acupuncture”is a holistic approach to the social and economic revitalization of rural China and has been selected by UN Habitat as the case study of Inspiring Practice on Urban-Rural Linkages. Xu Tiantian received her masters in architecture and urban design from Harvard Graduate School of Design, and her baccalaureate in architecture from Tsinghua University in Beijing.


Chapter 02

UNCERTAIN BY DESIGN: James Shen is Principal and Founding Partner of PAO/PIDO. He received his Master of Architecture from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Bachelor of Science in Product Design from California State University, Long Beach. Shen has been a Loeb Fellow at Harvard, a Senior Research Fellow at the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies and an Innovation Fellow at MIT’s China Future City Lab. He has taught at MIT’s School of Architecture and Planning and Harvard’s Graduate School of Design.


Chapter 01

CHINESENESS IN CONTEMPORARY CHINESE ARCHITECTURE: Starting from the debate “essence” and “form”, the Chinese architecture passed a tough way to chase the modernity. Through many cases the lecture of the Professor. Zhen Chen discusses the different ways of the Chineseness in contemporary Chinese architecture: the vernacular expression, the nature and garden, the courtyard and the social symbiosis.