Building in China: A Hundred-Year Dialogue of Modern Architecture
Opens January 28, 2022
The University of Pennsylvania Stuart Weitzman School of Design, in association with Southeast University and Tongji University, presents Building in China: A Hundred-Year Dialogue of Modern Architecture, a two-part exhibition tracing the country’s shifting design practices in the century since many of its leading practitioners and scholars were educated at Penn.
Since the 1920s, the undergraduate and graduate architecture programs at Penn have attracted Chinese students who went on to highly influential careers, beginning with Tingbao Yang (1901-1982), Sicheng Liang (1901-1972), Jun Tong (1900-1983), and Huiyin Lin (1904-1955). After returning to China, they founded the country’s first modern firms and educational institutions, devoted themselves to the rediscovery and conservation of Chinese architectural heritages, and introduced many Western design practices in China. Their works grew from the Beaux-Arts tradition but incorporated a Chinese architectural vocabulary, and they sowed the seeds of Modernism in China. The dialogue between the East and the West is alive in contemporary Chinese architecture, and can be seen in the interplay between the pursuit of modernity and the search for national identity. In the 21st century, a rising generation of independent architects, in practice and in education, is actively seeking alternative languages to express Chinese characteristics against the backdrop of the country’s rapid urbanization and massive building projects. In a range of projects and styles, they use design as a tool for cultural critique.
▲Peace Hotel of Beijing, designed by Tingbao Yang
Building in China investigates significant moments in the continuing architectural dialogue between China and the West, between different generations of architects, and among contemporary designers in China. The first part of the exhibition, presented at Penn’s Architectural Archives, focuses on historical representation, and features a series of buildings designed by the first generation of Chinese architects trained at Penn, many of which remain unpublished. They illustrate the architects’ responses to the international modern movement in the first half of the 20th century as well as the ways they intervened in the growing Chinese cities. The second part of the exhibition, on view at Penn’s Fisher Fine Arts Library, includes six projects by architect-educators Yung Ho Chang, co-founder of Atelier FCJZ, and Shu Wang, co-founder at Amateur Architecture Studio, which are emblematic of contemporary Chinese architectural practices. These artists’ studios, museums, and college campuses demonstrate their attempts at incorporating and balancing modernity and locality on the small, medium, and large scales, and reflects the architects’ ideals for contemporary Chinese society.
▲Jishou Art Museum, designed by Yung Ho Chang / Atelier FCJZ
Photo: Fangfang Tian
▲Fuyang Cultural Complex, designed by Shu Wang and Wenyu Lu / Amateur Architecture Studio
Photo: Hengzhong Lv
“中国建造”展览将于2022年1月28日至5月16日在宾大建筑档案馆及费舍尔美术图书馆展出。每周一至周五上午9点至下午5点免费向公众开放。宾大师生须持校园卡及绿色PennOpen Pass观展；非宾大成员的访客也可出示PennOpen Campus Pass参观。
The exhibition will be on view at Penn’s Architectural Archives and Fisher Fine Arts Library from January 28 through May 16, 2022. Admission is free and open to the public during gallery hours, Monday – Friday, 9:00am – 5:00pm. Members of the Penn community are required to show a valid PennCard and Green PennOpen Pass; visitors are required to present their PennOpen Campus Pass for entry.
Building in China: A Hundred-Year Dialogue of Modern Architecture is presented in conjunction with a symposium titled Spatial Visions Connecting China and the West: A Centennial Review in the Built Environment to be held at Penn on January 28, 2022. Advance registration is required, and will open in December.
“中国建造：现代建筑百年对话”的策展人是宾夕法尼亚大学韦茨曼设计学院城市与区域规划系副教授林中杰博士(MS ’04, PhD ’06)、东南大学建筑学院教授童明博士、同济大学建筑与城市规划学院教授与院长李翔宁博士。
Building in China: A Hundred-Year Dialogue of Modern Architecture is curated by Dr. Zhongjie Lin (MS ’04, PhD ’06), associate professor of city and regional planning, University of Pennsylvania Stuart Weitzman School of Design; Dr. Ming Tong, professor of Southeast University School of Architecture; and Dr. Xiangning Li, professor and dean of College of Architecture and Urban Planning, Tongji University.
▲Weitzman’s Zhongjie Lin curated ‘Building in China’ along with Ming Tong and Xiangning Li
Realized through the China Research and Engagement Fund at Penn, the project has been supported by Penn Global, Penn-Wharton China Center, Architectural Society of Shanghai, Atelier FCJZ, Amateur Architecture Studio, and ArchiDogs. Project advisors include Jiaming Cao, Yung Ho Chang, Amy Gadsden, Ping Huang, Lijia Lu, Wenyu Lu, Frederick Steiner, Shu Wang, William Whitaker, John Zhang, and Tong Zhang. Scholars including Ariel Genadt, Liyang Ding, Jiawei Jiang, Qi Zhang, and Boqian Xu contribute to the curation.