Beijing Courtyards Then and Now Under the summer shade of a century-old poplar tree, two elderly people are playing Chinese chess, each holding a traditional cattail-leaf fan in their hand, chatting and laughing over gossip and family news. In the trees, chirping cricketsÂ drown out outside noise, making the alleyways feel even moreÂ secluded. Towards the end of the narrow lane, aÂ ponytailed… Read more →
Four short recordings from Bruce in Beijing interviewing Matthew Hu from the Courtyard Institute on Beijing courtyard life and the importance of community involvement for the preservation of old Beijing.
Brief history of Dashilar Located South-West of the Forbidden City, Dashilar (???) was an area of commercial and cultural prosperity for over 600 years during China’s dynasty era, it’s earliest form dating back to the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368). Due to it’s proximity to the centre of power, Dashilar became an important trading and entertainment hub. Even today, it’s home to many of China’s oldest stores, amongst… Read more →
My first introduction to 798 Art Zone was one of laser pointers, loud music and more leopard print lycra than you could shake a stick at. Yes, it was the 2011 INTRO music festival. Although a great venue for urban electronic festivals, 798 is most famous for housing Beijing’s vibrant art community. 798 Art Zone is an art district that… Read more →
I was lucky to find myself living in close proximity to one of the few protected areas in Beijing when I first moved here in 2010; the Dongsi ?? area in Dongcheng district. The 14 hutongs (traditional Beijing alleyways) in this area are under a high level of preservation protection thanks to some innovative courtyard restoration projects that started in… Read more →
There was an interview recently by CNN Money with urban designer Peter Calthrope on China’s fast paced urban development and the unsustainable model of the superblock. Anyone who has visited or lived in a major Chinese city will be all too familiar with the superblock; large-scale apartment and business complexes with monotone facades and high walls surrounded by busy roads,… Read more →
This was an article first published in the Architecture Source (13.11.12) discussing China’s rapid urban development and the social effects attached to such growth. The article talks about the same dilemma encountered in other fast-developing countries, namely the ability of a government to mass-develop a city, yet once completed it lies abandoned. Lack of infrastructure and services, no pre-existing economy or… Read more →
This article was originally published in the Global Times (09.11.12) and discusses the ongoing development projects in the Qianmen area of Beijing, using the example of the former Quanyechang department store as an example of the Beijing Municipal Commission of Urban Planning’s approach to building preservation. It said historic buildings will be preserved, and there will be eight new buildings in “neo”… Read more →