The Future of Chinese Contemporary Architecture: How is China Creating a Civic Culture For a New Society?
A new kind of architecture distinguished by unique regional characteristics emerged in the mid-1990s when in China, architects started practicing independently from government-run design institutes. The leading Chinese architects of this time succeeded collectively in producing a unique architectural body of work when so many buildings built around the world were no longer rooted in their place and culture.
In China Dialogues, Vladimir Belogolovsky charts a panorama of Chinese architecture through the words of its main participants, lifting the veil on a prolific new generation of designers, each sharing a highly intellectualized and conceptual understanding of architecture. Following the course of 21 interviews accompanied by over 120 photographs and drawings of beautifully executed projects uprooted throughout the country since the early 2000s, China Dialogues opens up the thinking process of the country’s top architects, providing an insight into their ideas, intentions, and visions in unusually revealing and candid ways.
China Dialogues is unprecedented in its breadth, depth, and transparency in presenting Chinese architects’ most original buildings and how they came about to fruition. Chinese contemporary architecture of late has fully emerged and is now representing a significant body of work with distinctive regional characteristics. Belogolovsky’s interviews reveal the ideas underlying the work of the selected firms, with these focused conversations highlighting the ways in which the strategies of the contemporary architects converge in the search for the creation of unique spaces, despite the present factor of diversity amongst each individual.
The Contemporary Transformation of Traditional Chinese Architecture
Until the turn of the century, China was generally viewed by the public as a country of ideologically oriented eclectic architecture, however, the past two decades have invited numerous talented young architects to project new imagery and meanings to today’s architecture. Within the interviews, we have gathered that the making and creation of buildings and spaces are influenced by where you are, congregating an understanding of local technologies and buildings processes, therefore, striving to reflect what is around the architect, and not necessarily who they are.
The architects touch on the themes of the future of architecture as inspired by history, art, and technology, creating a focus on the use of digital tools and advancements in technology alike as architectural partners for the future urbanization of China. It hones in on the notion that architecture should be experimental and progressive, compelling us as consumers to look for something new and different from what we usually know and are accustomed to, therefore, birthing a necessity for every generation to produce something new, as illustrated through the ways in which contemporary Chinese architecture is uprooted.
Each conversation in China Dialogues is an extraordinary testimony to the energy of an undeniable renaissance, in which these cultivated architects are engaged in the common project of creating a civic culture for a new, developing society.