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Western Architecture in Urban China - Essay Example

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Western Architecture in Urban China.
Few capital cities in the world, barring those destroyed by war or other calamity, have undergone such a rapid change in such a short space of time as Beijing, China (Economist ed 2004)…
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Western Architecture in Urban China

Download file to see previous pages... This is part of an orgy of construction across urban China that is providing unparalleled opportunities for foreign architects to fulfil their wildest dreams (Economist ed 2004). China's spending on construction ranks only behind the United States' and Japan's and is growing the fastest of the top ten spenders, at 8-9 percent annually. Remarkably, given China's cultural pride, most of the highest-profile projects now underway in Beijing were designed by foreign celebrities (Economist ed 2004).

It becomes important to examine how the impact of another culture, in this case Modern Western culture, can change the buildings and homes of another. This will allow the research to study architecture as a cultural discipline in which issues of practice, of the multiplicity of social formations in which buildings exist, and of changes with the subject matter of building design - construction, space, material. Architecture arises from the aspirations those diverse individuals and groups have for their physical environment and from the social enterprise of designing and fabricating the landscape people inhabit. Understanding how one culture can impact another will develop better knowledge of the changing world around us. It is important to note that, for the purposes of this research, Western includes America and Western Europe.
Aim: The aim is to utilise historical and archival evidence to explore the impact of Western architecture in urban China.
Primarily, this research will describe the impacts of Western architecture on urban China. This objective includes an understanding of the impact of Western architecture and how (or if) China has altered the style to preserve its traditional architecture. A secondary objective is to understand the impacts of these architectural designs on the cultural aspect of Chinese architecture.
Key Questions:
1) How has Western architecture influenced the designs of urban China
2) Should traditional Chinese architecture be preserved in the urban sprawl of high growth areas
Literature Review:
In the last 10 years, research on Chinese urban form has grown rapidly both in China itself and in other parts of the world (Whitehand and Kai 2006). At the same time Chinese cities have undergone unprecedented growth and transformation, presenting great challenges for the comprehension and management of urban landscape change (Whitehand and Kai 2006). In planning future urban morphological research during this period of exceptional flux, an important first step is to take stock of past research, especially that of the recent past (Whitehand and Kai 2006).
Research on Chinese urban form across a range of disciplines, including architectural history, urban planning, archaeology and urban geography, has tended to be descriptive and has contained scant comparison, either of findings or methods, with that on towns and cities in other parts of the world (Whitehand and Kai 2006). This exemplifies that little architectural research focuses on the cultural and global influence perspective of urban planning, which relates to the larger and more holistic approach that, as the world grows, architectural design should begin to focus on.
The contemporary Asian city is moulded on images of the modern Western city. As Asian countries follow similar economic and developmental models, cities in China, Malaysia, Korea and Indonesia, for example, will also follow those models. Although Asian cities are beginning to look more and more like Western ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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