Build­ing her­itage

98 ar­chi­tec­tural sites listed in re­minder to re­vere them

China Daily (USA) - - FRONT PAGE - ByWANG KAIHAO wangkai­hao@chi­

A na­tional list of ar­chi­tec­tural mas­ter­pieces was re­leased in Bei­jing on Thurs­day to re­mind peo­ple of dis­ap­pear­ing her­itage.

Ninety-eight sites were in­scribed into the first edi­tion of the 20th-Cen­tury Chi­nese Ar­chi­tec­tural Her­itage List, which was drafted by the Chi­nese So­ci­ety of Cul­tural Relics and the Ar­chi­tec­tural So­ci­ety of China.

Land­mark ar­chi­tec­ture of NewChina, like the GreatHall of the Peo­ple and the Mon­u­ment to the Peo­ple’s He­roes, ranked high on the list.

Renowned Western-style ar­chi­tec­ture from the early 20th cen­tury was also in­cluded, such as the Bund in Shang­hai; the Rus­sian-style Saint Sofia Cathe­dral in­Harbin, Hei­longjiang, and Tian­jin’s Marco Polo Square, a for­mer Ital­ian com­mu­nity.

Col­lege cam­puses host an­other ma­jor type of ar­chi­tec­ture. Old build­ings atTs­inghua Uni­ver­sity, Nan­jing Uni­ver­sity andWuhanUniver­sity are among the ex­am­ples.

“Many of the in­cluded struc­tures have abun­dant sto­ries and are wit­nesses of his­tor­i­cal vi­cis­si­tude, and they are thus alive,” saidShanJix­i­ang, headof the Chi­nese So­ci­ety of Cul­tural Relics. “How­ever, more his­tor­i­cal com­mu­ni­ties from the 20th cen­tury out­side the list are en­dan­gered.”

He added that the new list will make peo­ple aware of pre­serv­ing more re­cent ar­chi­tec­tural sites for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions.

“When restor­ing them, they should be treated as cul­tural her­itage sites rather than gen­eral con­struc­tion. Oth­er­wise, his­tor­i­cal in­for­ma­tion will be ir­re­versibly lost,” he said.

As an ar­chi­tect, Shan crit­i­cized the way China be­came a play­ground for for­eign de­sign­ers’ mav­er­ick blue­prints in the first decade of the 21st cen­tury.

“Mas­ter­pieces of the 20th cen­tury prove that Chi­nese ar­chi­tects’ spirit and tech­niques are well in­her­ited,” he said. “And they de­serve to be passed on to modern times.”

“The list shows that a new type has been added into cat­e­gories of im­mov­able cul­tural her­itage sites,” said Gu Yu­cai, deputy di­rec­tor of the State Ad­min­is­tra­tion of Cul­tural Her­itage. “This­meetscom­mon prac­tice in the rest of world.”

Still, Ma Guoxin, an aca­demi­cian at the Chi­nese Academy of En­gi­neer­ing, pointed to the lack of suf­fi­cient le­gal over­sight to pro­tect the her­itage of the last cen­tury.

“There is a void in leg­is­la­tion con­cern­ing th­ese sites, and a tai­lored rule is ur­gently needed to avoid fur­ther sab­o­tage,” Ma said.


Tourists visit the Bund in Shang­hai on Tues­day. It is among 98 sites on the 20th-Cen­tury Chi­nese Ar­chi­tec­tural Her­itage List.

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