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Architectural Encounters with Essence and Form in Modern China Paperback – February 27, 2004

ISBN-13: 978-0262681513 ISBN-10: 026268151X

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Editorial Reviews


"Modern Chinese history is the paradox of the demands of past and future--of the struggle of resolving the difficulties involved inmoving a country towards modernity while retaining valuable elements of its cultural heritage. Although western scholarship has offered numerous profound insights into issues relating to Chinese modernization, I know of few published works that directly engage the modernization of Chinese architecture. Analyzing historical movements within the dynamic between 'essence' (ti) and 'form' (yong)--a constant theme running through the modern transformations of Chinese politics and culture--Peter Rowe and Seng Kuan persuasively present us a magnificent panorama of one and a half centuries of Chinese architecture, in which Chinese architects have tenaciously pursued a culturally informed modernity."--Delin Lai, Ph.D., former faculty member, School of Architecture, Tsinghua University, and current graduate student in art history, University of ChicagoPlease note: Endorser gives permission to excerpt from quote.

"Rowe and Kuan show a rare talent for getting into the hearts and minds of designers. They bring into clear focus some of the central dilemmas of contemporary Chinese architecture!"--Timothy C. Geisler, Architect, Urban Design Group

"Modern China--whether we think of it as a place, a state, or a culture--has been formed by the dynamic interaction between indigenous and international forms. Nowhere is this more obvious than in the country's modern architecture and urban planning. This wonderful book recaptures much of what was planned, and the best of what was built, in China, by native and foreign engineers and architects over the course of the 20th century, from the neoclassical, Wilhelmine structures of German Qingdao (1904-14), to Xing Tonghe's daringly sculptural Shanghai Museum (1995). Deeply learned and beautifully illustrated, Architectural Encounters is a work of artistic, intellectual, and political history that should be read by any serious student of modern China, indeed by anyone who has walked the streets of Beijing, Shanghai, Nanjing, and other great Chinese cities."--William C. Kirby, Geisinger Professor of History and Director, Asia Center, Harvard UniversityPlease note: Endorser gives permission to excerpt from quote.

About the Author

Peter G. Rowe is Dean of the Harvard Graduate School of Design, where he is Raymond Garbe Professor of Architecture and Urban Design.

Seng Kuan is a graduate student at Harvard University and the founding editor of the Harvard Asia Pacific Review.

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