Seventy years of revolution and turmoil have had a severe impact on the miraculous ancient urban form of Beijing, but economic growth since the early 1990s has threatened to deal the coup de grace. In Rehabilitating the Old City of Beijing, Wu Liangyong presents an impassioned plea to turn the tide of demolition and offers a new direction for the planning and development of China's capital.
Wu, a student and colleague of China's first architectural historian, Liang Sicheng, is a champion of the human-scaled development and a voice for conservation. But above all, he is an architect, and it is through his own projects, built and unbuilt, that he advocates a more humane vision of the city. Wu's project for the renewal of the Ju'er Hutong (Chrysanthemum Lane) neighbourhood in the heart of Beijing's Old City takes pride of place in this book.
A thoughtful analysis of those aspects of the ancient capital's features, which the project aims to respect and conserve, is followed by a detailed account of the design and development process of the project itself. Architectural drawings and photographs of the completed project, and data on the neighbourhood's resident population present the state of the art in Chinese residential design and planning -- a field that is deeply challenged by reforms sweeping through the entire economy and society of the country.
Urban historians, conservationists, planners, and architectural scholars and practitioners interested in Chinese cities, or in any of the world's great capitals, will want to read this book.
Utilising his thorough knowledge of the unique street pattern, urban water and lake system, characteristic solid enclosure and internal openness of its cityscape, Professor Wu Liangyong has been able to reconstruct skilfully the city’s texture and grain in undertaking the Ju’er Hutong renewal project ... This book provides a fascinating insight into the project’s development and distils key lessons for future conservation and renewal programmes.
Foreword by Peter G. Rowe, Faculty of Design, Harvard University
Preface by Aprodicio A. Laquian, UBC Centre for Human Settlements
1. The City of Beijing in Historical Perspective
2. Planning and Development in Beijing since 1949
3. Residential Development and the Renewal of Derelict Houses
4. "Organic Renewal" in Historic Cities
5. Traditional Courtyard Houses and a New Prototype
6. Planning and Design of the Ju'er Hutong Project
7. Post-Occupancy Evaluation and Lessons from the Planning and Design Experience
8. The Continuing Debate over Redevelopment
9. Future Prospects
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