In 2016 NAXNAX Netzwerk Architekturexport was able to make interesting contacts during a delegation trip to Beijing and build up a good network, due to (among other things) a Podium event at the German Embassy.
We are extremely grateful that, as part of this year’s NAX delegation trip to Beijing and Shanghai, it was again possible to build on the successful event two years ago and to organise an evening with presentations and discussions on “Architecture, Culture and Cautious City Making – Ideas and Inspirations between Germany and China” with German and Chinese planners within the scope of the delegation programme.
On Tuesday (30.10.2018) Katrin Buchholz, head of the cultural department of the German Embassy, in cooperation with the Federal Chamber of German Architects (BAK) and the Network for Architecture Exchange NAX invited participants to the Europasaal of the German Embassy. More than 80 guests expressed their interest in the subjects of architecture, culture and cautious urban development in China and Germany. After a brief meet and greet opportunity in speed dating format, Ms. Buchholz and Prof. Niebergall (BAK Vice President) welcomed the guests.
The interesting speeches were started off by ZHU Xiaodi, former manager of the Beijing Institute of Architectural Design, who presented three of his projects between “high rise and traditions”, among others the Wutai Mountain theatre in Shanxi with interactive light construction. He is inspiredby the the forms of traditional Chinese buildings as well as nature and the modern age. ZHU Xiaodi described the differences between the cultures of both countries, whereby he considered German culture to be more rational than Chinese culture. Both could learn and profit from each other in contemporary construction and the urban challenges of the present and future.
DONG Gong, founder of the architectural firm Vector Architects sensitised in his talk on the importance of community life in the neighbourhood and the obligation of architects to create public spaces to revitalise this community, something that he documented very clearly with the help of his projects. The challange of an architect is to adapt to the specific conditions of communal living and the handling of historic buildings and to include them in his designs in order to meet the demands of the future and changing needs.
For Markus Lauber, from the NAX-Member Office KSP Jürgen Engel Architekten in Beijing, the redesign of public spaces is one of the “Key solutions” for a sustainable coexistence in modern urban centres as well. He described in his talk and on the basis of projects how culture decisively influences the quality of a town. It is the responsibility of the architects and planners to also concentrate on the creation of public spaces. The more public space is created, the more cultural exchange can take place. However, above all private investors had a hard time with the idea of giving private space to the public.
Beside XU TianTian, co-founder of the firm DnA Design and Architecture and one of the best known architects of China who devoted herself in her talk to current issues of Chinese housing and cultural construction, Martin Henn and WEI Sun of the NAX-Member HENN illustrated how they are leading a German-Chinese team on the road to success – despite – or perhaps because of – different cultures. Martin Henn also introduced HENNs special approach to projects through their programming department. Here, the firm engages in an enormous research effort even before a design, in order to reduce information uncertainties.
ZHUANG Ziyu, from the NAX-Member RSAA also presented current projects. In particular the project Tongling Recluse, a revived residential building in a remote mountain village of the Anhui province, inspired the listeners.
The event was hosted by Katja Hellkötter (CONSTELLATIONS international), to whom – in addition to the German Embassy – we owe our special thanks. It was an inspirational and very interesting evening!
After the presentations, the guests had the opportunity to continue their conversation at a buffet and to network, as well as to take a look at the NAX exhibition CONTEMPORARY ARCHITECTURE. MADE IN GERMANY..