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People's Daily Online>>China Society

Anger at demolition of renowned architects' home (2)

By Cheng Yingqi (China Daily)

10:32, January 30, 2012

"The developer should have consolidated the ancient buildings instead of pulling them down." Zeng said. "According to the law, even if the courtyard was a dangerous building that needs repair, the project should have been carried out by a certificated construction company, which wasn't the case."

Media reports named the developer as Fuheng Realty, a subsidiary of China Resources.

The municipal government has said that Liang's residence will be rebuilt and that it has ordered the developer not to remove anything from the rubble.

"But if we replace every ancient building with a new replica, we will end up with a pile of meaningless fake antiques," Zeng said.

"Protected relics cannot be rebuilt once demolished, according to international cultural heritage protection principles," Chen Zhihua, professor with the School of Architecture at Tsinghua University, and a former student of Liang and Lin, told reporters.

"Building a replica only makes things worse. So I suggest that the government build a monument or a park on the original site in memory of Liang and Lin," Chen said.

As of 5 pm on Sunday, an online survey by the popular micro-blogging site Sina Weibo showed that 90 percent of the 8,360 participants said Liang's siheyuan should not be demolished because it is of great historical value.

An unidentified executive with China Resources' Beijing branch told Xinhua on Sunday that his company "could not agree" that the demolition was against related regulations.

Liang is considered "the father of modern Chinese architecture" for his pioneering role in advocating the preservation of the country's ancient architecture.

Liang was particularly known for his proposal with another architect Chen Zhanxiang to preserve the ancient city of Beijing and build a complete new city to the west of it after the Communist Party of China made Beijing the capital of the new republic.

But the country's leaders back then opted to build a political, economic, and cultural center within Beijing's historical core. Traffic jams, air pollution, and disappearing ancient architecture linked to poor urban planning in recent years have led more and more people to feel nostalgic for Liang's ill-fated plan.

Xinhua contributed to this story.

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