Breking down Beijing (2)

11:16, December 11, 2009      

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"I think the building raises issues like the continuity and protection of the old and historical neighborhoods in big cities and a series of social problems," explained Chen Cheng, one of the installation's designers.

Shi added that while the book and installations often focused on marginalized areas in danger of demolition, the project was not aimed at being critical, but at encouraging people to explore places that have been neglected, to reinforce their connection with the city.

"I felt agitated and sad as I saw old Beijing disappearing with the fast development of the city," commented Professor Yang Dongping from Beijing University of Engineering and Architecture, attending the exhibition.

"But after seeing this exhibition and listening to the introduction by the organizers and designers, I feel rather excited," he added. "It is an attempt to connect the ever-changing city with the younger generation, with design and architecture teaching. These activities will play a positive role in the future development of the city and the growth of the new generation."

Yang explained that in the past, many people held misunderstandings about the concept of protection and preservation. "It was commonly thought that only those built before the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) are worth protecting because China has such a long history," he said. "Nowadays, we realize that buildings of the recent era are important as well and deserve proper preservation so that the city will remain lively with the warmth of history and culture."

"I feel like my relationship with the city is somewhat like a couple," explained Yuan Bo, a teacher at the Architecture Department of Tsinghua University and a participant in the project. "I've been living here for 20 years and I began to become oblivious of what was happening around me."

"The parkour project offered a rare opportunity to rediscover the city," she added. "Behind all the complaints and discontent associated with the city, is the deep affection that we hold to the place we live."

The Beijing Parkour project was organized by Goethe-Institut China, ISreading Culture and the Design and Cultural Studies Workshop. The installation exhibition will run until December 16 at Studio-X Beijing.

Source: Global Times
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