A SPATIAL REVOLUTION Beijing, 1949–59
DOI link for A SPATIAL REVOLUTION Beijing, 1949–59
A SPATIAL REVOLUTION Beijing, 1949–59 book
Upon the inauguration of the People’s Republic of China on 1 October 1949, symbols and images of various kinds were needed to represent the new nation. Architects who had practised in the ‘Old China’ and studied abroad, particularly in the United States, in a Beaux-Arts programme in and around the 1920s were called upon to serve the new Republic. They were now employed in state-owned universities and design institutes in a nationalization process. They were required to study Mao’s writings and Soviet Russian examples, to reform their ‘bourgeois’ thinking, to adopt a ‘proletarian’ worldview and, in particular, to conceive a design approach suitable for socialist China. In response, these architects re-employed Beaux-Arts design methods, integrated American and Soviet influences, and created a Chinese ‘national style’ in the 1950s. The flag, the national emblem, and the Monument to the People’s Heroes were designed early in the decade. Design theories were formulated in 1954 and 1958-9 with important buildings constructed at the two moments accordingly. In the first, Liang Sicheng articulated a Chinese version of ‘socialist realism with national forms’, which was reflected in the buildings of the time with Chinese features, especially the curved roofs. In the second, a more collective voice under the Party called for ‘new styles for China’s socialist architecture’, which were manifested in a variety of forms, especially in the Ten Grand Buildings in Beijing in 1959. For the planning of the city, the basic concept was made around 1953 and 1954, under the Party’s direction and with reference to the Moscow Plan of 1935 under Stalin. The Beijing Plan called for the administrative centre to be located inside the old imperial city, and for Beijing to be the political centre and industrial base of the nation, a city whose aim was, among others, to increase the ‘efficiency of the working people’s labour and production’.