Research Centre: Architecture, Urbanism, and the Humanities Initiative
Active Dates: September 2013 – ongoing
Project Title: Of Art and Science: Post-Revolutionary Architectural Culture in China, 1973-1989
Principal Investigator: Cole Roskam
Funding Body: Research Grants Council (RGC)
This project examines modern Chinese architectural education, exchange, and discourse between 1973 and 1989. It seeks to understand three significant but unexplored dimensions of the era: the international expansion of Chinese architectural construction and exchange beginning in 1973; the profound changes in architectural education following the advent of economic reform beginning in 1977; and the impact of this internationalization on Chinese architectural discourse over the course of the 1980s. Ultimately, this work aims to re-position the era as a vital moment in the history of China’s architectural and cultural production by providing new and critical insight into economic, political, and cultural change through architectural form, practice, and discourse. More generally, my work asserts China be considered a more active and international influence in architectural practice and study at the time than has been previously considered.
My work has helped illuminate post-Cultural Revolution architectural development and exchange, a previously under-examined period of time in China’s architectural history. I’ve expanded the scope of my own knowledge concerning this period, and through my three research outputs, I’ve also contributed to the field of Chinese architectural historical scholarship. Each of my three peer-reviewed articles offers a new perspective on China’s architecture in relation to economic liberalization and internationalization over the course of the late 1970s and 1980s.
I hope that this work illuminates a previously underexamined period in 20th century Chinese architecture and expands our understanding of China’s architectural development in relationship to other architectural movements around the world at the time. Each of my three peer-reviewed articles offers new perspective on China’s architecture in relation to the country’s economic liberalization and internationalization over the course of the late 1970s and 1980s. Each article maintains its own unique focus on a particular dimension of China’s architectural production at the time, including the rise of the international hotel in China over the course of the late 1970s and 1980s, the expansion of China’s architectural exchanges and transformations within the Chinese design institute, as well as China’s architectural engagement with numerous countries within the African continent.