Western architecture included among 20th-century Chinese heritage sites

By Zhou Jiaxin Source:Global Times Published: 2016/10/11 0:28:40

Beijing Workers’ Stadium, which was also built in 1959, is now a major venue for concerts and sporting events, with a maximum capacity of 70,000. Photo: CFP

Some 98 architectural sites, including  Western churches and observatories, have been listed as the country's architectural heritage of the 20th century, Chinese cultural relics authorities announced on Monday.

Observers said these Western architectural sites are typical works of that era that are valuable for architectural research and significant for the Chinese to remember history.

The list, issued by the China Cultural Relic Association and the Architectural Society of China on September 29, surprised many Chinese netizens as it has embraced a number of Western, especially colonial architectural works like iconic Western buildings along Shanghai's Bund and Xujiahui Catholic Church built in the early 1930s.

Cao Yongkang, head of the International Research Center of Architectural Heritage Conservation of Shanghai Jiao Tong University, told the Global Times  on Monday that these architectural sites symbolize important public movements in Chinese history, and are vital parts of history. 

Li Luke, a professor in the School of Architecture at Tsinghua University, told the Global Times that the public should not just see these works through the lens of colonial history.

"The research [on these architectures] will help improve the work of utilizing and protecting the heritage," added Li.

The list also includes the venue of the first Congress of the Communist Party of China in Shanghai, the Museum of Wuchang Uprising of 1911 Revolution in Central China's Hubei Province, and the Memorial Hall of the Victims in Nanjing Massacre by Japanese Invaders in East China's Jiangsu Province.

Moreover, Caoyang village in Shanghai, China's first village to apply the policies of New China in 1949 is also listed.

"The first village of New China is quite a symbol of those times featuring socialism, the working class and China's great industrial endeavors," said Cao.

Cao added that the list could also reshape the people's view of these "legacies" that don't just refer to time-honored architecture.

"We will understand them in a dynamic way, which will help us treasure valuable things like heritage," Cao said.

More photos:

Scaling the 20th century architectural masterpieces of China

Posted in: Society, Art

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