Thinking with China
Evening Presentation by Shiqiao Li, Weedon Professor in Asian Architecture, School of Architecture, University of Virginia
Drinks reception 6:30 pm
Presentation 7:00 pm
Close 8:00 pm
In the past one hundred years, China has drastically revised its traditional intellectual framework to think with Western cultural traditions; this includes the ways in which cities are planned and constructed. However, the increasing intellectual crises in the West, including those of the project of modernization and the unintended environmental consequences, provoke us to rethink the Chinese intellectual trajectory in the past one hundred years. Understanding the Chinese City, authored by Shiqiao Li, presents a new set of views to understand Chinese cities. It argues that, despite revolutions in the past century, Chinese traditions of city making have not disappeared. They merely found different ways of manifesting themselves materially. This book therefore suggests that the next decisive development in China lies in working creatively with its own cultural traditions, rather than in marginalizing or exoticizing them. This is a difficult task, as it requires changes of thinking habits; however, as the book suggests, this is a central task as we attempt to re-chart the course of the development of Chinese cities in the twenty-first century to avoid some of the most devastating excesses of modernization.
Shiqiao Li is Weedon Professor in Asian Architecture, School of Architecture, University of Virginia. He studied architecture at Tsinghua University in Beijing and obtained his PhD from AA School of Architecture and Birkbeck College, University of London. Li practiced architecture in London and Hong Kong, and his books include Understanding the Chinese City (London: Sage, 2014), Architecture and Modernization (xiandai sixiang zhong de jianzhu, Beijing, 2009) and Power and Virtue, Architecture and Intellectual Change in England 1650-1730 (London and New York: Routledge, 2007).