Title: ‘The Condition of Chinese Architecture’

Author: Pier Alessio Rizzardi & Zhang Hankun


The book is a collection of historical and contemporary information that provide basics for the understanding of the condition of architecture in China, and the situation in which its actors must operate.

China uses 33% of the world’s overall consumption of reinforced concrete. Chinese architects account for 1% of the world total, but the turnover from building work is 1/10 of the world total. In other words, one hundredth of the world’s architects must design 33% of all buildings and they must do this for just 1/10 of the profit. How does this condition effect architecture?

Nowadays reality: The contemporary reality is studied through the big numbers of the growth, size, quantity of projects, the issue of demolition, the relationship between the project and the context (or non-context), the definition of the numbers of Chinese phenomenon, the condition that determines its architecture.

Absorbing Modernity: The research of the identity goes the first contacts with the West and the expression of the national changing. In the book are displayed case studies of Baroque, Beaux Art, Eclecticism, Chinese Revival, Soviet Architecture, Modernism, American Postmodernism, Mega-structural Modernism, New Vernacular and the new trends of the architect of the last generation regarding the avant-garde, critical and post-critical approaches

Conversations: Chang Yong Ho, Jiakun Architects, Ma Yansong, Liu Xiaodu, Zhang Lei, LU Wenyu, Liu Yuyang, Rocco Yim, Zhang Bin, Li Xiaodong, Zhu Pei, Li Hu, Chen Yifeng, Qi Xin, Xu Tiantian and Zhang Ke talk and describes their experiences, their design philosophy through the most important works and their positions about the contemporary issues: the research of architectural identity, the possibilities and contradictions of the present historical moment, the understanding of the non-context, the speed of architectural creation, the traces of the past in new architectures and the condition of uncertainty as integral part of the Chinese society.

Issues: The final section collects the mainstream issues arising from the conversations suck as the repetition of the designs, the architecture influenced by the construction workers the used technology; the architecture affected by the image and the iconic characteristics which influence the architecture toward a visual impact; the presence of a design root coming from ancient architecture that drives the design and the research of the contemporary Chinese space.