A day along the river: Creating a Fuding in the image of the greatest Chinese painting

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Sun, Yue
Author ORCID Profiles (clickable)
Master of Architecture (Professional)
Unitec, Te Pūkenga – New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology
Su, Bin
Francis, Kerry
Masters Thesis
Ngā Upoko Tukutuku (Māori subject headings)
Fuding Shi (China)
museum architecture
public spaces
Fujian architecture
Chinese architecture
architecture and culture
cultural heritage
Spring festival on the river (清明上河 图)
white tea
modernist architecture
Chinese painting
ANZSRC Field of Research Code (2020)
Sun, Y. (2022). A day along the river: Creating a Fuding in the image of the greatest Chinese painting (Unpublished document submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Architecture (Professional)). Unitec, Te Pūkenga - New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology https://hdl.handle.net/10652/6097
RESEARCH QUESTION How can an architectural intervention help to rescue and educate on intangible cultural heritage and identity in Fuding, China? ABSTRACT China has become the largest construction site on earth, over the past century. However, the country has experienced significant challenges finding the best ways to build for its future. Metropolises like Shanghai are on their way to being constructed to compete with New York. Modernism, which emphasizes function and a streamlined form over ornamentation, is one of the most common terms currently being discussed in architecture. After the Second World War, China built thousands of modern cities with incredible speed, based on this effective and efficient architectural philosophy. However, modernism has turned most Chinese cities into poor imitations of those in America and they lack Chinese culture and identity. To avoid continuing to build more soulless buildings in China, there is an urgent call to awaken its architecture. Ancient Chinese cities were built mainly based on a philosophy of harmony and nature. This rich co-existence of architecture and landscape are constantly found in traditional Shanshui paintings. As this type of identity is fading away in the modern Chinese building industry, is it possible to find a cure from within the traditions? Is it possible to bring a second wind to the development of ageing towns by using architecture? Is there a better way to construct our cities, based on tradition, culture and locality? The country is also facing another challenge: the loss of the intangible cultural heritage formed over the past centuries, which is non-material and difficult to inherit. Most heritage rescuing activities happen in small cities or in the countryside where the cultural heritage has its roots and they meet with great difficulties due to insufficient resources and unprofessional services. Fuding is the small city in Fujian province where I was born and it is famous for being the home of white tea. This city is experiencing similar problems as other Chinese cities. My research focuses on literature surrounding the movement to rescue intangible cultural heritage in China and the endeavours that modern Chinese architecture has been struggling with to find its identity. The analysis of precedents that feature culture in traditional and modern architecture, has helped me to understand that there is a possible interconnection of the two fields and the research has inspired a design that may rescue architectural identity and the heritage of white tea in Fuding. This project cannot fully address the cultural problem in China, but it has a future vision to become an urban precedent to inspire other Chinese cities, even non-Chinese cities around the world, to rebuild our city’s cultural image in a way that we are truly proud of. Site: Jiangbin Road, along section of Tongshan River, Fuding, Fujian, China
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