As Beijing is swathed in a landscape of construction and demolition, the 中国国际建筑艺术双年展 1st Architecture Biennale – Beijing opens today, under the aegis of the Chinese Ministry of Culture. With some of the most avante-garde of local and international architects currently involved in the redevelopment of the city, the biennale brings them all together over the next couple of weeks with in the exhibitions and forums.
In ancient times , in the eastern world, “Zhong Guo” (China) meant “the country at the centre”. With its vast area of over 9.6 million square kilometers and over 5,000 years of recorded history, China has generated a vast treasure of architecture and art, such as the Great Wall spanning thousand of miles, the grand and splendid Forbidden City, the traditional courtyard houses inspired by China’s philosophies, towers and pagodas reflecting the spirit of traditional concepts and human relations, hundreds upon thousands of exquisite pavilions, picturesque landscaped gardens and beautifully-constructed bridges, and finally the renowned Silk Road linking China with other parts of the world.
At the beginning of this new Millennium, as mankind steps into the 21st century, China is like the morning sun rising in the east, with its burgeoning economic development, especially in the field of construction, now the driving engine of an economy which has been developing at an increasing speed in the past 20 years. The western media noted with awe, “China is like a huge construction site!… new buildings sprout like spring bamboo shoots while the rest of the world’s construction market is at a standstill.”
Hundreds of Chinese cities have been transfigured with high-rise complexes and new buildings of all sorts of different forms and styles in line with pluralism of architectural creation. Over 20,000 kilometers of highways and many stunning highway bridges have been built in the past decade. As host country to the World Conference on Heritage in 2004, World Expo of Leisure in 2006 and the World Olympic Games in 2008, China will see another high tide in the construction boom. China has become the world’s showcase for new concepts, new ideas and new technology in architecture.
Throughout next Autumn’s golden days in September 2004, Beijing will open its doors to welcome architecture and building and construction industry colleagues from every part of the world, to join in China’s very first ABB2004.