In Baoshan, a district on the northern outskirts of Shanghai 上海 known for its steel factories and shipyards, lays the Wendao Garden 闻道园. This garden covers an area of over 400 hectares and is a place where ancient houses from the nearby provinces of Anhui, Jianxi and Zhejiang are brought in and reconstructed. Last summer MovingCities visited the place and now MARK magazine published the story. Preservation Playground is online.
The topic of preservation is tackled from three different perspectives. First of all there is the ambition of the Chinese businessman Wang Wei to construct the Wendao Garden 闻道园; secondly, there is the Hui Garden project by Arctora for the new Minhang Campus of Shanghai Jiaotong University [see 3D map]; and thirdly, history Professor Cao Shuji of Shanghai Jiaotong University puts both of these updated preservation projects in perspective. From the article:
After a stroll around the grounds, we visit the warehouse, where approximately 50 houses await reconstruction and where Wang Wei’s impressive collection of oddly shaped rocks are on view. When we finally have a chance to sit down and talk to Wang, we are impressed by his modest, laid-back demeanour. I begin by asking him how collecting houses became a hobby. ‘It is probably just something personal,’ he replies, ‘as my ancestral home is in Anhui Province, the place where my grandfather and greatgrandfather lived before they moved to Shanghai. I do this preservation work because in recent years lots of houses have disappeared owing to financial and political turmoil – and to the pressure of rapid urbanization. During this process, we were able to buy some of the houses.’ As our conversation continues, it becomes clear that Wang’s hobby is the result of what he calls ‘a circumstantial opportunity.’ And, like many hobbies, this one has had an outcome that was unforeseeable at the onset. ‘Originally, I planned to buy only one house and use it for having tea and meeting friends. Later on, traveling through the countryside of Anhui Province, I found people breaking private homes to pieces, as such structures are not protected by the government.’
Continue reading Preservation Playground [Mark Magazine #35 (Dec 11 – Jan 12)].
Pictures by movingcities.org