The Chinese City: lecture & workshop

What can we learn from China? City/State Workshop
What can we learn from China? City/State Workshop

On February 21, 2008, Bert de Muynck | MovingCities gave the opening lecture for the new semester at the Architecture Department at Bezalel Academy of Art and Design, Jerusalem, Israel. The lecture was part of the ‘What can we learn from China?‘-workshop.

The title of the lecture was “The Chinese City; spaces of conflict, confusion, construction, culture and creativity.” Actually one should add to this; construction sites. The lecture opted to do the impossible and started with explaining the public this inherent notion of failure. We presented research in flux, cities in movement, an early 21st century urban anthropology of the Chinese city. At the end of the day we are still detectives roaming the planet in search for evidence that can support or deny the role of architecture and urbanism in shaping and constructing the contemporary city. The Chinese City, as we found out, is a phenomenon, a construct, a work in progress, a city of the moving type,… to wide, vibrant, elusive and large to capture within the the framework of a lecture, to much changing to develop theories that last, to elusive to capture, to flexible to grasp. We presented, leaving the audience staring mouth agape at a bombardment of images, analysis and architectures, is a moving society, up-scaling, urbanizing, creating in an almost illogical way cities.

The Chinese City; spaces of conflict,   confusion, construction, culture and creativity
The Chinese City; spaces of conflict, confusion, construction, culture and creativity

The lecture was structured as follows:

  • Visual introduction to the Chinese City
  • What happened and where did this come from?
  • The Chinese urban an architectural development as a topic of speculation, publication and exhibition
  • What did we learn from Las Vegas?
  • movingcities and the state of the contemporary city
  • How to analyze the The Chinese City?
  • Mechanism driving the development of the Chinese City
  • Confusion and the search for an urban identity
  • The role of architecture in the construction of The Chinese City, Ai Weiwei | FAKE Design & Wang Shu | Amateur Architecture Studio

Bert de Muynck | movingcities
Bert de Muynck | movingcities

Together with Dan Handel and Yonatan Cohen from the City/State Unit [http://www.citystateunit.com/] MovingCities gave the introduction to the workshop on February 21, 2008. We divided the students in four groups, and each group will fill the territory between Tel Aviv and Herzliya through one specific type of intervention borrowed from the Chinese condition. These intervention are:

  • Central Business Districts
  • Cultural and Creative Industries Clusters
  • Housing
  • Landscape Operations

Students participating in the City/State Workshop
Students participating in the City/State Workshop

Throughout the following week MovingCities and the city/state unit will in tandem post updates on the progress of the workshop on the City/State Unit blog. The workshop concludes on Thursday February 28, 2008, with a review at the Architecture Department at Bezalel Academy of Art and Design, Jerusalem, Israel. On Friday February 29, 2008, we will presenting the result at ZeZeZe Architecture Gallery, Tel Aviv.

MovingCities would like to thank Yuval Yasky – unit master at Bezalel and Zvi Efrat, Head of the Architecture Department at the Bezalel Academy of Art & Design.

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