In 1898, Zhang Zhidong said that China should adopt “Chinese learning for essence, Western learning for use”; in other words China should take advantage of foreign knowledge to help advance its material and technical know-how, but it should do so while still maintaining its national social, political and cultural identity and structure of society.

Even though China’s social and political structure looks solid, it’s cultural identity is changing? Over the last 20 years, an increasing number of Chinese architects trained in the West are coming back with experimental ideas bringing free-thinking and aesthetic sensitivity, adapted from the west. This is inspiring others.

wood carSo has the West won the culture war, or is China in the driving seat?

Are liberal arts essential, or do we overstate the value of “critical-thinking”? Is the West relying too much on creativity and should it learn a little more from Chinese pragmatism? Does the West have anything left to teach China or are the tables turning?… and if you are a foreign architect, should you be looking to book your ticket home anytime soon?

Date: Friday, November 27th
Time: 7:00pm – 8:30pm
VenueThe Eight Art Hotel on the Bund Jia No7 Yan’an East Road, Shanghai 200002

Duncan Hewitt, China correspondent, Newsweek/International Business Times
Nathan Sperber, visiting scholar, Fudan University
Zhu Xiaofeng, principal, Scenic Architecture, Shanghai
Austin Williams, China correspondent, The Architectural Review
Xiaojing Huang, Strategic Director, Yang Design
Neville Mars, director,  Dynamic City Foundation; principal, Mars Architects,

To come along (FREE) please RSVP:

bund map






Possible readings:
China Daily, British students get better marks under Chinese teachers, 22 August 2015;

Architects Journal, Chinese President demands end to ‘weird architecture‘, 22 October 2014;

Arch Daily, (Re)Made in China: The Soviet-Era Planning Projects Shaping China’s Cities,  27 July 2014;

Key Trends in Globalisation, What the G20 needs to learn from China, 18 November 2014;

South China Morning Post, Chinese tech firms don’t copy Western innovations, they learn from them, says venture capitalist, 31 July 2015;

Architectural Review, ‘Home-grown Chinese architects trained in America return with creative integrity’, 28 October 2015