Bringing into focus China’s history of modern architecture from the early 1900s to the twenty-first century, China Builders invites the audience to explore and experience the life journeys of pioneering architects. Living in times of dramatic cultural interactions and transformations, these architects have produced the milestones of modern architecture in China. Some of them came to China from abroad; they brought modern design practices to China and reshaped the urban landscape of Chinese cities. Others were architects educated outside of China and initiated the study of Chinese architectural history—in turn, they founded the discipline of architecture in China. As it examines the past hundred years of China’s architectural history, China Builders recalls the careers and lived experience of multiple generations’ representative architects.
China Builders transforms the extraordinary careers of pioneering architects into multimedia experiences, inviting contemporary audiences to rethink the history, education, and practice of architecture in modern China.
In its online form, chinabuilders.art, China Builders explores architectural history at both a macro and a micro level. The macro level visualizes the broader social context of these architects with an Archive Cosmos. Mapping the dimensions of time, space, and typology, the Archive Cosmos aligns ephemera (such as photographs, videos, and textual documentation) along an interactive timeline. Focusing on individual stories, the project’s micro level pursues architects’ thoughts and dreams, reflecting at once on personal experiences and the social transformation that the architects witnessed.