Organized Panel Session
This panel traces the transformation and reinvention of 20th-century East Asian architecture through important examples of cultural and intellectual production. Moving beyond traditional studies of built projects, the panelists explore multi-media practices that sparked new understandings of architecture and modernity in East Asia. While many believed that Modernist aesthetics gradually phased out local traditions, we show how indigenous architecture was re-defined by film, photograph, and history writing, often as a result of international interest. These renewed efforts challenge the insularity of a formal and material-centric architectural history, and treat architecture as an intellectual and transmedial experience instead.
Hu Jun explains how Liang Sicheng’s (1901-1972) reinterpretation of the 12th-century classic Yingzao Fashi (Building Standards) reveals his ambition to modernize what had hitherto been seen as a dormant discourse. Yang Zhiyan investigates a systematic rediscovery of “modern architecture” in China during the 1980s, discussing how a corpus of Western-style buildings assumed heightened local and contemporary relevance before nationwide urbanization. Lee Meng-Hsuan traces the tensions between colonizing efforts and colonized receptions via an official photo album for the “1935 Taiwan Exposition,” posing questions of how the ideology of progressiveness was codified and curated as a visual experience. Zhao Qi reflects on the fictitious elements and anxiety of influences in portraying “Chineseness” through architectural representations in a historical film produced in Hong Kong, with self-conscious appropriation of Japanese architectural elements. Taken together, the papers show how trans/multi-media experiences of architecture were structured across and beyond national boundaries in 20th-century East Asia.