Historic Preservation

  • Photo by Audrey von Ahrens

Conserving the Future: Historic Preservation in Contemporary China (Symposium)

Thursday, January 28, 2016 6:30pmFriday, January 29, 2016 5:00pm
Add to Calendar

Meyerson Hall, Lower Gallery, 210 South 34th Street, Philadelphia

Register online.

Historic preservation occupies a curious and critical position in quickly transforming societies. By various means, it can enable and prevent environmental change and new interpretations of the past. Contemporary China presents a particularly interesting and important case of this general phenomenon of modernity. The deep heritage of Chinese art, architecture and urbanism have faced immense threats in the iconoclastic 20th century and massive urbanization of the last few decades.  What does conserving the past – or “conserving the future” – mean in the context of contemporary Chinese culture and urbanization? 

This symposium explores the roles historic preservation has played, and might play, in contemporary Chinese society.  As a field of technical expertise, a mode of design and planning, and a cultural movement, we ask how historic preservation has evolved in China. What is the status of preservation (of art, architecture and urban places) in contemporary China?  What are the critical issues in Chinese preservation practice, policy and scholarship? How do Chinese ideas and methods of preservation relate to the internationalization of heritage practices in the early 21st century? What are the latest developments in scholarship and practice about the roles of architectural and urban heritage in China? A small group of scholars and experts from US and Chinese universities and from a variety of disciplinary bases approach these questions from a range of perspectives. Together, they will build an image of preservation’s contemporary role in cultural discourse and design practice.

Organized by Randall Mason (Associate Professor and Chair of Historic Preservation, PennDesign) and Nancy Steinhardt (Professor, East Asian Languages and Civilizations, University of Pennsylvania School of Arts and Sciences, and Curator of Asian Art, Penn Museum).

Thursday, January 28

6:30pm: Keynote Session

Introduced by Dean and Paley Professor Marilyn Jordan Taylor, PennDesign 

Puay-Peng Ho, Director, Centre for Architectural Heritage, and Professor of Architecture, School of Architecture, The Chinese University of Hong Kong

Friday, January 29

9:00am: Registration

9:30am: Welcome and introduction
Randall Mason, Associate Professor and Chair of Historic Preservation, PennDesign

10:00am - 12:00pm: Panel 1
Moderated by Nancy Steinhardt, University of Pennsylvania

Shigeatsu Shimizu, Kyoto Institute of Technology
Daniel Abramson, University of Washington

1:30 - 3:30pm: Panel 2
Moderated by Randall Mason

Stefan Al, PennDesign
Gang Liu, Tongji University
Kuanghan Li, Global Heritage Fund/Beijing

4:00 - 5:00pm: Roundtable discussion with all participants and audience