A country with no memory

China A Country Without Memory destroy vernacular architecture city

Image Source and Copyright: Sze Tsung Leong

Clearing off the old and making way for the new, China is building tall and soulless apartment blocks in Ming and Qing Dynasty. The McDonalisation of the architecture has lead to the birth of the disposable one, creating a society that is not worth caring and cities that are not worth defending.

Ming and Qing Dynasty neighbourhood of traditional courtyard houses in Beijing being demolished to make way for luxury housing; a city razed as a result of the construction of the Three Gorges Dam, now the largest dam in the world; a new city built to accommodate the relocation of populations whose former cities will be flooded by the Yangtze River; a traditional district in Chongqing waiting to be destroyed, surrounded by new construction; anonymous construction sites marking the empty moment between the erasure of the past and the arrival of the future. – Sze Tsung Leong

As new buildings went up, many old buildings fell down. Beijing has begun to disappear as the city became an industrial sprawl. Because of the rapid modernisation in the past 10 year, vernacular architecture has been demolished by real estate developers to make way to build shopping malls, hotels and high- rise apartment complexes. That happened in an area where a new historical site and artifacts were destroyed when some developers discovered it accidentally to avoid the Government from sealing off  the construction site and stop all works during the excavation.

China A Country Without Memory destroy vernacular architecture city
Image Source and Copyright: Sze Tsung Leong

China A Country Without Memory destroy vernacular architecture city
Image Source and Copyright: Sze Tsung Leong

As Trevor Howells quotes, “ Of all the arts in the world, none is more fundamental to the way we live than architecture. It is a mirror of our own time and of times gone by, a diary that is written in mud and timber, in brick and stone, in iron and steel, in concrete and glass. Our homes, our public buildings and cities reflect what we are, what we once were – and what we hope to become.”

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