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Title: Constructing a place of critical architecture in China : a case study of the journal 'Time + Architecture'
Author: Ding, Guanghui
Awarding Body: University of Nottingham
Current Institution: University of Nottingham
Date of Award: 2013
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This thesis explores how – over a twenty-year period – the Tongji University-based journal Time + Architecture (Shidai Jianzhu) has engaged in the presentation and production of critical architecture in the contemporary Chinese cultural context. My principal stance is that the journal’s editorial agenda to publish innovative and exploratory work by emerging architects based in private design firms who were committed to new material, theoretical and pedagogical practices has resulted in a particular form of critical practice – what I have termed an ‘intermediate criticality’ – as a response to the particular constraints of the Chinese cultural and political context. The journal’s publications displayed a ‘dual critique’ – a critical attitude to the dominant modes of commercial building practice, characterised by rapid and large-scale urban expansion, and an alternative publishing practice focusing on emerging, independent architectural practitioners through the active integration of theoretical debates, architectural projects, and criticisms. I support this contention following a careful review and analysis of the history and programme of the journal. This is achieved through a focus on the journal’s singular publication on a wide range of topics. By situating the work of emerging architects, including Yung Ho Chang, Wang Shu, Liu Jiakun and Urbanus, among others, within the context of the journal’s special thematic editions on experimental architecture, exhibition, group design, new urban space and professional system, I attempt to discover what contribution the journal has made to the emergence of a critical architecture, in the context of how it was articulated, debated, presented and perhaps even ‘produced’ within the pages of the publication itself. I argue that the protagonists of critical architecture such as architects, critics, academics, editors, publishers and clients, among others, had endeavoured to construct an alternative mode of form and space with strong aesthetic and socio-political implications in such a way as to resolutely repudiate the predominant production of architecture in the urban process under the current Chinese socialist market economy. To rebel against certain forms of domination and suppression by capital and power is by no means to completely reject them; rather, it is to resourcefully use those progressive forces within the dominant structure to transform the problematic reality. This critical position, oscillating between cultural commitment and social, economic, and political circumstances, and uniquely manifest within the pages of the Time + Architecture journal, is what I have described as an ‘intermediate criticality.’
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: NA Architecture