How do urban planners go about their work and what contributions do they make to the building of liveable cities? Ke Huanzhang, former head of the Beijing Academy of Urban Planning and Design, is all for the seamless melding of a good ecological environment, living facilities, jobs and public services in a city. Liu Thai Ker, the former chief architect and CEO of Singapore’s Housing Development Board, says a good planner needs to have the heart of a humanist, the brain of a scientist, and the eye of an artist. Tan Ying Zhen speaks to the veteran urban planners as part of a series of fireside chats put together to commemorate the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Singapore and China.
Singaporean architect Mok Wei Wei and Chinese architect Chang Yung Ho are both well-respected professionals who have made contributions to the architectural heritage of their countries. Looking at architecture from the perspective of cultural infrastructure to be embedded into the contemporary urban fabric and to be left behind for future generations, both architects have worked hard to design the buildings that will satisfy these needs, and to convey the modern architectural language of their time and place. Lianhe Zaobao correspondent Lim Fong Wei speaks to the architects as part of a series of fireside chats put together to commemorate the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Singapore and China.
The recent floods in Sichuan were serious enough to wet the feet of the Leshan Giant Buddha, which sits on a platform at 362 metres above sea level at the confluence of the Dadu, Qingyi, and Min rivers. Academic Zhang Tiankan explains that while the Giant Buddha represents the ancient Chinese's wisdom in combating floods, modern-day Chinese will need to step up the building of “sponge cities” to prevent floods.
The building and landscape architecture of Suzhou Museum has been lauded for its intricate blend of old and new. Cultural historian Cheng Pei-kai is in awe of the late architect I.M. Pei, but sees at the same time, the need for man-made landscapes to blend into their natural environment. Otherwise, the handprints of their maker will all be too visible and the result far from the scenes of nature it was precisely trying to capture.
Cai Enze analyses the anticipated gains of American private equity investment company Blackstone taking Chinese property developer SOHO China private. ThinkChina also takes a look at SOHO, and the high-profile couple behind it.
Singapore’s oldest Buddhist monastery, the Lian Shan Shuang Lin Monastery, is set for a fresh round of restoration works. Its bell and drum towers, which are in severe disrepair, will be rebuilt at an estimated cost of $7 million, and will open to the public by the second half of 2022.
Professor Ho Puay-peng of NUS is an architect by training. His signature architectural work is the HK$1.5b Tsz Shan Monastery in Hong Kong, commissioned by business magnate Lee Kah Shing. Interestingly, Prof Ho’s father Ho Beng Hong was also an architect whose designs include several Chinese architecture-inspired modern buildings in Singapore. ThinkChina invited Prof Ho to reflect on how classical Chinese architecture has evolved and changed in contemporary times outside of China, through an exploration of his own works and those of his father.