For centuries, Hutongs have been recognized as one of the most treasured types of vernacular housing in China. Witnessing the cultural and historical transformation in Beijing ever since the Yuan Dynasty (1271 – 1368), the name Hutong is derived from a Mongolian word that means ‘water well’. In fact, this term was given to small streets that originated during the Yuan Dynasty when the emperor attempted to organize the urban fabric in a grid-like pattern in order to manage properly property ownership and to form an efficient transit system.
Zhang Ke: The Latest Architecture and News
Beijing-based architect Zhang Ke was educated first at China’s leading school, Tsinghua University, going on to later graduate from Harvard’s GSD in 1998. The former equipped him with technical know-how, while the latter encouraged him to question the essential elements of the profession, such as why we build. After working for three years in Boston and New York, Ke returned to Beijing to open his practice in 2001.
Chinese architect Zhang Ke, the founder of the firm standardarchitecture, has been awarded the 2017 Alvar Aalto Medal. Presented by the Museum of Finnish Architecture, the Finnish Association of Architects SAFA, the Architectural Society, the Alvar Aalto Foundation and the City of Helsinki, the medal recognizes an architect who, in the words of the Museum of Finnish Architecture, is "exceptionally accomplished in the field of creative architecture and has carried on Aalto’s legacy of sustainable, humane design."
As an architect, no matter how much support you have got, you always feel you are fighting by yourself. – Zhang Ke
The recent turning point experienced by the Chinese economy will probably be treated in future studies as the sign of a new coming era in China. The slowest growth rate in 25 years has already caused profound echoes in the architectural field. As one of the three Chinese participants in the central exhibition, “Reporting from the Front,” at the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale, in this interview architect Zhang Ke discusses his insight into the architectural front line in China, reflecting on architects’ social responsibilities and his vision of tomorrow’s Chinese architecture.
In conjunction with "Contemplating Basics," the 35th Aedes Architecture Forum's exhibition of work by Beijing-based ZAO/standardarchitecture, Reframe presents an interview the firm's founder, Zhang Ke, and Dr Eduard Kögel, an Urban Planner and critic from Berlin.
Berlin's Aedes Architecture Forum will mark the beginning of its 35th Anniversary Program by continuing its focus on Asia and China. With the architect Zhang KeofZAO/standardarchitecture from Beijing, Aedes presents one of the most promising protagonists of a young group of Chinese architects and urban planners with the exhibition 营造 Contemplating Basics. This follows on from the 2001 exhibition TU-MU, in which Aedes presented for the first time, and with global success, the first generation of independent architects in China. At that time, the architects and artists introduced in the exhibition - Yung Ho Chang, Liu Jiarkun, Ai Wei Wei, Wang Shu, Lu Wenyu - were fully unknown in the West, while some have since gone on to become Pritzker Prize winners or internationally renowned artists.