Modern Chinese architecture generally refers to the architecture built since the middle period of the 19th century.
During the period from the broke out of Opium War in 1840 to establishment of People’s Republic of China in 1949, Chinese architecture witnessed a blend in Chinese style and western style. Although the traditional Chinese architectural system still took the dominant role, buildings serving for entertainment industry, such as theaters, restaurants, and hotels, as well as the business buildings, such as department stores, food market and so on, all made breakthrough in the traditional architecture style and succeeded in building up business sites in a combination of Chinese and Western elements. Western architectures also appeared in China then. In some cities with leased territory, for example, Shanghai, Tianjin, Qingdao, and Harbin, some foreign buildings were erected, including consulates, foreign firms, banks, restaurants, and clubs. Some national architecture in modern times also appeared in this period, which is a combination of new functions, new technology and Chinese style.
After People’s Republic of China was founded in 1949, Chinese architecture enters into a new era. The planed economic system helped to accelerate the development of architecture. The new Chinese style has experience the Returning to the Ancients’ Period characterized by the partly application of big roof, New Communist Buildings Period represented by the Big Ten Buildings for National Celebration, and Cantonese Style Period integrated by the modern design and national spirit. Since the 1980s, the Chinese architecture gradually became open, compatible and multiple.
Famous Modern Chinese Architectures
Great Hall of the People
The Great Hall of the People is located at the West Chang’an Road and the western edge of Tiananmen Square, Beijing, and is used for legislative and ceremonial activities by the People's Republic of China and the Communist Party of China. It also works as the office of National People’s Congress and its standing committee. It was built in 10 months by volunteers in 1958 and 1959. With floor space of more than 170,000 square meters it has 300 meeting halls, lounges and office rooms. The National People’s Congress meets at the 10,000-seat auditorium annually and its Standing Committee meets in another room.
New CCTV Broadcasting Center: The total built-up area is about 550,000 square kilometers. The tallest building is about 230 meters. It has a unique appearance of an S-shaped side view and an O-shaped view from front.
Beijing Capital International Airport: The newly extension to the airport was started in March, 2006 and is due to finished in 2008. At that time, the new Beijing Airport can handle up to 60 million people in one year and become the National Gate of new Beijing.
National Aquatics Center: The Beijing National Aquatics Centre, also known as the Water Cube, was initially designed by PTW Architects from Sydney, Australia and CSCEC (China State Construction Engineering Corporation) International Design and Arup. The Aquatics Centre will host the Swimming, Diving, Synchronized Swimming, and Water Polo events during the Olympics. As one of the three symbolic buildings for the 2008 Olympic Games, it is the only Olympic stadium donated by the Chinese from Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan.
Main Stadium for Beijing Olympic Games: This large open-are stadium is a best stage for making architectural wonders. The Bird Nest scheme is based on returning to nature and inspire human’s nature.
National Grand Theater: Located in Chang’an Road, the National Grand Theater is the largest dome in the world. The stage and the sound effects are also among the first class in the world. It would become a palace of art, as well as a symbol of Chinese culture. Seeing from afar, the theater looks like a drop of water. The egg-liked roof, made of titanium and glass plates, reflects beautiful rays of light in distance.
Chongming Dongtan Ecological Town: After Taiwan and Hainan, Chongming is the third largest island in north Shanghai. The construction of Chongming Dongtan Ecological Town aims at a town of communication center and entertainment center with educational sites, high-technical industries and dwelling houses. The new now will hold 50,000 persons.
Shanghai World Finance Center: Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates, an expert in structure from New York, spent two and a half years to design Shanghai World Finance Center. This tower will reach a new world record of 429 meters when completed.