Dates：2019.07.23-2019.10.13 Address: TSINGHUA UNIVERSITY ART MUSEUM Chief Planner: Zhuang Weimin, Su Dan, Wang Hui Curators: Tong Ming, Liu Chang Acknowledgments:Architectural Design and Research ，Institute of Tsinghua University，Power Station of Art URBANUS UrbanNetworkOffice
The early 20th century in China saw a virtually unprecedented boom in urban planning and architectural undertakings that paved the way for the development of architectural history studies as a modern academic discipline. During this period, the first generation of professional architects emerged and made outstanding contributions to the modern practice of architecture in China. Additionally, the first generation of architectural historians emerged—hardworking individuals with a sense of community who laid a solid foundation for architectural history studies. Among them, the most distinguished scholars—Robert Fang Lent, Yang Ting Pao, Liang Shih-Cheng, Tung Chuin, and Chen Benjamin Chih—all had graduated from the Architecture Department at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, USA. They planted the seeds of all later development in the fields of architectural design, research, education, and historiography, by defining the norms and developing the frameworks within which these disparate disciplines would operate afterward.
The exhibition titled “The First Generation of Chinese Architects from the University of Pennsylvania” co-organized by Tsinghua University Art Museum and Tsinghua University School of Architecture proudly presents the learning experience and achievements in this endeavor of more than 20 Chinese overseas students trained at the University of Pennsylvania from 1918 to 1935. This will reveal the profound impact the American training in the history and theory of architecture left on Chinese academia.
Liang Shih-Cheng, the most iconic figure of the returning overseas students from Penn, together with his colleagues stimulated the development of Chinese architectural theory, architectural historiography, architectural education, and architectural creation while playing a key role in the construction of a new national identity.
Liang’s understanding of architectural theory and practice—theoretical research, field survey, written documentation, technical drawings, final presentation—reflects not only his profound knowledge of traditional culture but also the fruits of many years of practice.
In particular, Liang actively participated and founded several of China’s major architectural organizations and compiled many seminal books. He worked with like-minded people devoted to architectural education in China, and trained the second and third generations of architectural scholars and professionals, laying the foundation for the sustainable development of Chinese cultural undertakings and modern architectural undertakings.
This generation of scholars and professionals successfully managed to strike a balance between global and local perspectives. They valued their own culture while developing international top-notch history and theory research, creative design, monument protection practice, and academic relationships, all of which pushed the development of science, technology, and culture in modern China.
The exhibition presents the first generation of Chinese architects trained in America at the University of Pennsylvania from a fresh, professional perspective. While commemorating their pioneering academic achievements, the exhibition also points the way toward the future of Chinese architectural theory and practice, with the aim to contribute to the future development of China's architectural profession.