October 01: top ten

2012/10/01 § Leave a comment

On this day in 1959 the “Ten Great Buildings” project in Beijing was complete.

Predetermined to open on the same day, the group of buildings was the architectural counterpart to the “Great Leap Forward.”  This program to instantly modernize and urbanize the People’s Republic of China was manifest in architectural form in a series of public (mostly) buildings that drew from the “stripped” Classicism that swept through the West about three decades earlier (especially the white, columnar motifs), historically Chinese elements (especially the tiled roofs, tiered construction and dougong details), and certain qualities of European Modernism (abstraction, lots of talk about functionalism).

Ten buildings to commemorate ten years of the People’s Republic, opened after ten months of construction on the first day of the tenth month of the calendar year.  They are:

01. Beijing Railway Station

02. China Revolutionary History Museum (now National Museum of China), Tiananmen Square

03. Cultural Palace of Nationalities, Xicheng District

04. Diaoyutai State Guesthouse

05. Great Hall of the People, Tiananmen Square (above)

06. Military Museum of the Chinese People’s Revolution, or China People’s Revolution Military Museum, Haidian District

07. Minzu Hotel, Chang’an Avenue (the most mod of them)

08. National Agriculture Exhibition Hall

09. Overseas Chinese Hotel (demolished 1990s)

10. Workers Stadium (with that sculpture!)

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