Document Type

Thesis, Senior




Spring 2019


buildings, restoration, China, modern architecture, western theory, Shanghai






All over the world, there are always buildings to be built and buildings that become old. Should buildings that catered to older needs but are now obsolete be torn down and replaced with new buildings or can we do something to balance the value of the present and the past? All buildings have historic and aesthetic values of their own times, so it is not wise to wipe them out of history completely. It would be better to preserve, restore and reuse them. Restoration has a long history in the West and since the beginning of the 20th century there have been many conferences and discussions on the subject; as a result, there are many well-known theories that influence contemporary architects. But in China, restoration theory and practice are not very mature and the conditions of different kinds of buildings vary a lot, leaving challenging problems to be addressed. Methods of restoration vary across countries, even in different regions within the countries. Whether and how to restore a historic building properly has been and continues to be an important debate. Especially in China, many valuable historic buildings, including traditional wooden buildings and modern buildings constructed since 1840, have been torn down for different reasons, such as economical needs, cultural movements, or political sacrifices. Compared to traditional wooden buildings, which enjoy a more mature system of restoration theory and techniques, modern buildings still face a problem for two reasons: the lack of standards for evaluating the historic value of the building, and immature unity of theory and advanced techniques. The thesis project mainly focuses on what restoration standards might be like for historic buildings during the period of 1840-1949, when architecture was called “modern architecture”. Since research in this field started at the end of the 20th century, there was a lot of damage to those historic buildings with historical and aesthetic value. No mature system of modern architectural restoration has been set up, so I refer to western theories and standards/codes to generate standards for modern Chinese architectural restoration. In particular, I have identified the writings of Cesare Brandi [8 Apr. 1906-19 Jan. 1988, Italy], as particularly relevant to his theory of critical restoration. After generating a sample standard using these theories, I explore some design implications using the Swatch Art Peace Hotel [Walter Scott, 1908].

Additional Information

Thesis Advisors:

Brian Lonsway

Mark Linder


Local Input

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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.

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