Tracey Loontjens

ACBS Architects – (Belgium – China)


Contextual Architecture

Abstract:Understanding tradition in China, what does “Chinese” mean in modern architecture and urbanism and who does it serve?

Our work at Crossboundaries is to design for China. Designs that evolve from the richest understandings of China to meet the greatest desires of the end users that is channeled through the client’s vision. Our belief is to realize a modern architecture and urbanism that’s local to China, not a modern foreign import, we also understand this to be the want and pride of China and its inhabitants. Calibrating how to translate tradition to modern functions and aesthetics becomes an area of debate in the architecture and design industry here. The common representation of a “traditional China” in the modern context is often transplanted symbols from the past rather than a newly derived vocabulary. Further these elements often have been selected from particular periods in history, applied repeatedly as additions in new urbanism and architecture that then become the precedent in peoples sensibility to the understanding of “what is China”. Crossboundaries approach is to explore and abstract from historic and vernacular precedents, working to engage with our clients to evaluate the values they want to represent through the expression of Chinese tradition and how this language supports the users in that context of a modern intervention. In a visual presentation, we would share the current situation on Chinese design and how as a studio we go about challenging the pre-conceived notions.

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