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Urban Conservation Through Chinese Local Original Architecture:
The Preservation and Renovation of Zhongshan Road in Hangzhou

Shu Wang (translated by Feiran Huang)

Department of Architecture, China Academy of Art, Hangzhou, China


ABSTRACT  How to realise the goal of city revival through the preservation of historic districts is an important issue for all historic cities. This article introduces the Preservation and Renovation Project of Zhongshan Road in Hangzhou regarding its guiding principles, design concepts, and the entire construction process. In this project, the existing historical buildings along Zhongshan Road were preserved by keeping the remains of different historical periods and various lifestyles of the inhabitants. Rather than merely refurbishing the street front only, we reconstructed the Southern Song Dynasty city–block walls along Zhongshan Road and restored the Fangxiang city fabric to create the streetscape of the former Imperial Avenue. Afforested terraced teahouses were built along the road, and the original water system was restored so as to realise the atmosphere of ‘watertown’. New buildings were added by adopting local materials and vernacular building forms. The article summarises two strategies for the preservation of a historic district in a large city. One is the comprehensive project planning by research and investigation. The other is the overall design guideline for the street blocks. It also reflects on the disappointing aspects that mainly resulted from time limitations and the poor taste in the refurbishment of shop houses.


KEYWORDS Hangzhou, the Southern Song Dynasty Imperial Avenue, redesign of historical district, urban renewal, revival of city culture

Received 30 Dec 2016, Accepted 13 Mar 2017

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